Transitioning desktop to web.

Reinventing modelling software to help global brands solve business critical decisions.

Lanner's in-house Predictive Simulation Modelling software delivers peace-of-mind to blue-chip clients around the world. The team were acutely aware that modern technology could disrupt their delivery model and there was a  pressing need to embrace the potential offered by web technology.

They also understood the need for additional resources to help develop the next generation of their platform with a strong focus on web-based technologies. Lanner commissioned bluebox to partner and deliver insight in creating an engaging online application for their customers.

Objective Lanner's proven simulation engine "Witness" needed a re-invention to satisfy the new expectations customers had due to web-based technologies from a traditional background of desktop application. We needed to offer expertise, deliver modern creative and facilitate the shift in strategy whilst minimising friction to the internal team and clients.

Software is generally considered to be led more by function than creative design, however a key goal for Lanner was to engage users and promote migration to the new platform.

  • Replace a complex Excel based interface with a user-friendly on-line experience.
  • Provide multiple levels of access for Lanner's team and its customers.
  • Develop a flexible system that can cater for a wide variety of simulation "models" with varying inputs.
  • Offer online visualisation of simulation results to give credibility to reports and data output.
  • Provide a gateway to on-line reporting and business intelligence tools.
  • Communicate with the existing Lanner simulation engine software through an API solution.
Approach As a highly bespoke project requiring research in a number of key areas, an early decision was to develop a "tracer bullet" - a fast completion of an end-to-end technical proof-of-concept.

The project was broadly approached in three stages. Initially a high-level specification was drawn-up favouring user-based requirement over technical detail to not limit the creativity of the project. Next we explored navigation, user interaction and routes through the software with wire-framing schematics and Photoshop creative.

The final stage, the core development, was perhaps surprisingly the shortest of the three phases. The fast build was achievable due to clear planning together with the early technical proof-of-concept leaving minimal obstacles. We worked closely with Lanner on the project implementing fortnightly reviews of progress.

Outcome The technical build was delivered on schedule in four months allowing Lanner to move forward with plans to trial the software with a number of clients.

The project has subsequently proven to be successful and the feedback from clients positive. From the outset the first delivery of the software was intended to achieve a "Minimum Viable Product" (MVP). In the subsequent months it has been iteratively evolved with enhancements based on user-feedback.

Now that the framework has been completed the application is being expanded to cater for new functionality as it gains greater significance within Lanner's overall company strategy.

The application is being deployed on the Microsoft Azure platform within a true cloud environment - this allows the system to scale horizontally and vertically for both high reliability and power on demand.

  • Flexible structure; to be capable of accommodating multiple predictive "models" meant a unique approach to database construction. Lanner modellers use their knowledge of simulation to create a user-friendly end-customer environment through a set of controls and "drag and drop" tools.
  • Individual creative and engaging interface; everything about this project was highly bespoke, including the user interface, being designed to both compliment the existing approach legacy customers are used to - but also excite and promote fast adoption to the new platform.
  • Animated results; a unique challenge to this project was to display the simulated scenarios in a way that was real to the situation - this was achieved with HTML5 Canvas functionality.
  • Informed customers; the system triggers automated notifications to customers when their simulation is ready to view online.
Partnership bluebox impressed with not only their technical proficiency but also their creativity; these were key drivers for us to commission them to undertake what we knew would be a challenging project. The results have been excellent with the project exceptionally managed throughout and communication pro-active.
Graeme Routledge Group Marketing Manager Lanner Group Ltd
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