iPhone App Development

Mobile App Improves Timeliness of Time and Expense Data Entry

The Business Need

Centric’s month end billing processes were being delayed due to untimely entry of consultant Time and Expense (T&E) data into its third party collection application. This browser-based application was designed for desktop usage. As a result consultants were waiting till month end to enter their T&E information often times deferring the hour-plus task to the last possible moment.

An internal study suggested that a quick and easy to use mobile application would allow consultants to enter their T&E during daily down time such as when standing on queue thereby reducing the month-end time entry push.

Centric’s High-Impact Approach

Centric’s technology practice formed an internal distributed team of Mac developers and iPhone users to build an iPhone App that could seamlessly interface with our third party back office T&E application.

The team studied the existing browser-based T&E UI and held white board sessions on the best approach for moving it to the iPhone UI paradigm. The architects on the team studied the T&E package’s web service layer and designed an efficient service layer that allowed the handset developers to easily call the AJAX / XML web service. Finally, a group of Centric iPhone users served as alpha and beta testers as the app was rolled out to increasingly larger populations of the company.

The team utilized:

  • Apple’s xCode IDE and iPhone simulator,
  • Google Toolbox for the Mac testing frameworks,
  • SaaS cloud apps for source control (Subversion hosted by Beanstalk (www.beanstalkapp.com) and Agile project management / requirements gathering / defect tracking (www.rallydev.com).

Results

Since deploying the app both Consultants and Managers are entering time more frequently – many on a daily basis.

Dovico, the maker of the T&E package has embraced the Centric app and sells it via its web site.

And the backlog of user stories for the application continues to grow. Top of the list is the ability to use the iPhone camera to take pictures of expense receipts, send the image to the server, perform Optical Character Recognition on the receipt, and automatically enter and an expense item.