Shaping Our Technology for the Future
At iPROMOTEu, we understand the critical role that technology plays in our Affiliates’ work and lives. That’s why we’re refining our existing platforms and building new solutions that will provide Affiliates with the best technology possible and improve their efficiency and profitability. Leading this charge is Vice President of Software Engineering Venkat Rangamani, who along with his team has worked tirelessly to identify not only technology opportunities within iPROMOTEu but also from industry pain points.
Current Affiliates will be familiar with the extensive technology already available at iPROMOTEu — our Xebra order management system (XOMS), Affiliate Webzone, customer portal, CRM, and more. This suite of technology has allowed us to grow and evolve alongside our Affiliates to best meet their needs. However, as the industry continues to shift and our Affiliates grow their customer and prospect bases, continual investment in expanding our solutions and adding even more to the roster is a key focus for our technology team.
Let’s explore some of the solutions already in use at iPROMOTEu, how they’ve helped our Affiliates to grow their businesses, and what our technology team is doing now to ensure that growth is more streamlined and successful for the road ahead.
How Our Existing Solutions Address Industry Challenges
Currently, the promotional products industry is seeing a lack of standardization among products and in customer orders. As many distributors and salespeople will know, the absence of standardized information leads to slower order processing and communication challenges, which in turn puts customer satisfaction at risk and inevitably impacts their bottom lines.
At iPROMOTEu, we’ve already made progress addressing this issue through the use of Promo Standards — an integration between suppliers and distributors working with them for standardizing product information. Adopting this standard allows our order management system to receive automated order statuses and inventory updates from leading vendors and also enable electronic data interchange (EDI) ordering with those vendors.
Of course, this standard itself isn’t the only key to success for Affiliates in this area. Integrating directly with our Xebra order management system (XOMS), these two platforms have allowed Affiliates to compete more effectively for business by providing them with a more streamlined solution for placing and tracking their customers’ orders. Thanks to the ease with which data passes from their systems to vendors and back, Affiliates are able to process orders more efficiently — helping to ensure timely delivery and positive customer experiences.
In addition to XOMS and Promo Standards, iPROMOTEu has strengthened the customer experience thanks to additional technology solutions such as our customer-facing portal, which allows customers to make online payments, check the status of their orders, view order history, and easily reorder. This tool saves valuable time in that customers can pay online and stay apprised on the details of their order, eliminating these tasks from Affiliates’ daily workload.
Leading the Digital Transformation in Promotional Products
While the technology team is focused on revamping and organizing our existing technology stacks, this initiative also comes with an opportunity to lead large-scale digital transformation throughout our organization. A key focus for 2020 and beyond is building a modern technology platform to provide Affiliates — and ultimately their customers as well — with better technology experiences.
However, there remains an important consideration: the fact that our Affiliates have choices when it comes to technology. A significant part of our technology initiative is bridging the gap between this and the other fact that many come to our organization for what we provide them as an affiliated distributor or salesperson. Quite simply, that’s a vast menu of support options like the Virtual Assistant Program and our order financing (to name but a few), and the sheer level of service we provide to each and every Affiliate.
We have already begun bridging this gap by updating and enhancing XOMS (Xebra Order Management System). However, we are also working on developing XOMS 2.0 that will include integrated search capabilities, better tracking of order status, enterprise-grade reporting, embedded CRM features, and a much-improved affiliate experience. These updates are expected to launch in mid-2020. In order to develop these new systems, our technology team has been actively working with our Affiliates to gain their feedback while also conducting industry research to understand the gaps in other systems.
“Our goal is to be the number-one technology offering in the promotional products marketplace,” Rangamani said. “To do so, our team has made it a priority to take advantage of software and technology that improves the efficiency and accuracy of the work being done by our organization. Our ongoing improvements to our core offering are just one part of that, and we’ve made great headway thus far.”
Delivering on the iPROMOTEu Promise
At iPROMOTEu, our entire focus is helping our affiliates spend more time doing what they do best: selling. To enable that, we provide the support and technology solutions to take off of their plates the numerous administrative tasks and processes that often get in their way of realizing meaningful sales success and growth.
“On the technology side, we want to deliver on that promise,” Rangamani said. “By transforming our existing technology solutions and implementing new, advanced platforms, we can further empower them to spend more time selling and less time on other responsibilities. The same goes for our internal staff — they use our technology, too, and we want to make their work easier, more productive, and ultimately more beneficial to our Affiliates who come to them for service and support.”
iPROMOTEu has made significant investments in the technology team across multiple disciplines. Additional engineering, product management, and business analyst team members have all been brought aboard to help iPROMOTEu achieve its technology goals in 2020.
“We are setting the foundation, and big things are coming,” Rangamani said. “A more modern application is coming to give you a better experience, make your business more efficient, and help you continue to focus on building relationships and selling more products. We can’t wait to show you what we have in store and how it will help you continue to grow for years to come.”