Höganäs AB is a long-time proponent of customer portals. They have been utilizing the concept towards customers for many years. In early 2021 they identified a need to update and modernize their portal approach to better meet the customer needs and increase their service offer towards key customers.
The existing customer portal was residing in SharePoint and built as an on-premise solution. The main feature of this portal is to primarily acts as a document library without any real communication features. It contained stored data for approximately 100 active customers and was mostly used by the internal sales organization.
Utilizing Episerver/Optimizely as a web platform since 2017, Höganäs had early on decided that this was also going to be the portal platform of choice. With a new customer portal built on the existing web platform, Höganäs wanted to modernize the outdated design as well as add several features to better meet the needs of the primary areas customers want to see from their chosen suppliers – those of self-service and after-sales service options. Overall, this generates less friction and paves the way for smoother customer interaction.
As a future add-on, the portal should also be prepared to integrate with e-commerce solutions like Episerver B2B Commerce (or other e-com platforms). In the initial scope e-com was limited to hold very basic web shop features like doing repeat orders of customer assorted products.
The primary objective for the new portal was set to provide customers with:
information on order status and allow access to related documents using self-service options via smart phone, tablet, or PC.
The portal was also to include functionality and features already available on the existing solution plus several new must-have features like;
access to price lists
product catalogue and
The new customer portal is built on Höganäs existing Episerver/Optimizely platform (also built by Petra) and as such utilizing already existing functionality for the public website (www.hoganas.com). It further integrates to several existing backend platforms in the Höganäs ecosystem, including;
MS Dynamics CRM
To secure proper functionality Petra cooperated with Höganäs existing system partner for these systems.
Main functionality of the new portal covers a vast area and focuses primarily on bringing 24/7 self-service options to Höganäs clients. These features included among others I) Authentication using Dynamics, II) a range of Connectors (Datawarehouse, Dynamics, Reprint), III) client unique Order documents and Price lists, IV) Product specifications, V) Sales statistics and VI) Repeat order functionality.
Work was planned and organized to follow a number of outlined phases, where some could be executed in parallel.
It all started with a detailed inventory including a full set of data mapping along with setting up the expected backlog.
In parallell, the design process was initiated producing first a concept design of a couple of prioritized page layouts. Upon client feedback and acceptance, the complete portal interface including UX and page layouts was designed.
Development was initiated doing a Proof-of-Concept verifying plans for IAM/CRM (Identitity Access Management), DataWarehouse and Reprint modules.
Progressing development, the implementation of existing features found on the Sharepoint portal and to be kept on the new portal was carried out, and followed up with implementation of all new features.
The solution was developed in a modular way with the ambition of being able to reuse and extend the functionality in the future.
For best possible work flow, cooperation and quality, the Petra team that was put together all had previous experience of the client and projects delivered.
The customer portal project was started in late Q2 of 2021 and a new portal was launched towards customers in December 2021.