Thursday, September 14, 2006

Handheld PDA Applications & Business Processes

Replacing paper forms and paper-based business processes is a big part of the work we do here at MobileDataforce. However, people don't always realize that moving from paper to mobile applications can provide a whole lot more than simply an electronic version of a paper form.

Business processes and workflow can be designed into your mobile application to provide the following benefits:
  1. If/then statements assigned to data fields - if the answer is YES then the application jumps to page 7, if NO the application jumps to page 2. An example - if your roof is made of tile, then jump to page 5 and answer questions concerning tile roofs.
  2. If greater than statement - example, if the answer is greater than 5 (b>5) the application can jump to a different page and ask a different set of questions. This is often used in handheld computer based inspections and quality assurance applications. For example, the condition of the building's paint is rated from 1-10, 1 being bad, 10 being good. If the answer is 2 - then this represents a bad condition that can be configured to initiate or jump to a work order and scheduling page.
  3. User Login - if you login as a supervisor - you get visibility into pages that the work crew does not see.

These are just 3 of the hundreds of different combinations and ways you can build business processes and workflow into a mobile form or application. For more information and sample code please read Dave Wasden's blog article on this subject. Additional benefits - new hired staff will learn faster and be more efficient because the application is directing them through the proper steps to complete an application accurately. Automating business processes allow you to scale your work and ensure business processes are followed.