OnForce Releases iOS App For Field Services Techs

The app is available in Apple's App store and features geo-tagged check-in and check-out, directions to job sites with Google Maps, real-time response capability to new customer requests and a complete view of business documents, according to Bill Lucchini, COO of OnForce.

"We always have been focused on getting better outcomes in the field. Field services largely runs on relationships, spreadsheets and sticky notes. This is a great opportunity to deliver better outcomes, particularly when you're trying to scale," Lucchini said.

While it might not be difficult to keep track of four techs in the field, larger IT services dispatch organizations, and organizations that rely on third-party techs, have more challenges figuring out who is where, Lucchini said.

"As one [VAR] described it, it's like being in the ocean. You don't know what's underneath you. It creates fear that something could go wrong," Lucchini said. OnForce users today average about a response time to an inquiry of about 9 minutes. With the new app for iPhone users, the company thinks it can shave several minutes off that time.

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"If we can lower that, it would make a huge difference. When you have a lot of volume [of service requests], the sitting around is wasted time. We have designed it so the principal can run his whole business with his thumb," Lucchini said.

OnForce also integrated a user's contact directory into every work order.

"Sometimes two or three people are involved to get a work order done. Within the work order now you can get the right contact to call," Lucchini said. "We also added conditional offer functionality for work orders. You can respond with a condition. You'd like to do the request, but you can't do it at 1 p.m., can I do it at 3 p.m.? Or I'd love the work but I think you underestimated the work based on my knowledge of the subject. These kinds of things are very specific for field services."

OnForce plans to make an app for Android devices available in 2012 and will soon be looking for beta testers for that platform, he said.

"We're quite connected to apple. We're the onsite service provider for Apple retail stores, so we wanted to make sure we started with Apple," Lucchini said.