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Soluteo’s FFA Express reviewed

Since their inception, BlackBerrys have been out in the field working hard day in and day out, bringing in the bacon. Programs keep coming out of the woodwork to help those BlackBerrys get the job done - FFA Express is one of those, and thankfully, it’s a pretty great tool.

Field Force Automation (FFA) Express by Soluteo is a mobile management system designed to assist trade-related businesses (plumbers, electricians, etc). It helps them by not only organizing their clientele, employees, and services, but assists them in dispatching those employees and services to the clientele. Follow? FFA Express calls itself a “solution in two parts”, utilizing both a base-PC and BlackBerrys to ensure for a better all-around business.

Setting up FFA Express is as easy as visiting their website. Fill out the required fields, and you’re all set to use the PC portion of the program. FFA Express’ somewhat bland interface has tabs for everything you need to keep on top of: workorders, technicians, clients, services, products, support - with each section having an easy-to-use style along the way.

Workorders: Allows you to monitor your service requests, set their priority, dispatch engineers and check workorder status.

Technicians: Your entire technician staff laid out neatly with all contact information (including BlackBerry PIN and model number), as well as a map to see where they’re headed and where they’ve been. I was able to set up “Jim The Technician” with no issues, and he was ready for anything.

Clients: All of your client’s contact information, as well as map’s that get sent to your tech’s so they know where they’re needed.

Services: Let’s you set-up services to be dispatched, set their rates, priority, and let’s you describe exactly what the service entails.

Products: Allows you the ability to add products to your catalogue by providing a product number, name, and price.

Support: Pretty well same idea as the workorder section, but for web support cases instead.

A pretty swell “help” section is also available, and we made use of it, but it, like the rest of the interface, could use a facelift. Yes, the program does what it needs to do, but this is something that someone will be staring at for hours on end, day after day - more pleasing colours and a better all-around design would be a great investment.

If you’ve got your company all set-up, that’s all there really is to it. Take calls and emails from your clients and dispatch information to your technicians. What FFA Express does is take all the information you’ve input and sends it off to your tech’s who are out making the world a better place, one case at a time. The tech’s then know who the client is, what they’re issue is, and where they are (remember those maps? This is where they really come into play).

Overall, Field Force Automation Express is a worthwhile addition for the BlackBerry. As mentioned, the interface is pretty “blah” and could use a bit of an overhaul, but apart from that, FFA Express on both the PC and BlackBerry was easy to set-up and easy to use. Kudos, Soluteo.

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