When examining the different tasks that are performed on your BlackBerry® smartphone, it is often easy to identify tasks that are done on a frequent basis. This is often where applications can simplify and improve the user experience by automating and simplifying those tasks. Now, if taking into consideration a large corporation, there will be similar tasks that will be done on a regular basis by some or all of the employees. Some of these tasks will take time and some will encompass additional charges. Considering the scale of BlackBerry deployments in corporate environments, and the fact that many companies subsidize the mobile service plan, making a small increase in productivity and small decrease in operating costs can have some major affects.
The goal of this article is to outline some relatively simple applications that can, and have, had major cost and time saving impacts.
My411 - Save money on calls to directory assistance
The 411 service is used in both the United States and Canada as a general information tool. It is typically used to request phone numbers or addresses via directory assistance over the phone. In some cases, calling this number results in an additional charge to the monthly phone bill. To a single user this charge could be nominal, but to a corporation full of employees, those charges can add up fast. The issue becomes how to allow access to this type of service to employees without incurring the heap of charges. There are many free services now available through toll-free numbers, but they require the user to remember 10 numbers compared to the standard 3 with 411. This is where My411 comes in. In its simplest, this is an application which, when clicked, dials a pre-programmed phone number. A free information service toll-free number can be placed in the application and a familiar icon used (the sample uses “411”). The result is a very small application which can be deployed automatically to all enterprise employees and is easier for the end user than dialing 4-1-1. Users simply need to click the “411” icon for the application to dial the toll-free number for them.
Result: An easier way for users to access information services that can also be free to use.
MyHelpDesk – Save money on calls to the corporate help desk
Very similar to the concept of My411 is MyHelpDesk, but instead of calling 411 the use case would be to call the corporate help desk for support. Many corporations have both local and long distance numbers, and many of those will have an automated answering service to help route calls to their appropriate location. For employees calling to the corporate help desk, it may be difficult to remember what number to call and the extension for the help desk. If in a location considered long-distance from the office, then the problem of long-distance call charges is also a concern. MyHelpDesk simplifies this scenario by dialing the number for the office followed by an extension; this is presented in way such that the BlackBerry smartphone understands that the extension needs to be dialed after the call has been answered.
Result: An icon that calls the corporate help desk, including its extension. Improving the time it may take for an employee to get access to support, potentially, using a toll-free number.
MyPortal - An application that automatically launches the device browser to a pre-defined URL
The best way to understand this application is to think of it as a browser bookmark. This application has a URL specified; when the application is launched it opens the device web browser to that URL. This is a very useful resource for directing people to sites that may be housed on either the Internet or corporate intranet rather than relying on them to remember URLs, which can get very large and obscure. The URL could point anywhere that the user would normally be able to browse with their device browser. Some examples of URLs that could be used: - A site including information for new hires - A site hosting corporate applications for download (such as MyHelpDeskand My411) - The company or team’s web portal
If there is a site that is useful for many people to access and is mobile-friendly, then MyPortal is about the easiest way to allow people to access it from their smartphone.
Result: Users will be able to access useful information hosted on web sites by just clicking this icon.
The source code for each of the above samples can be downloaded using the links below. Included is both a BlackBerry® WebWorks™ and Java® sample application for each of the applications described above. Each zipped sample contains both the Eclipse® project files as well as a ReadMe text file that explains how to open the sample and configure it for your needs.