A New Level of Technology
The platform is based on SAP Commerce Cloud, which is set in a Kubernetes environment. The backend is based on Java. To manage the technical complexity of such a system, we started out with a strong focus on the upgrade. Over the course of the project, we began to combine the work on the upgrade and the migration.
In addition to the smooth operation of their five web portals and despite the comprehensive changes to the system environment, the added value Hoval derives from the deep integration remained unchanged. At the heart of this integration are ERP systems as well as the internal and usually individualised service processes of the customers.
Accelerating the Deployment
Hoval’s basic system currently still uses the SAP Commerce Cloud Accelerator. To allow for more flexibility in the future, we are using the Angular web applications framework for the development of new modules and pages. This is in preparation for a later migration of the frontend to the new, state-of-the-art SAP Spartacus. Until then, as a modern solution, Angular already offers many opportunities in terms of technology. The functionalities remain unchanged or have only needed minor adaptations. Thanks to the future decoupling of frontend and backend, Hoval will be able to determine their own deployment cycles. After all, Spartacus allows for updates without forcing a commerce backend update at the same time.
Main advantage: These changes significantly simplify the release management. Short release cycles ensure the web portals always remain current.
The consistent further development of the online portal "myHoval" is our major concern. In order to satisfy our customers, the ensuring of an increasing efficiency and saving time is in focus.Daniel Bickel
SAP Upgrade 2105 and Cloud Migration
Generally speaking, a system upgrade is not a big deal. But these days, enterprise commerce systems have become increasingly complex and come with a host of dependencies. Dependencies which could affect SAP Commerce – in particular, in terms of performance, maintenance, as well as handling.
The planned basic upgrade including modifications and configuration affected the following components:
the Solr enterprise search, based on the open-source platform of the same name
the Spring developer framework
the DataHub currently still in use for the data integration
as well as the configurator for configuration and pricing services, which is integrated directly into the individual shop solutions.
Undoubtedly, the migration from the private to the public cloud required substantial expertise. Even today, there is no standard approach for the migration of a legacy system to a completely new system with a new database structure. Be it the database, infrastructure or code: without a step-by-step approach, many things can go wrong. We sat down with Hoval to prepare for different scenarios and then bundled our input for the migration into Microsoft Azure, including the switch to Microsoft SQL Server – with great success.
From WCMS Cockpit to SmartEdit
Of course, there were also functional changes. One major change was the switch from WCMS Cockpit to state-of-the-art SmartEdit. SmartEdit enables users to access the content management system integrated into SAP Commerce via an easy-to-use interface, for instance, to change information in the frontend. De facto, we introduced a new editing interface (WYSIWYG editor) in the SAP shop interface.
The challenge: We were looking at five catalogues, each with 400 pages and associated modules – all of them created individually by Hoval in the past. To be able to retain most of the features, we adapted the pages and also SmartEdit to the new technological environment. For all functionalities not included out of the box in SmartEdit, we simply made manual additions to the feature list.
Features for B2B Customers – myHoval
Hoval offers their customers a host of services in the fully integrated myHoval customer portal. As part of the upgrade and the associated modifications, we also moved myHoval to the upgraded Commerce System.
In myHoval, customers can log in to their personalised space. There, they can manage their orders, see their order history and invoices and manage their account.
Granular Information Simplifies Order Process
When time is of the essence, customers can use familiar item numbers to shorten the order process. Item numbers can just be entered into a dedicated field and these items can be moved to the shopping cart with just one click. The advantage here is that customers can skip looking at the detailed product pages.
Another simplification in the order process can be found in the electronic product catalogue – the digital and structural equivalent of the physical Hoval catalogue. As well as being able to browse the entire Hoval product range, a dedicated interface created by Unic can also move selected articles directly to the shopping cart.
Quicker Access to Shopping Cart via Open Catalog Interface
The Open Catalog Interface, or OCI for short, lets users accelerate their order process. They can start the order process in an application on their computer that is widely used in the industry. Usually, this application is already linked to the ERP system. If a user wants to order products or parts from Hoval, the application takes them to the personalised Hoval shop in the browser at the click of a button. The interface required for this was created by Unic and allows users to move the selected products directly from the Hoval shopping cart to the local app – which in turn transfers all the order information to the ERP system.
Advantages of the Open Catalog Interface:
Handover of shopping cart: No entry of address, payment or shipping data required
Login data is transferred automatically
Can be linked to ERP etc.
Sovereignty over prices and product range
Accessories, Spare Parts and Bookmarks
Hoval provides customers with sample shopping carts. These are commissioned based on hydraulic schematics, help customers find the right parts and help build trust in the shop – while ensuring the orders are correct. Of course, there is also a separate spare parts catalogue that shows all the small parts in a table and as an exploded-view drawing. However, tag management and a powerful search engine make sure that the hunt for spare parts goes smoothly.
Another helpful feature is the bookmarking of file templates and typical content. For instance, users can save to their personal space any installation guides, technical details and references they come across as they browse and retrieve them later.
Old and New Product Range
Regular updates to the product range usually trigger numerous process steps in the background. Hoval replaces outdated parts of the product range on a regular basis, and affected sections of the product range are automatically assigned new item numbers. Any information always needs to include the current item number as well as the prior information on the item. Take the product search: Users entering old item numbers are not only shown the new product range but also information letting them know that this is a precursor or a new material. The system logic also allows for new prices and any sales restrictions applying to the particular product range.
Our services at Hoval
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Are you keen too discuss your digital tasks with us? We would be happy to exchange ideas with you: Jörg Nölke and Gerrit Taaks (from left to right).
Contact for your Digital SolutionBook an appointment
Are you keen to talk about your next project? We will be happy exchange ideas with you: Melanie Klühe, Stefanie Berger, Stephan Handschin and Philippe Surber (clockwise).