Transforming Scenario and Pricing Models into Enterprise Web Applications
LeasePlan uses EASA to transform spreadsheet tools into true enterprise “CPQ” (Configure, Price, Quote) web applications, providing numerous benefits compared to conventional application development:
No special knowledge of Web technologies is required to produce robust web-enabled applications
EASA is relatively quick and easy to learn – new authors rapidly become productive
A clean user interface can be created with a minimum of effort
End-users can only access the correct “certified” version of a tool, ensuring consistent usage
Confidential models and data embedded in key spreadsheets are protected
Data can be “melded” across disparate systems and databases to provide a unified view for an application
“EASA is the only tool we were able to find that can fully address the Governance, Risk and Compliance issues of spreadsheets.” -Grant Donnell, Application Landscape Manager, LeasePlan New Zealand
Problem: How do you cost-effectively transform “stop-gap” spreadsheets into true enterprise apps – with authentication, version control, and full auditability?
Like many organizations, LeasePlan NZ has a core ICT system supplemented by many desktop solutions such as spreadsheets and MS Access databases. Many of these end-user developed solutions do not measure up in this age of increasing focus on compliance and both regulatory and business control. This is where we saw the opportunity for the EASA platform.
Solution: Use EASA to web-enable and securely deploy spreadsheet-based tools to end-users.
In 2012, LeasePlan conducted a proof of concept with EASA, a platform that enables rapid creation of web apps which can interact with spreadsheets, databases, and legacy tools.
For the proof of concept, an application (or “EASAP”) was created based on an existing Excel spreadsheet used for data entry of third-party leasing details. The new application greatly simplified and streamlined the user interface and operation of the tool.Following this, a more ambitious project was undertaken to create a Profitability Model application combined with a Pricing Approval application and including workflow components. This utilizes a complex user-developed back-end Excel spreadsheet. The application interfaces with the legacy system to update multiple tables and to generate approved contracts for new and existing customers.The initial version of the Profitability Model and Pricing Approval took only 12 weeks of development work effort to prepare – much less than would have been the case using conventional application development. This demonstrated the enormous value of EASA’s ability to reuse a spreadsheet as a “logic engine” for an enterprise web application.The Profitability Model now has multiple users in sales and marketing, commercial, and contracts departments, and enables “what if” analysis of every deal negotiated with LeasePlan.
Following this success, LeasePlan has used EASA to build around 20 applications to date. Where requirements are well defined, it has been found that moderately complex applications can usually be built with about 20 to 40 hours of work effort.
This validates the tremendous benefit of re-using knowledge already in the business in the form of Excel spreadsheets.
An additional unexpected benefit is EASA’s ability to rapidly generate working prototypes for proposed applications.
Thus far, LeasePlan has developed apps for: Lease Settlement; Trial Balance reporting; Order Review, Order Confirmation and Registration Confirmation, among others.
This Profitability Model and Pricing Approval application took only 12 weeks of development, which demonstrates the enormous value of EASA’s ability to reuse a spreadsheet as a “logic engine” for an enterprise web application.The Profitability Model now has multiple users in sales and marketing, commercial, and contracts departments; it enables “what if” analysis of every deal negotiated by LeasePlan.LeasePlan has used EASA to build and deploy about 20 applications to date.