Web-based PDA app cuts paper trail

A web-based application, constantly available to PDAs over the internet, has improved the efficiency of a housing charity's maintenance operations by 25%.

A web-based application, constantly available to PDAs over the internet, has improved the efficiency of a housing charity's maintenance operations by 25%.

Brunelcare's priority was to escape the paper mountain that was slowing response times to unacceptable levels and clogging communication between tradesmen and the head office.

"I wanted to get away from 'the man in a white van' system, where 25% of the paperwork is regularly lost," said Paul Musgrove, development director at Brunelcare.

The charity chose Impact: Response from mobile software provider Impact Applications, primarily because Brunelcare's head of property liked and understood the intuitive user interface. "He knew he [and the workers] could use it immediately without any training," said Musgrove.

"The software is simple to use, which is key to ensuring consistent service to our customers."

The system is based on a zero-client approach, where there is no additional software installation required on user devices. This means that data is not held on the mobile device, so confidential customer data is not at risk. It also minimises downtime from loss or failure of the device.

Job requests are made either via the resident support coordinator at each site, or via the call centre that provides emergency response to all residents. The resident support coordinator enters the information into the system and jobs are then scheduled and allocated by two central repair coordinators.

As a result of the new system, Brunelcare's repair force now finishes its scheduled tasks by midday, because they have all the information available in real time.

Brunelcare said it chose Orange as its GPRS and 3G provider because it offered the best commercial deal.

"There are occasional dropped lines, but nothing that cannot be overcome by someone walking outside sometimes to get a signal," said Musgrove.

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Comment on this article: computer.weekly@rbi.co.uk

 

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