If you’ve been following our previous blogs, you’ll know that at Built to Roam we’re all about technology providing great solutions to business problems. We don’t encourage our customers to invest in a business app or digital transformation simply to be on-trend. FOMO has its place in a fast-moving digital world. But if investment in an app is to be worthwhile, it needs to address a business problem.

In this blog we feature some companies we’ve created business apps for. In every case the starting point was a business problem and the app an essential part of the overall solution. The below examples provide some insight into where we began and how, through the process of implementation, we were able to deliver better customer engagement and helped to support business growth – something that we all want out of the investments we make.

Qantas

We worked on the original version of the ‘customer journey app’ with Qantas, which has since continued to evolve with Qantas’s internal team.

  • The problem
    It was 2010 and air travel was more stressful than it needed to be. Qantas customers – like that of all airlines at the time – had to continuously check for information about their travel journey, including where to be, at what time (are there any delays?), and what they needed to bring. The airline wanted to improve this experience and provide its customers with the information – and the support – they needed at their fingertips.
  • The solution
    The app allowed communication with customers throughout their entire journey – which Qantas recognised started at home. Removing the need for constant checking, the solution provided the right information to the traveller at the point they needed it – including delay notifications, Check-in details, Boarding times and Gate and Luggage Carousel information. These and other details were precisely timed to reflect only the information the customer needed at that point in time – eg Boarding details were provided after the Check-in was completed. Access to Qantas support was available through the same interface allowing the customer to have a single point of interaction and reference if they so choose.

Hutchinson Builders

We worked on the ‘Defect Logger’ app for Hutchinson Builders, a large-scale building company specialising in large developments.

  • The problem
    Hutchinson Builders needed to capture, track and manage defects associated with building projects. They needed to capture these while on-site but were often hindered by unreliable internet access. As a result, much of the defect-capture process was manual and often involved double-handling of information.
  • The solution
    Defect Logger for Windows was created to allow staff to create, view and edit defects from their phone and/or tablet, whilst on site, or via the web portal when in the office. Defects are tracked with location information, photos (which can be annotated), which contractor the defect is assigned to and its current status. Defect Logger also enables stakeholders to run reports based on a detailed list of filters, allowing them to triage and manage defects across multiple projects. We built the app and assisted with migrating some of the systems to the cloud. This enabled critical project information – such as team details, contractors etc by site and location – to be made available outside of the firewall and therefore more readily accessible. The app also uses the same security credentials a user relies on for other critical work systems – i.e. if a user changes their password in Outlook, that information flows through to the app.Because of internet reliability issues, we built the app so that it assumes the user is going to be offline and then synchronises data when it can. As such, Defect Logger is an early adoption example of Edge Computing – where the app provides its full functionality while disconnected from the internet.

SpaceConnect

SpaceConnect is a space management solution provider. We worked on their ‘SpaceConnect’ app, which is sold as a licence-based service.

  • The problem
    SpaceConnect’s clients are organisations where resource management is a challenge. SpaceConnect wanted to enable people in agile work environments to be able to book desks or meeting rooms with ease and confidence. They required a solution that would alleviate issues with these resources being booked and people not showing up for, or overstaying, their allocated time.
  • The solution
    We created an app that allows not only for booking desks or rooms but that also tracks attendance and frees up desks and rooms that are no longer in use. The app (with the aid of Bluetooth hardware device at each resource) communicates with people’s phones. It knows when a person has arrived at a desk or meeting room, and turns it into an active booking – or, if someone doesn’t arrive in time, it contacts them to see if it can free up the resource. Likewise, if a meeting finishes early or goes overtime, the app either frees up or re-books the room.

Boost Juice

We created a ‘Boost Juice’ ordering app for Retail Zoo (the parent company).

  • The problem
    Boost Juice’s Point-of-Sale (POS) provider made available a generic ordering app which the organisation was using. The solution however, lacked scalability and wasn’t able to handle the surge in the volume of orders at critical times (eg lunchtime). The original app was also unable to provide order feedback and progress to customers.
  • The solution
    We created a combination of app and services that helped distribute the volume of online orders and provided a smooth ordering experience. The app development included a revised user interface, so that the user could browse a menu and select drinks through a fully branded and customised ‘Boost Juice experience’. As orders are made, they are sent to the POS. Push notifications are used to provide order progress information to the customer. The ordering process was separated from the POS provider. The load was moved to sit in our platform and we built it so it was responsive to demand, with infrastructure scaling up and down in line with the volume of orders, taking the pressure away from the POS system.

I Love Reading

We worked on an app to make the DDCode reading/writing program a better learning experience for children and to alleviate the pressure on their teachers.

  • The problem
    A key feature of the program is a mechanism to help children learn the alphabet and how to write each of the letters. However, the manual element meant that the teacher needed to spend a lot of time with each child in order to review their progress, and then collate what he/she saw when creating reports for parents.
  • The solution
    We created an app that recognises whether the child is creating each letter correctly. The child also receives guidance along the way and gets instant feedback on how they did, so they don’t have to wait for the teacher to check their work. This greatly reduces the teachers’ workload, and because the app captures each attempt at letter-creation, it enables teachers to easily review and share progress with parents.

Recruitment company

And, just to show that an app isn’t always the answer…

  • The problem
    A recruitment consultant approached us saying she wanted an app to help distribute information for customers. This included relevant industry updates, as well as guides and tip-sheets.
  • The solution
    After discussion, we found that the information the consultant wanted to share was static. She didn’t have a current need to track users in any way, or for a live, real-time data exchange. A well-designed, mobile-responsive website was all that she needed at this stage of business development.

What’s your next challenge?

If you have an idea for a business app and want to run it by a team who have heard quite a few, give us a call! We take a business-first approach and will challenge your assumptions and guide your thinking to make sure you get the results you need. OR, if you have a specific problem and are not quite sure if and how an app can help, we can help there too. We live and breathe apps but, more importantly, we want to be your digital strategy partner, working with you to solve a specific problem, even if an app isn’t the best solution.

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