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Osborne
Improvement Opportunities App

Introduction:

“Osborne is one of the leading construction businesses in the UK. As a family-owned business, we have the freedom and flexibility to take a different approach. We focus on creating structures and spaces that provide an environment for people to thrive in, and solutions for our customers that provide a better experience during the creation.

From rail to road, housing to healthcare, however large the project or contract, we know that it is always personal to the people who use it and those that are responsible for it.”

As one of the leading construction companies in the UK. One of Osborne’s key focuses is on customer service and providing the best experience for people both during the creation and the life of the construction, whether housing, commercial or public sectors.

Osborne has many direct employees, contractors, partners, clients and even members of the public who come into contact with Osborne construction projects. Osborne is determined to ensure that its project’s overall standards keep improving with a particular focus on health & safety, environment and building quality.

The Challenge:

With such a variety of people coming into contact with its projects across the country, it was difficult for Osborne to understand where there were opportunities to improve. The challenge was to provide a method of capturing ideas from a user, regardless of where they have the idea, or spot the opportunity, in a way that is so easy to use that they would not want to do it any other way.

The opportunities or ideas to be captured focussed on delivering a benefit to Osborne’s customers and, in-turn, their customers. They could include ideas to improve health and safety at project sites during creation and construction, but also include identifying new projects and business opportunities.

Osborne initially developed an in-house solution and created a web portal to enable staff to record opportunities for improvement.  By setting up this system, Osborne gained greater visibility over projects and established a streamlined way of viewing and addressing raised health and safety concerns as well as a way to collaborate and forward information between relevant departments.

While the in-house solution was a good first step into collecting improvement opportunities information, and initial employee feedback was positive, it was clear that greater adoption of the solution was required to generate the level of feedback Osborne was looking to collect across all people and projects to deliver business value.

Osborne had identified several key barriers to adoption:

  • The time taken to log improvement opportunities: Users were subject to a delay between identifying an issue and being able to log it on the portal which required access to a desktop/laptop computer. This proved to be a barrier to capturing issues on site.
    Internet connection was always required: At some construction sites employees struggled to get a stable signal or any connection at all, thus rendering the portal unusable.
  • Limited user-base: The portal was only available for employees which meant that Osborne was missing out on a wealth of information from experienced and reliable sources such as contractors and clients.
  • Difficulty of providing evidence: Users were unable to evidence their ideas easily through images or location information.

With the objective of establishing the easiest way to capture and share improvement opportunities, Osborne went to tender and following an RFP and presentation process, Mubaloo was awarded the contract to build a wrapped mobile app based on our experience in creating high quality, reliable, enterprise apps.

“Mubaloo demonstrated a better focus on user experience than the competition. The quality in design would make people want to use the app time and time again”
Rennie Chadwick, Innovation & Performance Director at Osborne

The Solution:

The objective was to create a ticketing app that would allow anyone who comes into contact with an Osborne project to provide feedback in a standardised and streamlined way.

In collaboration with Osborne, Mubaloo scoped the requirements for a smartphone app that would work on Android devices and iPhones. At an early stage, the written requirements were designed into a prototype that Mubaloo user-tested with a variety of different user groups including Osborne employees, contractors and clients. This enabled us to validate the user’s needs and make changes to the planned user experience before development began. By taking a user-centric approach from the outset, Osborne was confident that the mobile application would address many of the adoption challenges that they had encountered with the original web portal.

The Process:

The evidence gained from user testing gave us crucial insight and helped us shape the app to be more aligned with the user.  For example, from our interviews and user tests, we identified the need for an option to submit tickets anonymously, as this would encourage greater ticket creation and a need for notifications to be pushed when a ticket had been accepted by the relevant department. Therefore, in an effort to diminish the fear of backlash and increase the number of submissions, we incorporated an option for users to submit the ticket anonymously.

 

Key Benefits:

  • Mobile Capability:
    If users want to add a photo or a video to the ticket as evidence, the app neatly integrates with the native device camera and the phone’s library, iCloud or Google Drive.
  • Extended Audience:
    With the smartphone app publicly released to App Store and Google Play, the functionality could finally be used by members of the public, contractors and clients. This opens the app up to a much larger audience than the initial portal.
  • Offline Capability:
    The app was smartly built so that it works offline – this meant users out in the field without internet connectivity can still record all the details at the right place and right time. If they aren’t connected, the ticket will be safely stored and submitted when internet connection is re-established. Also, users can start a ticket, but if they don’t have time to finish, they can save it as a draft and pick it up at a convenient time.
  • User Experience:
    Users can now browse, filter and sort submitted tickets so they can keep track of their submissions. The app also introduced feedback notifications, so the user knows the status of their ticket, this visibility encourages users to submit opportunities as they now have visibility over the whole process.
    When it comes to adding the location of a project that the ticket is referring to, this has now been made quicker than before by using the location services within the user’s mobile devices to easily select their current location.
  • Enterprise Integration
    For Osborne staff, the app integrates with Osborne’s Active Directory service to quickly enable Osborne staff to log in using their usual credentials – so there are no new usernames or passwords to remember.

The Outcome:

The “Improvement Opportunities App” went live in early 2017 on both Android and iOS with great success. The launch of the app was accompanied by a series of presentations to employees and contractors, with positive feedback received – especially given the 15% reduction in time taken to capture an improvement opportunity, in comparison to the web portal.

Most importantly because of the user-centric approach used and better user experience we assured the buy-in from stakeholders which led to user adoption.  The app has seen adoption across existing web-portal users, looking for a faster more mobile experience as well as a significant number of new users who had not previously logged improvement opportunities at all.

The app has demonstrated to the market that Osborne is a leading construction business that uses digital to leverage their efficiency and growth.

“We have seen excellent uptake of the app, encouraging those who would not or could not use the web solution, to start capturing on improvement opportunities”

Rennie Chadwick, Innovation & Performance Director at Osborne

  • Deloitte Tech Fast 50 winner 2014
  • Appsters winner for best use of API 2014
  • Ranked as the top app developer outside of the US by research firm Clutch
  • UXUK Winner 2014
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  • Mubaloo innovation lab
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Company registration number: 0‌6770774.

Registered address: Mubaloo, 3 Grosvenor Gardens, London, SW1W 0BD