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Proaction Technologies

Multiplatform web application

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As a leader in performance management, Proaction International is a consulting group made up of several subsidiaries, including Proaction IT, and whose goal is to improve the performance of individuals and organizations. Proaction excels in their field with a unique guidance strategy for frontline managers. This strategy encourages them to adopt active management practices structured by processes that lead them to identify improvement opportunities and then transform them into profitability for the company.

In order to facilitate action plan management and eliminate errors and the quantity of paper documents used, the U-TRAKK application was created to help managers structure their work and communication in one place.

Proaction Technologies
Proaction Technologies
Proaction Technologies
Proaction Technologies
Proaction Technologies

Project

Previously, everything was done by hand and then computerized, from seizing opportunities to creating plans of action. This process often led to delays and human error. Paper documents piled-high, the time required to manipulate the information therein was multiplied, and document sharing was becoming more and more chaotic. In spite of having computerized documents, it was still difficult to keep information current and up-to-date. Finally, following the daily progression of various opportunities, plans of action and audits remained equally complex.

It was with this optic that the U-TRAKK Web application was created. It is a tool for frontline managers to help them structure management activities, centralize action plans and facilitate communication among management teams. The audit and indicator functions allow for evaluation of system performance and managerial behaviour for each process or manager.

Solutions

U-TRAKK needed to allow information to be structured and centralized. Though Excel templates existed, the content therein differed greatly from one project to the next. Regardless of the content itself, it was easy to have various copies of each file scattered around. The tool needed to allow for daily follow-up of a significant stream of information. Activities for a perfect day, opportunities, actions, audits and communication among managers are but a few examples of the impressive data quantities that needed to be controlled. U-TRAKK’s final goal was to boost communication and engage users to collaborate around one sole platform. The functions of adding comments and taking notes during activities set a sure foundation to meet this goal.

The application is accessible by computer or digital tablet. Log-in information, confidentiality, process structure, activities as well as user hierarchy are entirely configurable. U-TRAKK can capture performance of daily management activities in the goal of influencing the key metrics.

It was imperative that the tool allow managers to grow efficiently. To this end, careful attention was given to the user experience. This effort, led by software ergonomists, allows for increased efficiency on a daily basis.

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Technology used

Based on cloud computing infrastructure powered by Microsoft Azure, U-TRAKK benefits from a high availability environment that combines performance and stability. This choice of technology can also respond to the global presence of various Proaction clients, so continual access to the platform is guaranteed. Armed with the load balancing technique, U-TRAKK ensures a rapid user experience at all times.

Designed with service-oriented architecture (SOA), the evolution of the U-TRAKK platform highlights various Microsoft technologies: Microsoft .NET 4.5, Visual Studio 2013, SQL Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 and server virtualization via Microsoft Azure.

The Web presentation layer was based on a combination of ASP.NET MVC, jQuery and AJAX. Asynchronous interaction with the server is managed by WCF Web service calls with JSON protocol to improve response times. Nmédia’s ergonomic and Web application design expertise guaranteed an optimal user experience.

Access to persistence sources is made with SOA segmenting. All this rely on the strength and versatility of Nmédia’s Nms.Core architecture. The sectioning of various components allows for rapid mode changes from direct implementation mode (library – DLL), to client mode – server via WCF services. Isolation between layers highlighted by this architecture guarantees performance, data protection and sustainability. In short, maintainability is greatly simplified.

Because mobility was a critical success factor in this project, caching optimization techniques for client navigation include: HTML code, CSS and JavaScript along with SQL algorithms as the central focal-point. These technical improvements allowed us to offer a refined version of the application. In addition to these technical improvements, the same challenges existed in relation to user experience (UX) and a design that would make users feel comfortable whether on a mobile device or a computer.

Though this project was foremost one of technical development, the human element was still a driving force. With the help of a client-guided agile work methodology, the project took on a life of its own. Rapid, low-cost adaptation, value-added functions and continual improvement were all part of the recipe for a successful project.

Results

  • High-performance application: improve manager efficiency
  • Rapid code implementation: application offers short response times
  • Mobile version is a novelty in the manufacturing sector: allows supervisors to make their rounds with the help of the application
  • Data entry time savings
  • Simply follow-up and performance comparisons for various plants around the world
  • Observations saved directly to the platform
  • Review of activities to be completed
  • Improved employee productivity in terms of activity management, action plans and team communication
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