Office equipment manufacturer Pitney Bowes has reached the half way point of a European roll-out of mobile SAP and Siebel applications to 900 field engineers.
Pitney Bowes is standardising on a mobile field system from Antenna A3 which has a component called Smartclient that resides on the handheld device.
This gives field engineers access to Siebel-based customer data, an SAP database and business processes such as billing, accounts reporting, inventory, stock tracking, and legal systems.
Pitney Bowes said it chose to use O2 XDA 2 smartphones running Windows Pocket PC because it wanted a computing device combined with a phone that could capture signatures. This enables engineers to order parts directly from their mobiles and address problems immediately by phone, cutting call volumes to contact centres.
Pitney Bowes rolled out a similar system to 2,000 service engineers in the US last year, and this provided useful lessons for the European implementation, said Ray Lawes, vice-president of service operations at Pitney Bowes.
The US deployment, which used Pocket PC and Blackberry devices, revealed a need for more end-user training. So for the UK launch, Pitney Bowes made some of its technology-literate service engineers “super-users”, training them thoroughly so they could then train their colleagues, said Lawes.
The system is now live in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, France is due to go live in September, and other European territories will follow by early 2007.