Project Description

CASE STUDY: Bringing CRM to a consumer grade just-in-time mobile application

How Infor Hook & Loop created Project MAX a consumer grade experience to deliver support to field sales reps and inadvertently created a key element of Infor’s mobile strategy.

In today’s data economy companies are inundated by data yet few derive any real value from it. Data repositories live in vacuums. Insights, the ultimate value, are hard to come by. These enterprise systems are not user friendly or mobile. Infor Hook & Loop created a surface level mobile app that presents needed insights and activities just-in-time contextually.


KEY TAKEAWAYS: What we learned

  1. AIs are invading the consumer market, yet there a few applications made available to the enterprise. The various Siri, Alexa and Cortana have taken a strong hold in the personal assistant arena at a consumer level with Amazon leading the charge. At the enterprise level the experience is not quite as smooth. Watson is still searching for an identity and its uses have remained constrained to roles that are far too grand thus delaying its capabilities;
  2. Assessing the problem and understanding the success metrics is the key to success;
  3. Identifying the problem in its entirety early on allows for painless additional features later in the process. Relying on customer data and sales rep insights allowed for a unified vision and exploration.


Understand how to best leverage the technologies available to deliver maximum value to the user

A combination of innovative conversational UI, machine learning, Birst BI tools, Marketo marketing solutions and Coleman, our AI solution based on Amazon Lex, allowed Infor Hook & Loop to deliver an innovative experience to the user base.


SITUATION: Infor needed to deliver CRM data to a mobile workforce to maximize adoption

All Infor solutions have large pools of data that are indispensable to their customers business. Infor Hook & Loop focused their efforts on how to best deliver these solutions to a market that is rapidly changing due to technology, mobility and a mobile savvy workforce.

> The ugly truth of CRM is that nobody uses it to its full potential. Users of the solution prefer maintaining excel spreadsheets or jotting down notes on stickies with their to do lists. When they have to, usually when sales forecasts are due they log in and copy numbers from their spreadsheet to the CRM system.

> Desktop systems are designed to include all possible data that the user may find valuable and often a field sales rep doesn’t have the ability to connect to the system. They rely heavily on their mobile devices. While these solutions have a mobile view they often include too much data making it very difficult to use. Users are screaming for a new way to interact with the data. “People don’t want a 360 view of anything. It’s too much information. They want a focused view of the relevant information.”

> Managing multiple applications and functions on the go is no easy feat. A field sales rep must not only manage a calendar, but will need directions to a client site, enter notes, call customers, send follow up material, review client orders and prep for meetings. They currently do this by using a multitude of apps and their faithful notebook. Users need highly relevant and intelligence-rich content delivered in just the right density at just the right moment to be successful.


APPROACH: Develop an app that allows functionality and data to co-exist

We made up for a lack of research, given the fast-paced nature of the project, by bringing the extended team in house and running a two day workshop that included SMEs, and other members of the original Customer Experience team that participated in the creation of the POC back in December. The workshop surfaced themes that were reflected in the final iteration of Project Max such as: “less is more” and “surface over depth”.

Working closely with the CRM team, Infor Hook & Loop created Project MAX. Project MAX is the codename for our exploration into artificial intelligence, connected networks of data and analytics, ubiquity of hardware and connectivity, and mobility in the workforce. It represents three emerging advancements that are converging to open up new opportunities in design and development: Conversational interaction with a digital advisor, a dynamic context-aware interface driven by machine learning, and the aggregation and presentation of data from CloudSuites and 3rd party networks.

Infor Hook & Loop built a cross functional team with embedded SMEs from the various disciplines

With limited access to end-users and a tight deadline, the research phase relied heavily on the knowledge that the various SMEs brought to the table from direct interaction with users. SMEs were embedded in the project team and contributed daily. The UX team took a modified approach because in addition to a user-centered approach, they focused on identifying the touchpoints between moments in time and specific data and functionality needs. This allowed the team to move beyond a standard interface and create a contextual UI driven by machine learning that delivers value-in-context. The addition of Coleman, Infor’s AI technology, was the icing on the cake that enabled the UX team to explore additional possibilities.

Infor Hook & Loop followed a focused process that guaranteed success and could withstand pivots

As the project gained steam it became apparent that the app was no longer meant to satisfy a single audience. The app had quickly become the Infor mobile strategy for all the CloudSuites. One app, as a container, for all data and functionality that matter to the user delivered just-in-time. A change of this magnitude caused multiple pivots in direction, these pivots caused numerous problems and frustration within the UX team and it often meant scrapping a week or more of previously executed work. It took oversight and constant focus for the team to continue producing. The framework in which the team operated became essential to the team’s success. The team adopted an Agile SCRUM framework and ran weekly sprints. Friday sprint reviews open to external stakeholders acted as a checkpoint on the way to Inforum, Infor’s yearly conference, and solidified the vision.


RESULTS: What we ended up delivering

The result of the eight week engagement was an app that, originally born to satisfy the needs of a field rep, became the platform to support all of Infor’s mobile strategy. The web-app became the single platform to converge data on, since we know who the user is we can provision the things that make sense for them. This platform became the container that can do that, and this in turn became the building block of Infor’s mobile strategy. All the information that users wanted access to is now within the user’s reach which is the basis of true AI and machine learning. The web-app has intelligence, making Project Max the single point of conversion and a way for an individual to take advantage of collective knowledge and information.