In my previous two blog posts, I discussed what mobile worker enablement is and how it can help solve critical business problems. In this third and final post in this series, I want to share some more specific information about our Certus Mobile solution and in particular, how it is different from standard web platforms or native Maximo Apps.
There is one thing I want to mention before I get into it. At Certus, we work extensively with IBM Maximo. Many of our clients use the system, so it made sense to initially build our mobile solution on top of it. However, even though you will hear us talk a lot about Maximo in relation to our mobile solution, you do not need to use Maximo to benefit from Certus Mobile. Certus Mobile can be used in combination with most of the common asset management systems, including SAP. So even if you don’t currently use Maximo, this post should still be very relevant to you.
Now, let’s get back to it. There are two common questions I regularly hear concerning Certus Mobile:
While Certus Mobile might sound similar to a web form or the native Maximo Apps, there are some quite significant differences. It is important to understand those when you consider a solution for your business. Let's start with the first question.
Websites are a quick and simple way to give your field workers access to information. You can create an online platform where they can search for and access the information and resources they need. However, there is one significant limitation: Websites require internet access!
While that might sound like a simple ask in today’s connected world, it is a much bigger challenge than you might think. As most field workers will tell you, they find themselves disconnected from the internet regularly.
Even in modern buildings in the middle of a big city, connectivity can be an issue – for example, in a basement. With a web platform, technicians would have to make their way back upstairs to an area with mobile data connectivity every time they want to look something up. With critical assets often being located in basements or other out-of-the-way parts of a building, this is a common scenario.
Once technicians leave big cities and modern buildings, connectivity can be even more challenging. You might be surprised how many parts of New Zealand and Australia (as well as the rest of the world) don't have reliable 4G or 3G coverage. In those situations, your workers would potentially have to drive significant distances before they are back in coverage and can access your web platform.
With Certus Mobile, a lack of connectivity is not a problem. The App downloads the information related to a site or area, and all of it is then accessible offline. That means technicians can access the tools and resources they need right there and then, in what’s called a disconnected state, without having to leave the basement or climb up the nearest hill. And for managers, it means you can be confident that your team has the information they need, no matter where they are.
So now that we have clarified how Certus Mobile is different from a simple web platform, let’s look at the second question.
Maximo, as well as most other asset management systems, now offer native mobile apps. So why did we see the need to develop the Certus Mobile solution on top of that? Because we, and our customers, saw some significant limitations in the available native apps.
In the case of Maximo, the native App is all about extending Maximo out to the field. What that means is that with the App, field workers can access Maximo data – for example, a work order – on their mobile phone. While that is great, we saw an opportunity to take things even further.
Certus Mobile is about enabling the process that the user has to go through rather than just making Maximo data available on mobile devices. Certus Mobile is a framework that allows us to develop a customised application for our customers based on their business processes. In addition, our custom mobile solutions go beyond just accessing your asset management system data on mobile devices. It also connects and provides access to other critical business systems like SharePoint, Geographic Information Systems or your finance system if you wanted to be able to create purchase orders via the mobile application.
In summary, the most significant benefit of Certus Mobile is that it mobilises your processes rather than just mobilising Maximo (or another EMA system). The solution enables you to take your business process out to the field and apply your business rules to the data right there and then.
As you can see, Certus Mobile offers significant benefits that standard web platforms and other apps can’t provide.