EHI welcomes our agile approach

EHI welcomes our agile approach

As the first major project completed by our new Düsseldorf branch, the platform of customer EHI Retail Institute went live at the start of the year. The new team in the state capital was faced with the challenge of transferring to a completely new technology platform, while at the same time also visually redesigning it – and all to a strict deadline.

EHI, a research and educational institute for trade based in Cologne, has been operating the B2B platform for several years and up until the end of 2014 they did so in collaboration with a partner. At, the EHI Retail Institute collates data, figures, and facts on trade with a focus on Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

The information made available for download originates from empirical research by the EHI Retail Institute and approximately 150 selected third party sources. The data can easily be downloaded as image files (JPG, PDF) in the form of diagrams or as raw data in table form (Excel) and used in diverse ways such as in presentations, business reports, etc. Journalistic reports on trade issues, as well as industry and company profiles provide users with a quick overview. Reminder lists and optimized search and selection functions make working with more effective.

ehi screen4

Since the collaboration with the previous platform operator ended at the end of 2014/beginning of 2015, EHI decided at an early stage to redevelop the platform with the objective of achieving greater flexibility in the design of the platform’s sometimes costly features and to thus constantly increase customer satisfaction.

Following detailed analysis of the customer’s requirements and objectives, ETECTURE recommended using the open source content management framework Drupal in order to have access to a stable technology base and a large number of ready-to-use modules. The particular business logic of the platform, with various product types and subscription models, was reproduced using internally developed modules in Drupal. Various tariffs and information packages, which customers can select to suit their own preferences and according to their needs, are provided. The Basic tariff allows you to download up to three statistics free of charge per month. The Select 30 tariff is the solution for project work (30 statistics in 30 days), and with the Business tariff, single-user licenses are provided, as well as “XL” access for multiple-user licenses in companies with the most comprehensive range of information available.

Statistics are displayed using Javascript library Highcharts, which enables data to be displayed in a wide variety of chart types such as column, bar, line and pie charts. The platform uses an Apache Solr server for its search technology, which indexes statistical metadata and enables the user to search through the nearly 10,000 statistical data sets quickly and conveniently.

For the wholesale customer market, ETECTURE additionally developed a feature which enables companies to connect directly to the platform, thus allowing access to all statistics without having to log in.

ETECTURE’s typically agile approach to the project was fully supported by the customer. Since the launch date for the new platform was fixed from the start, it was possible to repeatedly check the entire scope of service and adapt it to the project requirements. The iterative implementation in sprints with gradual delivery of the finished range of functions ensured a high level of transparency throughout the entire duration of the project.

In addition to the successfully implemented agile project approach, collaboration between the different ETECTURE offices proved effective as usual during the project. enabling the small Düsseldorf team, time and again, to count on the support of colleagues in Karlsruhe or even Sweden.

Following the successful re-launch on January 5, there now follows, after a four-month period of intensive development, ongoing additional enhancement of the platform – using with an agile approach and in close collaboration with the customer as always. ETECTURE continues to provide maintenance and operational support for the platform.

Working with the customer, including on the concept and design, was a great experience for the team – the collaboration was straightforward and the communication excellent. The customer’s general understanding of the benefits of agile collaboration in software projects was also very advantageous and guaranteed that the launch date, which was fixed due to the change in provider, could be adhered to.

The successful platform development has laid the foundation for long-term collaboration between ETECTURE and EHI and we look forward to it continuing!

Petra Kregelius-Schmidt
Marketing & Event Manager