We have been using the iPad for a couple of months now, and we continue to suffer issues with synchronisation, with long sync times, missing data, syncs not completing (even though symbol has gone green), duplicate records, no view process available fault and other obscure messages. Its hard to quantify, but it looks like around 20% of sync attempts have some problem or other.
Just for some back ground, we use iPads with 3G, and in some of our customers we can not get any connectivity and so are often offline.
We use the site centric model for WO's so its multiple installed products per WO, with no serial number on the WO itself.
We have raised a number of specific issues with Servicemax, and on the whole they have been very helpful and have offered a number of solutions, which some helped more than others.
What i would like from the community is any help or hints that you may have gained from setting up and using the system in the real world.
What we have done so far:
So if anybody has any other tips, or can point out where we may be going wrong, or if you have similar problems, we would be grateful to hear from you.
While I can't offer my own experiences here, I wanted to point to a few resources on the community that may be useful. First of all, I think that this document, posted by george.piper, our Global Support Operations Manager may be helpful: iPad Mobile App :Scenario in which iPad Config Sync is needed. Also John's question and background, along with Aruna's answer in this thread might also be useful: iPad application reset after changes to SFDC Setup:
Additionally, I used the community's universal search function to see what other questions and content exist around this topic. I found a number of documents and resources that way. The universal search is in the top right corner of the screen, here's a link to my search (I typed in ipad sync and filtered by Content) https://community.servicemax.com/search.jspa?q=ipad%20sync*&facet=content.
I know that you are also looking for other customers to provide tips or details of their own experiences!
Thanks for the reply, i have seen those documents before, and they have led us to do some of the system changes we have done; i though i would just take another look, to see if there are any more useful info, especially as we have learnt a bit more about the system now, but i get this message:
Access to this place or content is restricted. If you think this is a mistake, please contact your administrator or the person who directed you here.
I have seen this on a few area in the community, is my access restricted?
There are specific areas that have been created for more limited groups, but all of those resources should be available to you and all other customers. Which link did you click? Could you click it again and send me a screenshot of the error you see?
Thanks for letting me know!
I have just sent you a PM, just to clarify, i didn't have access to either the support or product hubs, thankfully i do now, and a whole new world has opened for me!
We have similar issues as well and have done similar steps as you have mentioned that have helped significantly but sync times are still long.
How many objects in total are you syncing?
Do you have an idea on how many total records are meeting the download criteria on average? (I would include pricebook entries in that count even though those are not set in the SVMX download criteria)
Is good to know we are not alone..though obviously not to your detriment.
We are syncing about 25 objects, plus 5 price books, not that we need them; its difficult to quantify how many records we are trying to sync, we just have not had the time to build a data cube report, but i would guess initially about 100,000 records, but with SET016 set to to true we should only be syncing changed records.
One object that significantly affects the sync time, is the installed base, if we have a customer with a single installed product it takes about 30 seconds on WiFi, if they are one of our larger customers, say with a 100 installed base, then it would take about 8 minutes, and some of customers may have 400 IP's on their site.
Our business model is that we want the field tech. to have access to the status of any IP on site, and as we use the site centric model, we want them to be able to select any IP to add to the WO, this of course has be done when they are disconnected from the internet.
I'm looking in to a way of restricting the number of IP's that the techs needs to see, but with out a massive restructuring of our location set up i cant see how we can do this.
Anyway the quest goes on.
We are only syncing about 10 objects. Are most of the 25 custom objects not included in SVMX out of box?
Even if our techs are on LTE a simple save (not incremental records to download) can take anywhere from 30 seconds up to a minute.
Were your SOQL limits changed in the ServiceMax configuration? Decreasing those will impact overall sync time depending on the volume of transactions at any given time.
They are all standard Salesforce or Servicemax objects, bar a couple of look up tables.
We originally left all of our setting as default, but have changed a few on advice from Smx, that particular one (i assume its iPad Config>Sync>Set011) has not been changed it still 70.
Do you change yours, and if so was there any improvements?
25 objects is a lot, are all of them necessary? We only have around 12 objects between the download/adv. criteria.
You are fine at 70 unless you are getting any SQL errors, we had to decrease ours due to some some triggers we needed to add. Decreasing it would only increase the overall sync time.
I have removed a few of the objects we were syncing but not using, and we are actively looking at the others; one thing i am keen to try is to move some of advance criteria downloads to the normal downloads, and see if that speeds things up for us.
Do you use the preferred technician field or is the tech the Owner of the IP?. If so you might be able to try this.
We're using this on the Work Order so the WO owner gets his/her WOs synced:
Field is Download to iPad
formula = If( $User.Id = OwnerId ,1,0). I changed an IP owner to one of our FSEs and this formula worked.
I changed the formula to match our Primary FSE Field and it didn't work: ( $User.Id = Primary_FSE__c,1,0), our IPs are owned by the Sys admin
We assign ownership of the WO to the Field Tech, and use advance criteria to download the IP for them. We use a very similar technique to yours for trunk stock, and then updated all of the stock items to the respective engineer via data loader, which does work (actually Smx helped us with that one).
You are syncing 100k+ records to the iPad on each Data Sync? So one of your techs has access to all of the available information out there? I'm trying to wrap my head around that and compare to what we do, so forgive me.
Within our deployment, we have defined a field on the User record with a territory, if you will. It is more or less the general area we have them working as they more or less restricted to specific geographic areas. We then have a corresponding field on the Location to match this up to and a download criteria filter on Locations of Download to Mobile if a work order is assigned to that tech and those two fields match. Should this happen we then have the Location set up to pull all IP's and WO's for that Location. They can then peruse through and review or assign IP's to work orders via the context look-up within our WO SFM.
Our Sync times are generally always less than 20 seconds with this setup regardless of connectivity save for no connectivity, obviously. Now this might not work for you going back to your reasoning for 100K records downloading. But that is how we handle it and it works pretty well.
Your response got me thinking, is it really that much, totting it up its probably about 20-25K records (i was adding in price books as well, but they are not on our download set up), the vast majority being parts and trunk stock items, which i hope are only synced if they are changed (we have Set16 turned on).
Can i ask, do you use one IP for one WO, or do you use the site centric model, where you can have many IP's per WO?
Our set up is similar but with a few caveats, our techs do work in a general area in the main, but certain technologies will require specialist techs and these may travel anywhere in a country, and our customers would typically have a mix of different technologies on their site. Also techs will often work outside their home territory to act as cover or if we have a particularly a large installation going on.
We are looking to setting up territories, both geographical and technical, but i will be quite a task to undertake, but in the meantime the only geographical definition we really have is the country.
Currently we use advance criteria to define the IP's on a particular site to be sent to the iPad, but a number of community users say this is can slow things up.
Thanks for your comments, its great to hear how other have tackled these issues.
We use a hybrid method for the IP's on a WO. Depending on where the WO is created from (we allow WO to be generic from Locations or direct from IP records) determines the process that they will use for assigning IP's to a WO. In all cases, we have the IP information mapped to the work detail level regardless of if they are doing one IP per WO or multiple IP's per WO.
We have yet to define those geographical regions, as well.
We have also reduced what we could on our iPad data cube. I think our biggest problem is the connection to the internet on our mobile devices. We still have Sync issues on the iPad and I'm convinced that the Wi-Fi and Cell card connections are causing our problems. We have no control over the connection speeds and bandwidth. I see Wi-Fi signals and Cell signals at full bars and have run Speedtest.net to verify the actual performance. The results are less than stellar unless I'm on a 4G LTE connection with full bars.
One thing that we are training our users to do is to force the iPad into offline mode when they are in poor connected areas. They should know these areas by now. The majority of our Installed Products are in hospitals and Medical Office sites where the connections are very poor or non-existent. The users who go into offline mode and then sync in a good location are not seeing the issues others are.
You mentioned you are using 3G connections. Is this due to your iPads being older or the cell service? Does your carrier have any bandwidth restrictions?
I hope this helps
John and Russel,
Can you let me know if either of you use Advanced Download criteria and for how many objects? I noticed that the advanced download is more reliable but seems to increase sync times significantly if you are cross referencing objects.
We use about 12 objects with advanced scheduling, it something we have always done, so i can not comment on if it has slowed down our syncs.
That leads me on to a thought i had, and that was going to ask the question of the community: at the moment we use an advance criteria to download all of the installed products for a particular site, and the number of IP's that the customer has is directly proportional to the sync speed, so for 1 IP, the sync will be about 30 seconds (on WiFI), but for 100 IP's its about 8 minutes (some customers have >250 IP's).
So i was thinking, maybe we could use a normal download to 'permanently' load an iPad with all of the IP's for all customers in given territory (the US is our largest base, with about 20,000), so when a tech syncs all they will be doing is updating the IP table, and the rest of the WO related data can come through as normal.
Obviously the initial syncs will take a lot longer, but once the data is loaded it may speed up incremental syncs, what do you guys think?
We experienced decreased sync times by changing the advanced download criteria to not look up to an associated record and just make it a simple 'download to mobile = 1'.
For permanently downloading 20k records that would work but it depends if you have any integration setup with an outside system. I think that could drastically increase incremental sync times if each iPad was downloading IP's that were updated with data such as warranty dates/ship status/ etc. on a daily basis. Not sure how often each of those 20k records are being updated, if not at all then i completely agree it would improve sync times.
Thanks Stephen, only a few of the IP's would be updated on a daily basis (=<100) and this would typically be the last visit date, its something i am going to give a try.
Here in Europe 4G is rolling out, most big cities in the UK have it, but out in the sticks? The rest Europe tends to be a little behind the UK. Most of our users have older iPad, and so are stuck on 3G for now, and until 4G rolls out some more i cant see us changing any time soon.
Like you, our users are often in poor coverage area's such as large factories, with lots of noisy machines about, or they are in the middle of nowhere (an Egg Farm for instance) again with little or no signal.
Initially we asked our users to go in airplane mode when in areas of poor connectivity, but this caused us a huge problem with duplicate records being created, so we abandoned that idea. Since then i think we may have found what was causing the duplicates, but we are very reluctant to instruct them again in case we haven't found the problem.
That is one of the big issues we have, it is nigh impossible to test the iPads in anything like real conditions, even if we went to an area of poor reception one day, go back the next it would be fine!
We are still having problems with duplicates as well. Airplane mode resulted in similar issues.
So far we have noticed duplicates can occur if:
-Configuration is out of sync (specifically fields existing online and not on the iPad due to new fields or enabling field visibility)
-Technician minimizing/force closing the app or the iPad losing connection mid sync.
It seems that the ipad app does not acknowledge the sync was submitted to SFDC for processing until the sync completes entirely, so if the data hits the server but the connection gets severed it will just resubmit the records.
System updates were causing some of our issues, so we now only make any updates at a specific time (which means i have to get up early on a Friday ) and as soon as we finish we instruct them all to do the appropriate sync. We are in the UK, and 1 hour behind our other European colleagues, so i have to try and get it done at 06:00 UK time, and we can wait until the end of the day, because our US users (particularly on the West Coast) don't finish until 02:00 am UK time.
Minimising the app is an interesting one, we have some users that were doing this on the old version running on iOS 7, with out a problem, but as soon we updated the app and the OS to v8, we started seeing a lot issues, so we have asked them to stop the practice.
I agree with you, that it seems to be connectivity issues that cause the duplicates, a lot of our users find themselves in very large factories and the like, which often have intermittent connectivity, i think i will try and do a reports to see if any particular customers locations cause us duplicates.
Let me know what you find.
For us when a technician has an updated configuration almost all duplicates seem to be tied to an interrupted connection (whether it be from force closing the app or poor connectivity).
Hi Russell Jacobs - It's been a few months since this was logged, and I was interested if you have found a better solution since you initially posted this. Im sure the rest of the thread would be also interested (or potentially have any new best practices) in getting closer to your goal. Please let us know!
We are still using Summer 14 in the field, but hope to go to Spring 15 very soon. In preparation for the Spring 15 go live, i have been doing a number of ride along's with technicians through out Europe, and the general consensus is that the current sync speeds are acceptable, and through experience they all know what to do if there is an issue, which seems to happen about 10% of the time. There is still the occasion, inexplicable long sync (>30 mins) which does annoy, but on the whole the day to day experience is acceptable.
While nobody is wowed by the sync speeds they are experiencing, all agree its a lot better (faster and more reliable) than it was, and there now seems to be a resigned feeling that this is as good as it going to get.
Back to back tests between Summer 14 and Winter 15, didn't show any significant increase in sync performance, but thankfully it was no worse, but trials continue.