French real estate company embeds the Nuxeo Platform into its business applications to provide centralized content services.
Vilogia, a real estate company, made the decision to use Hyland's Nuxeo Platform in 2009. They were looking for an enterprise content management solution that would provide a central location for all content. That solution needed to be web-based and built using Java to support a range of platforms (Windows, AS400, Linux) that they owned.
There were two primary use cases:
- They needed to share documents with people across different projects — a standard use case for enterprise content management.
- They wanted a platform that would enable them to store documents in the back end for a number of applications.
After developing a proof of concept that supported both of their uses cases with Nuxeo Platform and one other ECM solution, the Nuxeo Platform proved to be much easier to extend and was less intrusive.
Vilogia has a history of preferring open source solutions. They use Liferay for their Intranet and Joomla! for their Internet; Nuxeo Platform was the perfect complement. In fact, Nuxeo Studio supports 90% of their needs by helping extend document types and implementing automation APIs.
Initially, Vilogia rolled Nuxeo Platform out for document sharing, but in 2013, they began developing their first embedded applications.
Manage client information for a call center
In 2013, Vilogia started a new call center, bringing in-house their previous call center activities and agents. They implemented a commercial CRM application that provided a single view of clients for call center agents but also needed a place to store client documents that could be accessed through the CRM.
The approach could have been to store the documents in a file system, but it wouldn’t provide capabilities such as indexing and workflow, and it wouldn’t allow a user to retrieve the document from within the CRM.
While the CRM is a commercial, closed source solution, it was web- and Java-based and could be easily interconnected with the Vaadin email solution that Vilogia had built. Integrating Nuxeo Platform for document storage was the next step.
Connected user experience
Storing documents was easy, but Nuxeo Platform also needed to collect documents on behalf of the Vaadin email app, download all emails, index them and send them to the CRM to get more information to process them (incoming email doesn’t usually have all the information to know which customer it’s related to).
With several different applications to integrate together, Vilogia needed to ensure they built a simple but efficient architecture that would handle all of their uses cases.
Although not a Nuxeo Platform challenge specifically, the solution helped to significantly simplify the architecture by providing standard automation interfaces that all developers could use.
The way Nuxeo [Platform] helped us was through the use of very standard interfaces using automation APIs. It was very easy to implement.
— Christophe Capon, CIO
Better customer experience
The biggest qualitative benefit that Vilogia saw was improved customer relationships. Contact center employees had more consistent information with all client exchanges available on one screen.
Vilogia’s contact center gets two kinds of calls: commercial calls (deals, charges, etc.) and technical calls (landlord-type issues). The current solution supports the commercial calls; the next step is to support the technical calls. But where there are 20 different use cases for commercial calls, there are hundreds of uses cases for technical calls (e.g., leaks and cracked walls). The CRM needs to be integrated with the ERP system which handles the technical details of each lease (number of rooms, windows, sinks, bathtubs, etc..) to ensure the call center agent has all the right details.
Nuxeo Platform GUI
An intuitive UI
The standard Nuxeo Platform interface is very rich and sometimes complex for nontechnical people. They were fielding a lot of calls from people who wanted to simply view documents. They were also using Nuxeo Platform to share documents with external people.
What they needed was a simple link/login they could send people to browse and view documents without further training. So Vilogia decided to create a basic, simple interface to share, browse and query documents.
Vaadin and Nuxeo Platform
Here, Vilogia implemented a Vaadin web application and used Nuxeo Platform automation.
As the Nuxeo Platform automation interface is designed to allow this type of application, there were no major challenges. The biggest challenge for Vilogia came in the form of designing an interface that was user friendly and worked well on tablets.
Implementing this basic web application significantly reduced the hotline calls as it was very easy to browse and search for documents in a standard view.
While there is a strong temptation to allow uploading/modification of documents, Vilogia does not want to rewrite the whole Nuxeo Platform interface. There may be plans to enhance search and browsing, but the application does what it was meant to - provide easy access to documents stored in Nuxeo Platform.
Google Lite Search App
With over 28,000 documents stored in Nuxeo Platform, Vilogia wanted to make search more relevant, helping people quickly identify visually the document they were looking for. What they wanted was to make the search Google-like, by integrating Apache SolR to handle snippets.
Configuration or custom code
When they started, Vilogia didn’t know if they could do it, worried that they would have to go too deeply into the source code, making it cost prohibitive.
Yet they did believe it could be done. So the biggest challenge was to figure out where they would inject their custom code to be as least intrusive as possible. They also wanted a plugin that was easy to put in and to remove.
To make it work, they found the right extension points — overloaded the PageProvider class with a SolRQuery DocPageProvider, a Nuxeo Platform display widget and 4–5 page providers. The nice surprise was how small the amount of work was to complete the project, taking only three days. This solution was released in 2014.
The Google Lite Search App had specific targeted requirements. Currently, you can extend it by selecting to view two or three paragraphs instead of the default one. Vilogia will look at new technical requirements such as indexing different types of documents that can’t be indexed easily by Apache SolR (such as AutoCAD documents).
- CRM Integration: Integration with CRM, Vaadin, 150 Users, 21,000 documents (9 GB)
- Google Lite Search App: Integration with Apache SolR, 1200 Users, 28,000 documents (30 GB)