GG Brands (European manufacturer of scented products)
Customer Support managers, Stock managers, IT Support team
The case of GG Brands – a European manufacturer of scented products, could serve as an example of the importance of Business Analysis if it is paired with eCommerce software development excellence.
GG Brands, a mid-size company, sells its products in seven EU countries (B2B & B2C) via online shops. The company offers a line of handmade household products, like scented candles and jewelry gifts.
As a manufacturer and seller in one entity, the company manages a lot of processes, such as manufacturing, warehouse management, logistics, clients’ orders, etc. The main goal of the digital transformation was to streamline the management of all assets and processes and re-configure the existing legacy systems.
As the company operates a wide range of products, the flexibility in data exchange between ERP and online shops is a key factor in performance and customer satisfaction. Therefore GG Brands was coming up with the Digital Transformation roadmap to ensure competitive advantages with eCommerce software development.
GG Brands used WordPress-based websites to sell their products and for customer management. Stock management and logistics were conducted in an in-house developed – product management system.
This process structure had the following list of issues:
- Maintainability: systems were too hard to maintain since a lot of unrelated information was stored in one place.
- Scalability: creating a new shop and integrating it into the process required a lot of effort and produced a list of new issues.
- Performance: GG Brands manufactured a big amount of products (more than 10000) and it was hard for the old systems to showcase an appropriate level of performance.
- Learnability: old approach had a lot of bottlenecks that had to be learned and were easy to forget by new employees.
When Artelogic was contracted as an IT vendor, the client faced two main needs: adjustment of all business processes and development of proper software solutions. As the company manages many business processes with a range of poorly integrated platforms, the first step had to be the business process audit and modeling. The client’s IT department has come up with a high-level plan for eCommerce software development that had to be itemized and decomposed into sub-projects and User Stories.
Artelogic’s Business Analysts created the Stakeholder Register and Communication Plan and conducted the elicitation phase by interviewing the stakeholders. To confirm the proper understanding BA team created BPMN models of the ‘how is’ state which serves as a starting point for creating the Improvement Plan.
To demonstrate the improvements Business Analysts have made BPMN models of ‘to be” states where new systems were involved. After a few rounds of brainstorming and confirming the changes, the BA team finalized the results.
Based on ‘to be’ BPMN models analysts created a list of user stories supported by acceptance criteria and functional and non-functional requirements.
The development phase was determined by the client’s decision to re-platform their sites, moving from WordPress to Shopify, and the outcomes of the BA research. So, the company’s IT department introduced the outline of the solution where the core should be a centralized product information management system based on AWS and integrated with scalable infrastructure. For purpose of logistics, procurement, and stock management was implemented a Microsoft Dynamics ERP platform.
To resolve the issues of the legacy systems it was decided to come up with a new process that will include new apps. The general logic of the apps derives from the necessity of keeping the data generated by each process separately. Meanwhile, as the processes are interconnected and rely on each other, the software architecture allows the communication of the system’s elements with the help of a custom app via API. So basically one project consisted of 3 projects that should create one global business process:
Shopify project – all WordPress-based websites should be rebuilt on the Shopify platform.
ERP project – as an EPR system Microsoft Dynamics was selected as the best suitable one. It should be the “source of truth” for all the products, will handle the communication with the logistics partners, and conduct stock management.
Middleware project – this is a custom app that will serve as a communicator between the systems in the whole business process. Also, it should have a UI that customer service can use for managing orders.
Artelogic’s developers were involved in the IT team who developed a custom eCommerce app that serves as a communicator between the systems in the whole business process. Also, it should have a UI that customer service can use for managing orders.
To assure the code quality, Artelogic’s experts conducted a range of testing: Quality Automation Test, Load Test, and Stress Test. As the system has become re-configured and was built with new elements and logic, strategically it is important to implement the constant process of Quality Assurance. Artelogic’s QA engineers developed the Test Plan and Test Cases that streamline the QA process on the client’s side.
As a result of collaboration with Artelogic, the client completed the transition from legacy systems, updated internal business processes, and implemented long-term Quality Assurance practices. In turn, the company’s assets (ERP and online shops) have become aligned with each other and better managed.