Magazine Article | June 26, 2012

Field Service Software Provides Abundant Data

Source: Field Technologies Magazine

FTM July 2012 CoverBy Field Technologies magazine

Crest Air Conditioning installs air conditioning systems throughout Sydney, Australia. Approximately 70% of its business involves outfitting new or refurbished buildings and developments. The projects involve design, supply, and deployment of air conditioning equipment as well as the provision of maintenance and service contracts.

Crest used to manage its business with a software package designed for the photocopier service industry. The software supported three areas — job costing, service management, and financial control — but by 2009, company growth was testing the software.

At that point, Crest spent 12 to 15 months looking at options. Crest Finance Director Paul Collis notes, “Our main requirement was for software that was user-friendly and easy to navigate.”

In late 2010 Crest selected a Microsoft Dynamics GP solution integrated with WennSoft Service Management and Job Cost modules. Collis says one key reason for choosing the solution was familiarity. “Everything we do — our communications, forms, spreadsheets — uses the Microsoft environment. Knowing that everything would easily integrate was important,” Collis says.

Field Tech Involvement Key To Success
To deploy the software, Crest chose partner Professional Advantage because of the company’s experience in both Microsoft Dynamics GP and with WennSoft. While changing systems was a big step for Crest, Collis says that 99% of the users adapted quickly to the change. “Professional Advantage encouraged us to communicate to the staff what was happening so integration of the new software would be fairly smooth.”

Collis believes the biggest difference between the old and new systems is the data available. He cites productivity analyses for the company’s technicians as an example. “It’s important that we understand their productivity by comparing billable hours to the total hours that they could be billing. Retrieving this information in the old system was very cumbersome. Now the information is available at the click of a button.”

iPadU.S. Airline Leverages The iPad In Flight

When a U.S. airline wanted to find a way to make aviation manuals and other educational materials easier for pilots to use and transport, it decided to turn to the iPad. However, the airline quickly realized it needed a partner to help manage the deployment and ongoing support of more than 1,300 iPads for its pilots. That partner would have to possess knowledge of the Apple iOS operating environment and its specific requirements, as well as have a proven track record for deploying, supporting, and managing mobile devices in a way that promotes user productivity. After evaluating several partner proposals, the airline chose Enterprise Mobile, a company that provides mobility outsourcing services for companies in a variety of industries.

Enterprise Mobile is handling the full range of activities needed to carry out the airline’s enterprise-scale initiative, including device warehousing and testing, warranty repair/exchange, spare pool management, and application loading and configuration. Enterprise Mobile runs a 24/7/365 help desk for the airline, addressing any issues the airline may have with the devices and wireless connectivity. When a device is lost or becomes inoperable, the user reports the problem to Enterprise Mobile, and the outsourcer sends out a fully configured replacement iPad overnight so the user is up and running the very next day.

iPads Replace 2.4 Million Printed Pages
In addition to these services, Enterprise Mobile works with the airline to implement and administer its device management software. Functionality of the MDM (mobile device management) software includes device wipe/lock/unlock upon request, publishing applications to devices over the air, and software maintenance and upgrading. The airline anticipates the iPad initiative will result in significant savings over the next year as the devices replace about 2.4 million printed manual pages.