How a data and digital consulting firm modernized a fleet management business with Ionic - and then successfully turned the keys over to their client’s in-house web teams.
Sense Corp accelerates the data and digital transformation of mid-market to Fortune 50 companies. From strategy through implementation, the digital practice within Sense Corp worked side by side with a large enterprise client to design and develop a mobile, fleet management application covering over half a million vehicles. Ionic enabled Sense Corp to accelerate the entire app lifecycle - from design and prototyping to package builds and live updates - with a mobile tech stack that met the needs of their client’s in-house web teams.
- Synchronizing mobile application with customer portal
- Reducing costs and optimization of fleet management
- Spiraling app development lifecycle costs and timelines
- Ionic Framework supports rapid application development
- Java-based, micro-service API architecture
- Easy knowledge transfer to Web development team
- Synchronized web and mobile applications
- Cost savings from new, mobile digital functionality
- Agile, self-sufficient mobile development
Lowering the Cost of Fleet Management
The vehicle fleet maintained by the client consisted of sedans, work vans, even trucks used by a variety of organizations, from small businesses to national corporations.
The client’s recently overhauled fleet management customer portal was on release cycles measured in weeks. The corresponding native iOS and Android mobile apps used for communications and alerts between fleet managers and drivers were built on legacy architecture and simply could not achieve the same release cadence. Sense Corp was engaged to define a strategic roadmap, get stakeholder alignment, and deliver a solution that could be turned over to the client’s in-house web team when the project was complete.
Sense Corp Digital Practice Lead Josh Rachner: “We looked at a number of different hybrid mobile architectures and Ionic certainly provided the most full-service capability, everything from development through build and promotion. The front-end framework being heavily based on the AngularJS framework is absolutely familiar territory to the client. The idea of building or implementing web assets to deploy on a mobile app was very attractive.”
Integrating with New and Existing APIs
The Sense Corp team designed and built a Java-based, micro-services API architecture to support the mobile application. This client already had a number of APIs, endpoints or services exposed for the customer-facing portal and key operational systems. The team wrote APIs for additional capabilities, as well as the Ionic codebase for the mobile application and interface itself.
Aligning Stakeholders with Rapid Prototyping and Iterative Design
The project was very high profile as virtually every executive at the client had the beta mobile application on their phone. This meant rapid application development, prototyping and iterative development were key to success.
The Ionic Framework proved to be an ideal rapid application development platform. Out of the box templates for tabs and navigation, HTML directives and the whole HTML5 front end framework made it easy to quickly prototype the application and set expectations. Within 2 – 4 weeks the team was able to layout a blueprint of the app with wireframes and scaffolded screens.
Being able to quickly scope formal requirements upfront, such as UI designs and mockups, made them more efficient, effective – and competitive.
Working with the rapid application development methodologies and techniques that Ionic enables only makes us that much more passionate about iterating and prototyping and getting feedback at the right time from the right people.Josh Rachner Sense Corp Digital Practice Lead
Accelerating the App Lifecycle
Iterative development and synchronization with the portal meant the overall build and deployment process had to be simple and fast. The Ionic Framework’s ability to support both Android and iOS platforms was critical. “Ionic allows you to very rapidly develop features and functionality within a native mobile app container and push those out on a user’s device very, very quickly. We we’re doing daily builds and could get versions out in an hour or less. That is a real win.”
Transitioning the Project to In-House Web Teams
The real home run of the engagement was handing off the project to the client’s web development team. The client’s familiarity with HTML5, CSS3, Java and AngularJS made for easy knowledge transfer. “This is a very quick ramp up for them. Their ability to consume, understand and quickly become proficient in developing…it’s really a lot of the web technologies they’re already familiar with and that’s a big selling point. And a big advantage for us in that we are not re-tooling, re-teaching a new skill set at the client.” Said Josh.