Agiliway https://agiliway.com Thu, 20 Sep 2018 10:16:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Agiliway at DMEXCO 2018 https://agiliway.com/agiliway-at-dmexco-2018/ Wed, 19 Sep 2018 09:58:16 +0000 https://agiliway.com/?p=2154 Read more »]]>

On September 12-13, 2018 Agiliway attended DMEXCO – one of the major digital marketing conferences in the world that defines itself as ‘the meeting place for key players in digital business, marketing and innovation’. This year, the event traditionally held in Cologne, Germany has attracted over 1,000 exhibitors from 40 countries to shake the 100,000-square-meter Koelnmesse Expo space with latest products and most topical discussions. Agiliway has been one of the exhibitors presenting its mobile application for CiviCRM users – CiviMobile and other software development and consulting services we provide.

Agiliway Booth at DMEXCO 2018

Although it was difficult for other participants to match the popularity of the stands of Google, Spotify or LinkedIn, our stand has gained much attention. All day long, our team responded to questions of the enquiring visitors and discussed latest trends and partnership opportunities with colleagues. We have luckily met our existing clients visiting DMEXCO and made many new contacts. Visitors were particularly interested in our expertise in TYPO3, e-commerce and mobile development and we have even received several requests to build mobile versions of existing products.

The motto of the DMEXCO exposition and conference of 2018 was Take C.A.R.E. emphasizing Curiosity, Action, Responsibility and Experience. Thus, Agiliway had these expectations of DMEXCO in mind when planning its stand and its participation in the way that fueled curiosity among visitors, demonstrated corporate responsibility, and provided visitors with a chance to experience our products. We also cared to create little cute surprises for our visitors, so that people from around the world could taste original ‘Agiliway’ sweets.

Agiliway Fliers at DMEXCO 2018

At the same time, we did use a few spare moments to attend to the top speakers that define the course of development of the industry today. In particular, Karl Bunch, Technical Leader of Amazon Web Services, Philipp Schindler, Chief Business Officer at Google, or Nico Rosberg, former Formula 1 world champion and investor. We were also interested in presenters at Startup Village who inspired us with creative innovative ideas and interesting cases.

Overall, DMEXCO has become a good experience for Agiliway and a great chance to claim ourselves as serious industry players. We are eager to participate in DMEXCO in future years too, so that it becomes a meeting place with our partners and clients. If you want to meet Agiliway on this or another international event, please contact us for details.

]]>
TYPO3 Sprints – An Interview With Our TYPO3 Engineer https://agiliway.com/typo3-sprints-an-interview-with-our-typo3-engineer/ Mon, 20 Aug 2018 14:43:36 +0000 https://agiliway.com/?p=2137 Read more »]]> TYPO3 Specialist

TYPO3, a flexible and powerful open source CMS, has long become one of the important competencies of our company. Agiliway works with TYPO3 on a regular basis to provide top-notch IT solutions and carry out ambitious projects for our clients. More than that, our TYPO3 engineers are active contributors to the open source project regularly participating of TYPO3 sprints. In this short interview, we asked one of such TYPO3 specialists, Yaroslav, to share with us his experience and ideas about this TYPO3 event.

Q.: Yaroslav, please, tell us how you got engaged in TYPO3 sprints?

Y.T.: I had been working with TYPO3 for four years already when my friend and coworker told me about TYPO3 sprints. It was he who introduced me to the community and facilitated my participation in sprints. At that time, we were creating TYPO3.org, my.typo3.org and extensions.typo3.org websites, so the sprint was meant to solve some practical issues we were facing. For example, on October 2017 sprint in Stuttgart, I teamed up with Harry Glatz to solve layout issues. We added sortable tables, ajax login state, improved the layout of a slider and font loading. In January, 2018, we have developed a lot of improvements to the layout too (More details about this sprint may be found in this TYPO3 article)

Q.: There are many events related to TYPO3, TYPO3camp and TYPO3 Developer Days (DevDays) among them. How do sprints differ from other events?

Y.T.: DevDays and TYPO3camps are great events too, but they do differ from code sprints. For example, although DevDays may host sprints where practical issues are resolved (for example, we had a sprint night during a DevDay in Malmo, Sweden), they are primarily developer oriented.

TYPO3camps are the community events, which cater to the needs and interests of the participants. They gather developers, companies and simply interested people to share and generate new ideas and make new contacts. TYPO3 sprints in their turn are designed to make the very project, not only individual TYPO3 developers better. Sprints are practically oriented and each sprint is organised to solve a certain issue or improve a definite feature. They are not necessarily code oriented, as there are sprints for improving design, documentation or education too. The TYPO3 community has a roadmap for improving the project, which clearly shows the schedule of sprints, the goals of each sprint, and their statuses: finished, in progress or planned. Thus, the peculiarity of this event is that each sprint has a clear practical goal and tangible results.

Q.: How many sprints have you attended? How does a TYPO3 sprint look like?

Y.T.: I have been on TYPO3 sprints for 5 or 6 times in different cities of Germany. Last year, all the sprints I have attended in Germany accounted for one month I guess. Sprints took place in companies, which were platinum partners of TYPO3. We assembled early in the morning, outlined the tasks we had to complete to reach the sprint’s goals, split into teams, and… coded until late at night. A friend of mine, Mattias Nilsson who introduced me to the relaunch team, says he’s too old for this thing, sprints! (Laughing). Of course, we had breaks, but everyone was so passionate about what he did, that it was impossible to keep us away from work for too long. Now, sprints are mostly remote. Each Friday, there is a call during which open issues and projects we are trying to implement are discussed, so it is even easier to join.

Q.: Please, tell more about this. How can a developer join a TYPO3 sprint? Are there any requirements in terms of experience or a level of expertise?

Y.T.: No, there are no specific requirements, just the wish to contribute to the open source project is needed. Of course, the biggest contribution is delivered by guru developers, but juniors and testers can provide valuable assistance too. Links inviting to join the sprints may be easily found on the TYPO3 website. I would be happy to refer somebody directly too.

Q.: Yaroslav, what have TYPO3 sprints meant for you? What change have they made?

Y.T.: TYPO3 sprints have been an incredible experience for me. Of course, they have affected my career, but they have also boosted my motivation. I was really amazed at how big and well-organised an open source community can be, and it feels great to be a part of it. In addition to increasing TYPO3 skills, I have learned a lot about how various IT companies work and can now share this experience within Agiliway too. What’s more, I have made friends with great like-minded people from other countries who helped me to progress and whom I love to meet on Dev Days now.

Stuttgart TYPO3 Sprints

Yaroslav (on the left) with other members of October 2017 sprint in Stuttgart (Photo by typo3.org)

Q.: Would you recommend other developers to attend TYPO3 sprints?

For sure! All events of the project are great, but if you really want to make your contribution to the CMS, which makes your job, your specialisation, your passion – TYPO3 sprint is right for you! I have always been trying to engage developers from Ukraine to attend sprints and I have actually discussed the development of TYPO3 association in Ukraine with Olivier Dobberkau, the President of TYPO3 Association. He emphasised that he places the high priority on the development of community and promised to support the development of our association and its participation in various events, so I do encourage Ukrainian TYPO3 specialists to lean in.

Q.: Thank you! It is great to have you on board!

Y.T.: Thank you.

P.S. Agiliway continues to actively interact with a TYPO3 community. Already this September, our engineers are participating in TYPO3 East Europe (T3EE) in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Hope to see some of our readers there!

]]>
Agiliway Has Turned Three! Company Day 2018 https://agiliway.com/agiliway-has-turned-three-company-day-2018/ Sun, 05 Aug 2018 08:10:43 +0000 https://agiliway.com/?p=2129 Read more »]]>

The beginning of August is a much anticipated period among the Agiliway team. We have already established a tradition of celebrating a Company Day in an exceptional and unforgettable way, and it is great we can share this tradition with new members of our ever-growing family. This year, Agiliway has turned three, and it is as ambitious and bold as heroes of Wild West, which was the theme of our great celebration party!

Quests at Agiliway 3rd Birthday Party

The event was held on 3rd of August in the Vikings Bay resort complex. After a short trip to the complex, everyone could have refreshment drinks, aperitifs and appetizers, walk around the enjoyable and picturesque spot, or have fun taking cool photos at the photozone. Pistols, cowboy hats and boots, and a large bag of money were unlikely to stay out of sight 🙂

Wild West Party at Agiliway 3rd Birthday Party

It was great to hear the words of inspiration and appreciation from our founders who announced the latest information: amazingly, the company grew to 99 people in just three years! Some of us have already noticed this change, as it took 5 large tables to host us all. Still, neither comfy tables nor tasty treats could keep us long from the active pastime offered: traditional football competition, swimming and sunbathing by the lake, and an exciting quest where teams could compete each other in climbing a rope course, riding velomobiles and scoring points in a shooting gallery. The heat of the competition continued on the dance floor where teams contested in speed and creativity.

Celebrating Agiliway's 3rd Birthday Party

It was incredible to see so many people dancing to the music played by a live band and enjoying themselves all evening long. For sure, Agiliway has gathered not only the best experts, but also young (irrespective of age) and positive people!

Dancing at Agiliway 3rd Birthday Party

We revelled, chanted and blew off the candles on the cake together feeling proud of the company that has united us into a big yet close-knit team. Happy birthday to you, Agiliway! Grow big and successful!

Birthday Cake at Agiliway 3rd Birthday Party

]]> CiviMobile – a Native Mobile Application for CiviCRM https://agiliway.com/civimobile-a-native-mobile-application-for-civicrm/ Thu, 26 Jul 2018 08:26:11 +0000 https://agiliway.com/?p=2090 Read more »]]> The constituents of NGOs and nonprofits regularly leave the workplace to work with the local communities or vulnerable groups. As a result, members of organisations often lack an access to the CRM system and cannot find the necessary information on their cases during the fieldwork. Agiliway has developed a mobile application for CiviCRM – CiviMobile – that allows organisations’ members to reach their CiviCRM databases anywhere and anytime.

]]>
Magento vs. OXID: Which E-commerce Solution To Choose? https://agiliway.com/magento-vs-oxid-which-e-commerce-solution-to-choose/ Sat, 19 May 2018 13:03:33 +0000 https://agiliway.com/?p=2109 Read more »]]>

Agiliway continues familiarising current and prospective website owners with various e-commerce platforms so that they make a good and well-informed choice, which will have an ultimate effect on their businesses. We have already presented the comparison of different popular solutions for e-shops such as Magento, Woo-Commerce, Shopify, Aimeos, Opencart, E-Commerce module of Odoo ERP in our previous articles. Now, when Agiliway has developed a new e-commerce competency – OXID, we would like to share our insights into the platform comparing it with Magento.

It should be noted that while OXID has only 0,2% of the global e-commerce platforms market share comparing to Magento’s 10,8%, it is a very popular e-commerce platform in Germany, its “home country”, where Magento and OXID are the two market leaders. This might be due to the lack of English documentation and support, which prevents OXID from becoming better known in other countries. Despite the low market share, the two systems are definitely worth attention.

Magento and OXID have free open source Community and paid Enterprise editions. The Enterprise Edition of Magento would cost you a bit more than OXID’s (18,000 Euro vs 15,000 Euro respectively), but the support will be included into the price, while OXID will additionally charge 270 Euros per month for this service. What is more, the interface and each new tenant in the OXID EE will cost you additional 3,000 Euros. B2B functions within the Enterprise Edition of OXID are also optional and cost extra money.

Let us have a closer look at the two e-commerce platforms comparing them against the following characteristics:

  1. Functionality.Both Magento and OXID have great functional depth and are highly customisable. Both platforms integrate ERP, CRM and social media and suggest a wide variety of promotional and marketing tools. Both platforms are good for creating multilingual websites with the support of multiple payment options. However, while the ability to create multiple stores and advanced individual customisation options via templates is available in Magento already in the community version, you will have to buy an Oxid Enterprise Edition to benefit from these features. The responsive templates and ability to distribute rights and roles, which are basic features of Magento, are also not available in OXID’s free edition too.
  2. E-commerce. It is important that Magento and OXID allow creating an omnichannel customer experience, linking on-sight and online means of interaction with the customer in particular. In addition, Magento allows instant purchases for recurring buyers and has a number of features designed specifically for B2B business (advanced workflow promoting quote responsiveness, permission to edit company accounts and track quotes history, ability to assign custom catalogues and pricing to a particular customer, etc.), which has made the platform the leader of B2B commerce in 2017. OXID has been serving B2B since 2015 too, but one has to buy a special Enterprise edition for B2B marketing.
  3. Customization and development. Both platforms are highly customisable and use object-oriented programming (OOP), the great benefit of which is encapsulation allowing work on different objects simultaneously and easier troubleshooting. However, Magento has a steep learning curve and is generally considered more difficult to program, so inexperienced users with limited tech knowledge will have to spend much time learning to configure and customise the platform. OXID, on the other hand, is considered less difficult to learn. In addition, our experts point to the platforms’ use of the Smarty template engine, used for the creation of unique front-end designs. The latter feature, which Magento lacks, considerably facilitates and speeds up the creation of templates. The recent OXID decision to work with Symphony, a popular PHP framework, further contributes to faster and easier coding experience. Still, Magento is very well-documented and have a very large online community to help the programmer learn, while mastering OXID resembles collecting tiny bits of information from various sources. The lower popularity of the platform also translates into fewer cases considered on the net, which programmers can make use of. And… of course, there is no way of coming to grips with OXID speaking no German, as OXID’s documentation, support and community is almost all German-speaking.
  4. Support. In Magento, support is fast and free, although users often emphasise that any related question seem to have been already answered and available on the net. As it has already been mentioned, the OXID’s support is mainly German-speaking. In addition, it is not free even in an enterprise version.
  5. Cost of Hosting. Being a high-performance platform, Magento requires a good hosting solution, which may drive the hosting cost up. In particular, Magento servers must run modern Linux kernel, Apache or Nginx web daemon, and PHP versions. Comparing to Magento, OXID is more lightweight and easier to host. For one e-shop with a few thousand articles, a shared hosting will suffice.

Conclusion

Magento and OXID are two great e-commerce solutions in terms of functionality and marketing solutions. When choosing what platform to work with, you should remember that Magento has bigger learning curve and higher hosting demands, but a much bigger community and a reliable free support. On the other hand, OXID is easier to host and to program, but has no structured documentation and little information about the platform is provided in English. If your organisation lacks skilled professionals or knowledge of German, do not give up on your prefered choice – you may refer to our team, having strong expertise in both Magento and OXID to help you install and customize your ecommerce platform, as well as add custom extensions addressing specific needs of your business.

]]>
KPI Module for CiviCRM https://agiliway.com/kpi-module-for-civicrm/ Tue, 24 Apr 2018 01:43:42 +0000 https://agiliway.com/?p=2018 Read more »]]> To lead an organization to the top-notch performance and reach strategic goals, the management should have an elaborate system of measuring a key performance indicator (KPI), which further can be used to develop performance improvement initiatives. NGOs and non-profits typically measure KPI using parameters such as members/supporters growth and retention ratio, the number of constituent requests served, the speed of case resolution or the number of contributions and funds risen. All this data is already available in CiviCRM, so it makes sense to use it to build a system for measuring KPIs. This is what Agiliway has recently done developing a KPI module, which is integrated with CiviCRM solution we have implemented for one of our clients.

]]>
TYPO3 Performance Issue: How We Resolved It https://agiliway.com/typo3-performance-issue-how-we-resolved-it/ Tue, 10 Apr 2018 15:31:38 +0000 https://agiliway.com/?p=2122 Read more »]]>

When a new product is launched, the task that tops the to-do list is usually predetermined. The team concentrates its efforts on building the minimum viable product (MVP) and thus turns an idea into something tangible for users at the earliest date. By getting the product in the MVP stage out to the focus group, the team collects feedback, modifies the concept in line with the user preferences and sets priorities for the future rollout version.

This is how ROI4CIO project started off. From day one this project had all the hallmarks of a unique venture that promised to revolutionalize collaboration and sales processes in the IT sector. Cutting-edge AI technology, new business model and dedicated focus on detail-oriented execution, it stands to reason why the ROI4CIO release was so much anticipated. As a proof of concept, Agiliway team implemented a quick solution with TYPO3 CMS. At this stage, the solution had all those core features sufficient to deploy the product. TYPO3 CMS successfully covered the necessary functionality (user interface visualization, data storage, processing of customer requests and responses).

Further, the original roadmap anticipated building fully functioning solution within Laravel framework after successful MVP. Such migration to PHP framework had to step up an early prototype to the scalable and fully reliable version that works under a heavy load. Yet the client decided to put the migration on hold until new important features were added.

As we integrated new features, turned ROI4CIO into a TYPO3 collaboration platform with advanced logic and complex configuration options, a system performance issues started to interfere.

Troubleshooting TYPO3 Performance Issue

CMS was running slow, took longer to respond or stopped responding. Large ORM objects caused average response time to fall dramatically under peak load. Accordingly, too many queries running at page load created bad experiences with performance.

Before users could start taking advantage of all that added functionality, Agiliway team had to find a way to reconcile complex system models with slow website load and response time. The solution came gradually. Neither a short-cut nor a trap of never-ending missteps, the problem-solving process took place in several stages.

Stage 1: Utilizing TYPO3 default settings of cache configuration

At the very outset using the default TYPO3 cache settings for the Redis cache seemed an obvious solution to the performance issue. Redis would cache queries, pages with static information and the front-end part. The measure significantly improved processes, yet the effect was only temporary. Tideways.io profiling for pages that send and receive multiple HTTP requests/responses located bottlenecks both in TYPO3 and server settings. In particular, inefficiencies associated with web service called for user data session management, created the need to cache ViewHelpers and Formhendler as well as use the lazy load design pattern to process large data objects. The issue was addressed by changing TYPO3 default settings and transferring the user data session from the database to Redis Cache. These measures improved the web site performance, optimized TYPO3 Fluid plugin and the TYPO3 extension Formhandler. For obvious reasons, the solution proved effective only in the short run.

Stage 2: Rebuilding TYPO3 data layer

As the solution grew, the new features started showing a growing number of related business objects with a large number of data records. TYPO3 has become slow in processing requests with multiple related objects, so we decided to review the ORM structure of TYPO3 and to optimize it. In the first place, we rewrote the main queries built by the core TYPO3 extensions.

Going further, we conducted a global analysis of the ORM relationships. As a result, the team constructed a new structure of database queries and redesigned the database structure. ORMs relationship was replaced with Individual Database Queries.

These actions reduced the number of requests from particular pages, which led to a dramatic impact on TYPO3 performance – page load speed increased 3-10 times depending on a page.

Stage 3: Upgrading to latest PHP 7.2 version

The project kept evolving, requests for new features and an improvement to an existing functionality kept pouring in, gradually wearing off this short-term effect of the suggested solution. Given the growing number of users and the vast amount of ever-expanding information on the website, Agiliway team considered moving away from the monolith system built for the beta version and adopt a scalable architecture for fast and stable website performance. In the light of new features, functions, and performance enhancements the latest PHP 7.2 version had to offer, migrating to PHP 7.2 was defined as an uppermost task.

PHP 7.2 offered around a 40% improvement in performance speed. For comparison, when using PHP 5.6, the page took about 3.5 seconds to load, while after moving to PHP 7.2 the page load time index dropped to 2 seconds. Similarly, Start Render and Response time indices increased by 30-40%.

Stage 4: Migration from Apache/ mod_php to Nginx / PHP-FPM

Equipped with some great new features and improvements following PHP 7.2 upgrade, we went for another important update, that is migration from Apache/ mod_php to Nginx / PHP-FPM. Apache/ mod_php, though popular and easy-to-setup web server, is quite inefficient for PHP applications where performance is a crucial quality attribute. On the contrary, built for maximum performance and stability, Nginx displays features fairly fit for the purpose:

  • fast, reliable, highly customizable web server;
  • effectively maintains static content and redirects dynamic queries to PHP-FPM;
  • highly modular for extensive functionality;
  • uses a reactor pattern (event-driven approach) to handle a large amount of simultaneous connections;
  • excellent documentation and strong tech support from Nginx team.

The transition to Nginx ensured a 30% increase in speed and efficiency with which requests are processed to the database. Such improvement positively affected the website performance and increased the max number of simultaneous user connections 3 times.

Stage 5: Leveraging Amazon Web Services

When a website experiences increased traffic and offers extensive functionality, a strain is also put on a cloud service platform. For this reason, Agiliway team set out to ensure a cloud service platform can efficiently deliver the solution by leveraging the latest powerful cloud-based best services. The decision was made to move to AWS (Amazon Web Services) platform known for its increased scalability. To solve the problem of a high load on the website and database, the cluster group was created and certain features added, in particular:

  • Database server copy and two read replicas. Read-only queries to a database would be read from the read replica while write-only queries written in the database;
  • ROI4CIO service containerization was implemented;
  • Amazon ECS would support multiple containers. When the generator uses over 80% CPU an additional container is launched;
  • Amazon CloudFront service was configured for media content management. All content would be stored in an Amazon S3 bucket that supports CloudFront content distribution;
  • Amazon ElasticCache service (Redis) was installed and configured for ROI4CIO service.

In retrospect, resolving TYPO3 performance issue at times felt like breaking the back of the beast. With our backs to the wall, our team rose to the challenge by upgrading the entire system based on TYPO3 CMS to the new PHP version, simultaneously migrating from Apache to Nginx and stepping up cloud hosting services. We had to fix malfunctioning extensions, change server configurations and TYPO3 settings. With all these actions, not only did we speed up request processing and shortened the website response time, but also took the load off the primary as well as the database server.

]]>
Agiliway Wishes You Happy Easter! https://agiliway.com/agiliway-wishes-you-happy-easter/ Tue, 27 Mar 2018 15:40:05 +0000 https://agiliway.com/?p=1932 Read more »]]>

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Finally, after true snowy winter, spring has come, this is a period of new beginnings, new hopes, and goals. The arrival of spring brings a lot of pleasurable excitement for us as early sunbeams tickling our skin, first leaves and colorful flowerbeds.

There are so plenty reasons to love this season, but the most significant for all Christians is Easter holidays. This is the time to appreciate the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and his tremendous love for us.

From all of us at Agiliway we want to congratulate you on the upcoming holidays and wish may the miracle of Easter bring health, love, and happiness to your home. May Easter Sunday inspires you to new hope, accomplishments and dreams.

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Have a happy and peaceful Easter!

]]>
New Version of Graphical Calendar and Calendar Dashlet Released https://agiliway.com/new-version-of-graphical-calendar-and-calendar-dashlet-released/ Thu, 22 Mar 2018 17:49:20 +0000 https://agiliway.com/?p=2005 At the end of this February Agiliway released the updated version of our Graphical CRM Calendar. Now CiviCRM extension contains a number of new cool features which make its use much easier and much more comfortable.

]]>
Agiliway Releases TYPO3 Collaboration Platform For CIO https://agiliway.com/agiliway-releases-typo3-collaboration-platform-for-cio/ Fri, 02 Feb 2018 13:09:39 +0000 https://agiliway.com/?p=1942 Read more »]]>

When product discovery gets easier for users, large marketplace puts up its plate for multiple vendors and service suppliers, while costs lower for all players, the IT industry gets thumbs-up. It has seen to it that millions of businesses across a wide spectrum of industries use trade portals and collaboration platforms to grow, streamline processes, reach clients and create partnerships. Yet, who gets to take care of the IT industry?

Inefficiencies In IT Collaboration And Sales Processes

Two years ago Agiliway partnered with ROI4CIO project initiators, sharing their concern about the inefficient collaboration and sales processes in the IT sector.

As new technologies constantly emerge and hi-tech business needs grow, the role of CIO in the company goes far beyond traditional IT management. Today, creating business value through technology means going over an expanding IT market in search of the most value-added products. Such decision-process shaping work is usually long, tedious and resource-intensive. It stands to reason why the list of skills an executive scrambles to fill varies from data management skills, expertise in compliance and security to corporate financial skills and legal expertise. At best, the IT solution is based on conflicting views coming from various IT market players: resellers, integrators, distributors, suppliers. Still, more often than not, the sights shift to the most “popular” IT product.

Take the matters to the other side and the pitfalls slowing down the selling process are equally as common. First, IT vendors and suppliers engage in a whole array of activities such as vendor-customer relationships management, researching prospects, working on presentations to name a few. After successful completion, they spend most of their time preparing quotations, giving estimates, calculating fixed and variable costs only to face the need of further multiple recalculations later as the customers often second-guess their decisions and change requirements.

ROI4CIO: Exploring Benefits For IT Vendors, Suppliers And Users

Upon release of TYPO3 collaboration platform for CIO, Agiliway completes ROI4CIO project and marks start of a new phase in the IT collaboration and sales processes where all the aforementioned stumbling blocks are no longer regarded as a necessary evil.

Unlike any other B2B portal or marketplace, ROI4CIO platform goes far beyond automation of B2B sales. In the simplest terms, ROI4CIO is a powerful platform for choosing between multiple solution alternatives the most appropriate one based on business tasks. It places a premium on an optimized cooperation between IT vendors, suppliers and business entities by automating price and ROI calculation for a selected IT solution.

Suppose the client plans to streamline business operations by setting the course for lead time reduction. Instead of searching through tons of resources, browsing multiple web pages or consulting with specialists to map a path through the maze of existing solutions, the user of ROI4CIO service:

  • simply enters relevant parameters (company size, industry, business task, etc.) and the software algorithm ROI4CIO returns several solutions ranked by the percentage of matches with specified requirements;
  • with a single click receives an estimate of implementation costs based on specific individual requirements;
  • compares existing IT solutions and sees examples of their deployment by other users;
  • instantly calculates ROI of solutions;
  • learns about the results of the implementation of other users;
  • requests commercial offers for IT solutions.

Accordingly, ROI4CIO delivers tangible benefits to IT vendors and suppliers turning former pain points into drivers of business opportunities and revenue streams. The process of closing the deal will no longer be costly, tedious or put up impassable barriers to an agreement as ROI4CIO collaboration platform presents a host of tools to help IT vendors and suppliers:

  • reduce the cost and timing of sales by calculating the financial flows of implementation based on varying specifications;
  • determine financial benefits by calculation ROI of IT solutions;
  • expand the customer base by drawing leads and requests for a commercial offer;
  • make their IT competencies, solutions and implementations visible to prospects;
  • identify the IT market needs and expand their portfolio of IT solutions;
  • form partnership with IT vendors and suppliers.

That being the case, deals are now closed 50% faster, while time spent calculating specifications for customers is reduced to 90%.

ROI4CIO Platform Development: Agiliway Turns Challenges Into Solution

Automation of pricing and instant configuration of specifications are obviously value adds ROI4CIO brought to business entities seeking and offering an IT solution. Yet it didn’t happen in a wink nor did it come easy. Armed with a solid project strategy, Agiliway team had to utilize its prior experience in implementing Artificial Intelligence technologies, develop new competencies, change perspective a few times before it turned the following challenges into a unique solution.

1. Searching For Reliable Platform

Initially the sights were set on creating a catalog of IT solutions that allows for filtering products and services by specified requirements. To demonstrate flawless performance, the platform chosen for the purpose had to fit the bill for accessibility, scalability, responsiveness, and functionality. After much thought and careful consideration, Agiliway set the seal on TYPO3 CMS which proved effective in our earlier projects when similar criteria were a priority. Once again our team fully utilized TYPO3 capacity and released an alpha version of the service strong on following merits:

  • secure data processing grants the corporate information remains confidential;
  • fast data processing pipelines guarantee a response in real time;
  • scalable architecture adapts to users from different regions;
  • extension possibility allows for solution selection logic and parameters modification;
  • ease of support after deployment.

2. Developing AI Algorithm For Smart Solution Selection

It didn’t take long to see that the chosen path has led us to our destination. The service was up and running in compliance with requirements. Rewarding and far-reaching as this path was, our client had no plans to stop right then. During the production stage, it already became clear that the service requires more advanced logic to fit the needs of users.

Since business tasks and methods of profitability calculation vary significantly among business entities, Agiliway team managed to develop a complex AI (Artificial Intelligence) algorithm that searches through the IT solutions space to find the optimal one specific for each client’s requirements, company characteristics. In this scenario, the logic why one solution is preferred over another is programmed by ROI4CIO AI search algorithm.

3. Automating The Process Of ROI Calculation

IT Solution For ROI Calculation

As it happens IT managers, vendors and suppliers still keep it to old time-sapping ways and use Excel tables to calculate software costs or ROI. The decision was made to develop a feature for automatic price and ROI calculations, that is ROI calculator. It automatically calculates the profitability of investment into IT solution accounting for a host of parameters: operating costs, initial costs, time of forecasting, the risk of models and implementation, user’s requirements. IT vendors and suppliers will need to input only price lists, while ROI calculator will do the math.

4. Expanding TYPO3 Functionality

A great advantage of TYPO3 CMS is its unlimited possibility of extension. In addition to extending the base functionality of ROI4CIO solution selection and calculations and developing new TYPO3 modules respectively, Agiliway created additional plug-ins to add new service operations and improve the user experience. These include:

  • form-template builder allows customizing a form based on individual preferences;
  • object (supplier, vendor, product, etc.) change tracker follows the history of modifications made to an entity;
  • contacts processing module supports contacts management;
  • entity processing module manages products, solutions, implementations, etc.;
  • internal request processing module.

Despite its advanced features, the platform was designed with a user friendly customizable interface, which makes it a pleasure to work with.

5. Generating PDF Form Data

The process of decision making usually starts with data collection and goes through a few more equally crucial stages. When an IT manager is involved in the process, one of the stages is presenting a decision or proposal to senior executives who’ll weigh options and call to action. To make it less of a hassle for an IT manager ROI4CIO automatically and very conveniently imports into a PDF file data about suitable IT solutions with costs, returns, trade-offs, numbers of implementations calculated.

6. Solving Performance Issues

What began as a catalog of IT solutions gradually turned into a platform with advanced configuration options and a service with an advanced logic. Business challenges the service solves and benefits it provides drew IT-vendors, suppliers, distributors, resellers. Given the size of the catalog, a variety of advanced features and modular design of the platform, performance problems started plaguing the service. We took an action and optimized TYPO3 platform in terms of speed and performance. The window load time now takes up to 2-3sec.

7. Managing Access Control

Developing a collaboration platform where users share resources, transmit information between servers, communicate, cooperate and leaving a security issue unattended is a matter of utter negligence. That’s the reason why this issue was resolved in the first place with a complex control policy for accessing resources and activities.

Dedicated work on ROI4CIO project, attention to every detail, close cooperation with potential customers and focus groups bore fruit. Our TYPO3 solution performs as expected. It has something rare to offer, namely an accurate analysis of IT solutions on numerous counts. ROI4CIO neural network algorithm selects the best IT solution based on entered criteria, while ROI-calculator determines the financial benefits of the IT solution before its deployment. Add to the list an optimized system performance, complex access control policy, feedback on deployment results, few plugins for improved user experience and the desired outcome came on short notice.

]]>