Propelics Launches Program To Bring Full Power Of Mobile To Field Services


Enterprise mobility specialist Propelics has only picked up steam since its acquisition by solution provider Anexinet in February, with the recent debut of an extensive program for updating customer field services operations using the full capabilities of mobile.

Philadelphia-based Propelics, which offers services in enterprise mobile strategy and app development, in October launched the five-week program that ultimately tailors a full mobility plan for the unique needs of each customer's field services operation. The Enterprise Mobile Field Services Modernization Strategy Kickstart comes as many legacy devices and operating systems are nearing end of life, said Eric Carlson, partner at Propelics, in an interview with CRN.

[Related: Stratix VP: 'Time Has Come' For Migration To Rugged Android Scanners]

"This program is a way for organizations, in a fixed period of time, to build clarity around this unknown," Carlson said. "This is a very repeatable approach and process and methodology for building clarity and building a budget."

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The approach has been proven out at customers including corporate apparel supplier Cintas, but is ideal for any vertical where service is a major component—including delivery, maintenance, warehousing and even hospitality, Carlson said.

"We are trying to go after the underlying business drivers, and building very elegant and unique UIs," he said. "We haven't seen anything else like it."

The program begins with a "day in the life" visit—such as riding in trucks or on forklifts to understand how workers are using their current apps, Carlson said—and proceeds through assessing existing investments, idea and process mapping, visualization and prototyping, and finally, coming up with a roadmap and next steps.

The process does require a major change in thinking for many businesses. "A lot of times these groups are coming from apps that have been purchased or are off the shelf," Carlson said.

The potential of creating modern, custom apps for many field service organizations—which leverage the latest in mobile device capabilities—is to bring benefits ranging from reduced overtime, increased stops per day and improved customer experience, Carlson said.

The final recommended solution will often include components across a number of vendors and partners, sometimes including cloud services offered by Propelics' parent company Anexinet, No. 209 on CRN's Solution Provider 500 list.

A massive transition is under way for businesses using rugged handheld devices such as scanners, as many of the devices are running legacy versions of Windows that are soon to be phased out.

More than 10 million devices are running Windows Embedded operating systems that are reaching the end of support, including security support, by January 2020, according to a recent VDC Research report commissioned by managed service provider Stratix.

At Propelics, the opportunity is central in its push to bring its mobile field services program to more customers, Carlson said.

"In the past, a lot of these devices were single-use type devices," he said. "We think we can make [the mobile device] much more valuable both to the organization and to the end customer."