The Only Complete Enterprise Mobility Solution
A recent article, “New York City cops will replace their 36,000 Windows phones with iPhones” highlighted an important point that must be considered any time an organization, public or private, government or commercial, decides to upgrade their mobile infrastructure – it’s no longer just about the hardware when it comes to planning for the future.
The NYPD has decided to use the end of life of Windows Phone 8.1 as their compelling event to transition their 36,000 phones to iPhones. It requires a look back to understand why the NYPD is in the situation it is.
The NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner for IT stated “Three years ago we made the decision to bring mobility to the NYPD. At that time, neither iOS nor Android phones allowed us to cost-effectively utilize prior investment in custom Windows applications.”
That quote itself highlights a major consideration for every organization looking to make a significant investment in their field force – how can you effectively plan for future application needs, independent of hardware? You can’t really, unless your application strategy itself is cross-platform from the outset.
As technology continues to evolve, the prospect of smarter machines is creating a paradigm of preventative, even predictive maintenance, making it so that something no longer has to break before a technician is deployed to fix it. Innovations such at the emergence of the internet-of-things, self-servicing machines, and stronger remote diagnostic and support tools in the hand of technicians will continue to sculpt their role. While there can be a wide variance in terms of responsibilities for the technician depending on their industries, some trends enabled by emerging technology are bound to become near ubiquitous going into the future. Continue reading
Here is the deal.
Organizations that are interested in buying custom software are looking for a solution that is tailor made to meet their business requirements, and hence give them a competitive advantage, right?
The challenge is that because the solution needs to be built to your specific requirements, during the engagement process your team will likely run into a problem.
Taking the leap.
The reason is simple; when a solution has not yet been developed it is likely that your team will have a hard time agreeing on the requirements and envisioning what the final product will look like. Hence the perception is that it is easier, and less risky to maintain the status quo, or go with a canned (off the shelf) application. The problem is that canned apps typically don’t meet a customer’s unique requirements.
On April 3, 2010 the enterprise mobility landscape changed forever, Apple released the first generation iPad sparking a wave of innovation among computer manufactures and application developers that has continued at a torrid pace. According to Forrester Research analyst Frank Gillett, tablet sales are expected to increase from the 56 million units sold in 2011 to 375 million in 2016, with 750 million tablets in use by then. Forrester expects that one-third of these tablets will be purchased by businesses. Application developers have been aware of this trend and according to a study by VisionMobile roughly 50% of mobile developers are now targeting tablets (this number is even higher for iOS Developers), which is up from just over 1/3 for developers last year.
If you have an existing DSD Solution in place then you know the hard work that was involved in getting the application built to your specifications, integrated with your back-end systems, testing on the desired mobile computer, etc. Based on our experience many legacy DSD solutions take 18+ months to be fully deployed within an organization. Many companies are not eager to jump ship, only to repeat that painful process again.
Running a dynamic DSD field force is complex. Today’s DSD applications must allow companies to quickly react to marketplace changes, customer demands and new regulatory policies. With this fast pace of change, customers simply have to be nimble and they need the power to make changes to their DSD apps as soon as the market dictates it. The ability to make changes to apps with no custom coding and to deploy those changes to the field is how a well run DSD business should operate. Legacy apps require customers to go to the vendor to request changes, but this strategy does not allow for speed to market.
Another huge factor in a successful DSD operation is to give management instant access to data as soon as its collected in the field. Most companies have not yet implemented the technology to make data readily available to their management; these enterprises are operating with large blind spots, making it harder for management to take advantage of new opportunities in a fast-paced business climate. The solution to the problem is real-time web portals. Continue reading
Direct Store Delivery (DSD) is a distribution method where producers deliver goods directly to the point of sale. This delivery method gives producers the control over inventory, merchandising and promotions that is so valuable in various industries. However, without an effective system to manage this process certain benefits are lost, which can cost you more in the long run.
The mobile apps used by the route delivery drivers are crucial to run an efficient field force. However, the current DSD apps in the marketplace don’t allow customers to modify their apps without paying the vendor exorbitant fees. And, most of these apps lack important workflows for today’s environment. These solutions are typically hard coded, so process changes and route re-scheduling are costly and time consuming – if possible at all. All of these shortfalls add up to lost time and frustrated customers – both of which cost you money.
MobileFrame’s Direct Store Delivery Suite is built on cutting edge technology, solving all the problems that customers are frustrated with. Customers can make changes to their apps as the business dictates it, all without writing a single line of code and without paying the vendor any fees for the changes. Real-time updates enable immediate changes to workflow, route scheduling and even third party applications. Drivers can process deliveries and returns on remote devices, so invoices can be modified on the back end immediately. MobileFrame’s DSD Suite has applications that are tightly integrated to each other
Five warehouses, over 240 different product lines, and one bi-directional integration with Oracle 11g to maintain current inventory. That was the set of circumstances, and the task at hand was to deploy a custom solution to manage physical inventory, across the enterprise. Oh yeah, and it had to be implemented within two weeks.
Not for MobileFrame.
This was the mission for a recent client. Inventory data was held in their Oracle database yet the physical inventory was spread across 5 warehouses. Inventory tracking was done on paper forms, resulting in time consuming errors so there were definitely efficiencies to be gained by going mobile. This required a bi-directional custom application to interact with the existing database.
Inspections are a part of literally dozens of different industries, from public safety to property management to construction. This naturally means that there are numerous needs that must be fulfilled by inspection forms. Checklists, comments and signatures are nearly universal, while photos, conditional checklists and specialized workflow may be needed to send the results to different governing entities.
Although, for all their differences, one thing is for sure; inspections happen all over the place. Apartment complexes, garages, hangars, constructions sites, maintenance rooms, kitchens, sewers – the list goes on and on. And often these remote locations are in different places every day creating the need to collect data from multiple locations.
Mobile Applications used for field services, inventory/asset management, direct store delivery and proof of delivery are good at capturing data, integrating with backend systems and keeping your mobile force up to date. But all that data can be put to further use if managed through a proper dashboard management system. Dashboard management systems can be a separate application or an add-on to existing applications that provide management the tools to make informed business decisions. Harnessing this information is key to making decisions to better place your organization in the market, maximize profit margins and reduce overhead. What can they do for your business?
Let’s say you run a direct store delivery (DSD) business selling bakery goods. By simply capturing the data that the DSD application provides, you can keep track of inventory and automate invoicing, which in itself is beneficial. But by optimizing your data management into a decision support dashboard you can determine which goods are selling better in which stores and going faster off the truck and link that to ingredient ordering and labor management. Knowing this information allows management to make informed decisions about what ingredients to buy and what products to send to different outlets.
At MobileFrame we have thought for a long time that our mobile solutions could track anything. We have provided tracking applications for everything from parts and labor to maintenance records and hazardous waste containers.
We figure that we have tracked just about everything – from the cradle to the grave. And now two customers are putting that to the test!
MobileFrame was recently deployed as the application for Paternity Declaration at Contra Costa County, California. This application captures vital information and parent signatures at the time of birth. With over 2500 clerks at over 700 birthing centers across California, MobileFrame’s integration into the county’s Vital Records is saving time, sometimes months, and increasing accuracy.