Case study | PRT Group
Italian craft and modern technologies – cooperation between PRT Group and JCommerce
PRT Group is an Italian company that began its business operations in Turin in 1921 as the Poligrafico Roggero & Tortia printing works. After years of dynamic development, the business has grown into an international concern operating on the business communication management market, offering a diverse range of services and tools using advanced technological solutions.
Customer Communication Management system
The company's core service is the mass distribution of documents in the fields of generation, serial printing and shipping. PRT Group's clients are large organizations and public institutions who send massive quantities of documents to their clients, such as notices, invoices, contracts, advertising brochures and catalogues.
Complementing this service is the company’s flagship product PostaPronta, a Customer Communication Management system that facilitates the management of outgoing Communications. The system allows you to send all documents automatically by means of any selected distribution channel: apart from traditional mail, documents may also be sent by e-mail and certified e-mail Electronic Invoice, as well as on Facebook Messenger.
This is a solution designed for smaller companies, allowing them to handle all outgoing mail using a desktop application that works with end devices such as scanners and printers. Documents can be sent directly to the delivery house using the application, then printed and sent electronically or by post.
JCommerce specialists’ tasks
The JCommerce team’s goals are to update the system architecture, add new functionalities, and develop a portal with an administrative panel for clients – a so-called Customer Area - which allows users to manage outgoing serial messages (invoices, contracts, notifications, etc.) using various communication channels.
Functionalities implemented by JCommerce include:
- sending by e-mail and certified e-mail;
- an e-mail editor in the application (rich text format implementation),
- serial correspondence with the possibility of creating templates,
- an OCR function that allows data to be read from scanned documents,
- a licensing system which provides users with different sets of functionalities depending on the type of license,
- shadow copy, which is a functionality dedicated to the American version of the PostaPronta system (MyMailHouse), facilitating two types of sending correspondence (regular and priority shipment) in order to make sure that the parcel will reach the recipient.
- the transfer of data relating to shipments to the cloud (Azure) from a local server,
- concept work – an analysis of architecture and the assumptions regarding the introduction of new functionalities, the search for optimal solutions, and work on the concept of the new system architecture,
- modernization and optimization.
The Customer Area is a web application designed for clients who order mass document shipments, and is used to verify data before printing.
The earlier solution was based on the Joomla system and PHP technology, which meant that the application was not efficient. JCommerce specialists have implemented more modern technologies, such as ASP.Net, Web API and Angular 4, as well as asynchronous calling and Ajax, which made it possible to significantly speed up the application.
A web application used to generate electronic invoices, integrated with an external service that verifies the data, as well as certifying the invoice. The application is also integrated with the PostaPronta application.
The JCommerce specialists were tasked with creating an application together with a set of the most important functionalities and integrating it with the certification service and the PostaPronta application. Integration with the CCM system was challenging due to the fact that the data entered in the desktop application had to be sent to two web applications - the Fattura Elettronica application, which validates the data format, and then to a separate application to certify the invoice. The solution was to "sew" the Fattura Elettronica application directly into the desktop application, which guarantees efficient communication between the two.
Because a huge amount of data has to be processed and archived in the process of generating and sending invoices, and errors in file management on physical disks may occur, the company decided to migrate to the cloud. After analyzing their requirements, the JCommerce specialists proposed the Azure Blob Storage service, which guarantees low costs while meeting all the system's needs, including the need to process invoice files multiple times.
Messenger Bot for PostaPronta
The PostaPronta application was extended to incorporate a bot in Facebook Messenger, which allows users to send documents directly from Messenger. All data is sent in the chat window, and the bot automatically verifies it and suggests the next steps. The prepared document can then be sent by post or in electronic form. JCommerce specialists were tasked with implementing a bot provided by an external company and testing its operation.
- Modernization – implementation of the MVVM model (Model-view-viewmodel), which guarantees the simplification and testability of the code, and facilitates the subsequent development of the system.
- Optimization of the app’s operation – the implementation of newer technologies and more efficient architectural solutions, as well as transferring data loading to other threads, made it possible to significantly accelerate the operation of the app.
- Development of system functionality – which made it possible to meet the clients' expectations in terms of the company's services and the capabilities of the software provided.
About the client:
PRT GROUP is an Italian company which operates on the global printing and business communication market, offering its clients a variety of solutions based on modern technologies.