Manager of Client Services
Mobile Reach: Okay, without further ado, I’d like to go ahead and introduce our presenter for today. Ari Livers is manager of client services at Mobile Reach. Ari skillfully guides customers through our mobile app development process and helps them get the most out of their mobility deployment. Prior to joining Mobile Reach, Ari served as an enterprise application specialist for IT asset management at the global law firm Latham and Watkins. In previous positions, Ari served as an IT analyst for American Honda Motor Company, and at Chesapeake Energy. Ari also served as a business analyst for MidFirst Bank. As you can tell, Ari’s professional experience runs deep in best practices for optimizing business processes via mobility, and extending back-end enterprise applications to the field. Ari has particular expertise in ServiceNow and HP Asset Center supported IT environments. Ari, thank you for joining us today.
Ari: Hello, everybody. I am honored to be speaking with you all today. As Brett mentioned, my background before I came to Mobile Reach was working directly with end users and process owners to make the customer’s job easier, and improve efficiency by creating system workloads in our asset management system. In other words, I have been where you’re sitting, and I totally understand your roles. At Mobile Reach, I have been able to build on this experience and take it one step further, and ask the customers, you, how do we get your processes mobilized to enable your end users with even more mobility? The point is, I have been in your shoes, like I said. Which is why today’s topic is fun and exciting for me to speak to. Today, we will discuss how Mobile Reach goes one step further to mobilize your SERVICEmail processes. Let’s get started.
Ari: Today we will discuss major mobile operating systems and devices of course. We will go through Mobile Reach’s barcode technology integration and the scanners that we support. We will briefly discuss part0time connectivity, as well as offline operations. Is it offline, or is it truly offline? We will also go through company process-specific configuration, and review some of our mobile apps apps for ServiceNow.
All right. So selecting the right device for your company can be tricky. And there are a lot of factors to consider, such as, does the operating system and device meet our company’s security standards? For example, for our Department of Defense customers, Android and IOS devices are off the table, unless they are fully certified DoD approved devices, which if you are in the DoD environment, you know that that’s hard to come by. So instead, it is required to run the mobile apps on a Windows 10 laptop or desktop machine.
Another factor to consider is what devices [inaudible] end-users and processes. This factor can be crucial because if the device selected does not make sense to the processes, then the end-user adoption of the mobility solution is at risk. This is also typically what leads to the conversation of, should we implement Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, or do we have company-managed devices and implemented MDM solution within our organization?
With that said, our mobility solution is flexible and supports what is important to your company by supporting a wide range of devices and operating systems. As you can see in the table on the screen, we support all Apple iPhone and iPads running iOS 10 or greater, all Andriod phones, tablets, and mobile computers such as Zebra handheld scanners or Honeywell devices running version 6 or higher, and Windows 10 tablets, laptops, and desktops.
This leads me to our next topic, which is barcode technology. Asset management is crucial in many organizations and can range from anywhere from IT assets, such as computers and servers, to furniture and artwork because whether you want to think it or not, there are companies that worry about people stealing the furniture. So it’s very important for some companies processes to manage furniture and artwork to pipelines located underground at a field site. While most mobility solution companies support 1D and 2D barcode scanning, sometimes that is not enough or is not efficient for your company’s environment. And RFID and NSD tags may be more efficient and work better with your internal processes.
For example, we have a customer who tags their pipelines – yes, I said pipelines – with RFID tags so when they’re on-site, they can use an RFID reader to find the pipeline in their asset management system and be able to use a mobile app to report any findings, perform any field inspect, etc. From an IT perspective, performing a quarterly inventory in a data center can be super time-consuming and may even be difficult depending on the placement of the tag on the tiny servers. So implementing an RFID solution in a data center provides rapid batch scanning and process, and can be extremely end-user friendly. With mobile reach, you are not bound to IT assets and IT process.
We are able to customize the end-user experience on the mobility side regardless of the lingo and labels and service now so that field techs have a mobility experience that matches their processes. We will get more into this in a bit. From a standing perspective, we support numerous devices across all operating systems. For field techs, using a camera scanner for one-off scans of an asset may be sufficient. But for processes, which require rapid batch scanning, it is recommended to use something like a socket mobile Bluetooth scanner, a Linea Pro sled, or a Zebra mobile computer. Our software also integrates with point mobile NFC readers and the TSL RFID reader. This is just some of the most common devices amongst our customers. So if you do not see the scanner you have listed in the table on your screen or looking– then let us know.
The next key topic I want to address is what it means when an end-user works offline. This can be confusing, because when we say “offline,” you’re really thinking you’re offline. But it’s important to realize the difference between what some mobile solutions consider “offline” versus Moblie Reach’s offline. We strive to make the offline experience seamless to the end-user so that they do not experience process disruption or have to worry about the data being captured while running the mobile app offline. In Mobile Reach apps, there’s no button that needs to be pushed to go offline. Simply open the app, pull the latest updates from ServiceNow, and go. In the use-case example on the screen, you can see that the field tech, in this case, is heading to a field site where an online connection is either not available or not permitted at the field site. Upon arriving at the field site, there is nothing the field tech needs to do, and the mobile app is fully operational while offline. In another use-case example, there are times where the buildings are structured to where the cages for assets or for stock is located in a basement. In this situation, the end-user would be able to go down to the basement, use a fully-functioning offline app, and when they regain online connection after they are done with their inventory, then they can simply sync up to ServiceNow and upload all of their changes.
One of our customers performs inspections offshore and the field tech’s offshore engagement may last up to 18 days where an online connection is not available. In this case, due to the length of the offline engagement, it is important that the data integrity is kept intact when the field tech does sync back up to ServiceNow, which is why Mobile Reach also has built-in conflict resolution as to avoid data inaccuracy due to lengthy times of operating offline.
All right. So some of us more technical people, such as developers or people that are not the primary end-user, such as a process owner or manager, may not always think about how a mobility solution can negatively impact the primary end-user if it does not meet the end-users needs. This is one of my favorite topics to address because I love the fact that our product can mold and adapt to any process which directly drives end-user adoption. On your screen, you will see how the Mobile Reach apps are sleek and simple. We do support custom branding, where you can add your logo and colors, which makes the app look more familiar to your end-users. Under the end-user focused section, you can see where you can actually customize the entry style of the application.
So you can ask yourself, “What do we want our end-users to see when they launch the mobile app?” Sometimes, depending on if it’s, for example, a timecard entry app, they would want to see a calendar, because it would make sense to view your entries on a calendar. In some other cases, you may want to have an in-between screen, such as the one in the middle with the cues: pending dispatch, assigned, work-in-progress. And this use-case is for work order tasks. So instead of providing a full list of every single work order task assigned to them you can [parse?] out each of the tasks into a queue based on status or something similar. This allows them to focus on the task at hand, and then not overcomplicate the app for them. On the last image on the right where it’s called approval tasks, you can see where the colors and the little icons E, R next to each of the items shows– it gives the end-user a glimpse into what that record has. So it’s a top priority. So it may be marked as an emergency. It gives them a quick view into the record without having to dig into the details, so they know which records to work first.
Some other features Mobile Reach– and we also have image annotation and tagging. So for example, in the first screenshot, you can see our image editor where when the image was taken, it added the work order task number and a date timestamp to the image to be tracked and uploaded to ServiceNow. Sometimes this is super important for auditing reasons or to hold your imagers accountable while they’re out in the field. It can also help if you’re working offline and for example, you’re on the [reg?] for 18 days. Then when all the records get uploaded to service now, you have the exact timestamp of when the photo was actually taken. You can also add annotation, which is the red marking on the photo. And this allows you to call out different parts of the image that need to be called out that are pertinent for the work order task or incident.
Another cool feature that we offer is signoff and signatures. So sometimes when you’re going through a process or a use case, especially, for example, in a field inspection, you did sign off. Who are the parties that are on-site? And who is saying that this field inspection is complete? We allow signatures which then get uploaded to ServiceNow and are tracked at the field inspection or the record level. This can also come into play when doing inventory and capturing signatures on the inventories so that you know that the person doing inventory is signing off of this inventory, and it is, in fact, complete. Another feature that we offer is geolocation and maps. So we have a few different things that we can do with geolocations. We can show driving directions with the routes that easily navigate you over to the natives’ maps app on your device and can give you turn by turn instructions. We can also show what’s in the Mobile Reach client, the distance and time, so that if you have 10 different incidents on your map, then it can choose the best route for you and how long it’s going to take you to get to each location. We’re also able to capture the lat and long and actually add it is a text-tagging to a photo as well. So if it’s required that the lat and long be recorded for any image so that you can audit your end users and make sure that your field tags are actually at that location when they said they were and not just taking a picture whenever they feel like it, then it’s a good way to track what your end user’s activities are.
To end this webinar today, I have provided a diagram of our out-of-box ITM ServiceNow mobile apps. All of our mobile apps for ServiceNow are certified for ServiceNow Madrid and earlier. We are also do a bronze technology partner. This example on the screen is specific to [ITAM?] and provides a list of apps pre-built for your organization. As mentioned previously, these apps can be configured to match your ServiceNow environment, whether it is out-of-box forms or tables or fully customized. We can also add labels, directions, and messages to support your end-users as they navigate each app to make their job easier and allow them to focus on the task at hand. Although this is ITAM-specific, we do also offer out-of-box ITSM and field service mobile apps for ServiceNow.
Mobile Reach: Well, that’s excellent, Ari. Thank you very much for that terrific content. That’s really great insight that you’ve provided. Anybody in the audience– if anyone has any questions, please enter them now. We had a few that have already been submitted. So we’ll go ahead and get right through those. So I’ll go ahead and start already with the first question. How long does the typical mobile reach out of the box application deployment take?
Ari: So typically, when we start an engagement, we provide the out-of-box mobile applications to our customers, and then it usually takes three to five days – not consecutive, but three to five days total – to get our customer up and running. And let me expand on that a little bit. So once the apps are provided, we take you through what the apps are. We identify which out-of-box apps work for you because we have a set of apps, and not all customers need all of the apps depending on the processes. Then, we kind of walk you through each of the apps and make sure that it will work for your environment. Then, off of that, we help you with your install and configuration, and then we also help with delivering basic end-user guides to get your end-users up and running quickly. So we’re there for you, and our support is there for you. And we really make sure that these apps are good to go for you and your team.
Mobile Reach: Okay. Great. The next question– what is the scanning device that you most recommend or is most used by your customers?
Ari: So we’re seeing a rise in the [Socket Mobile?] scanner really taking off with a lot of our customers. There’s really two different Socket Mobile scanners. There’s the S700, which is a detached handheld Bluetooth scanner, and they’re typically used with either an iOS or Android tablet or phone. And these would be two different devices. So you could use the phone camera scanner, or you could use the Socket Mobile Bluetooth scanner depending on the use case. There’s also a Socket Mobile scanner that’s the S800, and it actually has a sleeve. So the little scanner fits into a sleeve which attaches and connects to, say, an iPod or an iPhone, and then it becomes an all-in-one device. So for those customers that are very familiar with MC55A0s and the old Motorola devices, and they’re deciding to get off of Windows Mobile and they still want an all-in-one device because their end-users are super familiar with that experience– but they don’t really want to go to the Zebra or the Honeywell, maybe because of budgetary constraints, then the Socket Mobile S800 allows an all-in-one device and scanner technology via Bluetooth and still gives them the experience that they want and that they’re used to so that they adopt and will use the devices and the mobile apps without the high cost that may have come with going with a mobile computer rather than an iOS or Android phone or tablet.
Mobile Reach: Okay. Does your software require hand-coding, or what is the level of admin– is the next–?
Mobile Reach: Okay. Awesome. That appears to be all of the questions that we have. So all right. Let me thank you again for your time today. We greatly appreciate it. And thanks, everyone, for joining us today. We encourage you to visit our website at MobileReach.com. There you can find a variety of resources, including podcasts, white papers, case studies, and our blog. Again, we thank you for being on the call and hope you have a great rest of your day.
To learn more about deploying robust mobile apps for ServiceNow, visit our Solutions page.