Hillarys Blinds rolls out custom sales app using SAP Afaria

Blinds and curtains supplier Hillarys Blinds has developed an Android app for sales agents that synchronises with its back-end SAP ERP system

Blinds and curtains manufacturer Hillarys Blinds has rolled out a custom Android sales app to help its self-employed sales agents manage customer orders.

The app is used by sales agents who visit customers' homes to take orders for made-to-measure blinds and curtains. Manufacturing, based on SAP ERP Central Component, is on-demand and supports 500,000 permutations of colour and fabric.

The company, which has a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategy, has standardised on Samsung S2 and S3 smartphones to provide its sales agents with a Javascript-based order-processing app.

The sales people buy their own Samsung device and choose their own mobile contract. As part of the BYOD policy, they need to download SAP Afaria mobile device management (MDM) software from the Google Play marketplace.

The app authenticates onto the Hillarys Blinds back-end system and then connects to the company's internal app store, which downloads the sales-processing app to the smartphone.

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“We went with Android because we did not want to get through the project only to find that [the way we implemented] JavaScript would not work on iOS,” said Julian Bond, head of ICT at Hillarys Blinds.

Bond's team worked with an SAP business partner to co-develop the app, which has enabled the in-house team to learn how to configure the SAP mobile software.

Initially he selected the Samsung S2 smartphone due to its Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) functionality, which is supported by SAP Afaria. This is also available on the Samsung S3. 

Even though the S2 and S3 ran the same version of Android, Bond said there were software compatibility issues. These were later resolved with an OS patch update.

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