While Unreal Engine enables the 3D visualisations for R.Design app, many of the underlying capabilities are supported by Salesforce and Heroku. With the Salesforce database platform, Imaizumi himself is able to design complicated data structures without knowing codes. The resulting data can then be pushed to Heroku using Heroku Connect.
Another benefit of using the Salesforce database platform is that it can be expanded through writing new programs. AMOCC has done this by working with Salesforce engineers who have written many Apex codes to enable new capabilities. The company has also used Ruby on Rails to develop multiple websites and APIs for the R.Design app. Heroku provides AMOCC with a platform to develop and deploy these quickly and has helped AMOCC avoid hiring server engineers.
“It’s incredible that a business person like me can lead and manage the whole development. I previously thought an IT project is something that should be led by an IT expert and needed to involve heavy documentation on system requirements and definitions,” said Imaizumi. “We’ve taken a totally different approach with this project which has been led by a small agile team, including myself and a small number of great engineers. We communicate in Slack everyday and there is no need for thick documents.”
Salesforce supports all the databases that sit behind the R.Design app, including its Product Information Management (PIM) database. This system contains detailed information on each product such as available colours, sizes, and fabrics—all of which feeds into the development of the 3D models. Heroku takes the product data from the PIM, transforms it into a readable format, and pushes it into the R.Design app. APIs are used to push the same data into the ecommerce platforms of AMOCC and its partners.
“The product information we have is truly complicated with details about the design and construction of products and how they’re associated with other objects. We could not manage that complexity without Salesforce,” said Imaizumi.
AMOCC’s partner manufacturers can access its PIM through Experience Cloud. There, they can register their product information by themselves so that they can showcase their products and 3D models to interior designers and general consumers. They are also able to sync the PIM with their ecommerce platform via APIs, and receive sales orders and customer details through Experience Cloud and manage processes like fulfillment.
AMOCC has formed an in-house 3D modeling team in Vietnam, who work with manufacturers on the creation of 3D models while also continuing to build and enhance R.Design with premium features for both consumers and designers.
The 3D modeling team and all others within the company use Slack to collaborate with each other and key business partners. The secure, channel-based messaging platform has replaced email as the preferred way to communicate, especially during the pandemic as teams worked remotely.
“People need the ability to have quick, casual discussions and get instant responses to their questions. If we were all in the office together, we might do that face-to-face, but since we are not, Slack has become the place that everyone goes to chat,” said Imaizumi.
Slack has changed the way AMOCC communicates with partners as well. For example, whenever AMOCC has a meeting with a key partner, it shares documents via Slack in advance. Then, once meetings are over, they use Slack to manage follow up.
AMOCC has also integrated Slack with several applications to centralise workflow. One of these applications is Rollbar which is used to detect application errors. With Rollbar now integrated into Slack, team members receive an instant notification via the messaging platform anytime an error is found.
One of the future opportunities for AMOCC is to further leverage insights from R.Design and customer’s purchases to re-engage with them in meaningful ways. For example, if a customer purchases a sofa, AMOCC can proactively reach out in the future to suggest changing the fabric. This could help customers extend the life of their purchases, thereby making them more sustainable.
“By using Salesforce we can maintain a relationship with our customers for another ten or twenty years and reach out to remind them that they don’t need to throw their sofa out, but can simply replace the fabric. Manufacturers can also hold onto the templates of the products they have which makes refreshing colours and fabrics less expensive,” said Imaizumi. “In this way, having a CRM is not only good for us, but good for consumers.”