Picture credit: Mubaloo
Facilities management company Mitie is working with enterprise app development firm Mubaloo to deliver an iOS version of account management tool Miworld to its facilities managers.
The two companies put their heads together to provide a dashboard which gives facilities managers either an overview of their client portfolio or property specific information. The app also has a bespoke content management system, which allows the app to be tailored to individual customers or managers, as well as integration with social collaboration tool Yammer.
The Miworld platform was already available for the web as a way for facilities managers to view data. For the app, adding the ability to enter information was key, and given some of Mitie’s facilities managers may go into poor mobile connectivity areas when in the field, offline access was a key part of the app. “We had an established web-based reporting tool, so it displayed a number of key metrics across our relationships, but it was static,” explained Mark Hazelwood, operations director for Miworld at Mitie. “So what we wanted to do is get that data out into the operation in a live way…really turning data from something that was fairly passive into making it more interactive for us.”
Mitie went through a formal RFI and RFP process to select Mubaloo, which was acquired by IPG Mediabrands in February, and was impressed by the firm’s ability to combine development and design. “For me, it was absolutely key that we needed to make this thing useable,” said Hazelwood. “We wanted it to be more [of a] consumer feel app rather than a more technical feel, so anybody could pick it up and start using it.
“I always say if you have to have a manual for TripAdvisor or Amazon it probably wouldn’t have gotten to where it had,” he added.
One of the key aspects for any enterprise mobile rollout is working with a company’s employees to ensure their needs are met and, if possible, to avoid pushback. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, for example, had ‘mobility posters’ around their workplace and videos made to help assimilate employees to mobile devices.
In this instance, Hazelwood argues, with the web service already in place, it was an easier task. “I think we were quite lucky – we were pushing at an open door,” he said. “I think if this app had been the first thing we’d done in this area we might have pushback, but we weren’t at that point. We created an appetite by showing people lots of good data, [and] they wanted to start doing more with it.”
The app is currently available for iPad, and while there may be expansion to other operating systems in future, Mitie has the choice of what to put in employees’ hands – and for workers and clients, having something which works exclusively on iOS is a much safer bet than something that works on the odd Android device.
Currently, around 200 Mitie employees use the app, with the aim of pushing it out to clients and supply partners in the future.
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