Software

Business Services Leader Saves $14M With Process and App Improvements

Overview

Imagine your company has thousands of technicians working in the field every day. Staying connected is crucial to your continued success, and theirs.

You’ve loaded their laptops with a web-based platform that does just that. With it, they plan their day, communicate with team leaders and their local office, reorder supplies and equipment, and perform other important tasks.

While there’s a mobile phone application version of the web-based platform available, your technicians can’t use it on installations because it doesn’t offer the same functionality. They use their bulky laptops instead, which slows down the work.

Potential Savings With App

It’s costing you money. Slower installations mean fewer jobs completed each day, and fewer jobs billed means less revenue. Improving the mobile phone app’s functionality is the answer, but where to begin?

A long-time SoftServe client faced this very challenge.

The challenge

Our client is a well-known, U.S.-based provider of residential, electronic business fire protection, alarm monitoring, and related services to business and residential customers. The company has approximately 18,000 employees throughout the U.S.

Because their field technicians couldn’t use the mobile app, the client wanted to improve their app’s functionality and add more value to their overall business.

Their dissatisfaction with the mobile app included:

  • App flexibility and efficiency issues
  • App consistency and standards
  • App user interface (UI) issues in remembering and recognizing information and actions
  • App status view
  • App user control and freedom of use in different settings

They wanted more mobile app features for their field technicians, so they first needed to identify the app’s software bottlenecks. Then, they could identify improvements that would increase the app’s effectiveness and reduce the time the technicians spent using it in installations.

With these improvements to the app, the company would then increase revenue flow by deploying the same number of technicians to complete more installations per day, respond more quickly to service calls, and reduce service activation wait times.

Because of our close, ongoing relationship with the client since 2016 on other projects, we worked with the company to help them achieve these goals.

In collaboration with the client, we identified the project goals as:

  • Defining business needs and aligning expectations.
  • Understanding the users' goals and needs.
  • Defining the project’s vision, scope, and the possible limitations of the proposed solution.
  • Designing a prototype for key user flow and testing with the field technicians.
  • Defining the desired visual language.
  • Validating the project’s feasibility and ease of implementation.
  • Understanding and prioritizing the project requirements before implementation.

The project

To begin the project, a cross-functional team of client and SoftServe experts including designers, business analysts and sponsors, stakeholders, subject matter experts (SMEs), and technicians was formed.

Next, an experience design workshop (EXD) and analysis were conducted to better understand the client’s app users, because no solution can be implemented effectively without careful consideration of the end user’s needs.

EXD activities included:

  • A qualitative study with stakeholders and a broad audience of technicians.
  • Defining priorities and aligning the minimum viable product (MVP) scope.
  • Establishing a set of layouts that will optimize app usage and maintenance.
  • Building a robust interactive prototype.

Ride-alongs with technicians and other stakeholders in the field also took place to observe how the client’s field technicians worked to make the app more effective. While in the field with the technicians, care was taken not to interfere with installations.

Potential Savings With Process Improvements

Then, as part of the three-week analysis phase, SoftServe’s experts spent a week onsite with the client’s team to engage in human-centered research and design. This ensured that the intended users helped to shape product design to mitigate any failure risk.

Several planning sessions also established an outline of the new app, which satisfied the client’s short- and long-term goals.

The results

As a result of the EXD and related work, SoftServe documented improvements to the app's layout and simplified the steps for their technicians during installations. The estimated time saved by each technician per visit was at least 20 minutes. If an average of 3,000 of the client’s technicians were working in the field on any given day, the time saved by the client was 1,000 hours daily.

Through a usability expert evaluation outcomes study, we identified unnecessary steps and screen layout shortages in the client’s existing solution, including app features or in the most frequently used field and pages across the system. We were then able to provide solutions to address these issues and optimize the process. These insights and related app enhancements save an estimated minimum of 20 minutes per technician per visit.

Most importantly, SoftServe’s proposed system redesign would significantly decrease the amount of time spent by technicians performing day-to-day routine tasks, which could potentially result in an annual savings of nearly $14 million for the client.

As part of this project, the client also received documents and resources gathered from the EXD workshop and analysis, including:

  • An enterprise data warehouse (EDW) report and our recommendations for information architecture.
  • A non-functional prototype that captured the main user interaction flows.
  • A future solution vision and scope document that captured the current and future states, business requirements, main use cases, and the solution requirements for a minimum viable product (MVP) scope.
  • A high-level backlog and roadmap.
  • Revised cost estimates for the mobile app redesign.

Conclusion

Understanding how important it is to stay in close touch with 4,000 employees and contractor technicians who work in the field every day, the client provided them with a web-based platform to communicate and perform other, vital tasks.

Our client was able to make a significant adjustment to the mobile app’s roadmap and redeploy their assets to the main product development to accommodate the technicians’ working conditions.

Conclusion

If you have a similar challenge and would like to achieve significant savings that go directly to your bottom line, SoftServe has the know-how and expertise to deliver an optimized, tailored solution. Let’s talk.

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