Sometimes what you need is not generic but unique design, something honed to the task, created for the purpose. nYwhere is an app designed specifically for collecting the details of a customer furniture order & feeding it directly back into Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central.
When we wanted to create an app designed for the purpose of collecting a customer order, with the customer probably present, in the rather interestingly sophisticated world of ‘option’ related products like furniture, we wanted to start at first base, without the restrictions of a client that forced our use of its user interface. Essentially, we wanted to guide the user, probably someone with limited experience of data entry, through a journey with the end customer.
We started with the thought that the user would most likely begin by finding a product, probably from a category. It was obvious that the image-based web experience we are all used to is a good starting point for this browsing, but we needed to also allow the user to go straight to the item as maybe they are sat on the sofa and have the barcode or swatch. Choice is important to the user when selecting products. We wanted to add value to the process by providing the information a salesperson might want during this selling process (e.g. pictures, prices, delivery times and specification details) whilst they select available options for the product, changing the image to show the product in the colour, for example.
We then knew that different implementations would require different inputs depending on the business the organisation was in. Some companies need delivery details e.g. is the door big enough, they may want to add a drawing of the room if it’s a carpet product, and they may want to offer add-on products or services like extended warranties, installation or existing product ‘take-away’. In short, we needed to provide a configurable organisation definable flow through the sales process. Much of the flow is obvious. Put the name and postcode in to get an address, press NEXT and enter delivery details, maybe another address, a desired date and contact details, ask the customer if they’d like to buy a warranty and record the payment details of deposits or full payments (including integrated finance houses) and finally get the customer to review the terms and conditions before electronically signing the order form.
We were hugely lucky to collaborate with one of our long-time customers SCS (The Sofa Carpet Specialists) who once hooked onto the benefits of using technology to record the order details, added real world thoughts and experience to the product. SCS have a nearly 20-year-old Dynamics NAV solution used by 1,000 users and to be honest their Chief Executive, David Knight, said at the original installation all those years ago that he wanted to use tablet-type technology to take the orders! Unfortunately, he was a man ahead of his time and the tablet technology of the time was heavy, and horrible. I’m pleased to say that I finally delivered on the promise to deliver this wonderful user experience to his staff, even if it took a while!
The final chapter of the story is to see the new with the old. Another example of biting off part of a project before the rest. It will take some effort to move the large integrated solution at SCS to a new version of Dynamics 365 Business Central, however we have already begun the journey. The orders received form the nYwhere tablet app being rolled out to the stores appear even today in the old Dynamics NAV solution, looking like they had been keyed in directly. Moving the stores to the tablet has enabled us to separate the store-based side of the business from the back-end distribution and finance systems but doing it in a way that allows the existing processes to carry on makes this a gentle process.
We are proud of building a product with technical expertise and open thinking from The NAV | 365 People team combined with real world experience and problem solving from a valued customer. We both win when we combine our skills.
Check out this video to see the app do it's thing!