A well structured organization includes the management of a large amount of data and activities. There is often the need to create ad hoc solutions, because there is nothing in the market which covers exactly what needed. The best solution would be to carry out these implementations internally, without relying on an external software house.
This Case History is about Boggi Milano. This company recently created a web application internally, named DOCS, based on 4WS.Platform and used to manage recruitments and employees career.
We interviewed Marco Benasedo, Head of Information Technology and Michele Tettamanti, ICT Project Manager of Boggi Milano, the two creators of this app. With a few days of training, they were able to start developing a complete web application, which covers the needs of their company. The starting point was the Platform provided by Sinesy.
“Which are the reasons why you chose 4WS.Platform to create your application? Which are the benefits you noticed through its usage?”
“Our company is focused on selling clothing and the IT department is composed of highly skilled technicians: that allows us to be independent in most of the cases, but not always. Since the beginning, we developed internally a wide range of applications, integrated with other commercial products added over time within our organization, including Zucchetti (for the HR) and 4WS.Trade (as a retail management system).
Consequently, many custom needs inside our company have been fulfilled internally, using programming languages and starting from scratch in many cases.
For this specific project, what we were searching for was a platform able to simplify the development process and a set of built-in tools ready-to-use.
Thanks to the partnership with Sinesy, we got closer to 4WS.Platform. A platform we heard about when using 4WS.KeepIT, a product based on it. We went into depth with Platform, because we wanted to develop an application which could fit our custom needs.
Before the adoption of the new application, the Human Resource management was based on a set of Excel documents. As time goes by, the company started growing and with it the amount of data to manage, which became too large and complex to be managed simply through spreadsheets (in addition to not allowing us to share easily this information).
After a series of meetings and the analysys and comparison over different solutions available in the market, we realized that what we had found was too complex with respect to our needs. Therefore, we decided to develop the app on our own and take advantage of the skills and knowledge owned internally. Most of all, we decided to use a tool which could allow us to use a “common language”, easy to learn, simple to use, fast to code.
Starting from this idea, which became a project, the “DOCS” application was born.
DOCS represents a document management system focused on data about employees careers, or like we usually say, a career management tool, which allows us to work with:
- candidate applications
- a calendar of job interviews
- reporting about job interviews and currently active offers
- the career progress of every employee, including tracing of any change to his contract
- attached documents (DOCS works as a documents collector, as well)
- assessment and performance forms about employees
- integration with other information systems (with 4WS.Trade to gather performance about selles and with Zucchetti to manage employee wages)
- internal training, through the academy and certifications
- after-layoff documents”
“It comes natural to ask Michele, the creator of this software solution based on 4WS.Platform, about the advantages he found when adopting this approach, compared with traditional tools.”
“For sure the windows design: the chance to embed them within a browser made it easier for me the job!
It was a bit difficult at the beginning learning how to use the tool but, with a few days of training and thanks to the professionalism of the Sinesy staff, we went into depth with the product and learn its features and potential.
Once jumped the initial through, creating windows became easy and fast.
Now, the more I work, the faster the development process is, for any form and page. Moreover, thanks to the web interface provided with the Platform designer, I have the chance to develop remotely, without even the need to work from my office.
I found it very helpful the identity management system embedded in Platform. It allowed me to assign roles to users and make it possible to restrict some areas of the app to specific groups of users, according to the permissions granted to the roles.
In this way, recruiters can see only CVs and assessment forms about job interviews, whereas store managers can access only their part of the app, like performance evaluations, and so forth.”
“Basically, you have built a sort of permissions customization, starting from what Platform provides natively, in its built-in identity management system?”
“Exactly. We customized the identity management system provided with the Platform.”
“Was the learning curve for the Platform satisfactory? How was the quality of service provided by our staff?”
“With a few days of training, it was possible to create the whole application.
I have to say that, every time we had doubts about the usage of the Platform or for any other problem we met, we have been always supported by the Sinesy staff, receiving fast and effective solutions. Therefore, a great team work.”
“Working with a Cloud Platform represents a concern that often we met in our clients. What is your perspective about that?”
“I’d say that the anwser I give you is pretty neutral and personal: in our case, the cloud environment and database have been always easily reachable. Therefore, having the whole system in the cloud was not a problem at all. It was the opposite.”
“Is this kind of approach feasible when creating custom applications? Does it allow to fit the company business at a reasonable cost and on your own?”
“The real strength of this Platform is the very short learning curve and that the tool is easy-to-use.
We created an effective web application in a short time, with an intuitive user interface and in total autonomy. Despite the availability of knowledge and skills in our department, it would have been foolish to develop from scratch an application using traditional programming languages (Java, .Net, Delphi, etc…), in terms of costs, development time and maintenance over time.
Having the chance to develop inside a ready-to-use product, with a unique language, in a unique environment, represents certainly a plus of this platform, because it allows to rationalize the internal expertise.
The professionalism proved by Sinesy working to support us represents an important and fundamental perk for who is searching for a technological partner.
We are thinking over future developments, like including the expense account in DOCS, so that we can get a complete overview of our employees. This task will require some more time.”
Customization based on company needs with 4WS.Platform
Boggi, as for Tempur, is an example of company who has been able to carry out an “auto-evaluation”, recognize an ineffective process and transform it in a growth opportunity.
They embraced change, by digitalizing the whole recruitment process and employees management, through a web application entirely developed by their IT member Michele Tettamanti.
The main perks identified when using 4WS.Platform are:
- a short learning curve
- easy and fast application development
- easy data integration with other software products (4WS.Trade – sale management, and Zucchetti – Payroll disbursement software, etc…)
- rationalization of skills owned internally, thanks to the adoption of a unique platform and using a single language
- professionalism and expertise provided by the 4WS.Platform support team
Versatility and customization, when assisting the customer. Platform represents a tool which has been growing and that allows people to create an ad hoc software in a little time. You can test it!
Tempur: an american company with branches in more than 80 countries, including Italy. It represents an example of the Made In Italy brand. An example of an organization who pays attention to inefficiencies in the processes considered obsolete today and who had the intuition and courage of changing and evolving. This makes the difference in the digital age. A time where information sharing and speed are essential. Consequently, why not changing now?
An interview with Alessio Porcellati, IT Manager & Development Tempur Italia, who explains how the Sales Ceremony has changed in the Italian points of sale, thanks to the digitalization change.
Tempur: the best sleep starts here
Tempur studies, develops and produces mattresses, pillows and other supports for the rest and relax, where most of the products is based on its exclusive Tempur material, sensitive to temperature and able to distribute uniformly the body weight, in order to ensure the maximum comfort to all customers.
“The best sleep starts here” is what the company payoff mentions, and it is really true for whom have the pleasure to try a Tempur mattress.
This company not only offers high quality products, but also is focused on ensuring to its clients a multi-channel customer experience. For this reason, in every shop around the world (including the 6 shops in Italy), it is available a modern e-commerce solution, providing a rich amount of information.
With such a wide and different offering, it is essential to manage data coming from these shops in a correct and efficient way. This is important not only to provide an high quality service to the customer, but especially to reduce inefficiencies due to obsolete processes in data communication.
That is the reason why Tempur Italy, whose IT infrastructure is lead by Alessio Porcellati, has started a digitalization process for the Sales Ceremony, in the whole italian territory, with the aim of changing the inefficiency found in the quotation and sales orders management, and transform them in a growth opportunity for the company.
Pen and paper, precompiled forms, bulky hard-copies archives difficult to manage: now all of them have been set aside, replaced by an ad hoc web application, based on 4WS.Platform, used to manage in a simple and efficient way the sales process inside the shops.
Starting from the information gathering about prospects, moving to quotations, until the conversion of quotations to sales orders, sent to the central information system, with a simple click!
In this way, the whole process has been transformed in something coherent and standardized. Collected data is shared and easily accessible, since everything is managed inside a single web application.
All marketing activities and follow-ups about clients and prospects, limited in the past, now are managed quickly, monitored by the headquarters and tuned in autonomy by the sellers themselves, maximizing the conversion rate.
Tempur Italy: a True Story
We interviewed Alessio Porcellati, to review together the transformation process within the points of sale in Italy and what inspired him to undertake the “digital strategy” along with Sinesy Innovision.
“Alessio, we came a long way since the first email message exchanged in May 2015 and we are glad to hear you again now, an year and a half after the project kick-off. Now we would like to know what it has changed in Tempur and the outcomes reached with the digitalization of the sale process.
Let’s start from the beginning: would you like to explain us which issues and inefficiencies you found in the points of sale, before digitalizing the sale process?”
“Problems arose from an inefficient information management in the stores.
Before implementing the web application, data was destructured, not shared, and every shop was let to decide freely.
This situation lead to a data disalignment when collecting orders from every shop, because every shop used a different procedure about how to collect information.
Moreover, even though there were precompiled forms to fill out, clients writing was not easy to understand and this slowed down the data collection to send to the headquarters to elaborate the order.
The innovation process involved two main areas:
1. having a central system (DataStore) from which enquiring data and information related to products and clients
2. standardizing the process about orders acquisition, both on client side and on the custom service side.”
“How did the sale process work before using the web application and how was it improved, thanks to the adoption of the new application?”
“Before the web application, the seller used to access technical forms about products and collect data about clients, in order to create a quotation using hard-copy forms. When a client wanted to proceed with the purchase, the quotation was sent by fax or email to the headquarters. This process involved a series of tasks, slowing down the work of the seller as well as the time spent by the customer service to interpret and load the order in the ERP system. Last but not least, there was also a high rate of transcription errors.
In case a quotation were not confirmed by the client, it was archived by the seller without any data transfer to the central site. It goes without saying that such a procedure made it difficult any follow-up activity, after the visit of the customer at the store, like giving the customer fresh interest or simply resuming relations with the prospect.”
“When introducing the web application, you made it possible to get a better control on the entire sale process. From quotation management to order insertion, until the upgrade of the order state on a regular basis: how does it work?”
In the web application, we planned to include an events calendar, through the insertion of information, used to plan follow-ups about quotations and to check out and manage orders through the monitoring of the order state.
This is possible thanks to the straight integration with the central information system, that allows to keep updated the seller regularly about the order state, from the order acquisition to the products delivery and again to the customer, without the need to involve the customer service repeatedly.
“Which new implementations have you planned?”
First of all, we are going to include a more efficient procedure to manage returns directly in the store. The current version of the web application already includes a partially completed module to manage returns. In a short time, we will make it available.
Moreover, we are about to change the central information system and later we will improve the integration between the web application and the new ERP system, in order to automate the uploading process of documents, without further waste of time. That means that since the time a store confirms an order through the web application, the customer service will have simply to validate the operation by means of a workflow and make it available to the information system or apply everything needed to fix the order.
Another planned development is the implementation of a mobile version of the current web application. In this way, the sellers will be able to access to the same application inside the store from multiple devices, so that the sale will be easier, immediate and more interactive.
The benefits will be not only for the seller, but also for the customer, who will be able to complete his order in any store.
Change to innovate and improve
Accepting the digitalization within the company represents an essential step today, because of the choice of abandoning obsolete procedures and implementing new standardized ones, which are integrated and shared in the organization. That really improves the quality of the work and, most of all, reduces the costs and increases the profit margin.
The ones who can efficiently manage data, who can improve information integration and sharing, the ones who can change mindset about innovation and improvement, these will benefit from the digitalization.
Tempur is an effective example to take a clue.
Thanks to the introduction of the web application, Tempur was able to:
- digitalize the sale process, by making it more efficient and effective
- create a rational and standardized workflow for the whole process
- constantly improve the monitoring of quotations and orders management
- monitoring the order state
- simplify the workload, by avoiding errors on data inputation
- plan the follow-up procedure related to the customers and prospects loyalty
We are grateful to Alessio Porcellati for his intuitions and support in this project.