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Integrated Security Provider Certis Deploys Mobile-First Service Delivery System to 16,000 Staff

S$250,000 Singapore dollar annual efficiency saving
16,000 staff use mobile app for digital work instructions
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Ensuring all staff follow up-to-date, safe, compliant, and efficient procedures was a mammoth exercise for Certis’ 400-strong quality management and training team.

With OutSystems, Certis—Singapore’s leading advanced integrated security provider—transformed their 12-year-old paper-based quality management system into a slick, mobile-first, digital service delivery system, with projected annual recurring savings of nearly 250,000 Singapore dollars.

  • Customer Experiences
  • Operational Efficiency
  • Mobile Applications
  • Web Apps and Portals
  • Workplace Innovation
Innovation Awards
Winner 2020
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"The beauty of OutSystems is the ability—in a fast and visual way—to design pixel-perfect applications using pre-built templates and patterns."

Dawn Wang Project Manager, Certis

Reimagining Quality Management for the Digital Age

Established over sixty years ago as the Guard and Escort unit of the Singapore Police Force, Certis is now the leading integrated security provider in

Singapore. Today, Certis employs a global workforce that develops and delivers multi-disciplinary, integrated security services across Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, Macau, China, and the Middle East.

But, keeping tens of thousands of employees at the top of their game, is a sizable challenge. Rostering the right staff, with the right competencies onto the right work assignments, requires meticulous attention to training, qualifications, and the procedures needed for specific sites.

"The speed and flexibility of OutSystems is a solution architect's dream. As program manager, instead of constantly dealing with technology constraints, I felt the only limit was our imagination."

Lau Ngie Ung AVP, Group Quality Excellence

Twelve years ago, Certis developed a robust quality management system they call "CSDS," the Certis Service Delivery System. Responsibility for this lies with Lau Ngie Ung, AVP, Group Quality Excellence.

"CSDS was ingrained in the way the whole organization worked," explained Lau. "But, after over ten years, it was overdue for digitization. There were huge efficiency savings we could gain by eliminating paper-based content and manual processes."

Moreover, digitizing CSDS would enable multiple quality improvements:

  • Each security officer would have moment-of-need access to relevant, up-to-date work instructions on their mobile device.
  • It would be much faster for the quality management and training team to create, approve, and deploy procedures.
  • Management would have real-time visibility of performance data to drive continuous improvement.
  • Training would be less time-consuming.
  • Updating and issuing revised procedures would no longer suffer paper-based logistical delays.
  • It would be much faster to set-up new work locations and contracts.
  • Training records would no longer need rekeying into the SAP HCM system.

Ideation for this new digital CSDS took place in August 2018. "This was one of the first projects where we used design thinking rather than lengthy requirements analysis," explains Lau.

"We gathered around 25 stakeholders—from all levels in the business—for a series of half-day workshops. Our mission was 'to enable ordinary people to deliver extraordinary results.' People were encouraged to imagine the ideal solution, rather than just improve what we had. Then we discussed and refined those ideas and produced prototypes, including screen mock-ups."

Certis now needed to maintain the momentum and excitement of all stakeholders and turn these ideas into reality.

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Why Certis chose OutSystems:
  • Increase professional developer productivity
  • Powerful integration
  • Improve UX

Turning Quality Ideas into Digital Reality

Lau knew OutSystems from two previous projects, and he was keen for this to be Certis' third low-code development project.

"As the product owner and solution architect for CSDS, I wanted developers to have the freedom to work in a truly agile way."

Lau Ngie Ung AVP, Group Quality Excellence

"Some of our systems are overly rigid," continued Lau. "If we fell back on these kinds of systems, all the imagination we had invested in our design thinking workshops would have gone to waste. We'd end up following rigid processes instead of delivering the new ideas we had conceived."

Before diving deep into development, Lau tested crucial integration, between OutSystems and their SAP system, and also their Tableau analytics platform.

Having satisfied himself that integration was not going to be an issue, Lau assembled a 25-person project team, led by Project Manager, Dawn Wang.

Dawn explains, "The project team involved several quality officers, user representatives from different business units focused on UAT, IT specialists focused on integration, and a team of two developers, a UI/UX designer, a project manager, and a solution architect from OutSystems partner Dreamcloud.

Development was in two phases. Core features were delivered in five months, leading to release in March 2019 of the backend with web access for Quality Officers. This put the Quality Excellence team in a position to start populating the repository with sites, job classification matrices, and job breakdown sheets, ready for deployment.

The second phase of development was another five months, leading to the release of the mobile app to be used by security officers, trainers, and assessors. Around fifty quality officers piloted this during March 2020, and the full roll-out to 16,000 staff across Singapore ran from April to September 2020. Roll-out to Australia, Hong Kong, and Qatar will follow.

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Dreamcloud Pte Ltd

Dreamcloud, an award winning Singapore based company, is the first and longest serving partner of OutSystems in SEA. Since 2014, Dreamcloud has successfully delivered more than 200 web and mobile...

Learn more about Dreamcloud Pte Ltd

CSDS—Delivers Better Quality, Faster and More Efficiently

At the time of writing, it is still early days for the new digital Certis Service Delivery System. But as you would expect from a project led by the Quality Excellence department, they have conducted a detailed time study from phase one.

"We've seen an annual recurring saving of nearly 250,000 Singapore dollars, based on the productivity improvement across the Quality Excellence team," says Dawn.

Those savings come from a wide range of speed improvements, meaning quality officers can complete their work faster and more easily. For example:

  • It is now faster to set-up new sites and populate required job breakdown sheets.
  • The mobile app synchronizes training and assessment records to the SAP HCM module, eliminating manual data entry by administrators.
  • Real-time compliance and performance data, thanks to Tableau integration, has eliminated masses of unnecessary queries and emails previously required to keep management updated.
  • It is now faster to onboard new staff to sites.
  • Site audits are now faster.
  • Less effort is required to deploy and certify procedure changes.
Integrated Security Provider Certis Deploys Mobile-First Service Delivery System to 16,000 Staff

One of the new features Certis is most proud of is a library of "Golden Templates." Common procedures (called "job breakdown sheets"), can quickly be generated by copying from a template. It now takes just a few minutes to make site-specific process variants.

"The golden template idea came directly from one of our design thinking workshops. It's great to see how this idea has come to fruition and is making the work of quality officers so much faster and easier," says Lau.

Fast and easy integration to a wide range of systems was crucial to the success of CSDS. With OutSystems Certis was able to integrate: SAP HR employee master data, SAP HCM training and events records, Tableau, Certis' user authentication system, an expense claim system previously developed on OutSystems, and a system called Argus.

User experience design was another critical aspect, especially for the mobile app used by security officers, as Dawn explains. "The beauty of OutSystems is the ability—in a fast and visual way—to design pixel-perfect applications using pre-built templates and patterns. When working with the UX designer, I felt I was able to focus entirely on the experience we wanted to provide our users, rather than fighting with technology."

"As the original designer of CSDS, I’m delighted to see our service delivery system take such a leap forward into the digital age."

Chua Chwee Koh Chief Group Technology & Operations, Certis

Deployment of the new mobile app will provide a further boost to Certis' continuous improvement drive, as Lau explains. "We've built improvement suggestions into the mobile app. Now every user can raise a flag whenever they encounter a work situation or procedure that needs improvement. Making this so frictionless is going to be a real boon for our continuous improvement culture."

With OutSystems, Certis is succeeding in its mission to enable ordinary people to deliver extraordinary results for its customers.