Mobile technology is starting to make an impact in a number of industries, including the public sector, utilities, mining, and more. A recent SAP (my employer) deployment with the New Zealand Department of Conservation (the first in the country) caught my attention because it has a foot in two worlds, functioning both a government agency and an asset-intensive business.
As an asset-intensive business, Department of Conservation (DOC) inspects and maintains tens of thousands of assets including fences, buildings, trails, campsites, restroom facilities, and much more, all around the country. It’s responsible for keeping parks and recreation areas safe, accessible, and habitable for both people and wildlife. As a government agency, DOC must collect massive amounts of data and report to Parliament.
That’s why SAP Work Manager, a field service safety and productivity tool, is such a great fit for the DOC. In the field, park rangers use the app on their mobile devices to access work orders and asset history, collect data (such as snapping a pic of an asset in need of repair), track their time performing tasks, and more. They can go in and out of network coverage, and the app saves all their info until they’re in range, and then sends it back to the home office.
On the office side, the agency can send and receive work orders and notifications to and from all the mobile park rangers and inspectors. It’s also now receiving high-quality data from the field in real-time, which then gets incorporated in the DOC’s backend portfolio of SAP applications (financial management, fixed asset management, and plant management modules), where the agency can access it for reporting and making better-informed decisions every day.
There are so many organisations out there still using laptops—even clipboards and paper—to manage their data-intensive field service processes. The improvements in safety, cost, and productivity are so big with mobile that I expect the conversion to mobile to be like a chain of dominoes over the next five years.