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Case study

Field Ticket Application

User Experience for field service professionals

This app eliminates the paper, simplify processes, and significantly reduce the administrative load for Oil and Gas companies.

User experience design for mobile phone - Field tickets

Introduction

Oil and gas companies use field tickets to keep track of everyday operations. Every small transaction needs a field ticket to document it. Leading to hundreds of tickets to process before the creation one invoice.

Strategy: Mobile first approach for adaptive enterprise app

Methodology: Product Development & User Experience Design under Agile Development
Tools: Affinity Designer, ConceptBoard, Proofme and Invision

The problem

Field tickets are paper and as every piece of paper, a lot can go wrong with it. A paper-based process often invites missing, inaccurate, and illegible information. The paper itself can get lost, get pushed aside or modified to record false information. Paper is expensive to route from person to person.

Processing paper documents do not add value or produce profits. Paper reduces the company’s ability to plan for the future in competitive markets. Information arrives late and in slow drips.

User requirements and discovery

We used the Value Proposition Canvas as a framework for the development of this product’s user experience.

Oildex lined up partnerships with third-party companies for the development of this product. These partnerships meant to us simplified access to users and testing prototypes.  And for them, it was an opportunity to participate in the development of a user experience that really captured their needs.

User research included conducting user interviews, meeting with stakeholders and group sessions. I organized the information into three categories: jobs, pains, and gains. Also detected five different personas and one age-based variation.

Summary of roles

Field Operators (Primary User)

Their job is verifying and signing off on service work performed. Approvers check if the work matches the ticket and codes for invoicing. They also verify and reject tickets if there is illegible or inaccurate information.

Accounts Payable

The accounts payable department checks that submitted invoices match the ticket information. After the lengthy review process, they need to judge who to deal with exceptions. This means using up more man hours and valuable resources to correct errors.

Suppliers

For suppliers, slow paper processes impact their processes. Charges that do not match agreements hurt relationships with buyers. Also, chasing approvers for coding and approval is a nightmare.

Upper Management

Executives need to make decisions and move forward with operations. They need to deal with risk and return of investment. If the information is lacking or opaque, planing becomes guesswork.

Personas for users working on mobile

Ken / Well site manager / Old Guard (Buyer)

Ken, 63, Civil Engineer

He is one the last active members of the baby boomer generation, 1946-1964, he has seen his coworkers getting retired and/or moving to other occupations.  Even himself had retired, took another job but got recruited by an Oil & Gas company again (after turning them down several times) .

Excels in difficult situations, stressful environments, being able to lead diverse teams in different cultural environments.  If you ask that question right off the bat, he might articulate something like: I have a bunch of people, doing a bunch of things, and I am the guy that makes sure nobody gets killed and things get done.

He works two weeks cycles, first-weekday shift, second weeknight shift 12 hours days.  Basically, they are working half the time outside they circadian cycles, which means long-lasting repercussions in their health and psyche.

Will / Well site manager / New Guard (Buyer)

Will, 32, Chemical Engineer

For Will, his education was a shortcut for becoming a manager while he is still on his thirties. A degree in Chemical, Civil or Petroleum engineering cut around 9 years of experience in the field preparation, but he is not new to the field, he started working in oil patches while studying and kept doing it coming out of university.  This position requires continuous learning.  For him, relationships between co-workers and partners are based on trust.  It does not mean there is lack of friction, but the at the end what counts is if this person is “solid” (reliable).  While on the field, his goal is to keep everybody safe while meeting the goals of the project.

No work/life balance, his routine might go from one extreme to the other with little or no space for adjusting between these two.

John / Field Services Representative (Supplier)

John, 27, Technical Diploma

He is expected to do small repairs, maintenance and offer technical support for the products they deliver.  He also acts as a communication channel between the site manager and the company they represent.  They are asked to keep accurate record keeping, process their paper work, possibly keep a journal and offer service reports. His level of authority and capacity to negotiate  might depend on the size of the company. They are commission based, so they need to meet their targets and accommodate to monthly goals.

He is commission based, so he needs to meet his monthly goals. John is used to working in harsh environments, and drive long hours in difficult driving conditions.  He plans to keep working for  2 or 3 years and moving on to do something else.  He is assigned to a territory and needs to develop personal and professional relationships with people in the field very quickly.  have multiple work areas, a desk at an office, doing phone calls while driving, and finishing reports at a home office.   VALIDATE: He needs to be connected all the time, posses a laptop and multiple mobile devices from the company.   Maybe the inside of his car/truck is full of invoices, marketing material, tools, replacement parts, garbage from drive through restaurants and multiple chargers.

He has multiple work areas, a desk at an office, doing phone calls while driving, and finishing reports at a home office.

Information Architecture

This simplified workflow shows the most basic interaction between the Supplier, Buyer and Supplier’s Account Receivable. This flow will guide our user experience for mobile devices.

 

Overall workflows and tasks

While working on agile development it is always good to have an overall idea of the product before creating and assigning user stories. This diagram shows how the whole system works from the buyer’s side of the application.

Zooming on the general workflow for the buyer

This area is where the buyer most likely will spend his time while working on mobile devices.

 

Designing the interface

This flow illustrated show the user creates stacks, manages and visualizes field tickets.

Layout of interfaces for field ticket application - User Interface Design

Prototyping the user experience

Working with two agile teams and partner companies required a fast prototyping. We used Invision to replicate simple interactions and user testing. Once product reached enough maturity to run a complete user flow we made it available to our trial users. This allowed us to collect analytics and refine details.

Project results

The field ticket app and its User Experience has been a great success since its launch.  Reported numbers show that on average it reduces time cycles by over 50%. It will mean for an average single buyer company into over 2 million dollars.  A more efficient process converted field tickets into invoices faster. This efficiency allowed companies to enjoy early payment discounts.  Also, the field ticket app reduced processing cost by 67%, saving 6.44 cents per field ticket. If a company processes 100,000 field tickets a year, the savings will amount to over a half million dollars.
For a product, timing is everything. Having best user research, user experience and intentions is vital. But if your release arrives early or late to the market, the project will not be successful.  The field ticket app debuted when oil prices were at an all-time low. Companies had to adjust, look for innovative solutions and increase efficiencies. If the release would have happened while the oil prices were booming, the low rate of adoption would be expected.
If you want to learn more about the project, please watch this video.

About this company:

OpenInvoice helps organizations reduce payables cost, increase spend visibility and improve spend control.  OpenInvoice is part of Oildex.  Oildex offers premier cloud-based oil and gas accounting software with workflow automation and electronic document exchange designed specifically for the oil and gas industry.


Learn more about OpenInvoice | Oildex

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