1st Touch Launches New Enterprise Application Platform

1st Touch has launched a new enterprise application platform that can create, manage and synchronise mobile applications across an organisation.

The system is aimed at any company that needs to control and support the activities of field-based or remote operatives such as salespeople, knowledge workers, service engineers or field teams. The system utilises advanced web services to deliver a complete, enterprise-integrated mobile solution; providing consistent and secure synchronization between multiple existing back-office systems such as CRM, billing or scheduling and mobile device applications on PDAs, laptops or toughbooks. This unified approach means that organisations are never constrained by partial, function-specific mobile systems which may not be able to deliver the full enterprise-wide functionality of a dedicated application-friendly mobile solution.

Of particular note, is the system's high speed data gathering and transmission technology which enables operatives to communicate faster and more accurately with customers and managers alike. To achieve this, the platform utilises the latest low-airtime usage, "Smart Client" technology to automate the communication links between the mobile operative and the organisation's back-office, its depots and warehouses. This ensures that the handheld or mobile device is always available but not always on as with other, more costly to run, systems. In contrast to these, 1st Touch's mobile solution can work with or without a signal, transmitting encrypted, secure data in periodic small bursts. 1st Touch believes that this innovative approach, typically reduces communication costs of an organisation by up to 75%; helping to generate a typical payback of less than twelve months.

The collection of data is rapid too as the resilient but flexible system enables easy, programming-free solutions to be created which are tailored to handheld devices. Any type of electronic forms can be generated, replicating current working practices without any need for Business Process Mapping. It also ensures that any future changes or updates required by the organisation can be incorporated without any code changes to the applications used. This reduces potential ongoing costs for the customer as requirements will inevitably change and grow over time.

The forms which can be pre-filled from back-office systems, with details such as customer name and address, are then electronically sent to field-based users' PDAs or laptop to collect additional information. All the system's functions, together with information received or entered on the worker's mobile device, are operated and accessed via simple drop down menus and tick boxes to ensure optimal usability and consistent data quality.

As visits to head-office locations, depots, material stores and customers are all allocated and sent electronically, the amount of travel mobile operatives undertake is significantly reduced. Ongoing appointments can also be scheduled or updated, in the field, by the operative. This reduces head-office administration and creates an enhanced customer interface. 1st Touch also believes that the staff morale of mobile workers is improved, as their role is simplified and head-office administration seems more consistent and responsive.

A Field Report Generator allows the PDA or laptop to automatically generate one or many field reports from a single data-capture exercise. Access to the field reports and the data collected is via a web portal to ensure maximum field usability. This has been designed to be completely configurable so that users can only see their own data and yet are able to share the results with customers easily, should they choose.

The system also incorporates full GPS Mapping. Each operative's position is captured and viewable on a map at key points in the job process. Clicking on an individual operative on the map will bring up the full, current information on each appointment or job and the most effective route-plan. The GPS mapping ensures Lone Worker Safety as the system pinpoints the exact locations of each operative and other operatives who may be nearby. A panic button facility signals an alert to head office so that immediate action can be taken.

All the functionality of the field-based device is controlled, maintained and backed up by a flexible back-office administration suite. The administration functions are also accessible via a web browser; enabling management to view data anytime, anywhere.

1st Touch has also ensured that their technology adheres to a wide portfolio of best practice, and industry specific areas of compliance, legislative and regulatory standards.

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