Hayat Communications Goes Mobile: Company Saves Time, Money, and Relationships with RMAD PlatformMarch 31, 2016 No Comments
Featured article by Nikos Kazantzis, Group Head of Systems Integration, Hayat Communications
At Hayat Communications, we design, supply, build and manage diverse spectrum services in fixed line and wireless networks, with offices and major activities in Kuwait, UAE, KSA, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, India and Iraq.
Supporting our field workers across such a large geographic area can be difficult. For years, we had been doing it with an ad-hoc set of tools, and didn’t have an easy way to coordinate the work of our people in the field – or tie them back to centralized databases. We needed to improve our efficiency and field productivity. So, we built a software platform that combines a mobile app with a back-office application to:
- Replace our voice/instant messaging communications system with one that helped staff more accurately dispatch and manage work assignments.
- Give database access to field teams so they can get site and asset information, inventory availability, work requirements, and work history rapidly and dependably.
- Relieve the back-office workload by allowing data to be accurately captured in the field. We thought this would greatly improve efficiency and data accuracy because data would be captured by the staff doing the work onsite in the field, not by supervisors in a different location, hours or days after the site visit.
- Improve reporting accuracy and reduce the time required to prepare reports by consolidating all field activity data in a central database with easy-to-use analytics capabilities.
- Improve customer service by providing real-time status updates, instead of taking hours or days to collect and consolidate data requested by customers about activities in the field.
Choosing the Right Application Development Platform
We began this process by creating a document outlining the system’s requirements based on a comprehensive audit of multiple departments and current projects in all the countries in which we operate. After some investigation, we realized that rather than outsource its development, we would do it ourselves using a Rapid Mobile Application Development (RMAD) platform. That way, we’d save money, get it done in a timely manner, and have complete control over the final results. We compared RMAD solutions from several vendors and found that Alpha Anywhere was best suited for the project. It ticked all the boxes and offered numerous out-of-the-box advantages, of which its unique offline-capability on mobile devices was the most significant.
Typically, software vendors in our sector charge ‘per user’ or ‘per site’ license fees, and sometimes both. Because Alpha Software doesn’t invoice that way, we saved a tremendous amount of money, particularly as we expand the CMRI’s use.
Alpha Anywhere stood out for two other reasons: It offered end-to-end development capability (including server, client, mobile, and database), and let us build a significant amount of the platform using GUI-based tools with little or no coding.
The low-code approach really paid off for us. We had many different project requirements in different countries and regions, and with Alpha Anywhere we could quickly adapt to specific needs in each geographic area.
Within a month, we had already built our first demo, including a mobile app, for a major fixed/wireless network operator. Within six months, the system was operational across more than 6,000 sites with 300 users. Six months after that, the system had doubled in size. We couldn’t have built something this large and sophisticated so quickly with any other platform. It was a tremendous time-saver, and let us build exactly the solution we had envisioned.
The Benefits of the System
We named the finished system CMRI for Computerized Maintenance, Rollout and Inventory. It supports the full range of our operations, including:
- Request management: similar to a Help Desk module, including tracking tickets with live SLA tracking.
- Work orders: the core element, which includes all data related to an activity on a site.
- Personnel management and dispatching: location- and user-status based, notifications on mobile devices, complete access to data from field, user-tracking capability.
- Task planning: schedulers, bulk updates, calendar views.
- Inventory management: including field-level tracking and vehicles in warehouse.
- Asset management.
- Reporting: live dashboards, as well as pre-configured or customized reviews of work, activities and materials.
Everything worked as planned, including offline support. We’ve seen increased productivity, improved dispatching and field management, increased accuracy, and better customer service. Anyone with the right permissions can access part or all of the data and reports instantly. Previously, getting a daily report took hours, and required the involvement of all department heads. Unnecessary phone calls and instant messages have been minimized – only emergencies now require calling. Because field users update their status on a live basis, the company now knows the status of its work in the field at all times. Productivity has been significantly improved because workers are assigned to jobs according to live metrics, instead of standing idly by for their next activity.
Customer relations have also been dramatically improved. Customer requests are answered on the spot, and they can see the location of field crews and all the data about work done by Hayat on their jobs, including time-stamps.
Overall, thanks to Alpha Anywhere, we built a comprehensive system spanning countries and departments that has saved us time and money, lets us operate more efficiently, and improved our relationship with our customers.
Nikos Kazantzis, Group Head of Systems Integration, Hayat Communications
Nikos is the Solution Architect and Software Development Manager for the CMRI platform, within his Systems Integration Group Head role at Hayat Communications. A systems-oriented engineer, he has more than 15 years of involvement in design, development, deployment, integration, testing, and delivery of small-to-large scale system applications. He has in the past worked on Industrial Manufacturing, Security, Command & Control, Renewable Energy and Telecomms projects, domestic and international, concurrently with in-house development and production of custom hardware and software solutions for such projects. He holds Master’s Degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering (University of Patras) and Military Electronic Systems Engineering (Royal Military College of Shrivenham).MOBILE, SOCIAL BUSINESS