The Quarter of the Catalog

Written December 22nd, 2008 by
Categories: CEO's Blog
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While we're constantly working on improving our service, we like to have at least one major theme to focus on per quarter.  The fourth quarter of 2008 was designated the "Catalog Quarter".

From day one we've been directly hooked up to the SAP Material Master (MM).  Every one of our clients has to interrogate the SAP MM during the purchasing process, if for no other reason but to make sure that products are still available for sale.  So it made sense to deliver that functionality right out of the box.

However, many clients want to offer their customers more information about their products than the SAP MM conveniently supports.  To that end, they've invested in additional ways to organize and present that information to their customers. Those include print catalogs, pdf versions of those catalogs, and your standard web based HTML catalogs.

Our fourth quarter development theme was to be able to integrate the b2b2dot0 service with those catalogs. Our client's customers could now have the convenience of "finding" products in any number of ways, but would always end up putting those products into our SAP integrated shopping cart in order to see real time product availability and their personalized pricing.

A demonstration of the three ways our client's customers can find products and deposit them into our shopping cart can be found here.

Thanks to our partnership with Aglaia Software, we are the only company that can convert any manufacturer's print catalog into a very easy to use, SAP integrated, web based flash catalog.  The beauty of this approach is that just about every manufacturer already invests a significant amount of time and money putting together these print catalogs.  With just a little more effort, we can not only save some trees, but we can relieve their customers from rekeying product numbers into our shopping cart. 

We've also invested a significant amount of time integrating our service in with an HTML catalog.  We chose osCommerce since it happens to be one of the more popular open source catalogs available to the market.  However, if you already have an existing online catalog, our product is now architected to easily integrate in with it. 

So that's it.  We started this catalog journey back in late September and we end the quarter with two products and both have been purchased and will be put into production by next quarter.  That's the Agile way.  Build new products with customers and make sure that they don't become shelfware!

Speaking of next quarter…it's going to be the Invoice Quarter.  Now that we have a pretty solid way to find, place and track orders for SAP Manufacturers, we're going to help them collect their money faster…or at least get rid of some of the friction associated with the paperwork.

Stay tuned for more information on our Invoice capability.