It’s a delicate process to redesign an offline internal legacy system, which was based on a valuable proprietary algorithm, but had an unfriendly user interface. To meet market demands for agility, Grupo Solvay do Brasil decided to redesign the entire product’s front-end interface to enhance user experience.
Solvay chose Cinq to execute the whole process, from running a Design Sprint to building Solsys® — Solvay’s new version of its simulation platform for formulations.
With the Design Sprint, Solvay could include Solsys®’s refactoring in its larger business strategy, with multiple IT initiatives. Solvay’s customers were invited to participate in the redesign.
Since the official launch, the number of accesses sessions has increased substantially, reaching more than 350 in Brazil and 250 in other countries. It The platform has about 120 registered users from 37 organizations around the world.
It’s a delicate process to redesign an offline internal legacy system, which was based on a valuable proprietary algorithm but had an unfriendly user interface. To meet market demands for agility, Grupo Solvay do Brasil decided to redesign the entire product’s front-end interface to enhance user experience.
Solvay chose Cinq to execute the whole process, from running a Design Sprint to building Solsys® — Solvay’s new version of its simulation platform for formulations. The company, which specializes in chemical products, owns the technology embedded within the software, which is widely used to optimize formulations containing solvents.
The algorithm enables the simulation of formulations such as paints, lacquers, adhesives, etc., taking into account properties such as solubility, dry time, cost, and other factors. Solsys® saves on bench testing, avoiding trips to the lab, manual calculations, and trial- and - error processes, that consume time, resources, and money. The system simulates mixtures in a virtual environment, making it a more economical and assertive process and reinforcing the company’s business strategy.
The software’s old interface presented a complexity that did not enable intuitive interaction with untrained users. In addition, the simulation results were displayed on several screens, making interpretation complicated and time-consuming.
Customers could only access the software indirectly, so Solvay needed to develop formulations on their behalf. In addition, customers could not conduct their own testing and simulations.
Change of course
When the need for a more user-friendly interface came up, Solvay looked for specialists. Cinq was the only company that suggested running a Design Sprint before creating a budget. This methodology, based on user experience (UX) and Design Thinking, enables user testing and collects feedback on how that product or solution could deliver more value.
In addition, with the Design Sprint, the company would be able to include Solsys®’s refactoring in a larger business strategy, with multiple IT initiatives. Solvay accepted the proposal, and Solvay’s customers were invited to participate. Twelve customers spent five days going through a process of refactoring and ideation of the software interface. The outcome was a map of possible improvements, such as intuitive search boxes, a prototype with fewer screens, a list of the most used formulations, and more.
After extracting new insights from the Design Sprint, Solvay closed the deal with Cinq — whose squads worked with IT professionals from the chemical industry — to develop Solsys®’s cloud-based version. Cinq carried out partial deliveries between April and August 2019. In September, we launched an MVP (Minimum Viable Product), called “lite version” by Solvay.
“We granted access to the platform to the twelve customers who took part in ideation, so they could test it and give their feedback. In the first week of October, a month after pre-launch, it was officially launched during Abrafati (Brazilian Coatings Manufacturers Association), which takes place every two years,” says Diana Martiniak Tosto, Researcher and Development Technical Assistant at Solvay.
The result was an intuitive online, global, web version that improved usability and understanding of the results obtained. From that moment Solsys® was available to be tested by anyone who signed up.
Since the official launch, the number of sessions has increased substantially, reaching more than 350 in Brazil and 250 in other countries. It has about 120 registered users from 37 organizations around the world.
According to the development team, it’s been important to evaluate the number of accesses by these users and to analyze how the platform has contributed to speed up their customers’ developments. “Since launch customers have been contacting us to understand the new version and schedule training sessions for their teams. Feedback has been very positive,” says Diana.
With its ease of use, the new Solsys® version enables customers to carry out simulations in a more intuitive and agile way, with no need to consult Solvay frequently — something that used to happen a lot with the old version.
“Besides reducing training time, it is an important tool to understand new market trends and what each application’s main needs are,” says Diana. The company has been promoting its platform in universities and among potential customers, and has been running virtual campaigns on social media sites like LinkedIn.
Solvay already has an evolution map for the platform, including Big Data and Machine Learning, which can suggest formulations according to each user’s needs. However, there is not yet a timeline for the evolution. According to Diana, the current goal is to expand the platform’s use before determining what the next steps are.
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