Alpha DevCon 2018

Alpha Anywhere Case Study: GCS Research


Alpha Anywhere Helps Sydney Australia Recover from Major Storm





"Alpha Anywhere gives me the flexibility I need to adapt applications for customers as their needs change, and the power to build very complex systems that combine Web-based and mobile applications."

— Peter Caspari, IT consultant and developer of cloud-based solutions and founder and owner of GCS Research


About

Peter Caspari is an Australian-based IT consultant and developer of cloud-based solutions. His company, GCS Research, has been developing custom database solutions for small to large size businesses since 1999. Solutions range from small single-user applications to large multi-user cloud-based solutions. His customers include multi-national corporations, government agencies, and smaller businesses in a variety of fields, including aviation and make-safe trades such as tree contracting and glass repair.

Situation

Peter Caspari's clients include those who manage make-safe services for Australian insurance companies and Australian government emergency agencies, and handle their day-to-day and emergency damage work caused by weather events. The clients needed a system for coordinating the the make-safe work following storms. They wanted a comprehensive system that would include allocation of jobs to various trades, tracking the workflow in the field, invoicing, quality assurance, key performance Indicators, and more. The clients also needed a mobile client to serve the trades doing the make-safe work.

Solution

When Caspari was approached to develop the app and solution, he had to decide what platform to use to build it. Several years previously, a number of his clients told him they wanted to move their desktop-based applications to the Web, prompting him to launch a search for the best product to do that.

"I did a thorough investigation of what was on the market, and Alpha Anywhere jumped out at me," he remembers. "Important to me was that it is clearly for rapid application development. It's very easy to build something with it and get it online quickly. It's very impressive."


I did a thorough investigation of what was on the market, and Alpha Anywhere jumped out at me. Important to me was that it is clearly for rapid application development. It's very easy to build something with it and get it online quickly. It's very impressive."

When his clients involved in managing the emergency make-safe services asked him to build the system, he turned to Alpha Anywhere. With it, he built a comprehensive Web-based application and mobile app that handles the complex workflow from start to finish. The system uses approximately 150 grid and UX components and is load-balanced across multiple Alpha Anywhere application servers. The load balancing system was developed by Caspari using Alpha Anywhere.

A call center takes calls about homes or businesses who require emergency make-safe work. That information is input into a Web-based application, which in turn allocates and schedules the work for various trades, who go out, assess the damage, and perform the make-safe work.

The contractors take the mobile app with information about the work that needs to be done into the field with them. Using the app they take before-and-after photos of the damage and the cleanup. The app automatically logs when the work was started and finished. The information from the app is then synced back to the database that powers the Web application. The system is a complete end-to-end solution, and includes invoicing as well.

Particularly important, Caspari says, is that it provides transparency into the make-safe process, so that everyone involved can see exactly what work has been done, by whom, and its cost.

The system grew organically as the needs of the businesses and agencies changed, so Caspari has used Alpha Anywhere to continually and rapidly update it.

Benefits

The system was put to the test when a powerful storm hit Sydney, Australia and surrounding areas in October of 2014. Tens of thousands of homes were without power, there was severe flooding, and many trees and tree branches were knocked down. The system had to handle at least a 300 percent increase in its normal workload.

"I anticipated this kind of event, which is why I built the load-balancing system with Alpha Anywhere," Caspari says. "I just cranked it up, and the system worked fine, without a hitch. It really raised the bar on how professionally the emergency event was handled."

Caspari says that he would not have been able to build a sophisticated system as quickly or in as an organic a manner without Alpha Anywhere.


I don't know of any other product that would allow me to build a system this quickly, or in as flexible way as Alpha Anywhere"

"I don't know of any other product that would allow me to build a system this quickly, or in as flexible way as Alpha Anywhere," he says. "It allowed me to constantly adapt to the changing needs of the system as they developed."

Hear more about GCS Research's path from MS Access to Alpha Anywhere for mobile and web development.

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