By Josh Young | 4 minute read
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. And in the realm of business, you need to not only impress potential and current customers the first time, but every time afterward. If they don’t perceive you as a capable, successful brand, they’re much less likely to work with you.
Creating positive impressions was a goal for Ilmas S.p.A., a manufacturer of customized lighting solutions. While the organization had seen exponential growth over the past decade — growing from a EUR 2 million to a EUR 15 million business — it was eager to press this trend forward, expanding its influence beyond Italy to the larger European region.
Unfortunately, one of the most common touchpoints that a potential customer might examine, the company’s web presence, wasn’t the most eye-catching.
“It was very basic,” explains Fabio Scordamaglia, Managing Director at Ilmas. “We’re a small business with fewer than 50 employees, so we don’t have a large IT team, nor had we ever invested heavily in our web presence. Our continued and future growth, though, was making us rethink how we shared information and interacted with our customers. We needed to be considerably more efficient.”
It was a successful project, not only because it increased the trust and interest of our customers, but it also greatly reduced the cost of management along our entire supply chain.
Managing Director, Ilmas S.p.A.
To revitalize its overall web presence, Ilmas reached out to IBM Business Partner Plurimedia srl. “The initial project was very simple,” recalls Lorenzo Galotti, Partnership and Cloud Development Manager for Plurimedia. “They just wanted a better-looking website, a more modern website. One that could impress new prospects and get new leads.”
But Galotti and the Plurimedia team saw greater potential. He continues: “After speaking with them, we knew that a new web environment could help them with customers, but it could also help them internally. With the right solution, they could improve their workflows by deploying some functions and features into the site.”
[I]f they update something in the product database, they don’t need to remember to update it on the site. The solution does it automatically.
Partnership and Cloud Development Manager, Plurimedia srl
Initially, the Plurimedia team focused on content management for the Ilmas site, making it easier to share component information — such as the lumens or voltage requirements for an LED — via the web. “We integrated it with their back-end product systems,” explains Galotti. “So now on the website, you can see everything in their catalogs. And if they update something in the product database, they don’t need to remember to update it on the site. The solution does it automatically.”
Altogether, Plurimedia and Ilmas have created 17 microservices for the updated web environment.
“We automated several difference processes,” notes Scordamaglia. “Beyond the content publishing, we automated the generation of technical sheets for our products. We now generate them on request, saving us time and resources while guaranteeing that the data is always available to our customers. Similarly, with our sales configurator tool, we automated the creation of sales quotes.”
The configurator lets site visitors dynamically build technical specification documents for potential projects, specifications that can include any of the firm’s more than 450 million components. And to avoid potential ordering challenges, the tool also includes logic to help ensure that selected components are compatible with each other — for example, that chosen LEDs will fit onto a given light track or work with the selected driver.
The web app that oversees these various new functions — as well as the overall web presence — is based on the Plurimedia offering, PluriTank. And PluriTank, in turn, is hosted within IBM Cloud®, using Red Hat® OpenShift® at the platform as a service (PaaS) level.
The new solution also relies on IBM Cloud File Storage to oversee the related product document archives, and IBM Cloud Object Storage delivers backup support for the Ilmas web environment.
A site worth your time
By making it easier for site visitors to find information and product specifications on their own, Ilmas realized a 20% reduction in corresponding product-related telephone calls to its staff. In fact, since the site relaunch, visitors have downloaded more than 20,000 technical data sheets and conducted 25,000 product searches. And this self-sufficiency delivers significant time savings for the organization’s product managers, enabling Ilmas to free up the time of 12 FTEs in 2020 alone.
The new web environment also delivers a more attractive layout, netting a 23% increase in overall site visits and a 20% increase in user retention.
“It was a successful project,” adds Scordamaglia, “not only because it increased the trust and interest of our customers, but it also greatly reduced the cost of management along our entire supply chain. Technical documentation is updated automatically in real time as soon as we make a change in the product database. And the smart configurator alone made it possible to offer innovative and convenient tools to our customers, giving us a leg up on the competition.”
Alongside the success of the new web presence, Ilmas is also pleased in its choice of Plurimedia. As Scordamaglia explains: “Plurimedia accompanied us along this entire journey, providing more than just knowledge. They also provided experience and useful advice that let us fully realize our vision.”
Of course, the IBM technology also proved useful in making this project a reality. “We actually became an IBM Business Partner over the course of this project,” adds Galotti. “IBM has such strong positioning when it comes to cloud, and the IBM Cloud is considered safe and secure — which is critical in bringing this technology to Italian companies.”
About Ilmas S.p.A.
Founded more than 40 years ago, IlmasExternal Link has grown to become a well-recognized brand in lighting components and solutions in the European market. The business manufactures and markets both indoor and outdoor lighting systems, including spot, wall, ceiling, underwater and streetlights, and it presently headquartered in Bernate Ticino, Italy.
About Plurimedia srl
IBM Business Partner PlurimediaExternal Link delivers IT solutions focused on business process management, analytics and digital communication — particularly for websites and web applications. The organization was founded in 1999 and operates out of Desio, Italy.