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Customer Portals & Product Information Management

Hear how Customer Portals and Product Information Management (PIM) can streamline your operations, save time, and empower your customers.

In this brief executive webinar cover the benefits of a fully integrated Client/Supplier Portal and PIM system into your SAP ERP system.

Interested in learning more? Contact us here


Let's get started here. Hello, everyone. Welcome to Navigator Business Solutions, customer experience webinar. We're super excited to welcome our partner Applications Platform to present our customer portal and (Product Information Management) PIM It's an unbelievable solution. We're super excited about it.
So with that, let me turn it over to Chris Michalczuk from Applications Platform and he will guide us through the demo. Just really quick before you take over, everyone is placed on mute and the reason for that is, GoToWebinar, has some crazy echoing from time to time and also to cut down on background noise. So we're going to go through the presentation, at the end of the presentation We are going to leave a little time for questions. So if you have any questions, just in the sidebar GoToWebinar, that should be on your screen. There's a questions chat box. There's a questions and there's also a chat box, but just utilize the questions one and we'll monitor that. And again, we'll save all questions for, for the end. And then if we don't by chance get to some questions, we'll follow up with folks.
All right, Chris it's all yours.

All right. Thanks very much. As Jack said, my name's Chris Michalczuk I'm head of sales for Applications Platform. And I'm sitting here in Portsmouth, UK, very excited to be working with Navigator. What we are looking to do in this session is to give you an introduction to the Applications Platform framework, which is a very modern, low code development platform, for rapid application development. That will enable you to get to market quicker and actually, get benefits from dealing with customers, suppliers, and various other people through portals and some of the applications that can be built with this very strong, integration with the SAP (SAP Business One and SAP Business ByDesign) suite and also of course, with Navigator, and with Loxodo WMS.
So, you know, we're very excited to be working with these guys. What I'm going to do is probably spend about one minute just positioning where, what Applications Platform is and where it sits. And then I'm just going to go into a quick show, tell show, of a portal, go through what people use portals for, from a business to business perspective, which is lots and lots of different things and what you can do, but shows you some of the templates. I'm also going to introduce you to our product information management application (PIM) how it's used in the portal and how people use it in a wider sense to integrate with eCommerce platforms and, and whatever.

So, the most important question really is how do we want to engage or how do clients want to engage with us today in the world?
So why use a portal? What are portals, if you think about it, the key thing is to give the client a much more friendly, much better experience of doing business with us making it easier for them, giving them access to more information than just by sending emails or phone calls or whatever, but effortlessly share that information. But most importantly, of course allowing the customer to do self-serve in a modern way. The clients are very big on and are very used now to, using eCommerce platforms, Amazon eBay shopping, with multiple e-commerce platforms. More and more people, every single discussion I have, is around, a portal.

  • How do I get invoice?
  • How do I get my invoice data?
  • How can I pay for a bill?
  • How can I place an order online?
  • How can I do these types of things?

So, you know, portals are becoming more important in how people transact, and relate to people. The trouble that you have is that a lot of that data is in backend systems. So we all know whether it be SAP, whether it be a WMS, whether it be folders that have documents and, and the, like, if we want to serve that information up to customers through a portal through other means, it's very, very difficult and very, very time consuming. So effectively integration plays an incredibly important role within this. Applications Platform is a cloud-based framework that allows us to push and pull data from backend systems, such as Loxodo WMS and SAP, and present that information via a portal to customers or suppliers or other people through that.

The portal is an extension of Applications Platform. Applications Platform itself is a modern framework. It's very much a point and click type scenario. It's not one of these environments where you're having to write myriads of code, it's incredibly customizable, it's incredibly configurable. So we spend more time on configuration rather than on building or coding, it's a low code platform because it's a modern platform. It has all of the security elements that you would expect. So when somebody logs onto a portal you know they may be using single sign on multifactor authentication. Ie. You get a text message to say, do this, you know, the capture type scenario's got all of that security built in, as you would expect equally, it's mobile compliant. So, if you want your customers or your employees to be able to view their invoices or place orders, via their mobile devices, the platform is compliant.

And as a modern platform equally, it will have the ability to, if you want to trade with China or other, nationalities, it is, local language, friendly and script friendly to give you some idea, when I say it's highly configurable, this is really as a business we've used and build underlying templates that Navigator’s clients can use, but people style them in different ways. So, here are just some examples about how people are actually styling the platform, the general underlying functions and, structures are the same. So I'm going to introduce you to some of these areas, and I'm going to go through some of the things that people ask us from a client portal, but equally this could be a supplier portal or, some form of field service portal or whatever. It doesn't really matter.

You know, we are presenting information that you, as a business requires to show. So, let's just go straight into a customer portal. So this is an example of our client portal template. Whatever you see here is incredibly customizable. The look and fill, you'll see, as we go through how different people take, these underlying areas and deal with it. Generally, people have some form of menu system effectively showing them the types of things that they want their customers to deal with.
Equally very important in today's world is about data, is about, dashboards and about reporting. So, as a business, we have people who want to show different sorts of data in different ways. So the platform itself has its own charting and reporting elements, but equally, if you are using BI type tools, such as Tableau, Click, or power BI, you can equally embed them because it's a modern platform, as long as you've got the right licensing, you can embed that type of information. So you're giving customers information in various ways. And what you'll see is I go through this presentation is in different areas of, of what we've built as, template business solutions. You'll see lots of, lots of different styles of dashboards and, and whatever information is pretty key.

So very often what you've got is some form of menu structure. And I'm going to go through some of these just by way of example what you have is these are what we call, objects are like tables in databases, but effectively, they're what they say they are. So, we are going into various things. So I'll start with what people may want. So from an accounting finance and sales perspective, it might be about when a customer logs on, can he see his own products? Can he actually set permissions what people can see within his organization? Can he self-serve, can he set people up? And the answer is, of course, yes. It is about settings.
They may have multiple branches, multiple delivery addresses these types of things.

  • So can I create these?
  • Can they go through some approval process?
  • Can I change data?
  • But can it be in a controlled fashion, so security around it?

Portals of this type, people are using it for these types of scenarios equally important is, we are living in a world whereby what we don't want to do is we don't want from a marketing perspective or from an accounting or a sales perspective, we're sending out onboarding forms. We're sending out, documents that we've got to scan. So more and more, we're looking for an eco-friendly solution. So the ability to put questionnaires within the system whether it be adding rows or building this type of solution, or you can start push through.
So here, I've got an example of an onboarding solution, here is very easy, I knock this together. Here's something where I've got some form of marketing questionnaire, which I can push through a portal I'm doing it in a structured way using a questionnaire builder within the platform. But equally what it's doing is that it's saving us time in terms of not having to send out paper, we could get customers to maybe filling questionnaires, maybe filling, onboarding type scenarios, or all that type of thing. So people are using the portal for this type of scenario.

The next section I'm going to go through is I really want transactional data. So it could be that, you know, what I want to do within a portal.
And again, don't worry about what this looks like, because if you want to bring data, have different views, have different search criteria, this really would come out with your discussions with the Navigator. And it's very easy to present through this. So in this instance, if I just want to see an invoice, these invoices could be coming from well, these are actually coming from SAP Business One. I could see the detail associated with it. I might want to download a PDF, and again, templates and how you want things to have happen or to look like you can make that within the portal, but it's the ability of the customer to physically pull their data from there.So, invoices, credits, show details, show the PDFs, the ability to raise a query. You may have customer may have a query associated with that. So through a portal we have customers who are doing all those types of things. So know one of the things around centralizing invoicing for example, is you're saving on post emailing. It may take three days to get to that customer or through email or before they look at it within a portal, its instant, and that data's coming through integration from in your instance of SAP and the like equally credit notes and payments. Very often it's about how do I pay, can I make it easier for customers to pay a bill? Cash is king. So as long as you know, we connect to multiple integration points.
So, if I wanted to pay these bills, I could be using some form of payment gateway in this instance an American gateway, obviously it's not my credit card. And it does help if I actually put my number in there and my name in there, but again the ability for customers to pay their bills, whether it be through a payment gateway, we could add very, very quickly into the platform. You know these types of things we already do with customers are integrated with Stripe, world pay, Sage pay, PayPal, regardless and quite a number of American ones, authorized.net, clearing systems, and the like, so very, very much you make the ability to pay bills is really important or download statements.
So a lot of customers want that ability to just physically download a statement or the history of a particular invoice or some invoice trail, transactional data is coming from an integration back to SAP through that integration and being shown through a portal.

The next areas that really, plays a part is order management where's my order? So if I'm into some form of ordering system where is it in the process,
Can I what's happened to this order?
Can I physically print it?
Can I clone this order when I'm coming back to do a reorder,
Can I print, you know, some form of details, order acknowledgement?
Can I see where it is in, in the process?
All of these types of things that customers want, can I track it? So, order tracking, for example, where is it in the process? So, you've placed an order it's in SAP, it's being processed and the integration can, keep the client informed at various stages.
What status is that order at?
Is it in, is it in being confirmed?
Is it actually being picked?
Is it being shipped?
Where is it?
Do they have a carrier?
Can I go to that currier and see through a portal, where it is?
So very often, all we are doing as a business is with the ability to track details or orders is really just asking you, which carriers do you use you know, we currently, in the states, it's slightly different from the UK, but you use shipping aggregators, various other people like ship engine, or others ShipStation as long as we've got some form of link to the ones that you want to use, we can add them into the portal.

Loxodo will be generating a reference number, and we can display that to the customer to, they can get those updates on their deliveries. So very, very important about what's the state of my order what's being shipped. When is it going to appear? I've got an issue with it equally, the ability to do an RMA or return, select it, select a delivery note, select an invoice, select an item and push through a portal back to those types of people. So, in terms of orders, order management I've got an order that's coming, that's in, that's in play within Loxodo within SAP. I want to see that every stage of the way within a portal can I do those types of things, but equally it's not just about where but what's the state of my order.

It's about the ability to place an order. So more and more people are physically looking at how can I, actually place an order from a portal? and if you think about it we are more and more as a world used to eCommerce, type scenarios. And one of the challenges for any business is about upsell, and actually displaying more information through a business, the business type portal than the like. So in this instance, what you can see is, this by the way, I knocked up in about, in about half an hour with about 10 products in our PIM, this is where we're using the PIM, but we're displaying that information in the portal and other places.
But in this instance, you can see, I can show multiple images I won't launch it because it'll go, but I can launch a video. I could download, I could download some information about this type of scenario. I could push benefits. I can show more detail show links so I can give the customer much richer experience, something that they used to in dealing with that. I can start to deliver up more information from our PIM into a portal that gives them a richer experience of building. And at the end of this, I'm going to move into the PIM. So you see how this is built, but I'm just sort of following a particular part here equally. As we go through the system has to be able to cater for different pricing structures different customers will have different pricing apply to them from their suppliers or their customer.

You'll have your customers where you've got different price lists. So you've got to be able to show that pricing in the portal and the system allows for this. So in this instance we're actually seeing some form of tiered price. So I just add that to the cart. I'm actually getting at that price coming from the system from Loxodo, and SAP, I may want to show stock figures within the system. So in this instance through integration from SAP, it might be that you want to share it as out of stock. You might want to show stock by specific branches or whatever. All of this is possible. This is about really about what's your business process how do you want to display that information?

But the ability is there to show this information through a portal. So might just add that to the cart. So this ability to show types of information like this is quite important what we can do. So if I just choose something else within here so we've got a tire here, tractor tire in this instance if we've all bought tires for our cars, very often they'll ask you for cheaper equivalence or different styles of tire. So in this instance I'm just showing a related item or an alternative here. I could have a lot, lot more detail associated with this. I'm showing my pricing. You buy two, I apologize by the way that it's impound, but I didn't manage, I didn't actually change this to us dollars, which it would, which I forgot to do.

So I apologize for that part equally people different companies we used to. So if I go into my fashion section you may be dealing in variance. So in this instance I'm not sure which ones these will all have variants of size. So here I want to by size eight. You can see the quantities changing these elements are changing. If I go into something where I've got a little bit more we are buying a sweater I want to, I want to choose a green one. I can flip through some information. You can see my attributes down here are changing. So again, the PIM is coordinating this type of information back in, back into the portal.

And as I change this you know, I've got different stock quantities being changed within this again, I can show multiple images and whatever, and remember, this is very much like giving that customer, your business to business customers, specifically a much richer engagement in how they place orders. So if we go to the cart again, don't worry about what this looks like. I can see here, I've got my products. I could be selecting my multiple delivery addresses, cuz I'm shipping it to different branches choosing my shipping methods. And in a minute, I'm going to show you an actual development with a customer that we're through, where we're using palletization in this. So you can see how these, and some of the other American things that are going on within the portal.

But in fact, equally I could be uploading my customer knows what he wants to do. So he could just send us a list and through the portal, he doesn't want to go through that selection criteria, what he wants to do, he wants to Add some items into it, but in this, he's actually put a part in that doesn't exist in the product list. So it informs the customer where you can't order it, I'm sorry. You need to sort out your list or contact the company to physically do it, but it's just added those items into the list. So here's my three items that I've just added from a spreadsheet within the portal. I could be getting an acknowledgement sent through. So in my email.

So I've just receive somewhere within this you know, an email and again, these are just styled as to what you want. I'm going straight to the portal to see that from an email. So the automation within this. So the ability to place orders or monitor where an order is incredibly important within that. What I wanted to show here is I'm going to share with you something that this is a very customizable environment. So I'm just going to show you a, this is a development environment. And what we are doing in this instance is working with a third party software whereby this is for a manufacturing organization. And what they're doing here is that they want to do is they wanted their customers to be able to fill pallets.

So they make ventilation equipment. And if I go to this I can actually start to see by selecting products, sending through dimensions, I can start to fill all those pallets equally. I can push products that are suitable to fill these pallets. So as I'm building this type of stuff I can see that I've got space here. I can either, how could I push to these, to my customers, extra products that would fill these products that fill these pallets. So I'm upselling not showing here at this moment in time, but for you guys in the states, you've got different tax rules for your shipping from a to B, in terms of where, where you are shipping.

So tax calculations, so linking to something like Avalara, which is a common one, or tax jar where American, where you've got you're shipping from a to B, you're sending, you need to send the weights the dimensions and things like that to these people. You want those customers to get the right tax calculations and whatever. So you are using aggregators. And we are in, we are just in within a portal with our American clients. We're just saying, which ones do you want to use? We are using that within the system, but this is just showing you some of the sorts of things where people are taking common type functionality, which is where we're starting from with the navigator team.

You may have very specific requirements that you want to incorporate within your own portals and equally this, although we're showing a customer portal here, this could be a supplier portal or some other form. So suppliers coming into a portal and say managing their purchase orders purchases are generated from SAP, Loxodo WMS, from the buyers. Showing that in the portal, can you if there's a problem, can you update the delivery addresses that could be immediately pushed back into SAP? It could be the supplier managing the product for the PIM. So, have we got all the digital assets, have we got the safety data sheets and so on, or can they update their pricing? And in which case those, those prices are physically pushed through the last section.
And I first of all, apologize for rushing through this, because I know I'm on a webinar. So I would take a lot longer time, but I am moving through this at pace. Another area that people are doing is really about, some of the customer service type activity. So the ability to ask a question, to raise a point could be related to a problem that you've got with a delivery sorry, something I meant I've forgot to mention within portals it could be that you're updating through a portal, through a mobile device, whatever attachments, so proof of delivery, export, or import documentation, documentation that you actually need to conduct your business. All of that is, is very easy to do within, within the framework, within the application framework and to add into things like this into portals like this.

So we have a customer, for example who have a supplier portal, and one of the things that they're doing they have customers in the far east they want the customers to produce labels, the barcodes, the documentation, before it hits, hits this country, they don't want to do it this end. They want the suppliers to do it. So they're using the portal to do these types of these types of things. From a supplier perspective, service ticketing, it could be that some of your customers may be service, service, orientated customers that have SLAs. So you could set up those SLAs within the element. It could be just a straightforward we have a query, we have a complaint, we have an issue with some form of things and equally I want to upload some data into the portal and just bring that through.

I should have just not dragged it, although there is drag. So, just bring that through make a comment in, into this. This is now obviously going off into some backend system but through a portal being able to manage these types of scenarios. So just a recap portals are used for many, many different things, and it's all about sort of giving the customer an easier route to do business with you. It's facilitating the customer to get hold of information from your backend systems, get hold of information from your business to ask you questions in an easier fashion, 24, 7, 365 days share information with you, but equally from your perspective, and from our perspective, it's about upselling, how can I do more business with this customer, if they've got a better experience with us, then that's really a good thing equally with our suppliers.

I've got to quickly move into the PIM just to let you know, application platform is a framework. So all of, even though we are building business applications, business areas, all of these things are interlinked. So they're not separate it's to some extent, and Jack will correct me if I'm wrong, but it's like Loxodo and SAP. These guys have built a warehousing management system, an excellent warehousing management system that I've seen that we can integrate with into SAP, into the various SAP. And the portal is really an extension of that application platform is an extension of that. So through integration we can push and pull data which is really good. But if I just take a look at say some of the product, the product sets, I'm not going to go through this in much detail anymore.

Cuz I'm conscious of time, but I'm going to give you a quick feel for how some of this look. So if I take my half hour of work on the sky master binoculars element, which I think Sean sent me so here we've got some form of, and again, this is what we mean by low code. So it doesn't matter what this looks like. I'm going to show you something that is using exactly the same technology but looks totally different from that. It's a highly configurable area. So, we've got our descriptions we've got language ability within this, our attributes, to, we have an attribute configurators now just as a matter of interest in my system, I'm dealing with multiple different types of things.
So attributes are different for different industries. So, our configurators, allow us to just show based on categories or whatever those types of attributes I'll come back to variants. So the system has to cater to e-commerce platforms, it needs to cater for variants. So you want to show that in a portal as well, related products you know, how do I upsell, how do I say frequently together, all of these types of things that you want to push to customers, tags are used. So if I was in a Shopify environment, for example, they don't use categories, you've all seen it. When you go into a retailer you can look at, you can find products in different ways in an eCommerce scenario. So the system has to enable you to do that type of thing.
So again the PIM allows it to happen, digital assets how do I get all my digital assets up? So the ability to bulk I may be integrating with a digital catalog. I do to catalogs twice a year. We have some food companies over here in the UK. they use the PIM to extract all of the information, including images, pricing and whatever, through an API, we're sending it to a catalog maker. So we have to be able to do that system pushing or pulling pricing different price structures from an external source. We have customers who are monitoring sources. So we need to hold that data who supplies it for our supplier portals or whatever bringing stocking so we can show it in the portal.
So integrating with Loxodo with different warehouses, integration showing that information into here the start of the process some form of product life cycle management. So before you're seeing probably these dashboards up here, so these are highly configurable. So in this instance, we may not want this product if we're starting it to go on a website, unless we've got all of the details. So, we can start to build product lifecycle stuff here. So I quickly put something together. Here's a business case sign off for this product. The development team needs to do something that's assigned to me marketing images. I mean, very simple, simplistic in terms of this demo but can get very complicated work processes.
And then you can set workflows up that allow you to just, this goes into something channels to us are things like you know, where does this, if I'm managing everything in the PIM, I need a lot more information than I do into an ERP system. An e-commerce platform needs a lot more. So, once I've got all of my information, I need to in integrate that. So in this instance, this is just a product that I've briefly put into our demo area as part of this, this system if I made changes or whatever I'm logging in, you can see that it's taken some of the stuff that we've integrated into it. And then making changes in the PIM, I might have 15 different websites.
I'm just enabling that website setting off some integration points to enable me to just bring this up and you can see we are bringing up images and various other things, so pure demo. But if I went into this, this is exactly the same, the same PIM you can see how a customer has styled it differently in a demo environment, got multiple, multiple elements. Here's where's the channels. So here, they're integrating to their ERP system, for example both ways they've got different websites for different things, but equally what they're doing is you can start to see how they've started to change the layout the look and feel and the like, so this type of scenario is how people use.
We have people who are across all sorts of industries from construction, right through to fashion, through to food, through to classic retailers, distributors, just like and the beauty is the synergy between ERP SAP and a warehouse management system, which is doing all the hard work or the transactional data and allowing customers to see things. So everything is auditable. So last part, this very last part. There's full audit trail for everything that you're changing. So I've, now I'm now coming to an end.
I'm not sure if I took the 45 minutes, but
No, you did a fabulous job getting so much information, in a short period of time. Thank you so much. As everyone can see this extension can be very powerful and covers lots of things. And Jack and Kevin will reach out to each of you to follow up and see how Navigator can help you. As Chris said, sell more product to your clients and your customers.
A couple of quick questions, Chris, and we'll give people time back in their day. One of the top questions that came in was how customizable, you mentioned customizing my portal. Can it look and feel pretty close to a client's website?
Yeah, it's, that's more about styling.
So and branding. So one of the things when we're building with customers is that discussion about look and feel is important. Okay. What you'll see within here, as I said, Jack, Kevin have.
Excellent. And then another quick question was is there a supplier portal demo available?
We will get one put together for you. We will, Kevin and Jack will absolutely help coordinate that. So customer, our clients navigator clients can see, can see a supplier portal,
Yes, the answer is yes, but we are, we're actually enhancing that quite a lot that this moment, but it shouldn't be long.
And one more quick question.
So we don't go too far into people's day.
So can we get clients to upload files via the portal?
Absolutely. yeah, I mean, I've, I think I've demonstrated that in a number of places, you can upload files very easily
Choosing that one. I know we have stretched our executive timeline a little bit further, but again,
Let me pointed out. There are so many options that can be worked on tweaked, customized and configured. We want to leave it there, Chris, thank you very much from Navigator and from our clients.
And if there are any additional questions, we'll make sure Kevin and Jack communicate directly with you and get the opportunity to see something more specific to your needs with you. With that, again, thank you. Have a great day, Chris.
Right? Cheer.

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