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Elaheh Eghbal

By: Elaheh Eghbal on June 14th, 2016

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Q&A with Al Rude, 2016 Trailblazer Award Recipient

Data Management | Business Insight | Workflow Automation | Project Monitoring


[teaser]At the 2016 Power User Summit, Zerion recognized Al Rude as a trailblazer of the iFormBuilder platform.

He adopted the platform in its earliest stages and has made the workflows successful for the gategroup team. They has transformed the way they collect and manage data to ensure quality food is being delivered. Read on to see what makes him a trailblazer.


Tell us a little about yourself and your role at gategroup. During my 11 years at gategroup, I have been involved in many aspects of our technology to include infrastructure, SAP, applications, mergers and acquisitions. I am now working on developing mobile applications for our proprietary Mobile Data Collector (MDC) which has been rewarding and the most personally satisfying.

As a tech leader and innovator at your company, what are some of the major business challenges you have been tasked with solving? Innovation is one thing. Being able to sustain that innovation is another. Companies are always faced with issues of people reverting back to old ways and habits after the introduction of new processes, procedures, and technology. gategroup is no different. The MDC has been successful because the technology is simple, reliable, and fun to use -- all requirements for a sustainable technology.

How has mobility enabled gategroup to work more efficiently? Being able to collect information when and where it happens is critical in a 24/7 business like ours. Working to support the airline industry requires many people going in many directions.  Being able to report a large volume of information in real time, and with pictures, changes the reporting dynamic and provides us a competitive advantage.

How has mobile workflow technology impacted the day-to-day operations of your business? In the past, a significant amount of our audit information was collected on paper and then re-entered into databases that in turn were used to consolidate and report on any issues that needed attention. With the MDC, data is consolidated from many sources into one reporting database. Plus, with real-time reporting functionality and development of on-demand as well as scheduled email reporting of KPI information, corrective action can be immediate and focused. This means administrative time has been reduced.

[pullquote2 quotes="true" align="center" cite="Al Rude, gategroup"]The MDC has been successful because the technology is simple, reliable, and fun to use -- all requirements for a sustainable technology.[/pullquote2]

How do you see mobile workflow technology providing greater impact to your industry at large? Airline services, on the whole, are part of a fast-paced, time-sensitive, and resource-constrained industry.  Airline service providers have to provide flexible, timely, and cost-conscious services to compete in a highly competitive global market. The ability to leverage real-time mobile technology that is highly flexible, powerful and reliable, plus available at a reasonable cost, increases efficiency while at the same time improves the ability of the airline industry to react to the ever-changing dynamics of the global travel market. Technology is key, and the ability to provide powerful mobile services is a key differentiator.

What do you see as the next "great leap forward" in your use of mobile workflow technology?  We will be rolling out the Android version of the MDC this summer and leveraging the real-time collection capabilities of the platform to provide on-the-spot production and performance KPIs. This is uncharted territory for us and one that we see that the MDC is uniquely qualified to fill.

What does it mean to you to be viewed as a trailblazer in mobile workflow enablement? Being able to get people out from behind a desk and interacting more with their teams and customers has been greatly rewarding. Being part of a global company, I have had the opportunity to travel to many of our flight kitchens around the world, and I find it immensely gratifying to see colleagues using the MDC. Further, the feedback we hear only reinforces that we have made the right decision implementing the iForm platform. It’s not just that our employees have a solid and reliable platform to support their jobs, but also that solutions can be developed, tested, and deployed in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost of a conventional IT platform. Having a versatile, tactical tool like the MDC has for us been the perfect blend between straight-off–the-shelf and custom-developed solutions.

Will a robot someday have your job? While robots are getting better at a lot of tasks, interacting with humans is still not one of their strong suits. I firmly believe that as long as there are people using technology, there will be a need for humans to support them.

What do you do in your spare time? Having three grandchildren keeps me plenty busy. They are now at the age where they enjoy camping (RVing, not tenting). Every trip out, even for a weekend, is like a mini vacation. We camped with our two girls as they grew up, and are truly blessed to have 3 more now in the family also ready to hit the road.

Watch the Presentation from gategroup

About Elaheh Eghbal

Elaheh Eghbal is the Marketing Manager at Zerion. She is an adventurer, photographer, furniture builder, and wannabe foosball pro. If you have any questions about this post or just want to say hi, she would love to hear from you!

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