2008 Best Mobile CRM

By  Susan Nunziata — November 06, 2008

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New York's Long Island Expressway on a summer Friday afternoon gives new meaning to the words "traffic jam." The road is packed with weekenders leaving Manhattan to stay at the region's famous Hamptons beaches and scenic North Fork.

Hampton Jitney started 34 years ago with one van and a commitment to provide the finest personalized transportation service between New York City and The Hamptons, on Eastern Long Island.

Today, the company operates a fleet of 50 luxury motorcoaches which safely carry hundreds of thousands of passengers 365 days a year between the North and South Forks of Eastern Long Island and Manhattan. The company also provides charter and tour services throughout the Northeast.

Hampton Jitney is a pioneer in the use of mobile technology. It deployed its first mobile POS system in 1993, upgraded it in 2001, and added WiFi to all of its motorcoaches in 2005. In 2007, the company realized it needed a mobile POS solution that could give it more "instant gratification," says Hampton Jitney's VP Finance David Mankoff. The company wantd to further streamline and manage its complex on-board reservations and payment processes in order to improve customer service and reduce back-office overheads. The solution had to integrate into an existing legacy system, the IBM AS400, and provide the ability to download trip data wirelessly to the centralized database.

Mankoff worked with Sandeep Bhanote, CEO of Global Bay and his team, to develop a solution that features Motorola MC70 handheld computers and Zebra RW220 Bluetooth printer/credit card readers.

The solution, deployed in September 2007, also includes a new web reporting tool, the GB Mobile Platform Web Server, the Apache TomCat Database engine, and a Microsoft SQL Server 2005, as well as the AccessPoint Synchronization server and the PC Charge credit card authorization software.

Two-way integration into the legacy IBM system was one of the biggest challenges, but Global Bay was able to work with IBM to integrate and connect the AS400 relatively quickly.

The resulting solution streamlined the entire ticketing process for on-board Hampton Jitney hosts and customers. Onboard customer service reps can't skip steps or make mistakes, since the handheld validates all entries against Hampton Jitney's business rules. It speeds up ticketing of customers and payments, and provides improved reporting and application management tools for the company's executives.

Dispatchers responsible for assigning trips to on-board hosts download trip and customer information to the MC70s, reducing paper, cutting dispatch time dramatically and increasing the accuracy of trip information. Trip and customer information can then be updated wirelessly at a later time. Payment information is securely transferred from the mobile device to the back-office legacy system, creating automatic payment history.

The flexibility of the GB Mobile-based solution supports changes and field deployments, and the solution can be quickly modified for use with other mobile POS needs outside of bus ticketing. GB Mobile converts the full life cycle (creation, deployment, management and data analysis) of manual tasks, or processes, into an automated mobile application. This allows mobile workers to collect data and synchronize to the enterprise, allowing access to enterprise data at the point of capture. Global Bay built an Administrative Tool that allows Hampton Jitney to dynamically update the functionality on the handheld, including trip information and departure times and fares. In fact, programs can even be changed and remotely downloaded to the PDAs.

>Honorable Mention: Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP

A smartphone solution enables attorneys to respond to clients in minutes, from anywhere in the world

Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP
, is an Atlanta-based intellectual property law firm that caters to a wide range of global clients. Attorneys spend a signficant amount of time outside the office, and they needed a reliable mobile tool that would improve productivity by allowing them to stay connected to clients, co-workers, and the corporate server regardless of where their work takes them.

The firm deployed Treo 750s using the Windows Mobile platform for three broad categories of services: core applications, optional applications, and customized functions and services. Attorneys are now able to respond from anywhere in the world to client inquiries in minutes rather than hours or days. Their Treos provide voice, email, VoIP and unified communications capabilities.

The total deployment cost was $70,859. The company projects an annual time savings of $303,750 and estimates the payback period of the deployment to be one and a half months. Projected savings for this application is based on 45 timekeepers with weekly time savings of 1.8 hours, and two I.T. users with weekly time savings of 6.8 hours.

In addition to communicating wirelessly with clients and colleagues via phone, email, Web, text messages and threaded chat, the Palm 750s enable attorneys on the road to access Microsoft Office documents, PDFs and fax files. Custom apps such as secure password program and dictation software are available to seamlessly access, record and send information to the firm's server.

Next step: Time-capture software that will provide a reliable means of tracking billable hours in real time, benefiting the firm's revenue stream and allowing workers to focus on the No.1 goal of customer satisfaction instead of worrying about administrative responsibilities.

>Honorable Mention: Sales Partnerships, Inc.

Sales reps save two hours each per day with smartphone-based solution

Sales Partnerships, Inc., provides external sales force services to mid- and large-sized companies. The organization needed a solution that could help it coordinate the activities of its outsourced sales force, track the accountability and movement of sales reps, and help those reps manage customer accounts.

Aaron Kullman, VP/COO of Sales Partnerships Inc. and his team worked with Flowfinity Wireless to develop a solution based around Flowfinity Actions 5.5 software and BlackBerry smartphones.

Now, all data captured in the field is automatically sent over-the-air to back-end databases, eliminating data entry costs and keeping staff costs low.  "With Flowfinity feeding real time sales data into our proprietary territory management system and reporting processes, we are able to identify changes in territory productivity and personnel productivity in a way that we were not able to do in the past," says Kullman.  "This has improved the timeliness and quality of performance analysis, allowing our management teams to respond more quickly and more precisely" than was possible under the previous paper- and cellphone-based process.

Sales reps estimate that the solution saves them each two hours per day. It has enabled Sales Partnership to scale its business to meet the growing needs of its customers and a growing volume of business without a linear growth in cost and overhead.

Kullman says the company is now "looking at the integration of business intelligence software into the back end to start identifying patterns and opportunities in the markets we serve, which should further improve our ROI on this development initiative."






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