Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms

In the past, mobile workers in field maintenance and asset management operations have been difficult to track and organize. The only contact they made with management and administrative workers was at the beginning and end of the day or via phone calls. In an industry where employees can make up over 40% of a company’s expenses, the inability to track and manage workers is problematic. Thankfully, today’s worker carries around more than just a mobile phone and communications technology has advanced to a point where mobile workers and administration can work on the same network and share data instantaneously, whether they are five feet apart or across the country from one another. Many organizations have taken up Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms (MEAPs) in order to organize and automate mobile workers.

These days, improved productivity and organization in mobile workforce operations is made possible by the combined use of tablets, handheld terminals, computers, and more, over a network. Working on these devices, field service workers using a MEAP are provided with a suite of tools and middleware that can be tailored to simplify operations.  For the typical field worker, this smart solution allows them to transmit and receive information in real-time and enables them to plan out their day accordingly. Through navigating the software infrastructure, they can view all current tasks in a list or map display format, thereby enabling them to categorize and prioritize each by urgency and geographic location. As the day progresses, they can update the status of each task as well as check for any newly assigned tasks. They also have access to a variety of intuitive features that can be programmed into the platform. For example, a platform may give users the ability to attach pictures to minimize the time spent writing, write in a comment section to make note of anomalies, mark a specific field asset or customer as needing to be revisited, create new work orders, provide quotes, and more.

On the manager’s end, a MEAP works to automate and streamline the management and tracking of mobile workers. Before, the only contact management would have with field workers was through a cell phone (which disrupts the workflow) and reporting in at opening and closing times, a process which could eat up 20% or more of the workday. However, the previously ‘out of sight’ field worker can now be unobtrusively tracked and easily communicated with using an application platform. Workers no longer have to waste time checking in to receive daily tasks as they are capable of accessing all relevant data in real-time through the network. As they carry out their responsibilities, managers can shadow the work process via a web portal and compare their worker’s performance levels to company standards. GPS functionality ensures accurate data capturing and allows managers to monitor staff location. By observing operations, managers can effectively identify processes that need to be adjusted as well as employees that could use additional coaching or training.

Change is constant and, unlike older software where users must wait up to 12 months for the latest version to come out, a Mobile Enterprise Application Platform can be updated in a short period of time. Imagine if a change in company policies or industry regulations suddenly requires additional information to be documented; for example, an electrical utility worker may suddenly have to provide proof that work completed has been “certified fire safe”. Rather than waiting months for the latest edition of the software in use to accommodate, small, iterative changes can be made to the MEAP in a matter of hours without incurring downtime.

7 Thoughts on “Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms

  1. Marylin M. on June 18, 2014 at 4:53 am said:

    One thing you should mention is that implementing a proper mobile workforce management system takes a lot of planning and it really helps when someone experienced in the process is involved. There are a lot of integration that is required and it is easy to overlook what look like seemingly obvious aspects. But, once a system is implemented and has been running for a good six months, the real benefits are amazing. It is hard to imagine going back to a manual system and workers become highly dependant on their portable mobile computer. So picking a good rugged unit to last is important to reduce downtime. Nice article.

  2. Carl B. on June 21, 2014 at 5:57 pm said:

    We implemented a field service mobile app in the spring and it has been one of the most innovative process that has helped us streamline our operations. The app certainly did help us keep better track of our technical resources and helped us to utilize them better through optimized scheduling. Using a mobile enterprise application helped us save money as well by reducing the amount of time spent collecting paperwork at the end of the day and entering it into our backend computer systems. Everything that the technician does is recorded and invoiced for. That seems like a normal way for a business to operate but you would be surprised at how many “small” jobs fell throught the cracks and didn’t get invoiced in the past. These systems are great for growing organizations.

  3. Jayme W. on June 24, 2014 at 9:37 am said:

    Mobile application are becoming a staple in the corporate world. It is difficult to stay competitive without your entire team staying touch with one another. Wasted resources and slackers can leach an otherwise profitable venture into a dismal failure. A good mobile enterprise application platform will help ferret-out waste and highlight opportunities for improvement. Being cost efficient is extremely important these days, but customer service is even more critical. When customers believe they are receiving quality service they will pay more for it. These system will help to achieve that by empowering employees to respond and act upon customer requests on the spot. It is really easy to upsell a customer when the installer can just quote and invoice right on the job. Just my two-cents on the topic.

  4. Elizbeth W. on July 8, 2014 at 8:58 am said:

    Great article but now I need some details. Perhaps it is better that I give you a call but I will leave my email on this comment for you to follow up. We are interested in automating our field service technicians so that they can enter expenses at the job site as well as record what parts were installed and used to service the equipment. It would be excellent if they could also create customer invoices on the spot so that they could either sell new replacement equipment or even upsell on existing equipment. Not sure if a mobile application can help us accomplish all this but we are interested in taking a look at this. Thanks.

    • Hi Elizbeth, we can certainly help you out with the requirements you have outlined. We have been providing full mobile solutions in Canada for many years and across many different industries. We will be contacting you shortly with some options that you may be interested in. We have a complete array of mobile services that will not only help you implement a solution but also to maintain and service it for years to come. Thanks for considering us!

  5. Garfield B. on July 17, 2014 at 4:38 pm said:

    Hey exceptional blog article! I’ve been looking for articles on mobile computing and especially from the application side. Wanted to use some of this information for a project we have underway. Just seeking permission to use it for a presentation. You can contact me on the email provided. Looking to implement a field service application and looking for something that is adaptable to more than just a single function. This type of platform seems like what we need. Thanks for the information.

  6. Terry A. on July 22, 2014 at 6:36 am said:

    Great article and there isn’t a whole lot out there on the subject. I’ll be contacting you guys for a demo and perhaps we can try out something to ensure we get our needs covered. we actually dealt with your company before and I registered a positive comment on your feedback site. Hope we can do some more business together as you guys are pretty good at automating business processes. Thanks.

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