Central Heating Services (CHS) team of 50 engineers service around 60,000 properties in the UK each year. The core business is installing, servicing and repairing gas appliances, heating systems and associated equipment for private home owners, private letting agents and landlord residences. CHS are based in Farnborough, Hampshire, from where the company co-ordinates and manages all of their field operations.
"Motivity are similar to us. We bend over backwards to get a job done. When you are small you have to get that job done for your customer and Motivity are very similar in that respect"
David Ferguson, Verticalsoft - CHS IT Service Provider
“Personal Relationships: I think it goes a long way in business”
David Ferguson, Verticalsoft
A leading central heating systems business says that the transition to Appstations's Motivity Workforce app from Three-X was seamless, enabling the company to get on with their core business, safe in the knowledge their using future-proof technology.
David Ferguson of Verticalsoft Ltd, who manage CHS's IT systems and develops the company's bespoke back office software, says that CHS needed a new system that would not only slot in with them, but also link in with customer systems. "Where we have a big contract with a council or housing association, we need the day-to-day information to flow into our customers' systems."
Dovetail into customer systems
The challenge for CHS was that each of their large customers' systems was different. "We needed a system that was flexible and could dovetail into other people's systems. A local authority for example will look after their own stock. Not only gas, but buildings, roofing - the works. We have to interface into those systems."
Required to work on modern smartphones
CHS were using Masternaught Three-X to manage workflow, but needed to find an alternative as Three-X only ran on old Windows mobile devices, and the company had no plans to upgrade the software to work on iPhones and Androids. The found that when a phone was lost or damaged, it was difficult to get a replacement.
"We knew we had to jump ship at some stage. After speaking to several companies, I came across [Appstation's] Motivity and felt they would be the best solution"
Seamless migration to Motivity
CHS wanted a system to replicate the functionality of the Three-X system. There were a couple of things the Motivity Workforce solution didn't do says David, "They went away to work on the software and pretty much delivered what we wanted. I would say 95% of it. All in all, we are happy people." CHS also wanted to migrate to Motivity without having to re-program their system. "We had one or two issues, understandably because Motivity had to write a complete interface for us. It works very well and al the comments I get back from the engineers are favourable."
Engineers like the system
CHS gradually introduced the system to their engineering team. Getting a few engineers on board to start with and them liking the system, made the transition easier says David. He tells the story of an engineer who initially wasn't keen to use the new system. However after using it for a week he came back say that it was
"so much better that the old system"
The transition was fairly painless. When engineers got out to site, they were still answering the same questions in the same way - just using new technology.
The return on investment for CHS has been good says David, "If we had gone for any other company, we would probably have had to re-program our interface." The fact that Motivity could replicate the current system meant that CHS didn't need to invest any more money in making the system compatible. "The only real costs were setting up some new phones and sending engineers out with them. There was no massive relearning."
Moving over to Android has provided additional benefits. For the first time, if an engineer gets stuck, David is able to take control of the phone remotely and fix any issues. He is also able to remotely wipe the device if it gets lost. Because the data captured by the engineer is save to the cloud in real-time, none of the data on the phone is lost.
David says that if anyone asks him if he knows anyone who offers a solution, he would recommend Motivity because they worked well for them.
"If anyone is in a similar situation to CHS, where they have a system and need to dovetail into a new system - that is certainly one of Appstation's fortes. With larger systems, you have to dovetail into them and modify your systems. Appstation are flexible in creating additional links."
David says they like Appstation, the creators of the Motivity Workforce app, because they're not a big company and it's more personal.
"I don't like big organistation where you get bandied about when there's an issue. It's nice to have someone you can speak to on a regular basis, and where you can sit down and ask them to fix something. I like it because you get consistency when you are dealing with people."