Integrating inRiver, a New Product Information Management (PIM) Platform
A PIM platform helps companies manage all the information necessary to market and sell products through every conceivable distribution channel. A robust PIM is essential for a company the size of GWA, but they were operating on an outdated homegrown platform that had become unwieldy, and they needed Net Solutions’ help to modernize the system. They also had to keep the legacy system working for 20-years for compliance reasons, while migrating all that data to inRiver‚ a more modern platform.
- The Challenge:The biggest hurdle Net Solutions faced was that the benchmarking reports revealed
inefficiencies when using inRiver directly. In response, Net Solutions created a pseudo-PIM on
Amazon Web Services (AWS) that imported and synced XML data directly from InRiver. Essentially, this meant that the
software that required data hosted by inRiver did not need to constantly talk to the inRiver system, thereby preventing
slowdowns. Instead, Net Solutions could take the data, put it on AWS, and use AWS as the alternative, faster source.
- The Result: The AWS-hosted proxy to the actual InRiver PIM greatly sped up the experience of the websites and apps
connected to it, and the internal PIM received a UX overhaul and a refreshed tech stack. This meant that the GWA
staff that needed to use it for the duration of the compliance stage would be able to do so efficiently.
Innovative Sales Technology Tools
GWA engaged Net Solutions to help them augment four key sales processes.
- In-store Kiosks to Read Product Tags: GWA’s research found that when customers shop in their physical
venues, they often want to get more information on the products that interest them. Online shoppers can learn more
about a product with a few simple clicks, but in-store GWA shoppers never had that ability until Net Solutions designed
an innovative system.
Today, when in-store shoppers want to learn more about a product, they can take a special tag from the product display
and scan it on an in-store Kiosk to get more information. Plus, they can add the product to a wish list, which can be
used to create a personalized proposal.
- Virtual Store Walkthrough: Online shoppers can now use a photograph-based virtual walkthrough that
provides an immersive 360-degree view of the brand store.
- Sales App to Support Field Sales Staff: GWA wanted to provide their sales staff with an iPad app that would
allow them to display products to customers in-person and empower the staff to generate proposals immediately, while they
were still with clients.
The challenge was that the median age of GWA’s field sales staff was over 50, placing many of them on the other side of the
digital divide. With this in mind, Net Solutions created an extremely user-friendly app that mature sales reps could use and
adopt without experiencing frustration.
- Connecting End-consumers with GWA’s Retailers: Net Solutions helped GWA launch a B2B eCommerce website on
Drupal 8 that connects those looking for their products directly with the merchants that sell them.
Helping to Build GWA’s
Flagship Product: Smart
After successfully implementing each of these successful projects, GWA felt confident that
Net Solutions could handle anything they threw their way. That’s when GWA asked them to help with a key component of their
new commercial water management system called Smart Command, which would become the company’s flagship product.
Smart Command is a cutting-edge solution that allows commercial venues
(e.g, malls, business offices) to track water usage throughout their facilities in real-time. This Internet of Things (IoT)
based solution was designed by GWA's team, who focused on the hardware component of the product. Meanwhile, Net Solutions
created the software that reads all the data and displays it in meaningful ways. This component is the central reporting
interface that sits on top of all the data that the IoT devices generate & send about water usage.
How did Net Solutions do it? They created a visualization front-end using Highcharts.
The data was taken from the MySQL instance where IoT devices feed the usage data. The thousands of data points were
synced every few minutes and processed to show highly dynamic and insightful charts on a large screen in near real time
about the water usage of various products.
GWA showcased the solution at the World Plumber Conference that year in Melbourne,
Australia, and it has since been featured as an example of innovative smart-office solutions.
When I demonstrated the design prototype for the IoT platform, senior leaders were blown away. The designs are
amazing and much better than any international design agency I had previously worked with. They demonstrated
great design thinking, taste, and simplicity.
Manager at GWA