- Internet portals
- Desktop applications (standalone)
- Web services programming
- Database programming
- ETL processes
- Data analysis and data mining
Conduction of almost every form of business or company involves data processing. Financial data, settlements, orders, customers, goods, services, reservations, employees… all these areas contain the data, which, sometimes even without thinking about it, are somehow processed. The data collection can be entrusted to the IT system, a spreadsheet or the simplest notebook.
Including the calendar of the appointments in the notebook, small entrepreneur has to cope with the disadvantages arising from this approach. The notebook can be forgotten or accidentally poured with coffee. It is also difficult to quickly find the last customer’s visits, who is just now arranging the next visit. If we have a few employees and each has its own visits calendar, this matter begins to complicate. The spreadsheet is also not the ideal solution. If many people simultaneously want to use it and modify, it will be a problem.
The IT system can help here. There are two possibilities here: this system is ready purchased from one of the many producers or adjusted in such a way as to best suit the customer’s business needs. Each of these approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. The finished system is likely to be cheaper, but cannot cover fully needs of the entrepreneur, who will have to engage the additional solutions next to the primary system. The adjusted system is more serious investment, but allows to maximally improve business. It can be adjusted to the individual needs of the entrepreneur, and for this reason meet its 100% expectations. Furthermore, it can automatically collect the data, which can later be used for the analysis of business operations, and consequently to further improve operation and efficiency, and reduce service time. Due to such activities, competitiveness is increased in relation to other companies on the market.
For example, X company is a sales agent of replacement parts for production lines. Its offer includes parts from suppliers A, B, C, D, E. Parts can be both new and used, repaired or requiring repair. Availability and prices of parts can change on a daily basis. When a potential customer calls with an urgent inquiry about a component, the employee of X company must check availability of the product at its suppliers, compare prices and select the best delivery form for the customer. There are 5 catalogues available in different form (Excel, CSV file, XML file, an independent catalogue application) and different tracks (download from the web page or anonymously after logging, download from FTP) to be checked. In addition, one should check availability of substitutes or successors of a sought part, and necessary accessories. Implementation of such a check manually is a time-consuming task, and here the response time to a customer request is important.
In order to improve the customer support process, the IT solution can be developed: automatic downloading of the data files with the offers from different suppliers, and integration of these data to one, consistent set of the data saved in the database. The data processing is fully automatic, daily, at fixed times. Access to the data is by the SOAP service (webservice). The operator (one or more) using the customer’s application connecting to the service can search for the required part providing a part of the product number, name or description. Immediately, the information about quantity available and the current price from various suppliers is provided. The result is obtained at the time of up to 3 seconds. The offer can be presented to the customer immediately during the call. Due to the operators’ records searching, it is known, which goods were searched for the most often, and connecting this information with the financial and accounting system allows to check whether inquiries generate the largest sales. The analytical part can be freely developed forming the basis for promotional activities or discounts programs for the selected customers.