We are excited to kick-start a promising 2019 with good news for our customers and those willing to take the next step in their journey to supply chain digitalization. After a successful 2018, dedicated to strengthen the capabilities of the inet TMS and the Alpega Group portfolio, inet’s product development team has a solid strategy to approach the challenges of the transportation industry, understanding the requirements of our customers in a dynamic environment.
From systems to solutions
inet’s product roadmap for 2019 has a clear focus: “We switched from looking at the products we develop as systems, towards providing solutions for our customers. This may seem a pretty simple statement but in order to do so the entire development process had to be changed. We adopted a more user-centered approach establishing more user experience touch points, such as iterative specifications, A/B testing during development or a final usability gate. This enables us to really understand how important those functions or features are for our customers”, explains Gerfried Aigner, Product Development Vice President. Looking at what that means in terms of vision and Roadmap for the year ahead, four main areas will be addressed:
Regarding user experience, inet will continue to invest time and resources into its improvements. Significant alterations were already done in 2018. Another important step towards a whole new user experience will be the extension of the new UI to the Container Management solution which will be deployed with the first release of the year. Throughout 2019, our logistics consultants will also be provided with more options to configure the inet TMS like more filtering options and search queries. In this way, they will be able to respond faster to the customers’ needs and preferences. One of the most exciting innovations will be the conversational UI, which allows the iTrace users to use and interact with a chat bot in apps like Facebook Messaging. In this way, no additional app has to be installed, but the preferred messenger service is enriched by TMS functionality.
In line with our standardization endeavors, continuous investments into the harmonization of microservices will be made. For this purpose, an API layer will be introduced thus facilitating and improving the communication between the TMS and other applications, ultimately allowing services that are core to our products, to be consumed by third parties. In a nutshell, the API layer is a technological prerequisite to provide microservices. Microservices in turn enable the integration of services from other providers – like Alpega group members – thus complementing the inet TMS with important functionalities.
Following the user-centered approach together with the improvements in technology smart products will be provided. This intelligent products not only offer good features but provide added-value to the customer. Real time analytics thanks to the inet operational dashboard is a perfect example for this offering real time insights into critical events and exceptions as well as cross-industry benchmarks. This is also an example for Connected Products since the dashboard can access multi-tenant databases via APIs as enabling linking technology thus allowing for an information flow across instances and products.
In the Alpega group forces are joined in order to provide end-to-end solution that cover all transport needs. In line with this key capabilities like planning and tendering were added to the inet TMS. The integration of the TenderEasy solution, for example, made way for fast and efficient information flow in both directions. In this way, prices, specifications and other important factors that were agreed upon during the tender process are readily available in the TMS at the time of the actual transport execution. On the other hand, lane definitions and historical data from the TMS support the re-tendering of routes in TenderEasy with e.g benchmark values. Last but not least, Europe’s number one Carrier Pool, the Alpega Carrier Pool, encompassing 70 000 pre-onboarded carriers is being worked on with high pressure.
Four releases are planned for 2019 in March, June, September and November, resulting in a total of 17 development sprints. We look forward to further proceed with our way towards smart, connected, user-centric products. Yet, with the principles of agility in mind we do not plan rigidly thus risking the ability to quickly and flexibly react to changed circumstances or customers’ needs. We want to be able to build the greatest products for you – so, expect lot more interaction with us in the coming year and let’s build the best TMS together for you!