As a ServiceMax customer using one or more of our iOS mobile apps, you have probably experienced the upgrade transition from one Apple mobile operating system to another. You may be wondering why this happens and how ServiceMax is preparing for new iOS versions.
Apple releases new versions of its operating system roughly three times per year. Some of those releases are major 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, etc. and some of them are minor 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, etc. Since each ServiceMax Mobile app uses the native features available in the Apple mobile operating system (called iOS), ServiceMax must test its application thoroughly before we make it available to our customers. This is no different than when new versions of applications you use on your home computer require upgrades to support compatibility with upgrades to your home operating system.
In order to help application developers ensure their apps are compatible with the new operating systems, OS providers (like Apple) make early versions (beta versions) of the operating system available to the application developer community.
ServiceMax Quality Assurance Process
With beta release testing, ServiceMax goes through multiple rigorous scenarios (approx. 20 specific scenarios) on our iOS mobile apps. This type of software testing seeks to uncover any software bugs or ‘regressions’ in existing functional or nonfunctional areas of the application when running on the new operating system. The ServiceMax Quality Assurance (QA) team uses a variety of test scripts (over 200 regression tests) and use cases (over 250 test cases) based on real customer configurations in order to ensure there are no issues with existing functionality.
If we run into issues that impact functionality or usability, we make those adjustments in our code and continue testing. When Apple determines that the version of iOS is stable and ready to be pushed to all iOS users, app developers (like ServiceMax) are provided a “Gold Master” beta version of the operating system. With the Gold Master, we do a round of testing and adjust as necessary.
Publishing the New Mobile App
There have been instances where the Gold Master has differences between the publically released version. As a result, our final test is done when the new version of iOS is made available to the public. We upgrade our app to the new OS just as any consumer would do and perform another round of tests. Once we have done this final round of testing, we have a version of our mobile app that is ready for use with the new iOS. If changes were required to our application, we submit the application to the Apple App Store and it is made available to our customers in about two weeks (this is Apple’s typical turnaround).
ServiceMax iOS Upgrade Recommendations
Our iOS update policy can be found on the ServiceMax Customer Community here. The policy is repeated below:
"Our intent is to ensure that any Apple iOS update will not disrupt your organization and your field service operations. Unfortunately, iOS updates often cause functional issues with many applications on the Apple Store, including our ServiceMax applications. When any new iOS update or release becomes available, we recommend you do not upgrade until we have validated existing applications and issued application updates if necessary.
ServiceMax is dedicated to quickly bringing the latest product features and capabilities to help you deliver flawless field service. We target within two weeks after an iOS update to either announce compatibility or upload a new compatible version to the App Store. Please note the app becomes available after Apple's review and approval process which typically takes 1-2 weeks."
What’s New in iOS 9 for ServiceMaxiOS Mobile Apps?
There will be a number of new features included in iOS 9, but the list below will give you an idea of what to expect in the release and how or if it impacts any ServiceMax functionality.
Technicians might wonder why sync is taking so long because they can't see the strength of their WiFi signal. WiFi Assist in iOS 9 will automatically switch to cell (if available) if WiFi signal is too weak to be useful.
iOS 9 Apple Maps has maps has improvements such as, "en route traffic avoidance, voice and banner warnings." From ServiceMax apps, technicians can use the service address to get hands free directions from Apple Maps. In particular, the traffic avoidance feature should help them save transit time and keep customers happy with an on time arrival.
iOS 9 supports the same devices as iOS 8 so nobody should need to upgrade their devices as a result of this OS update.
Apple is taking a strong stance on ensuring customers know they are not in the business of profiting from your personal information. This a major differentiating point compared to other mobile OS providers.
ServiceMax has a very close development and marketing relationship with Apple. They have assured us that our QA process is best in class when it comes to managing the iOS release process.
We hope that this detailed explanation provides you with the understanding and assurance that we are taking every step possible to ensure the ServiceMax applications continue to operate at their maximum efficiency even during these release upgrade periods.