American Gas - August 2012 - (Page 19)

T E C H N O L O G Y U P D AT E S & A D V A N C E S TECH TALK Beyond “Angry Birds” Customized apps can make your workforce more productive. obile applications have started to transform our lives. There are more than 1 million “apps” for the mobile Apple and Android devices alone that take advantage of some impressive qualities of these machines, whether it’s their graphics, audio, voice calling, voice-to-text, microphone, camera, video, geo-location, portability, or other functions. By our calculation, fewer than 24 of these native, downloadable apps are from North American utilities. And virtually all of these are aimed at consumers, as utilities take baby steps to deliver mobile self-service to their customers. Even rarer are apps aimed at internal audiences. But the potential for B2E (business-toemployee) apps in the utilities sector is enormous. As smartphone and tablet consumers, your staff has already witnessed the power of apps while playing with these devices in their off-hours. Why shouldn’t they be able to use their mobile devices to improve their work productivity as well? In a sense utilities are pioneers in mobile computing. Their field staff has mounted data terminals on their trucks for 20 years. But as more smartphones and tablets find their way into the hands of their employees, utilities are seeing the opportunity to expand their mobile B2E solutions beyond operations. These apps allow workers throughout the enterprise to perform functions related to HR, accounting, customer service, claims management, workforce management, equipment management, and more. B2E apps can be used to monitor dashboards, to design and approve workflows, and to perform a variety of functions within a single business line. They allow mobile workers from the front line to the back office to be more responsive to co-workers, customers, suppliers, and partners by rapidly delivering actionable information to the point of decision. M Using ESRI’s ArcGIS native application for iPhones, Questar is able to overlay its own GIS data on Bing maps. DENNIS CRUMB is president of Washington Web Architects, which provides design, usability and customer experience solutions for utilities. In the utility industry, third-party vendors such as SAP and Oracle Utilities have helped pave the way for mobile B2E solutions. In January, Oracle Utilities announced the launch of its Workforce Management 2.1 and Oracle Utilities Mobile Workforce Analytics, which “integrates industry-specific customer care and billing, network management, work, and asset management, mobile workforce management, and meter data management applications to help utilities improve field service efficiency, customer service, and system reliability.” Next Steps in Mobile Forward-thinking utilities are upgrading their AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2012 AMERICAN GAS 19

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Gas - August 2012

American Gas - August 2012
President’s Message
Industry News
In the Know
Safety First
Tech Talk
Taming the Talent Pipeline
Decision Time
Places to Be
Vendor News
Advertisers’ Index
Facts on Gas

American Gas - August 2012