"Sybase iAnywhere has ultimately helped us decrease development time so we can deliver upgrades to customers faster than our competitors."
Jean de Broissia CEO Praxedo
Software development firm Praxedo offers utility companies the real-time ability to transmit schedules to remote field technicians and receive service incident reports via a Web-based SaaS service and Windows Mobile devices. When Praxedo needed to integrate synchronization and database capabilities with its mobile service management solution, the company turned to Sybase iAnywhere and the features of M-Business Anywhere and SQL Anywhere. By leveraging these two technologies, Praxedo spends more time developing enhanced core features for its product.
Sybase iAnywhere ultimately helps Praxedo decrease development time so it can deliver upgrades to its customers faster than competitors.
Provides an easy-to-design HTML user-interface
Eliminates service-incident paper forms
Gives managers the ability to modify field technician schedules in real-time
Reduces travel for technicians since managers can more efficiently plan each day
Sybase iAnywhere technology decreases application development time Based in France, Praxedo provides scheduling software to telecom and energy companies as well as other businesses with field technicians that provide on-site services to customers. Praxedo's flagship product, Praxedo Mobile, allows dispatchers to input and manage service incidents via a Web interface. Field technicians can then access the application via mobile devices to receive scheduling updates and to report on assignments. With Praxedo Mobile, businesses can automate the technician scheduling process, eliminating paperwork, and the need for back-office personnel to input results reported by field personnel. Praxedo Mobile also improves scheduling efficiency so businesses can ultimately service more customers and cut down on the amount of travel time required by field technicians.
Sybase iAnywhere Technologies: A Perfect Fit for Praxedo To help Praxedo Mobile product perform as required by customers, Praxedo decided to mobilize its software with M-Business Anywhere and SQL Anywhere from Sybase iAnywhere. Praxedo selected M-Business Anywhere for its ability to provide a mobile content and application platform. Because M-Business Anywhere offers open standards, Praxedo can develop and deploy fully-interactive Web applications with reliable synchronization capabilities.
"Before we launched the company, the senior management team had interacted with Sybase iAnywhere technology for many years," said Jean de Broissia, Praxedo's CEO. "So we knew that M-Business Anywhere would provide superior synchronization technology. It lets us develop, deploy and maintain mobile content and Web applications rapidly with a low total cost of ownership."
Praxedo also had experience using SQL Anywhere, Sybase iAnywhere's mobile and embedded database that provides data management and exchange technologies enabling applications for field technician environments. "The synchronization technology offered by M-Business Anywhere and the mobile database technology provided by SQL Anywhere allow us to focus our development efforts on our own software," said Pierre Lavigne, CTO. "Instead of spending time developing the synchronization and database components, we spend more time improving our own features, which leads to a better product and more satisfied customers."
During the integration process of SQL Anywhere and M-Business Anywhere with Praxedo Mobile, Praxedo found both Sybase iAnywhere technologies easy to work with. "We did not need a lot of help from Sybase iAnywhere," said Pierre Lavigne. "Sybase iAnywhere provided some assistance with the user interface and the synchronization mechanism, but overall, the software is easy work with so that we could integrate it mostly on our own."
The Praxedo Mobile Business Model: Simple to Use and Secure End-to-End Praxedo delivers the Praxedo Mobile solution using the Software-as-a-Service (Saas) business model. As a solution completely hosted by Praxedo on its own secure Internet servers, Praxedo customers interact with Praxedo Mobile via Web browsers. This allows service managers to log-on and manage field technician schedules as well as review service-incident reports from the office, while at home or on the road.
Praxedo Mobile enables field technicians to access schedules and file service reports on a 7x24 basis via Windows Mobile devices. This information stored in a database and reported in real-time gives service management an accurate picture of how well the service department is performing. The performance data can also be immediately transferred to other databases. This is an important feature for the many Praxedo customers that serve as service sub-contractors to utility companies. Surrounding the entire Praxedo solution is the high level, end-to-end security built into Sybase iAnywhere's technology.
"In addition to these capabilities that make it possible for our customers to operate much more efficiently and securely, our software also makes it possible to deploy mobile solutions within a few hours," said Jean de Broissia. "And because we use the SaaS model, our solution offers an economical payment model since customers pay based on the number of users they have per month rather than having to invest in a large initial capital investment. Combining this with its simplicity, Praxedo Mobile is a solution that large and small businesses can practically deploy."
Praxedo Customer Successes One of the solutions for which Praxedo has deployed Praxedo Mobile involves one of Europe's largest telecom providers. The telecom provider sub-contracts most of its service support to independent service companies throughout France. The sub-contractors are given the option to use an outside vendor for scheduling, and approximately 40 have chosen to deploy Praxedo Mobile. Most of these companies previously managed their field technicians using paper forms, but they now are able to do so automatically with Praxedo Mobile. "This solution represented a big change for the sub-contractor," said Jean de Broissa. "Their scheduling is now done quickly and automatically."
The telecom provider creates the work orders and sends them electronically to the sub-contractors via the Praxedo Mobile solution. Then the sub-contractors use the Praxedo Mobile web interface to create work schedules for field personnel. The field personnel receive real time scheduling on their mobile devices. While completing an assignment, each field technician inputs the results into their mobile device. After the sub-contractor approves the data, it is automatically transferred back to the telecom provider.
One of the sub-contractor companies working with the telecom provider is Setelen, which has equipped 260 technicians with Praxedo Mobile running on mobile devices. "Praxedo's features correspond directly to our needs," said Serge Bonnier, director of administrative and financial services for Setelen. "The platform streamlines the daily work of our technicians, and we can react to schedule changes in real-time."
Another Praxedo customer, GLI, is a European manufacturer of storage containers for liquefied petroleum gas as well as other gases and liquids. The technicians that maintain the storage containers previously submitted paper-based reports. The manual process of filling out reports and submitting them during the next visit to the company office would delay the next service visit by as much as month. In order to accelerate the process, GLI turned to Praxedo for a mobile device solution that its 200 technicians could use in the field to submit reports electronically in real-time.
After the deployment, Praxedo Mobile helped GLI reduce the overall turnaround response time to the maintenance requests from one month down to 48 hours. And with the precision of the data provided by a mobile solution like Praxedo Mobile, the technicians provide more accurate information on containers, repair needs and safety issues. They can also now submit photographs when necessary along with electronic customer signatures. "Of all the solutions we researched, Praxedo Mobile best met our administrative management needs as well as the needs of our field technicians," said Françis Frêne, administrative and financial director for GLI. "The Praxedo solution is flexible, easy to deploy, and meets the field scheduling challenges of our industry. Because it lets us track our actions, we can make sure we optimize our field technicians' schedules."
Delivering More to the Customers In assessing the main benefits that Praxedo receives from Sybase iAnywhere, Jean de Broissia said, "By taking care of the synchronization and the database storage processes, Sybase iAnywhere technology lets us focus on developing the features of our software. Many companies try to develop these components themselves, but it takes a lot of development time. Sybase iAnywhere ultimately helps us decrease development time so we can deliver upgrades to customers faster than our competitors."
"Because we have one platform for all of our customers, we needed a strong product like SQL Anywhere to enable us to have a single platform with high availability, load balancing and the ability to handle the heavy synchronization that typically takes place at the beginning of each day for our field-service customers," Pierre Lavigne said.