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S Group

Vaadin and S Group

Finland Retail and wholesale

A new channel for sharing information

The desire to modernize the communication process between managers and the group's personnel drove S Group, a Finnish network of companies in the retail and service trades, to do business with Vaadin. Their newest project "Dooris" is a composite application focusing on the employees' information needs, gathering information from various systems and showing it in relevant chunks to the end user. Dooris has been a multi-supplier project where Vaadin was responsible for the user interface.

Dooris brings S Group's communication processes to the next level. The project's vision and milestones were carefully planned beforehand, and the actual execution was fast.
– Dooris is an application that is made to serve our staff both via the computer and the mobile phone. It eases the whole communication process. In the first phase the employees can e.g. browse work shift schedules, see if extra shifts are available and make wishes. Dooris was piloted in a hypermarket, in Prisma Kajaani, says Project Manager Anna-Kaisa Hakala from S Group.

IMPORTANCE OF USER TESTS

– One of the aims of the solution was, that it had to be so easy to use that there was no need to train the users at all, says HR Manager Sirkkaliisa Kulmala from S Group.
User tests were in an active and central role in constructing a valuable solution. Based on the user experience the original plan found its final form.
– The first user test with five end-users was done based on a crude model. The second user test with four end-users was done later on using a prototype. After the first test the project underwent some changes, which were found to work well in the second test, tells Project Manager Kim Leppänen from Vaadin.

LOOKING BEYOND THE SCREEN

– The variety of end-users is wide. There are people of different ages with different abilities to use technology. Because of this, Dooris had to be made so easy that the user could get a grasp of it right from the first sight. In planning solutions for these kinds of projects you learn to challenge your own thinking patterns, says Interface Designer Hannu Salonen from Vaadin. He continues:
– One challenge in the project's mobile phone interface was that we don't actually know what kind of phones people own. We had to do a sort of detective work, after which we defined the solution's format and the minimal requirements.
According to Salonen the best thing was to see how the solution is used in everyday situations. Then you can see the real issues, which can undermine the usability.
– We have to take a look outside our screens. Then we understand in a completely different way, how our decisions really come to life.

SMOOTH COOPERATION

Kulmala praises both the cooperation between the suppliers, meeting the project schedule and the usability.
– We sought out to find a reliable supplier, who used technology that is both new and exciting. We wanted to find a partner, who takes us towards new possibilities and ways of working. Vaadin was an unfamiliar operator to us from before this project and we chose Vaadin through a tendering. The cooperation has proven to be very pleasant and we are looking forward to work with Vaadin also in the future.

In S Group, the customer is the owner
S Group is a Finnish network of companies in the retail and service trades. S Group has extensive ownership base, over 1.9 million co-op members. S Group has more than 1,600 outlets in Finland.

S Group consists of regional cooperatives as well as SOK (Suomen Osuuskauppojen Keskuskunta), which is owned by the regional cooperatives, and its subsidiaries.Together, they produce services and benefits for co-op members.