1. Hardware Selection
Smartbridge aided in selecting the new hardware to replace the old laptops in the trucks. We tested and demoed a variety of devices ranging from Apple iPads, Android tablets, and Windows tablets. The form factor, capabilities, organization support, user acceptance, and product maintenance cost were all factors weighed. After the assessment and pilot testing, the organization chose to go with rugged Windows tablets with touch screen and keyboard capabilities. This provided the field technicians access to DSI and other 3rd party Windows applications.
2. DSI Platform Setup and Upgrade
Smartbridge performed a complete overhaul on the DSI Platform, upgrading it from Version 7.9 to 8.5 on a newer hosting environment (in order to comply with IT’s supported systems). The upgrade involved moving from Windows 2008 R2 servers and a SQL 2006 Server to the more current Windows 2016 Server and SQL 2012 Server.
The upgrade from Version 7.9 to 8.5 also provided access to the latest DSI capabilities. The entire upgrade provided the system with added robustness and security, while providing direct access to the DSI platform without needing to connect to a VPN. This simplified the connection problem, and eliminated numerous connectivity issues that users were experiencing.
3. Mobile First Design
The custom DSI application needed to be modernized from its initial implementation. The previous application design was for Windows laptops, which heavily required the usage of keyboard and mouse for several key tasks, such as selecting inventory and entering labor time. The application was fully redesigned to ensure that it incorporated touch capabilities as much as possible to reduce the need for a keyboard and mouse.
The redesigned application provided easy to tap buttons, with lots of visual content displayed without the need for keyboard entry. This new capability allowed the technicians to carry their tablets directly onto the job site, and allowed them to capture their parts and labor without having to resort to paper or memory for entry.
4. Process Improvement
The field technicians also had various other forms that needed to be filled out specific to the work type and equipment. Often, technicians had to rely on their original training and memory in order to fill out these forms. As part of the process improvement effort, Smartbridge incorporated this workflow into the existing application. Paper forms were digitized and captured directly in the DSI application rather than put on paper.
This meant that the forms could be verified for completeness before submission, and they were directly linked to the service work order that generated it. Required forms could also be pre-attached to work orders so that technicians never have to remember which form to fill out on the job. This process improvement eliminated the huge paper trail that often got lost or misfiled from the work order and paved the way for our client’s digital transformation.
5. Development and Production Environment Upgrade
In addition to our client’s Compression Services company using DSI 7.9, they also had a separate entity running DSI 4.2. Both of these platforms had only received security patches since their implementation. As newer versions of the DSI platform became available, it became harder to migrate from the older versions.
Smartbridge proposed a planned upgrade to consolidate all entities under a single DSI account, and also migrate all legacy applications and scripts to DSI 8.5. Smartbridge had to update several older scripts to ensure compatibility, as well as provide updates to the mobile client running on scanner devices.
6. Application Support and Maintenance
After the project work was completed, Smartbridge proposed a quarterly maintenance plan to ensure a smooth transition for external to internal support. The application support contract provided services such as, bug fixes, platform maintenance, and services monitoring. Smartbridge monitored the DSI Transaction log to identify any data issues and resolve any should they appear.
Through the managed services project, our client relied on our experienced consultants to run and manage the DSI platform end to end, all without having to maintain a full-time dedicated resource on site.