Learn how a low-code patrol app eliminated hundreds of repetitive interactions and better-aligned operations for Go Ape’s environmentally responsible brand.
Go Ape is an outdoor adventure company with 14 locations nationwide. Jon Borkman, the IT Manager at Go Ape, is a team of one handling all the software, hardware, and networking needs…as Jon puts it, “anything that runs on electricity, except light switches.”
Before Jon joined the company, Go Ape worked with Skypoint to take their data and reporting capabilities to the next level.
We helped the Go Ape team set up Power BI to increase the visibility of information coming in from its booking system and generate insights to guide better decision-making. We also set up Microsoft Power Apps and Power Automate to streamline workflows and improve operational cost-efficiency.
Now Jon was ready to tackle the next round of operational improvements out in the field. The answer was a new patrol app that was strong enough to work anywhere in the great outdoors.
Go Ape had solved a lot of business problems with Power BI, Power Apps, and Power Automate but they weren’t out of the woods yet. Jon was tasked with revamping its patrol app so all twenty site teams could stop recording information with pen and paper and eliminate the risk of losing notes while working outside in the rain and wind.
The Go Ape team needed to get back to an app-based solution that would allow site teams to submit detailed reports digitally in real-time on everything from incidents to financial data. The app had to be reliable and have an easy-to-use interface to make the process as efficient as possible. The data also had to be analyzed and organized in near real-time so the operations team could make timely decisions.
But using a digital solution in the field brings an array of unique and unforeseen challenges. Locations are in the middle of public parks with limited cellular reception or WiFi coverage. The site teams must be able to use apps in the forest, away from the buildings and cabins where they get a decent WiFi signal.
Long story short, the patrol app must work even in high-latency or no WiFi zones. Which is no easy undertaking.
Jon learned about the Power BI work Skypoint had done for Go Ape and found that his coworkers had a very positive experience. His team appreciated the robust Power BI dashboards, the ease to glean insights from the booking system data, and the ability to delve into specific areas.
What jumped out at Jon was how little he needed to maintain a Power App. Since low-code platforms offer stability, continuous improvement, and serve as part of his Microsoft 365 licensing, he doesn’t have to do much to administer them. Jon was attracted to their reliability, which would be a key requirement for the patrol app, so he got in touch with us.
“When we started, I was new to this type of challenge,” said Jon. “Skypoint was the best collaborator I could have had in this situation.
They listened attentively, actively considered the use cases we presented to them, and immediately understood what was needed. They then presented their ideas, many of which improved or expanded upon our original requirements. We had some very constructive brainstorming sessions—I really felt that we were collaborating on a solution.”
The new patrol Power App is more intuitive and reliable than the previous app. It reduces a ton of frustration for site teams and the time they spend entering records. It streamlines and automates ongoing daily tasks while ensuring that data is sent to the central server at the end of each day to generate timely insights and inform accurate decision-making.
The patrol app saves Go Ape several hours per week at each location. Because the app eliminates hundreds of small and unnecessary interactions every single day, over a season, this time savings really adds up for the Go Ape team.
The patrol app also allowed their team to retire the pen-and-paper solution and reduce paper waste, which was another important initiative for their environmentally responsible organization.
“When I reached out and met with Brent and Greg, I knew right away that they were the right people for the job,” said Jon. “The team at Skypoint not only has prior knowledge of our company. They’re also very skilled and a good fit culture-wise for our outdoor brand since they have such an easy-going attitude.”
Skypoint also developed a dashboard to analyze and organize the patrol app data. The dashboard allows the site management team to keep track of activities in all locations throughout the day.
Management appreciates the visibility and transparency they gain from this data. Moreover, managers are able to examine the patrol routes to see how long it takes for an instructor to get from one end of a course to another. They can then make adjustments to optimize these routes.
The team at Go Ape also wanted to be trained in Power Apps to be able to make basic changes on their own in the future, such as adding form fields and redirecting links. Jon found the Skypoint team to be great instructors, answering all his questions and providing extra information to help him build a solid foundation.
This collaborative process not only helped Go Ape create a robust patrol app that meets all its requirements. It also helped Jon and his team feel empowered, informed, and in control of the technology they use every day to deliver a great customer and brand experience.