A Progress Application Partner for more than 15 years, update texware delivers business software designed to meet the unique requirements of its textile customers. Thousands of users across 21 different countries rely on the Progress OpenEdge based solution, texware/CS, to support their entire textile production chain—from yarn fabrication, to the manufacturing of textile products, to the finishing process to the retail process—or, in other words, “from sheep to shop.”
As part of update texware’s strategy to increase customer satisfaction and boost its market share, the company chose to modernize its popular ERP application by migrating the solution from OpenEdge v7 to OpenEdge 10.2 B (with some users on 11.3) and developing a more sophisticated, easy-to-use Graphical User Interface (GUI) with Microsoft .NET.
Rather than developing an application from scratch using a brand-new platform, the long-time Progress partner chose to drive its modernization project with the help of Progress Software Professional Services, and by using the most up-to-date Progress tools.
“Our goal was to deliver a modern version of our existing ERP system as quickly and as efficiently as possible,” explains Martin Speidel, Chief Development Officer, update texware. Starting a project from scratch with a new platform did not make sense—it would take too long, cost too much and the end result would be a product that was untested in the market.
"Our existing system was very popular; the changes we were looking to make could easily be accomplished by moving to the most recent version of the Progress OpenEdge platform," said Speidel. "With increased flexibility and the ability to take advantage of the new enhancements, we could provide our customers and prospects with the additional functionality and user friendly GUI they were looking for.”
The reliability and low total cost of ownership (TCO) of the system were also significant factors in the decision to stay with Progress. Many of update texware’s customers run 24x7 operations, and most do not have onsite IT support. So, any unplanned downtime could have a significant impact on a company’s bottom line.
Consultingwerk’s Window Integration Toolkit (WinKit), the only one of its kind, is a unique framework designed to help Progress partners quickly and easily integrate existing applications into an OpenEdge GUI for .NET environment. Rather than replacing an application’s existing code base, WinKit actually draws on that information, quickly bringing existing functionality into a new, more user-friendly GUI. Developers can produce a new screen within minutes versus the weeks or even months it would take to build them from the ground up.
According to Mike Fechner, Founder of Consultingwerk, “WinKit does not require the partner to change the whole architecture of an application, which would certainly lengthen the scope and increase the cost of the project."
And, because we are able to leverage the existing code base, the partner’s application will continue to be usable by those customers who may not immediately migrate to the new version. In the case of update texware, any functional modifications made to the existing business logic will be useful for customers using the new .NET version or the previous version. This saves the partner time and money because they aren’t managing two projects in parallel to add new features to the existing application and to the new user interface.”
In just two months, update texware developed a prototype of the .NET GUI, which garnered tremendous excitement from both its sales force and largest customers. Within four months, update texware completed the new .NET GUI using the existing Progress code.
"It's phenomenal that without making any significant changes to our underlying application, Progress OpenEdge enables us to deliver almost immediate benefits to our customers in the form of improved productivity, increased efficiency and reduced costs." says Speidel. “Whereas our old GUI may require users to navigate five or even ten screens to complete a task, our modernized .NET GUI will enable them to perform that same task with just one or two screens.”
update texware also expects to achieve a competitive advantage with its modernized system. “Our solution has always been a high-performance application, but because the user interface looked dated, prospects assumed the technology was also dated," said Speidel. "Users are growing more comfortable with and used to a Windows environment, and they expect to see that functionality in a state-of-the-art system. I am confident that when a prospect compares our new system with that of the competition, ours will be perceived as the more advanced, modern and user-friendly option.”
According to Speidel, nearly all customers are using the texware/CS .NET version. “We added .NET functionality, such as calendar view and the ability to link to any web page for order tracking, currency rates and other capabilities,” he said.
Speidel added, "It was a great experience to work with both Progress Professional Services and Consultingwerk. They provided us with the knowledge, tools and ongoing support to meet our goals. And the cost of the project was relatively low compared to the strategic importance it will have to the ongoing success of our company. We greatly appreciate the guidance and knowledge both companies provided, and we look forward to working with them both on future initiatives.”