Tapping Sybase Mobile Technology to Increase Beer Sales in Spain
Movired, based in Madrid, is an IT business consulting and software development firm. It has more than ten years of experience analyzing core processes and building effective solutions for a broad range of clients including Nokia, General Dynamics, Liberty Insurance and others.
Movired focuses on the development of solutions that are compatible with existing and future systems and that have an operational life cycle that is not limited by proprietary technologies. Movired solutions are based on recognized, established standards that are appropriate to their clients’ business models.
For Estrella Galicia, a leading brand of beer in Spain, produced by the Hijos de Rivera, S.A. Brewery , Movired developed a mobile extension of the company’s core operational system to provide company managers and sales representatives with anywhere, anytime access to the information they require to service their customers and grow their relationships with customers more efficiently and effectively.
Designed to run on Android 3.1 tablets, this mobile application – Hermes – is powered by SQL Anywhere from Sybase.
Replacing Paper Processes
“Prior to the development of the Hermes mobile application,” explains David Palomar, Movired’s CTO, “sales and customer service managers used a variety of paper based processes to collect the information they required to build and maintain customer profiles and to prepare for and follow up on visits with customers. That information then had to be manually re-entered into the company’s back-end operational system, a process that took quite a bit of time. Additionally, as with any paper-based process, it was error prone.”
During this project, Movired assisted Estrella Galicia with consulting and development work beginning with an assessment of Estrella Galicia’s requirements. It then defined the functionality necessary to meet those requirements, developed, tested and implemented Hermes. The Hermes mobile application is designed to be used by employees working in sales, distribution and human resources and also to provide the company with the up-to-date business intelligence it needs to continue to thrive
“Estrella Galicia,” says Palomar, “laid out its requirements for the mobile application saying that it had to have high performance and easy to use interface with a great visual design; help users in their most valuable buisiness task: customer visits; and integrate seamlessly with the company’s back end systems. It also needed to have an embedded SQL database that could provide users with information critical to their onsite conversations and negotiations with customers even in the absence of a network connection. In such cases, users had to be able to reference and update the most recent information residing in the mobile application’s embedded database on their Android tablets and synchronize any new data with the company’s back end systems. As far as the technology aspects of the mobile solution, Estrella Galicia wanted the technology (other than the user interface) and any complexity inherent in that technology to be hidden from the users, allowing them to focus on their customer interactions.
Movired’s specific charge was to develop a mobile application that would enable users to:
- Create and manage personal and business schedules,
- Create and update detailed customer files,
- Document and manage sales and post-sales services,
- Support customer negotiation activities and other customer issue management,
- Assist in customer prospecting, and
- Track and access key performance indicators.
“SQL Anywhere was Simply the Best Solution for the Job”
Knowing from the start that the Hermes application would require a high performance, feature-rich, embedded relational database management system in order to meet Estrella Galicia’s requirements, Movired explored the available options and selected SQL Anywhere, Sybase’s comprehensive suite of solutions that provides data management, synchronization and data exchange technologies, enabling the rapid development and deployment of database-powered applications in remote and mobile environments .
“SQL Anywhere was simply the best solution for the job,” says Palomar. “Plus, the people at Sybase made it clear that they were interested in our success and would provide us with whatever support we might need.”
From the initial assessment phase of the development project to implementation to the first group of users took only five months. When the application is fully implemented, it will be deployed to 100 mobile users serving 60,000 customers across Spain.
The SQL Anywhere database embedded in the application residing on the Android tablets includes about 45 tables and typically about 11 megabytes of data. When users synchronize their data with Estrella Galicia’s centralized database, they usually synchronize 10 to 15 percent of that total, locally maintained data. The synchronization process, on average, takes about 20 seconds.
The Hermes mobile application also has a Web counterpart that provides a Web interface that company managers can access through the Estrella Galicia extranet to view the most up to date information about customer accounts.
A Clear Success
The implementation of this SQL Anywhere powered mobile application has been a clear success for Estrella Galicia. Company end-users and managers now have easier and more immediate access to higher quality customer information. Sales and service representatives are now more productive and have been able to focus on strengthening customer relationships and obtaining new customers. The application has also produced significant costs savings – three times the cost of the development of the application in just its first year of deployment.
Palomar adds, “Estrella Galicia’s corporate image has also benefited from the implementation of this application. It is seen as a very innovative company.
Movired expects to employ SQL Anywhere in future projects. “The SQL Anywhere product and the support we received from Sybase exceeded our expectations for the Estrella Galicia project,” says Palomar, “and we will be reusing the knowledge we gained during this project on other projects in the future.”