When digital self-service is done right, it makes life easier for all involved. The customer saves money and time, and the service provider can concentrate in providing service that adds value to the customer. This does not happen by itself. When developing digital self-service, we really must take a hard look on what works and what doesn’t for each particular customer. We must be flexible in accommodating the concepts that differentiate the customer from the competition.
“When we develop digital self-service solutions for our customers at Etteplan More, we concentrate on conceptualizing and implementing a solution that adds value and serves their specific business needs,” says Toni Kokkonen, Etteplan’s software development unit’s Key Account Lead.
The proliferation of cell phones and cloud services has driven digital self-service further. We can provide our customers solutions that work any time and anywhere. The world of digital self-service knows no borders.
The cloud has been a boon for all kinds of businesses. Digital self-service is no exception. It is very easy to scale the services up or down depending on the needs of the business. A modern digital self-service solution can be totally cloud native for the greatest flexibility.
In addition to time savings, this approach brings the customer cost benefits already from day one of the implementation. We have seen this first-hand in several customer projects. A very good practical example comes from is a solution we have developed for one of our clients with Microsoft Azure. In this modern cloud environment, we were able to utilize ready-made components which makes development fast and easy.
The digital self-service solution was developed for an unmanned self-service store. In the solution Etteplan implemented, the information on the purchases is automatically transmitted to the product management system, which runs in the Microsoft Azure cloud. This includes product pricing system, store management, reporting and receipt archive, and printing the attachable labels. The integration service creates a connection to the product picking and identification system, the payment system, and the customer’s product management.
In another example, we developed a mobile app solution for carpools. Microsoft Azure provided us easy ways to manage APIs and notifications, connect to the SQL database and handle the logins securely. The Azure DevOps keeps track of app development and distributes new builds and releases. Different API functions modules enable us to easily connect to any background systems the customer might utilize. This brings simplicity from the developer’s perspective, but it also adds clarity for the customer. It is also very easy to scale the solution when needed.
Using a digital self-service is extremely easy for the customer: usually, you just download an app to your phone. But hidden from plain sight, there are several complex transactions running in the background to ensure that everything goes as planned. For example, when a customer fires up an app at a self-service gasoline pump, a system checks the identity of the user, the location of the gasoline pump, how much gasoline goes into the car, and what payment system is used. A great deal of information travels back and forth quickly and securely to make all this happen.
So, the next time you use your smartphone to fill up a tank or pick up groceries from a self-service store, spare a small thought for the magnificent cloud technologies that make it happen.