Executive summary Executive summary
Our client is a major distributor of office supplies and furniture. With over 1,500 employees, it operates in nearly half of all European countries. The company also provides consulting services in a variety of domains, from food and catering to new technology and business interiors.
As the client’s business was growing and their market reach expanded to new countries, the company needed to remain efficient at managing the varying product prices.
N-iX has completed Product Discovery to help the client improve their product strategy and completed an MVP of the pricing platform to prove the feasibility of the client’s idea.
The unified pricing management system we developed has helped the client boost their operational efficiency, optimize costs and reduce manual work. It has also improved the shopping experience by allowing the client to provide customers with exclusive pricing offerings that match their needs.
Success story in detail
As our client experienced rapid business growth and expansion to new markets, they needed to remain efficient at introducing (onboarding) new products and keeping up with the pricing of all products. Their legacy monolithic solution no longer met the speed, accuracy, and efficiency requirements necessary to meet the company’s goals. The existing pricing management involved the use of several separate systems and Excel spreadsheets, as well as a significant amount of manual work. It required increasing time and effort from the client’s employees since the product inventory was expanding and the prices were changing frequently. The company needed to streamline the price management process and gain the ability to instantly handle pricing updates.
N-iX has conducted a trade-off analysis (i.e. a Product Discovery) to help the client improve their strategy. This analysis provided the client with a better understanding of requirements and an efficient project scope. Our engineers have outlined several technical options and documented the complexity, risks, benefits, and development time of each one. This made it easier to prioritize tasks and helped the client get a clear understanding of the value of each product feature. Finally, we have released a minimal viable product (MVP) of the price management system to ensure a smooth project kickoff.
N-iX has assisted the client with the development of a unified price management system hosted on MS Azure. The system handles different prices that are rendered on multiple e-commerce websites and can vary based on the customer type, such as B2B or B2C.
We have implemented a Price and Service software platform that added and unified multiple types of product prices. Unifying the prices has ensured that they stay up-to-date at all times. This, in turn, has helped significantly accelerate the sales process, as there no longer were price discrepancies.
The system was built using the microservices architecture, which allows to easily substitute six legacy systems with a unified platform for managing product prices. The architecture we designed also makes the platform highly customizable, facilitated the customer onboarding process, and improved load management. Furthermore, microservices architecture has played an important role in making the platform available 24/7.
We have also transformed the legacy on-premise monolithic systems to cloud-based microservices and ensured that all data remained consistent during the process. Additionally, we used effective system scaling to handle the unstable load that occurred during the migration process, since it often included the transfer of a variety of new products and prices.
N-iX has implemented multiple processors that provide ETL processes, allowing the price management system to receive raw data from several legacy systems. The system reads the data, saves it in CSV format, and transfers the up-to-date prices to all data users.
Additionally, we have assisted the client with migrating their customers from several legacy systems to the new one. We were able to double the speed of migration, as compared to the original process.
Furthermore, our engineers have established the following user journey for the client’s e-commerce website customers: when signing into their personal account in the system, the system generates a unique sales contract based on various parameters (user’s type, country, company range, etc.). This allows customers to receive better prices for products compared to the prices on e-commerce websites.
Lastly, N-iX has also ensured a consistent look among all platforms and improved user experience by introducing a common UI for all systems. Our software engineers have also implemented the CI/CD process from scratch, which streamlined the software development process.
We have developed a unified Azure-based price management system based on microservices architecture. We have also migrated on-premises legacy systems to microservices. Our cooperation has helped the client gain multiple advantages:
- Improved shopping experience by implementing a price management system that facilitated the process of offering special prices to customers;
- Boosted business efficiency and reduced operational expenses by unifying several pricing systems into one and streamlining many manual processes;
- Increased the efficiency of the sales process by maintaining accurate and up-to-date pricing information about all products;
- Accelerated the software development life cycle from 4 weeks to 1 day by setting up a CI/CD pipeline.