Wednesday, May 17, 2006
The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality has selected MobileDataforce's PointSync software as their enterprise mobility platform. Their internal IT department will use PointSync to develop a wide variety of mobile solutions for use by their staff in the field.
Handheld computers are fun, although the CFO is unlikely to approve their purchase unless there are better reasons to purchase. Here are some very real reasons for your consideration:
- Cash management - quickly invoice for work done, invoice accurately and avoid disputes
- Better fuel mileage - dispatch work crews to the closest job, on the right routes and send them out with the right tools and supplies the first time.
- Improved productivity - avoid wasted driving time, and inefficient paper work
- Improved customer service - respond faster, bring the right tools and parts the first time
- Visibility into inventory use - monitor parts and inventory used and apply these to the right customer accounts. Make sure you aren't losing parts and supplies to theft and loss.
- Reduced liability - accurate documentation of work, wirelessly synchronized with the headquarters database for storage.
- Improve quality and performance - compare times, work productivity, customer satisfaction and profitability of each employee through automated time stamping and handheld work orders synchronized with the central database.
The bottom line, you can do more work, make more money, for less risks and expenses by mobilizing your remote business processes.
This article contains an interesting reason to mobilize field technicians - better cash management.
For Dave Croteau, manager of customer support for Toshiba America Medical Systems, getting data from his mobile field-service staff in a timely manner was a nagging problem. And the delay was losing the company money.
Croteau oversees customer-service operations for the Tustin, Calif.-based company, which provides service and support for medical imaging equipment, including ultrasound and X-ray machines, to hospitals and labs across the country. His team dispatches one of 400 field service engineers whenever a customer needs help.
Here was Croteau's beef: The engineers were equipped with laptops running Amdocs' Clarify customer relationship management software to enter information about the work they performed. But if they were at a customer's facility, they usually couldn't get a network connection to log in to the Clarify system, and they'd put off the data-entry task. "The average close for a case was running over 13 days," Croteau says, "which coincided with the technical engineers doing their expense cards every two weeks."
That delayed how quickly Toshiba America Medical Systems could get paid, because the billing department can't process invoices until an engineer files a report detailing the work. Plus, Croteau says, the billable hours engineers entered were often only hazy guesses, and it turned out that on average, customers were being undercharged.
So the 2 reasons Mr. Croteau gave for mobilizing - delayed billings, and under charging customers. In other words - bad cash management.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
The Idaho Fish and Game Department has just selected MobileDataforce solutions as their mobility platform. They have requirements for numerous handheld inspection forms and different mobile applications. They will use MobileDataforce's PointSync Developer application to create their own custom applications, whenever and where ever they need them. Their development team will visit our classroom in the next couple of weeks to participate in a training class on the ins and outs of mobilizing business applications.
Let me take a moment to point out the value of owning your own development environment like PointSync. Once you purchase a license of PointSync Developer, you can create an unlimited number of mobile applications at no extra charge. You simply purchase licenses for each handheld device that uses the application. So if your organization has the need to mobilize many different business processes, then this would be a good option.
In addition to being able to develop your own mobile applications without coding, you can edit, customize and update your existing applications without waiting for a vendor to respond to your needs. This is the reason MobileDataforce believes in empowering our customers with the ability to control and edit their own applications.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Companies we are working with often ask me if they should use a mobile software client provided by their ERP or enterprise software vendor, or if they should use MobileDataforce's PointSync. This is a good question to ask and here are some points to consider:
- Often your enterprise software vendor provides a mobile application that is only usable with their specific software. Any other mobile applications would not be supported or possible. This presents an issue - do you really want to maintain different mobile applications for every different enterprise application? I recently worked with an electrical utility that had 7 different applications they wanted to mobilize. They were attracted to PointSync because it could support all of these applications on one platform.
- Do you want to support/maintain multiple mobile software platforms? If you would prefer to get trained on one platform that can support all of your applications with mobile software clients, then PointSync would be a good candidate.
- PointSync is a rapid application developmentment platform, which means you can develop, edit and improve your own code or one of MobileDataforce's partners can help. You are not dependent on a specific application vendor to update your application.
- PointSync can integrate with multiple database applications at the same time. For example - you can tie into inventory, invoicing, work orders, vehicle tracking systems, etc. and have this information all bi-directionally updated to a single handheld application.
In summary - having your own standardized mobility platform, security, synchronization methodology and development environment often gives you a much better value. It enables you to update and edit your own applications, and have the freedom to enhance your own solutions on your timetable, not a vendor's.