With nearly 30 years of experience in the enterprise software market, it's perhaps surprising that CMMS (computerised maintenance management software) specialist CARL Software (opens in new tab) continues to fly under the radar in the UK. However, the France-based company is a market leader on its home turf and boasts an impressive client list including Air France, Bouygues Telecom, and the European Commission. Always on the look out for what our continental brethren are up to, we recently took a trip down to the Loire Valley to catch up with CARL and are pleased to introduce our readers to its core product offerings.
Based on Web 2.0-native architecture and also drawing on open source technologies, CARL Source is the flagship software offering of the company. A verticalised CMMS solution, Carl Source is available in specific modules for heavy industry, real estate, healthcare, and transport and is offered in four configuration levels: Smart, Expert, Enterprise and Corporate. The current iteration of the software is CARL Source 4 (opens in new tab), which features a range of functionality including budget programming, technical operations tracing, and market contract management. Improvements on version 4.0 include a new ergonomic UI and the integration of external graphical systems (e.g. GIS mapping software like Autodesk Infrastructure Map Server). In addition to its implementations by government bodies, it's also used to support the transport systems in major metropolitan areas like New York, Madrid, and Turin.
Complementing CARL Source is CARL Touch (opens in new tab), an Android app that reconciles field technicians with the back end CMMS, enabling them to access relevant data and feedback new information. We met with CARL Software at Futuroscope, a multimedia theme park outside of Poitiers where mechanical operations are overseen by technical service provider DIKEOS. It showed us how it deployed CARL Touch to relay back information on crowd flow in real-time, illustrating the importance of mobile-optimised solutions for field staff.
Indeed, utilising CARL Touch in conjunction with CARL Source, DIKEOS and Futuroscope have seen attraction downtime plummet - from more than 540 hours in 2009 to just 87 hours in 2012. Why is CARL Touch so effective?
A DIKEOS representative explained: "Everybody has a smartphone. Historically, the business world drives the general public but here, it's the opposite. An app is quite intuitive – I can even do my report orally, use QR codes to scan equipment and review past maintenance. Technicians want it because they know it will give them the information they are requiring. We have to keep the technician foremost in our thinking."
According to CARL Software, the newest release of Carl Touch, version 4.0, is due to roll out in September and will feature a new colour scheme, improved ergonomics, and more sophisticated task management. Looking forward even further to Carl Touch 5 in 2014, the company said it was looking at bolstering stock management functionality as well as adding support for digital signatures.
With regards to the next instalment of CARL Source, version 5.0, the French firm said it was eying a mid-2014 release and that the update would feature safety enhancements, further integration with CARL Touch for frontline technicians, and improved custom invoicing, as well as the possible addition of more business-specific modules.
No doubt businesses leaders in the UK, Europe, and elsewhere will want to keep CARL Software in mind if they have large-scale asset management or technical maintenance needs - if it's good enough to help keep the millions of visitors to Futuroscope happy and entertained, it may well be that it's right for you and your enterprise as well.