Wendi Davies, Director of IT at Sinclair Dental and her team built a mobile application with one question in mind: How can we enable a mobile workforce to get information from the field back to the office?
The full-service dental supply company was in need of a small mobile application that would allow service technicians to accurately log customer calls for field support.
“Our business challenge was that service technicians weren’t using a centralized dispatch system,” Davies said.
Though service calls and regular visits to dental offices are part of the company’s agreements with their customers – something for which they’re billed on a regular basis – the home office had no way of guaranteeing customers were receiving the service they’d been promised.
Plenty of off-the-shelf options claimed to connect all the systems, but with baseline product estimates of at least $200,000 and lengthy implementation timelines, Davies sought to develop custom code to best meet the business need.
By first determining the minimum viable product, or the most basic core information that needed to be captured and communicated for proper billing, the company is now in proof of concept with what can be built into technicians’ phones.
The mobile app allows them to log in with six-digit customer account number, so no personal data is transmitted. Technicians must then input what services were provided – checking on a chair’s hydraulics or testing an x-ray machine – and the information is sent to the head office and attached to the customer’s file. Then when the technician invoices the customer on either weekly or monthly basis, notes on service have already been input into the company’s work order database.
Davies’ advice for IT shops challenged to utilize data and analytics to grow business?
“The minimal viable product (MVP) is really key. Don’t be afraid to look at small increments of custom development in the mobile or data space to move a little ahead of the curve.”