Those of us who spend our professional lives in offices in central locations – with fast Internet connections and access to information at the press of a button – can easily forget that many people work remotely, without a Wi-Fi connection.
“Think of someone out in the middle of nowhere working on a gas pipeline or a service engineer in the basement of a manufacturing plant with no signal,” said Navdeep Singla, director and lead architect at On Device Solutions, when I talked to him about myJobCard, a new mobile app available on SAP App Center. “How do they get access to the information they need to do their jobs?”
That’s the problem Navdeep set out to solve with myJobCard. It’s a native mobile app that works on lightweight tablet devices often used by people in the field. For example, a mine safety inspector deep underground, a technician maintaining cranes at a boatyard, an electrical specialist repairing equipment after a storm or a mechanic servicing a tractor in a cornfield. The point is that myJobCard integrates with enterprise software for asset management and maintenance, enabling technicians to retrieve job-critical information and communicate it back to headquarters. Work orders and notifications, time entry, assets, health and safety forms for regulatory compliance are all accessible via this mobile solution, which works offline and then automatically syncs when the user is back online.
Support for Worker Safety in Dangerous Settings
The beauty of the app is a dynamic forms engine that companies can tailor for their own needs for mobile data capture. The result, Navdeep explained, is a radical improvement in the efficiency and accuracy of collecting regulatory and operational information that can boost productivity and improve safety and compliance. myJobCard replaces paper-based processes and makes life a lot easier for technicians, who are often working in dangerous conditions. They can enter text data using voice commands, see a map view of work orders that lets them plan their routes wisely, and get automatic notification of emergency jobs, to name just a few nifty features.
I asked him about the reaction of customers, since the solution is available for a free trial on SAP App Center. “We’re finding that they really like the user interface,” said Navdeep. “They usually mention the forms engine as well, which a business analyst can create and update without IT support. Also noted is that they like the supervisor view, which enables supervisors to be in the field close to their teams. And finally, it has certified integration with SAP S/4HANA and SAP ERP, which gives customers added confidence.”
Multifaceted, Cross-Industry Scenarios
And clearly, there are other ways that myJobCard can benefit users, beyond asset management, like the service technician stuck in the basement. “The idea is the same,” Navdeep explained. “With access to the enterprise software via the cloud, the technician can be working offline, yet still get access to the information required for repair, like available inventory and current contract.”
Naturally, I also wanted to know what Navdeep thinks of SAP App Center. “With the free trial, customers can really see it, understand how it works, and compare it with other apps,” he said, “and that’s a huge benefit for them. And I’m excited about the potential of the app within the SAP ecosystem.”
The fit with SAP App Center was obvious, since the app is built on SAP technologies, including SAP Mobile Platform, as a component for SAP ERP or SAP S/4HANA. “We were an early adopter of SAP App Center,” he commented. “I see SAP App Center as the future; the old ways of doing things are gone, and I’m very keen on the collaboration.”
In fact, Navdeep has a long history with SAP going back about 15 years, originally working with Syclo on an asset management app when the company was acquired by SAP. He started On Device Solutions as a specialist Mobile Asset Management consultancy with two of his colleagues. With main offices at Innovation Birmingham’s Serendip Smart City Incubator for startups, as well as a team of developers based in India. Navdeep told me that he is looking forward to getting more feedback from customers as they try out myJobCard.
Bill Rojas is senior director of Digital Transformation and Partner Engagement on the SAP Digital team. Contact him on Twitter | LinkedIn. He kicked off this new series of blogs on partner apps on the SAP App Center in December 2017. Read more here.