One1 Extends ERP Capabilities with an Integrated Mobile App Developed in Uniface.
A significant ERP solutions provider
One1 is among the largest IT integration companies in Israel. It specializes in delivering IT projects from start to finish utilizing proven methodologies. It has more than 4,000 employees and more than 1,500 customers across a range of sectors.
Software solutions and services are a major area of activity for One1. Among its best-known products is One1ERP, a solution that is used by over 300 customers across a range of Israel’s industries. The solution is written in Uniface – a development environment in which One1 has 20 years of
experience. This is a powerful application with 70 modules and 20,000 Uniface components.
A specialist retail challenge
With one of its clients, a major sanitary equipment supplier to both private consumer and business sectors, One1 recently identified a need to provide a better shopping experience for customers visiting stores – something that is increasingly recognized as a key part of the company’s offer, and impacting how much customers spend and whether or not they return to the store.
“Thanks to the Uniface development platform for mobile, we were able to complete development of the application in just three months, with neither prior knowledge nor experience of mobile development.”
– Yaron Oppenheim,
VP Development, One1ERP
The traditional sales process in such stores is lengthy and inefficient. Customers walk around the store with a sales representative who notes items that interest the customer on a paper form. This process can take several hours when a customer has an extensive building or renovation project. Afterwards, the rep must key the customer’s choices from the form into the main computer system. This too is a lengthy process as it involves checking that items are in stock, looking up delivery times, and so on.
At this point, the rep may discover that certain items are out of stock or that the delivery times are too long for the customer. In that case, substitutions may be needed. Often, a second tour of the store is needed to find acceptable alternatives.
This traditional process is time-consuming for the reps and potentially annoying for customers, who, in the worst case, may decide to shop elsewhere.
The solution: a mobile app integrated with One1ERP and developed with Uniface
Benefits of developing a mobile app with Uniface
A team of three developed the complete app in just three months, faster than originally thought. Several Uniface features streamlined the process:
- It was possible to reuse the business logic from the existing Uniface ERP application, reducing the amount of development work required.
- Uniface takes care of communication between the mobile device and the main application, so there’s no need to code an interface.
- Similarly, there’s no need to program database access the way you would with .NET, for example. Uniface’s built-in data access allowed interaction with the database without the need to write SQL queries or updates.
- With robust session management, escaped data, dynamically built screens and prepared/parameterized database access, Uniface guards against many of the common security mistakes.
- Developers can concentrate on creating the right UI, with the underlying technology handled by Uniface.
Getting started with mobile development was also very fast. Uniface Professional Services provided three days of training to familiarize developers with the architecture and approach and with one new Uniface element, Dynamic Server Pages (DSPs).
After about another week’s practice, the developers were successfully working on the mobile app, following style sheets created by specialist UI consultants.
The result: time savings for sales reps and a transformed shopping experience for customers
The new app runs on mobile devices used by the sales reps. Walking around the store with the customer, the rep places each item of interest in a virtual shopping cart, simply by using the device’s camera to scan a barcode. The system then instantly displays relevant information such as prices, delivery times, and stock levels, as well as data that allows the sales rep to make real-time decisions regarding discounts.
The rep and customer can see at once whether substitutions are needed and finalize choices on the spot, eliminating the need for a second tour. Once the shopping is finished, the rep can automatically upload the shopping cart contents to the main system, so that the deal is swiftly concluded.
The new app streamlines customers’ experience as they no longer have to go around the store a second time to make substitutions, or wait while the sales rep manually keys in their choices. This improved experience is helping to build customer loyalty and increase retention.
The app also reduces the time sales reps need to spend with each customer (touring the store and rekeying data at the sales station) by up to 30%, reducing costs and enabling each sales rep to serve more customers. The client reports that the reps love the app, particularly its intuitive user interface (UI).
Meeting future client needs
This app was written for the specific needs of the sanitary equipment industry. However, the work that has been done is potentially relevant to other One1ERP clients, current and future. Yaron says, “It will be very simple to reuse the framework from this project to meet other clients’ mobile requirements – and that will enable us to offer mobile functionality in a short timescale.”
It doesn’t matter what mobile platform a given client prefers, because Uniface makes the app platform-independent. (A proof of concept of the sanitary equipment supplier store app was demonstrated to the client on both Android and iOS.) One1 has collaborated with Uniface technology partner Buildozer that makes it easy to package a Uniface app and publish it via the Apple App Store and Google Play.
Yaron believes that this success with mobile will strengthen One1ERP’s market position. “Now that we have this mobile framework, we can confidently help customers – both new and existing – with mobile solutions. And that’s good for our business.”