How to implement software without physical presence

April 22, 2020

Social distancing in modern Software implementation

For the past 20 years, we have experience working remotely. Through various projects, We have always had to take care of resource optimization especially in times of major crisis. The current crisis with the COVID-19 (“Great Lockdown”) is no exception.

What is different is that we have come to this crisis ready, with extensive experience in implementing software remotely.

When you are a developer and you are developing cloud computing software such as ERPAG, you are fully oriented and focused on developing new options that come to your desktop every day.

Corrections, refinements, bug fixes, development of new options completely catch your attention.

Sometime in the early days of our software development, all this information we received most often verbally, that is, directly from the field. In fact, we had to provide that information with a physical presence.

What we have noticed is that time is wasted in traffic and transport represents exactly that: a waste of time. We are just going to list some of the problems we encountered using commercial methods of support:

  • Time wasted in transportation: sometimes it took us three or four hours to get out into the field and provide the customer with the necessary support.
  • Disregard for the agreed terms due to real circumstances: and that after those few hours spent on the road, we would come to a meeting and that, due to realistic circumstances, the user could not attend.
  • Inability to use all tools: Due to the changing environment, simply the development team was often unable to use all the available tools, which generated an additional time of engagement in the future.

We slowly moved the organization towards the maximum use of screen-sharing technologies and optimization of our processes towards the new tools we introduced to the organization. 

It took some time for us and our software users to get used to this kind of business, but the mutual benefits quickly came to light.

  • The first thing to emphasize as a benefit is – multidisciplinary teams that complement each other completely during working hours. Specifically, this means that if you have an expert for the production process and expert in dropshipping, during presentations or interventions, very smoothly an expert can be included in the live session and help in solving problems or a demonstration for requested option/feature.
  • Another is directly saving time instead of spending hours in traffic. During this time you are at your disposal for your clients to solve their problems and to provide additional training to the new customers.
  • Finally, is that you are solving the problem when it occurs. This beneficiary is so large that, in fact, rapid intervention prevents you from spreading the consequences of the problem progressively, and thus you cut potential major problems in the very beginning. This means that, in some cases, with an intervention of just five to ten minutes, you save a few days of engagement, which would happen if the problem progressively spread throughout the organization. e.g User use wrongly imported prices, and if we didn’t respond quickly, that price list would be synchronized on several Omni sales channels, which would have some big business implications.

At the same time, we have perfected the methods of scheduling a live-session and organizing our customer support, which by the further implementation of helpdesk and ticketing services leads to an even faster resolution of requests and potential problems of our clients.

With these measures in place, we have achieved that today the development team is doing exactly what it does best: technical improvement of ERPAG and expand the list of supported options and features

Some of the workflows that were established during transition periods emerged as rules of thumb that are implemented in our implementation and onboarding guidelines. We will present some of them:

  • Define communication channel-from each side (client-service provider) there should be only one person in charge of implementation, and it is mandatory. We call them communication officers. From our side, it is usually the key account manager and from the client-side, it is a person with integrity and authority that can implement decisions.
  • First 3 weeks are the most important and this is the period where all parties involved need to provide an extra mile to resolve bottlenecks and specific workflow situations

And we still learn. There are always new opportunities for time and resource optimization and here at ERPAG in order to further develop our software, we set two priorities:

  1. The first is a seamless stream of customer requests to get an accurate view of what the market needs and what are the most important options for our users to help us prioritize further development.
  1. The second priority is to reduce the reaction time from the moment a problem occurs until it is resolved.

To achieve it we continue to implement modern cloud-based solutions in our organization and continuously develop new ways of connecting people, processes, materials, and machines under one roof. 

The biggest experience we have actually received and that we can pass on to others, is that using modern tools, first of all, requires the organization to adapt to new methods because you cannot continue to work according to the old principles using new tools.

The organization needs to change from the root, bottom-up in order for you to truly be able to maximize results.

With more and more automation set in place -more than ever we rely on: 

Work Smarter Not Harder.

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