The Goldilocks Dilemma When You Need to Find The Optimal way to Mobilize Your Forms and Field Work

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The Goldilocks Dilemma When You Need to Find The Optimal way to Mobilize Your Forms and Field Work

The Goldilocks Dilemma When It Comes to Selecting a Way to Mobilize Your FormsIf you remember the Goldilocks Story, you recall she was faced with  options, but wanted a solution that was "just right" for her.
 
Interestingly enough, there is a lesson from the story that applies to transforming your company or organization digitally so that it is equipped to compete and deliver the service expected of it in today's increasingly digital world. 
 
If you are a manager in a company that has workers who work standing up or in the field (60% of today's global workforce!), such as
ser
vice people, nurses, manufacturing workers, oil and gas workers, hospitality workers, safety inspectors, miners, construction workers, 
you are probably thinking about how you get the mobile apps built that you need to make your workers more productive, efficient and valuable.
 
After speaking to some mobile experts you will see that there are 3 fundamental options:
 
  1. Build the apps using the native coding intensive approaches from Apple and Android (Swift, Objective C, Java)
  2. Build the apps using low code platforms like OutSystems, Alpha Anywhere and Mendix
  3. Build the apps using mobile forms products

Option 1 is fine if you have no time or budget pressure - but you will have to build 2 separate apps (apple and android,)

Option 2 is a big improvement in the sense that you can cut the development time by at least 5 times and you only have to build the app once - but you still require professional developers and it still will take weeks vs months if you went with option 1

Option 3 is use a mobile forms product that can build the apps in hours or less and you can take advantage of business people with domain knowledge

 

Well, based on this Option 3 sounds great!

Not so fast. 

You know the old saying that if something sounds too good to be true it likely is too good to be true.
Don't get stuck having to live with a second-rate solution that simply did not get the job done properly.

The problem with Option 3 is that invariably the mobile forms products that are available simply don't have the depth to meet the real-world requirements that your apps have now or in the future. You would be very hard pressed to build mobile apps that handle common real world situations like these discussed below with regular forms products:

  • You have workers servicing boilers and you want to send SMS's or emails to home office alerting the appropriate team to  danger conditions determined by information collected in one or more fields
  • You field workers operating in a "no signal" location, repairing equipment that is identified by QR codes. To be able to do their jobs effectively. your field people 
    need to be able to scan the code, lookup the type of equipment they must repair and then be able to display repair instructions or videos for that piece of equipment
  • You want to be able to create dynamic dispatch applications where customer information and history is retrieved from a system of record
  • You want the data capture form/app  to adjust or vary the questions on the fly based on any kind of calculation or validation performed on previous fields
  • You want to be able to use a web service to check a VIN number on a car against a database of stolen cars and initiate a workflow based on the result
  • You  want to record sounds, take an unlimited number of pictures and annotate them and also be able to use "voice to text" for taking notes in the app
  • You want to make your workers more efficient by taking advantage of filtered or cascading pick lists
  • You want to display each record collected in any layout or summarize the data collected in a management report

So now where does that leave you? Surely there has to be a "Goldilocks" solution that does not "run of gas" as the requirements of the app grows to reflect what is in fact needed to deliver a real world solution. 

Fortunately there is a solution: 

That's where Alpha Software comes in.  

-- Alpha TransForm starts off allowing regular line of business people (withdomain knowledge,) to build
flexible and impressive mobile apps such as this one themselves

-- Then if you need more power and control, "power" users in business units can add more functionality by taking advantage of TransForm's rich API and TPL (the TransForm programming Language) 

-- Finally, if you need even more power and control, the work you do with TransForm is expandable to Alpha Anywhere - Alpha Software's #1 rated low-cod platform for developing, distributing and deploying enterprise-grade apps rapidly.

Take a free trial and you'll see Alpha Software is "just right" for your organization or contact marketin@alphasoftware.com  with any questions.

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About Author

Richard Rabins
Richard Rabins

Co-founder of Alpha Software, Richard Rabins focuses on strategy, sales, and marketing. Richard also served as CEO of SoftQuad International from 1997 to 2001, when it owned Alpha. In addition to his 30 years with the company, Richard played a key role as co-founder, and served as president and chairman of the Massachusetts Software Council (now the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council), the largest technology trade organization in Massachusetts. Prior to founding Alpha, Richard was a project leader and consultant with Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), and a management consultant with Management Decision Systems, Inc. Richard holds a master's degree in system dynamics from the Sloan School at MIT, and a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and master's degree in control engineering from University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has served on the boards of Silent Systems, Legacy Technology and O3B Networks, and is co-founder of Tubifi www.tubifi.com.

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