Our goal at Ballard Chalmers is to create custom business software which is truly successful for the organisation that has commissioned the system. For us, that means it should achieve its stated purpose and indeed exceed expectations, and be in full and successful use to the extent originally intended and planned. Investing in custom software is a major business decision and that’s why it is so important that the technology stands the test of time.
The best way to see if that has been achieved is to look back at systems that have been delivered and assess the results.
In this blog, we continue our series looking at successful custom software development projects, with a look at AppCan, the smart field data solution.
AppCan – The Smart Field Data Solution
AppCan is a software company whose founders have worked within the utility construction industry for over three decades. In 2013 they recognised a gap in the market for a mobile application connected to a central system which would allow documents to be distributed and data collected through digital forms from field workers.
With that in mind, they set about making a simple, cost-effective product that could be easily customised to meet the needs of any business with people working out in the field. It had to be easy to use for non-technical people, something that would help with data collection, but could also act as a real extension to the office or headquarters. It needed to be secure, to protect valuable data and lastly, work on existing hardware.
Originally developed by another company, Ballard Chalmers was brought in to take over as the development and support partner in 2018. With our experience working with startups such as Square Marble Technology and the ID Register, we were perfectly suited to undertake the re-engineering and modernization work that was required.
Now two years later, we thought it would be a good time to look over the results and success of our partnership.
Expansion and Use
AppCan has constantly expanded and now has 25 active clients on the platform, from small companies with just 10 mobile users up to large corporations with 1,200 users.
Just some examples of these companies are Cadent, the UK’s largest gas distribution network owner. It manages more than 80,000 miles of pipes which transport gas to 11 million customers across the UK. Skanska, Costain and Kier are three large civil engineering clients and one high-profile project using AppCan is the HS2 (high-speed rail link) project for the section from London to the Chilterns.
On any given day, between 1,000 to 1,500 mobile users are sending and receiving data via the mobile app. That’s on top of a large number of portal users who access the web-app each day to create/edit content on the platform, plus external recipients of data scheduled via automatic emails providing performance reports and record notifications.
Predominantly, the app is used within the UK, but it has crossed the border into Ireland and also the United States. As clients can operate internationally, data comes into the application from anywhere in the world.
AppCan is hosted on Azure Cloud Services and so can be used by any international business and it continues to expand its client base month by month.
John Anderson, Director of AppCan gave the following feedback:
“AppCan started in 2013, but it was only once we moved our development and support business to Ballard Chalmers in early 2018 that we have seen sustained revenue growth each year. This coincides with all the important new features which Ballard Chalmers delivers so well.
“The updates are appreciated by all our current clients, and we always note a surge in new enquires whenever a significant release occurs. Our specialist industry is the Utility Construction sector, and the industry does tend to talk to one another a lot. At this time, word-of-mouth marketing is keeping us very busy!
“We have more exciting and big new features due for release in the next 9 months, which I expect will drive further demand for our service.”
The Technical Side
To see more about how these apps were created, you can view the original case studies here:
Find Out More
You can see more of our work in the energy and utilities sector and with startups, here:
Check out at part one in this series, a look at the software delivered nine years ago to Queen Victoria Hospital – helping the NHS working with burns victims across London and the South East.
If you are interested in finding out more about AppCan’s field data solution, you can find them here: https://appcan.co.uk/