Our client is a leading supply chain and procurement optimization solution provider and one of the top leaders in the cognitive sourcing space. They offer exceptional data-driven insights and predictive tools that can find opportunities well in advance. Their AI-powered system enables continuous sourcing and accelerates the entire procurement process.
Our client uses a Smart RFX application to manage the entire quote – bid – award process. Though the application is useful in improving accuracy and reducing sourcing cycle time, manually onboarding customers was time-consuming and prone to errors. Also, the application was not user-friendly to make changes immediately. Our client required the following
- User-friendly screens to edit and resolve simple customer requests.
- Expedite the customer onboarding process.
The Smart RFX application is driven by a template system (a logical view for database tables), and had the following challenges:
- The existing database tables were not flexible enough to include any UI screens on top of the template-based design.
- The UI code used in template-based structure required a lot of backend effort to enhance user experience.
Imaginea team came up with the microservices-based template service solution to include new screens with editing options. To implement this, we first analyzed all the existing customer templates and identified the fields required for configuration in the UI. Our team implemented the below steps as a part of the solution:
- Designed a new database that will be flexible and easier to make changes in the future.
- New screens in UI were developed on the template-based design.
- Write converters in the backend to convert templates created from the existing screen to the format required by UI (that drives the application).
- Convert all the existing customer templates to the new template design.
The above steps enabled new editable screens in the application for configuring changes in the templates. With minimal training to the customer success team, they are able to handle minor customer requests themselves without any help from the engineering team.
How Our Solution Helped
Our solution reduced the customer onboarding time from 2 weeks to 3 days. And, the resolution time taken for a customer request reduced from 2 days to 1 hour.
As a first step, our team went through all existing customer templates and figured out the attributes which can be configured from the user interface. After the initial analysis, our team came up with the data model design (in PostgreSQL database) inline with provided mock-up screens and also, as per the requirements of Smart RFX.
We then built the UI screen using AngularJS (front end) and a Spring Boot microservice as a middle tier to save the configured changes in the database. When a template is requested from different screens in a Smart RFX application, it will first check if it is present in the cache (using Hazelcast). If the template is available in the cache, it will be served. Otherwise, it will call the template converter to give the template. The converter will fetch the user-configured template from the new microservice as we had coded and then convert it to a format as mandated by the respective screen and finally it will serve the request after caching the same. If there are any changes in the templates after caching, the cached template is flushed to make way for the next request to fetch the template from the database again.
- Reduction in development time for template changes in Smart RFX application.
- Reduction in customer onboarding time by 4x times.
- Provision for the product management team to create new templates on the fly for any demo/presentation.