The Surprising Business Value of Offline Mobile Apps

field technician looking at oil rigField service organizations with global operations are faced with numerous challenges in serving their customers and keeping them happy. Consistently delivering on-time, expert service and addressing problems in a timely manner require that field engineers and technicians are equipped to work no matter where they are in the world. To help in this endeavor, many organizations are realizing substantial business value from enabling their techs and engineers with offline mobile apps.

Depending on the nature of the business, field technicians often operate in “dead zones,” where Internet or cellular connectivity is weak, unreliable or unavailable. These offline areas can include hospitals, basements, warehouses, mines, data centers, loading docks, oil rigs, gas pipelines or ships. The list can even include urban centers among tall buildings during the lunch hour when everyone is accessing their phones. In these disconnected environments, native mobile apps that can fully function offline keep technicians productive, serving customers and meeting SLAs.

Offline capability for mobile apps is generally made possible by caching data to the mobile device. For situations in which mobile data needs are high, such as performing searches on large numbers of record sets, device-native mobile apps that operate offline are critical. This allows the user to cache large amounts of data to the mobile device before visiting a job site. The technician can then manage and update records on their phones or tablets locally. The data is then synchronized with the company’s ERP, CRM or service management application when connectivity is available.

Offline mobile apps have allowed a large oil and gas service provider to realize new business value through improved technician productivity, more accurate reporting, and accelerated billing cycles. The company’s field technicians and engineers carry out hundreds of tests and inspections, often in remote environments such as oil fields and offshore drilling platforms. Collecting and analyzing test data was a major challenge, particularly when every customer had thousands of pieces of equipment along with unique testing and reporting requirements. Now, with offline mobile apps, field techs can capture test results on site. The company has better transparency with its customers and is making more informed business decisions based on quantitative analytics. Read the full case study.

Offline apps can provide business value even in everyday scenarios where a network can be accessed. Unfortunately, network outages and attacks do occur, and failures lead to big losses. According to a study by the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of unplanned downtime for a business is $9,000 per minute or $540,000 per hour. That’s time and money your field service organization can recoup if your technicians and engineers can continue to do their jobs during unplanned network disruptions.

Investing in offline mobile apps for your field technicians makes sense when you consider the substantial business value they create. Your customers will also appreciate getting more visibility into the assets and equipment you service for them.

To determine whether your organization needs mobile apps that work offline, read this post.