WorkMerk needed to help a large transit authority police force speed up the delivery of data among officers and headquarters to improve safety and productivity.
WorkMerk used the SAP Cloud Platform, single tenant edition on IBM Cloud solution to develop custom tools for the transit authority to share critical information between dispatchers and officers in real time.
Facilitates the development of workforce solutionsthat improve productivity and efficiency
Creates a scalable development environmentdesigned for security using the private cloud edition
Reduces application development timefor rapid prototyping
Business challenge story
The high cost of forgetting
Companies today spend billions on training, with the expectation that employees will emerge competent and confident in their new roles. However, according to Jim Reichwein, Chief Revenue Officer at WorkMerk, “The ‘forgetting curve’ says that people only retain 10 percent of what they’ve learned over the course of seven days.”
This “cost of forgetting” may manifest itself as poor customer service and a subsequent loss of revenue for a company. It reduces employee productivity and satisfaction as workers struggle to feel competent in their jobs. When employees feel confident, competent and engaged, they perform more effectively, have higher job satisfaction and are likely to stay longer at the company.
WorkMerk’s training and employee management solutions help companies help their employees, ensuring that they have the tools and information they need to do their jobs effectively. Using Internet of Things (IoT), mobile and cloud technologies, WorkMerk designs solutions that address the gap between training and practice.
WorkMerk began working with a large transportation authority police force to create a solution to improve officer productivity and safety. Approximately 200 officers patrolled more than 70 stations around the clock. They used a paper-based system to record their rounds every 20 minutes, logging activities such as walking subway platforms and checking bathroom facilities. With a shortage of more than 50 personnel, it was difficult for officers to find the time to both conduct their rounds and record them, sometimes resulting in inaccurate or incomplete reports. Furthermore, the organization had a great deal of data that it could not send to transit officers in a timely manner because it lacked a secure method of sharing when officers were on patrol.
“Our client was contending with data access and timely, actionable responses to real-time security and passenger safety issues,” says Don Menya, Vice President of Technology at WorkMerk. “In most cases, the data existed but was not reaching the transit officers on the ground. They needed a reliable, easily accessible and timely interface with large caches of patrol data.” The organization needed to implement digital activity-recording procedures to replace its paper-based processes and to securely speed the delivery of data between officers and headquarters and among the officers on patrol.
The right information at the right time
Because of the sensitive nature of the transit authority’s data, creating an information-sharing and employee productivity solution on a public cloud was not an option for WorkMerk. It began seeking an alternative that would help ensure the security of the organization’s data while providing the performance and scalability that the police organization sought.
It was at that point that WorkMerk began talking with IBM about its own and its customer’s business challenges. “The IBM Global Alliance Solution Representative for SAP spent a great deal of time working to understand what we wanted to do for our customer,” says Reichwein. “That’s when he said we needed to introduce SAP into the solution.”
“We were not an SAP customer,” says John New, WorkMerk’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO). “In fact, our tech team thought it would be very difficult to work with SAP and integrate it with our systems.” However, according to Reichwein, it was really a perception problem. Reality proved to be different. “As soon as we shared the scenario with SAP, we found that we had business practitioners that surrounded the problem and were very helpful in defining a fast path forward,” he says.
WorkMerk decided to move ahead with its project for the transit police agency. It also hoped to extend comparable services to similar customers by developing the solution in a dedicated, secure, scalable, cloud environment.
WorkMerk developed custom solutions for the transit authority using the SAP Cloud Platform, single tenant edition on IBM Cloud solution to share critical information between dispatchers and officers in real time. Officers use an application to record their rounds; reports are generated and sent to dispatch in real-time. Officers also receive electronic nudges on their smartphones when specific tasks are due or overdue to ensure that they complete their rounds.
“The app takes all the training and reporting protocols off the shelf and puts them in the hands of the officers,” says New. “We’re bringing the information to the people who need it the most when they need it the most, at the moment of truth.”
“What we’ve done, among other things, is automate the patrol report for the officers that are on the ground,” says Reichwein. “The digital report automatically populates the chief’s dashboard, and that dashboard indicates everything that’s happened the day prior, the week prior, the month prior.” All that collected information can then be used to track problem hotspots and coordinate appropriate responses or actions.
WorkMerk also plans to apply predictive analytics to the collected data. For example, when the dashboard shows a pattern of incidents in the restrooms at a specific station during certain times, the transit authority can deploy more officers to that location to prevent future incidents or crimes.
Using the SAP Cloud Platform, single tenant edition on IBM Cloud solution allowed WorkMerk to quickly build scalable, secure options for the transit authority. Using development tools like Xcode, the development teams can quickly build out solutions using SAP iOS Software Development Kits (SDKs). According to Menya, “In a span of three months we were able to deploy three key, vetted solutions for the client by using rapid prototyping.” These three solutions will provide the foundation for extensive, future use of the single tenant edition of the SAP Cloud Platform. “The solutions can be scaled by this client and by others in the public transportation and public safety sectors because of the secure use of the IBM Cloud,” concludes Menya.
The security of the client’s data was paramount to WorkMerk. It used OData Services to connect to the client’s database, and SAP HANA® 1.2 to create and consume data within the SAP Neo environment. WorkMerk also sees the potential to create future solutions for mission critical activities, such as high security alerts, that will require the security for which the single client edition of the SAP Cloud Platform solution was designed.
Scalable application development
By working with IBM and SAP to develop applications for the transit authority on the SAP Cloud Platform, single tenant edition on IBM Cloud solution, WorkMerk is enabling the transit police force to make doing its job the right way the easy way. The WorkMerk solutions benefit the transit officers by digitizing the previously paper-based reporting process, increasing their efficiency and effectiveness. Reminders pushed to them help reinforce their training and ensure that they complete all their public safety checklists in a timely manner. “They’re taking an employee base of 200 and significantly increasing their effectiveness,” Reichwein says of the force. “It’s as if our solution is making them as effective as 2,000 could be.”
The solutions also benefit the chief and dispatchers by automatically populating incident dashboards with patrol reports. That information can then be used to better and more quickly allocate resources to trouble spots. Further application of AI and analytics to the additional data shared between officers and dispatch can help the transit authority to better deploy resources to hotspots in real time, and even predict, anticipate and preemptively respond to expected trouble based on collected data.
The WorkMerk CEO attributes much of this anticipated success to the availability of the SAP Cloud Platform on a private rather than public cloud. The single tenant edition provides an almost siloed deployment environment designed for high security for organizations concerned about the protection and integrity of their data. “The single tenant edition truly meets the security requirements for an organization like this,” says New. “We can also use it to help them develop solutions for their mission critical activities, such as high security alerts.”
Despite initial misgivings, the WorkMerk team found that working with and integrating the SAP Cloud Platform solution was not as cumbersome as it had thought. “At the start, there was a perception that it would be difficult and time consuming,” says New. “We found something very different.”
Menya concurs, explaining the overall benefit of using the SAP Cloud Platform for WorkMerk as well as for its customers: “Using the SAP Cloud Platform provides WorkMerk with the ability to extend our software's core functionality by integrating with the existing services and databases used by large organizations.”
The WorkMerk solutions protect employers’ investment in training and lead to increased productivity. “The cost of forgetting is significant,” says Reichwein. “We’re attacking that with reinforcement at the right time, at the right place. So, forgetting can come off the list of a company’s risks. And we’re proud of that to be working on that initiative with a company like SAP and IBM.”
WorkMerk is confident that by working with IBM and SAP, it can bring its solutions to large organizations in industries that need enhanced safety, improved productivity and more informed decision-making at all levels. “WorkMerk is pioneering a way to help businesses move into the future,” says New. “We’re working to bring our solution forward and do it in a scalable manner. That’s why we made the decision to work with brands like IBM and SAP. The fact that we’re working with IBM and SAP to deliver our solution gives instant credibility to what may be a new concept for our clients.”
The WorkMerk mission is to help companies sell more, do more and reduce risk through applying practical and simple technology solutions. Built upon the belief that employees must continually adapt in a rapidly changing world, WorkMerk provides technology solutions that drive optimization in the workplace, using proprietary AI technology to engage, inform and reward workers. Founded in 2017 and based outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, WorkMerk is a veteran-owned company that employs approximately 100 people.
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