How to reduce the complexity of very large mobile workflows

At GeoPal we have developed an approach based on iterative collaboration with our clients, designed to deliver exactly the tailored mobile workforce management solution they are looking for. It is a constantly evolving process.

Managing Customer Success makes you a better learner

If someone were to ask me what is an essential trait to have as a Customer Success Manager working in mobile solutions’ development, I’d say: a passion for learning. As long as you are a passionate learner, you will keeping growing. As long as you are curious, you will never cease to chase the next mobile workforce management solution that your customer is looking for.

You see exactly how valuable this trait is when your clients present you with challenges you hadn’t even considered before. This is our bread and butter here at GeoPal Solutions and it became particularly clear when one of our clients came to us with a basic workflow that had 1,652 steps.

Breaking the workflow step record 

Recently, one of our long time customers approached us with a seemingly impossible request to implement the longest workflow we had seen to date: 1652 steps, to be more exact. Just to give you an idea, the previous record had come from our South African partner, at 943 steps. Some of our largest customer workflows have an average of 100-200 steps.

THE CLIENT

Our client is one of the UK’s longest established providers of duct cleaning services, providing comprehensive compliance solutions for building managers in all aspects of air and water hygiene and kitchen extract fire safety.

They deploy GeoPal like the best pros, so we saw this request both as a challenge and as a vote of confidence that they trusted us to come up with a tailored mobile development solution. Our client knew that despite the effort they had put into building that enormous workflow, the fact was their mobile devices were unable to tackle it and they were finding it impossible to collect all the data that their surveyors actually needed. Enter GeoPal and our DevOps teams, keener than ever to find a mobile development solution

GeoPal stands for mobile workforce management solutions

This is probably a good time to clarify a bit more what we actually do here at GeoPal. GeoPal offers a combined web platform and app workforce management solution. We work across a range of markets and industries that rely heavily on mobile workforces, such as:

  • Industrial Support Services
  • Smart Facilities Management
  • Utility Services

We work together with our customers to build a suitable workflow onto our web platform. Based on this workflow, customers are able to collect actionable data, which is then transferable to a mobile device, such as a tablet. The workflow is completed by the field user on a mobile device, thereby eliminating the need for paper forms and drastically reducing human error. While GeoPal has achieved outstanding results, this Customer Success process does not always run smoothly.

Mobile development solutions, one step at a time

Our Operations team steps in whenever a little extra help is needed to deliver the perfect mobile development solution. Luckily, we can rely on a diversified team of Project Managers, Customer Success Managers and Customer Engineers to get just the right blend of skills and experience.

With this particular client, we went back to the drawing board and made it our mission to discover exactly what the field users daily job is: that means mapping out all the actions that the average field worker had to complete on any given day.

Our second step was to quiz the client to understand in detail what kind of data they wanted their field users to capture using GeoPal. During this process, we learned that each field surveyor had to attend a different site each day and had to send a report by filling out a series of questions regarding the condition of the assets located at each site.

Although we provide many great ways to customize the mobile view for the field user, in this situation we concluded that there was simply too much information required. But this did not mean that we left our client without a tailored workable solution.

There is no single right way to develop a mobile workforce management solution 

In the end, it is the result that counts. We were not interested in sticking to an overly large workflow, but we were determined to solve our client's problem. And by focusing on the result we wanted to achieve, we worked our way to a feasible mobile development solution.

After discussing it in our Operations team, we concluded that the best solution was to use conditional logic to break down the workflow into smaller parts which would be much easier for the field users to tackle.

We used our GeoScript tool to create a workflow that was either partially visible or invisible to each user according to his/her input. For instance, imagine that you’re filling out your tax return. You’ll probably have to fill out many fields, such as contact details, marital status, etc.

If, however, you have no relevant information for a certain field (number of children, for instance), then you can skip it. The same logic was applied here, to make sure that field users were never presented with a massively large workflow.

This mobile development solution had the added value of also allowing the surveyors to complete multiple jobs on each different asset without creating new jobs. This immediately improved the view and ease of use for the Field users, as well as streamlining the reporting output.

The key takeaway: collaborative effort in mobile development solutions

Throughout this project, we learnt that although there are limits to our mobile workforce management system, we don’t have to be deterred by that. GeoPal is a workforce of combined effort and our ultimate goal is to provide customers with tailored mobile development solutions. No two solutions are alike, which means that every day brings something new. Our success comes from relentless innovation and determination to overcome any obstacle. We are eternal learners. 

Have you found your Mobile Workforce Management Solution yet? 

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