Nov 18 2019
The ComActivity team recently pitted wits against eachother in an internal hackathon* with the winning team trumping the others with a ready-to-go M3 notifications solution using the AWS cloud. Our company is tight knit, in a virtual kind of way. We are spread across ANZ with Business and Technical consultants working out of our Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland centres. The average ComActivity employee is always up for a challenge, so they jumped at the chance to down-tools for an afternoon to compete in a Hackathon. 4 teams were put together with members comfing from all over ANZ, and they worked together to meet the challenge: “Conceptualize, design and build an innovative business app to solve a given problem”
* A hackathon, for the uninitiated, is a time-limited event, where technical people and others involved in product development collaborate intensively on software projects.
4 Problem Statements
The teams were given four real world problems that they could choose from to solve. An example of one problem was related to the Internet of Things:
“By 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected devices. The IoT is a giant network of connected “things“. Consider how IoT could be incorporated into the some of the activities our customers do today. E.g. Could Alexa, Siri or another voice recognition system generate transactions in M3? Could your mobile phone be used to identify you to salespeople as you enter the store as a loyal customer?
Prototype how you would incorporate the IoT into Infor M3.”
Multifaceted Virtual Teams
Although most of the competitors came into their local office for the day, especially with Pizza on offer, the teams were spread geographically, and were made up of business and technical consultants from all over ANZ. Each team collaborated using Microsoft Teams meetings.
Starting at 8am, the teams had 6 and a half hours to conceptualise, design, build and demo a business application which solved one of the four problem statements. The product demo’s were held at 2:30pm for our judges, Jason Levick (MD ComActivity) and Mats Gunnarsson (MD GOC Retail) who would award the winner based on the following criteria:
Idea and its Business Application – 25% • Design of prototype – 25% • Execution of prototype – 20% • Team collaboration and final presentation – 30%
The Winning App – SMS Notifications via the Cloud about Delivery Status
The winning team chose to leverage Amazon Web Services to solve a problem related to automation of manual tasks:
“Our customers have system activities today that are time intensive. Could some of these be replaced with a simpler or more automated approach?
Prototype an application to replace a current, manual process for our customers in Optimity, Infor M3 or Cegid Y2.”
Using a smart product development methodology, that saved time and ensured that there was a need for the solution, the winning team worked on an idea that had already been requested by a customer reverse engineered a solution.
M3 Mobile Collaboration – Delivery Notifications via the AWS Cloud
In this case the prototype that the team demo’d sent SMS notifications to the end customer (aka our judges) via the AWS cloud, to alert them about deliveries and delivery shortfalls. The judges were most impressed by the fact that the solution was up and running and sending alerts to their phones, and that it had a real application for one of our customers.
The team was made up of Kevin Quach (Technical Consultant) and Mitch Edwards (Business Consultant) in Brisbane, Anh Tran (Support Consultant) and Darek Stachon (Business Consultant) in Sydney, and and Lucy Krzewski (Support Consultant) in Melbourne.
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