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28 RETAILCOMMUNICATIONS


HILLARYS BLINDS EMBRACES MOBILE ANDROID COMMS


B


ack in November 2010, RetailTechnology.co.uk repor ted on work to redesign its customer


relationship management (CRM) application used by UK made-to-measure blind specialist, Hillarys Blinds. At that time, Hillarys had embarked


on a redesign of its systems and processes, using SAP CRM 7.0 to streamline its customer service, which delivered significant efficiencies to the company (Hillar ys Blinds improves customer ser vice with SAP, 10 November 2010). Previously, Hillarys also implemented


a mobile application in 2005 that resulted in significant growth in sales due to better conversion. The application equipped its field sales team with por table mobile devices running on Windows Mobile 6. This strategy transformed the way that a field worker could interact with customers – allowing easy pricing, ordering and payment collection in situ – which reduced administrative errors and increased sales. Then, in 2011, the company faced a serious challenge. Their mobile device


estate, which had run quite successfully on Windows Mobile 6, could not suppor t Windows Phone 7. Therefore some business critical solutions were no longer suppor ted and their devices were imminently obsolete. So Hillarys looked for an alternative,


broader and more resilient mobile communications platform to suppor t the company’s ambitious growth aspirations. Initial trials were carried out, testing


Apple iOS against Android according to a number of factors, such as hardware compatibility, cost, user experience, deployment options and maintenance costs. Android emerged as the most appropriate, flexible and resilient platform, alongside Samsung Galaxy S2 smar tphones and Samsung Galaxy Tablets. Hillarys Blinds selected AgilityWorks


as its strategic mobility par tner to develop the UK’s first native Android solution on SAP’s Unwired Platform. This mobile field sales application was designed, developed and taken to field trials in less than six months from project sign-off – built and deployed to the new Samsung devices.


The application provides the


framework for equipping Hillarys’ field- based network of 1,000 sales consultants with a range of innovative and creative ways to showcase Hillarys’ product line. Samsung Galaxy Tablets and the Android OS are used for product demonstrations, par ticularly around the retailer’s specialist product ranges of made-to-measure blind, cur tains and shutters. They allow the sales team to advise on the latest promotions and will soon bring the ability to easily scroll through samples, providing customers with an interactive way of trying out new fabrics or colour ways before buying. The SAP Unwired Platform also


provides a single unified architecture for mobilising business process and information on a variety on device types in future without the need for heavy redevelopment. Julian Bond, head of ICT at Hillarys


Blinds, commented: “The use of the SAP Unwired Platform positions us to capitalise on rapidly evolving mobile technology, rather than continuing to be a hostage to it.”


BARKER AND STONEHOUSE STRENGTHENS COMMS INFRASTRUCTURE


For the last six years Barker and Stonehouse worked with InTechnology as a trusted par tner to solve a number of IT network and performance issues, such as sending large graphics files across its eight stores and four warehouses. Chris Fletcher, IT and telecoms


manager at Barker and Stonehouse, explained: “The high-quality photographs of our furniture were, and remain, an impor tant par t of our marketing mix. But sending them down the network was slowing everything down and impacting productivity. “InTechnology provided us with a resilient, high bandwidth MPLS


RETAIL TECHNOLOGY JULY/AUGUST 2012


[multiprotocol label switching] network, which meant we could successfully send large files to any company location.” Deploying InTechnology’s voice-over


internet protocol (VoIP) service has also resulted in all inter-branch calls being free of charge. And its upgraded, higher bandwidth network costs Barker and Stonehouse less than it had been paying BT. Fletcher concluded: “As we’ve grown,


InTechnology has also been developing its services and I feel we have grown together. We look forward to working with InTechnology in the future and reaping the rewards of what has proved to be an excellent par tnership.”


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