Wednesday, June 16, 2010

ClickSoftware and Rugged Working Environments

It is easy to forget about the world beyond the pocket, but it remains out there.  There is a large market for mobile devices that must survive the rigors of rain, sand, mud and daily impacts.  In the field service automation space, these working environments are the norm.  SAP mobility partner ClickSoftware focuses on this area of enterprise mobility, and this means they add features to their mobility suite that others don't.

I had the opportunity to interview Gil Bouhnick from ClickSoftware a few months ago, and he shared that one of their recent projects included building union regulations and rules into the mobile application.  Before certain tasks could be requested or started the union rules were considered in the mobile application.  How many iPhone and BlackBerry applications have these requirements?

Because ClickSoftware focuses on rugged environments where the field service technician, lineman, or inspector may be working in solitary and remote locations, features have been added to their solutions that would alert the office in case of an emergency.  Again, not many BlackBerry or iPhone applications have that requirement.

I have worked on many mobile forms projects in my time, so I appreciate that ClickSoftware has the solution ClickMobile Forms Editor.  Mobile forms may seem like a rather simple applications these days, but they can be of enormous value.  Let me explain.  Mobile forms applications can have branching workflows in them.  If an inspection reveals a measurement is XYZ, then it automatically jumps to mobile form page 16 where additional questions are asked.  If the measurement was ABC, then it automatically continues to form page 2.  These types of automated mobile forms and their workflows can direct the mobile workforce to complete the field data collection task completely and accurately the first time.  Enterprise asset management, field services and inspection services all require extensive field inspection work that can benefit from mobile forms that wireless synchronize with the office. 

Kevin Benedict, SAP Mentor, SAP Top Contributor, Mobile Industry Analyst
CEO/Principal Consultant, Netcentric Strategies LLC
***Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility consultant and Web 2.0 marketing expert. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.