ReachCentrum (part of the ERM Group) helps organisations in the chemical industry to comply with EU REACH and related chemicals regulations. They are the European market leader for chemical consortia management services and trading of Letters of Access (LoA). ReachCentrum’s services extend to include chemical data brokerage activities and supporting their clients with compliance outside of Europe in conjunction with their parent company, ERM.
ReachCentrum’s previous system was approaching the end of life. Their legacy solution was resource heavy and unsuited to the evolving needs of the client base.
Due to the unique complexities of their offering and the global structure of the team, ReachCentum had previously found it challenging to appoint a suitable digital partner that had the level of expertise and experience to support them on projects.
They looked to Ultimedia because of our extensive technical experience and experience in creating and delivering sophisticated, tailored solutions at a global scale. ReachCentrum asked us to come up with a solution that would streamline their systems and predominantly boost productivity for a better return on investment.
Our team performed a comprehensive discovery phase with ReachCentrum’s key stakeholders. This process included a series of user interviews to understand the key pain points. Once this was complete, we presented a full functional specification alongside a series of high-level designs which detailed the areas of development. We identified the following core requirements:
- Deliver a solution that would consolidate their existing systems, both front and back end offices.
- Replace the Microsoft Navision e-Shop solution with a newly engineered solution to provide improved functionality.
- Provide a solution that can be leveraged to significantly improve operational efficiency
- Produce a series of high-level designs
WHAT WE DID
A core part of this project was to replace their Microsoft Navision e-Shop solution. We curated the features and functional requirements for the LoA e-Shop and the offline systems required to support the evolving needs of the organisation.
We consolidated two separate systems (the front end with the back office) to provide a streamlined single Azure cloud based .Net web application. This enabled both ReachCentrum’s customers and back office users to automate their order process with the aim to increase operational efficiency.
- Microsoft .NET Core – Using the latest cloud technology was chosen to aid in achieving faster development and deployment. This would provide quick and secure operations globally and can support excellent ROI.
- Microsoft Azure Hosting – To provide a secure, scalable environment that’s very cost-effective.
- Blazor Web Assembly – For versatility with code sharing, speed and offline functionality.
- Azure SQL Database – To ensure all data is stored securely in a durable way and can easily scale to meet the needs of ReachCentrum as they grow digitally.
- Optimizely – The website is built using the Optimizely digital experience platform (DXP)
DESIGN AND BUILD
We created a design specification, epics and user stories. Our technical team delivered a series of product solution stages which were shared with the LoA e-Shop staff to ensure that they were fit for purpose. As ever, we maintained the highest level of quality at each step of quite a complex engineering process.
The ReachCentrum LoA e-Shop was entirely re-engineered from its current dependence on Microsoft Navision to a custom built SQL Server repository. We designed and developed this to blend with the same look-and-feel as the ERM Optimizely website portfolio, using a single codebase. This was to provide the facilities for the business process of managing Letters of Access to chemicals in an EU REACH standard.
TESTING AND DEPLOYMENT
A comprehensive testing procedure was carried out by our committed QA team. This encompassed both unit and integration testing, running alongside a rigorous functionality assessment.
ReachCentrum’s key stakeholders collaborated with the Ultimedia development and testing team to execute the User Acceptance Testing (UAT).
- Boosted ROI with a versatile international system
- LoA e-Shop provides a consistent, easy to use, customer experience with a more effective User Interface.
- LoA e-Shop staff are able to operate without the need for the outdated, unsupported and awkward Microsoft Navision system. This removed the need for extensive email communication between staff and potential customers.
- Customers to the LoA e-Shop are presented with a professional series of functionality which enhanced the stature of the LoA e-Shop offering
- A slick, new process for the LoA e-Shop Manager, “There were over 700 unread emails when I joined and we were using the old Microsoft system, about a year ago, now there are 14”
The success of this project helped us form a trusted relationship with the team at ReachCentrum and wider recognition with the ERM Group.
Lead Business Analyst for ERM commented, “It’s a shame we didn’t find you sooner. You are all top professionals who are delivering a fantastic solution for the LoA team”
We’re excited to continue supporting ReachCentrum with the LoA e-Shop and now are working with an ambitious team at ERM to develop a roadmap which includes a multinational roll-out and working together to unlock their digital transformation potential.