Europe’s leading enterprise mobile workforce technology company has achieved Microsoft Gold Certified partner status for ISV Software Solutions Competency.
The Microsoft ISV Software Solutions Competency recognizes the skill and focus that certified partners bring to a particular solution set. Microsoft Gold Certified Partners that have obtained this competency have a successful record of developing and marketing software solutions based on current Microsoft technologies. 1st Touch achieved the accreditation for its widely acclaimed, social housing and local government mobile workforce solution that can create, manage and synchronise all mobile applications across an organisation.
The system manages, supports and controls mobile based operatives, equipped with PDAs, across all aspects of social housing management and local government including: responsive repairs, property maintenance, inspections, mobile service provision, asset management, utilities (gas and electric) and performance monitoring together with voids and contract management. 1st Touch Mobile uses low-airtime, “Smart Client” technology that automates the links between the field-based mobile operative’s PDA and the housing organisation’s back-office systems, its depots and the warehouse. In marked contrast to other costly “always on” mobile solutions, 1st Touch Mobile Workforce can work with or without a signal, transmitting encrypted, secure data in periodic small bursts. This innovative approach, it is claimed, reduces typical communication costs by up to 75 %.
1st Touch Mobile Workforce supports adherence to the wide portfolio of best practice, compliance and legislative pressures currently faced by social housing organisations including: Decent Homes standards; Lone Worker Protection guidelines; Health and Safety directives and regulatory compliance.
The resilient but flexible system enables easy, programming-free, user-customisable solutions to be created; designed to simplify handheld form design and data capture applications. Any type of electronic form can be generated, replicating closely all current working practices without the need for Business Process Mapping. It also ensures that any future changes or updates required by the organisation can be incorporated without any need for code changes to the applications. This reduces any potential ongoing costs for the customer as requirements will inevitably change and grow over time.
The forms which can be pre-filled from back-office systems, with details such as customer name and address, are then sent electronically to field-based users’ PDAs, to collect additional information. All the system’s functions, together with information received or entered by the mobile worker, are operated and accessed via drop down menus and tick boxes, to ensure optimal usability and consistent data quality.
As visits to depots or material stores and customers are all allocated and sent electronically, the amount of travel undertaken by mobile workers is greatly reduced. Ongoing appointments can also be scheduled or amended in the field by the operative. This, in turn, cuts down head-office administration and creates an enhanced customer interface with residents, patients and the local community in general. Another major benefit is the increased staff morale of mobile workers, as their role is simplified and head-office administration seems more consistent and responsive.
A Field Report Generator allows the PDAs to automatically generate one or many field reports from a single data-capture exercise. A web portal delivers access to the field reports and the data collected. This has been designed to be completely configurable so that users can only see their own data and yet are able to share the results with customers easily, should they choose.
In the social housing sector, a particularly important feature is the 1st Touch Voids Module. This is a fully configurable set of forms and processes which enables the initial void inspection to be scheduled and despatched to the inspection team.
The system also incorporates a GPS Mapping module. Each operative’s position is captured and viewable on a map at key points in the job process. Clicking on an individual operative on the map will bring up the full, current job information and the most effective route-plan. With this GPS mapping functionality Lone Worker Safety is provided by the ability to pinpoint the exact location of an operative and other operatives who may be nearby. A panic button facility on the PDA signals an alert to head office so that immediate action can be taken.
Other options include: online parts ordering and intranet access. Associated applications available include: Rent and Arrears, Social Care, Clean Streets, Communal Areas and Contractor’s Compliance.
All the field-based, PDA functionality of 1st Touch Mobile Workforce is backed up by a robust, comprehensive and flexible back-office administration suite. The administration functions are also accessible via a web browser; enabling management to view data anytime, anywhere.
The enormous productivity gains that can be made in terms of Return on Investment, claims 1st Touch, provide a typical payback of less than twelve months and helps social housing organisations to meet the requirements of the Decent Homes Initiative and the recommendations of the Gershon report more effectively.
1st Touch has already achieved a 15% market share within just two years of launching its sector specific technology. Clients include the Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust, Powys Council, Coast and Country and Morrison plc.
Commenting on the news Robert Dent, CEO of 1st Touch noted: “This is a significant milestone for 1st Touch and reflects the company’s ever closer relationship with Microsoft. It is also recognition of the high standards we have always maintained both with our social housing clients and in terms of software development. We are absolutely delighted with the news.”
About the Microsoft Partner Program:
Gold Certified Partners represent the highest level of competence and expertise with Microsoft technologies, and have the closest working relationship with Microsoft. Membership in the Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Program is awarded to independent companies that have proven their expertise through certification and customer references in one or more specialized areas when delivering Microsoft technologies to provide IT services and IT products to mid-to large-market enterprise customers.
Certified Partners represent a high degree of competence and expertise with Microsoft technologies. All Certified Partners have access to a rich set of benefits that can help them gain an advantage in the marketplace and build revenue, sales momentum, and prominence while increasing their market impact.
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About 1st Touch (www.1sttouch.com)
1st Touch, based in Southampton, Hants, has enabled dozens of field workforce-based organisations to painlessly embrace new mobile technologies and so achieve significant savings, greater productivity and more cost-effective use of resources.
Enterprise mobile technology enables organisations to completely transform existing paper-based working models into dynamic, flexible and efficient mobile working solutions.
1st Touch Mobile delivers three clear and unique benefits:
• Reduced costs to organisations because airtime is minimised and the system is always available – with or without airtime
• Flexibility through simple customer control over forms creation and amendment
• Integration to multiple back office and other enterprise software applications, so that data is entered only once.
The property services market is a key focus for 1st Touch, where best of breed mobile solutions can deliver fast tangible benefits to the business.
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