Contains all English posts

Reorganizing support

We are currently in the process of optimizing our support services. Let me share with you what we are currently up to: 

A couple of weeks ago I’ve started to separate the provision of support into three steps. First step is documentation. Having  good documentation which people really assists in setting up and administering their shop is vital, and on my ‚must have‘ list on pretty top position. IMHO we’ve  started well, but we’re far away from being perfect. At least a good start is done :). If documentation does not give the needed hints, the second step for customers needs to follow.

Second step is ticket qualification. People who call or write to support first get somebody who’s technical skilled on the line who asks about their concern, name, phone number, email, support contract number and all the stuff which is needed to assure a fast walk through all the organizational stuff. And if needed he can give some hints or in urgent cases even connect immediately to a specialist about  the caller’s specific issue.

Then the third step follows. Staff who’s working on OXID eShop/OXID eFire for quite a time, knows about the hows and when and whats and can give really useful tips for solving the current issue.

That’s the plan for now.

My very first step yesterday was to agree with our documentation guy about the quickest procedure for getting all the stuff we already translated to English into the documentation we have. So next couple of weeks all the German documentation is published in English as well. After this was done I instructed staff about new procedures for making sure that no input gets lost. Either it has to go into documentation and FAQ, or into product development (into product pipeline). This took all day long so we’ve continued today and the rest of this week.

 

How You Will Benefit from OXID Going Open Source

When I first heard at internal meetings that OXID will go open source, it took me about three days to roughly realize, what actually it means to my company and to the whole open source eCommerce world out there.

I personally have been playing around and using open source software for a long time even before I went to OXID, worked with Linux Desktops, wrote my texts with OpenOffice and got familiar with other cart systems. I chum up to the idea of free software (referring to freedom, not to price) as an alternative esp. for personal and SMB use and began to understand how it may change the way to make business in the future.

I used to work for BMW tech support and at the network operation center of a local carrier when I decided two years ago, to apply for OXID’s support team. I am proud now to be part of the process of making the OXID eShop open source and to be personally involved in this process. You will probably find me pretty often at our OXID board 😉

Now what shall you expect? The OXID eShop is a highly scalable, outstanding and proven eCommerce tool of a great functionality, loads of out of the box features and state of the art SEO functionality.

Okay, OXID provides the code of the „Community Edition“ under the GPL from now on. Why do we do that, what is the benefit we get out of it? The answer is simple: We reach more people that use our software. The more people work with our software, the more feedback we get about the quality and about what is really needed. We will bring home the bacon with our still available commercial products and service.

At the end of the day I am glad to be part of this exciting step forward with our new version on the one hand and going OSS on the other hand and to actively participate in this process.

OXID at PHP Conference 2008

Back from the PHP Conference 2008 I would like to share some impressions with you. For me as a non-developer it’s always quite impressive.Not only the relaxed and concentrated atmosphere there, but also the concentration of interesting people from the PHP world, old friends and also new contacts.
Our slot was about “Extending an enterprise PHP shop solution”. Of course, because of the technical focus of the conference  it was our intention that Erik gets the main part. The agenda was a short explanation of the OXID eShop architecture and then to install a completely new eShop and to develop a complete module for it…. All this live on a virtual machine on Eriks notebook. So far so good… the problem was: After round about 15 minutes he was done with it 😉
Ok, it was not really a problem, because we filled the remaining 40 minutes with adapting some other shop-modules, cheating some social features of the shop  (not a good idea in real eCommerce life, Erik :-)), discussing about our agile development process and talking about code-contributions and module-certification…
My part was to point out the possibilities and opportunities in the relationship between OXID and the developer-community and of course also to break the current news about the OXID strategy.

And really, as I presented the chart we got some really warm and honest applause for being Open Source now. Thank you! It was another clear sign (after a completely exciting first day at all for us), that we are on a very good way with our strategy.
So far, my very short review of the conference day. I hope we will also read something from the developers-perspective the next days, when our guys/girl attending the conference are back :-).
For the start here a posting from Nils, who was also visiting our slot: http://www.phphatesme.com/archives/865

Roland

CEO OXID eSales AG

What’s new

After two years of massive refactoring, we finally come up with the 4th generation of the OXID eShop. Together with that, some new structures and workflows have been introduced to our company for improved quality management as well as new patches, updates and upgrades can and will be released in a very short frequency.

The formerly forked development for both variants – Enterprise and Professional Edition – now has been merged again. The new variants (incl. Community Edition) are separated during the built process, which means, that every possible bug has to be fixed once. All of our code has been ported to PHP5.

The whole code has been extremely cleaned up and we cut down most of the huge classes and methods into small and handy pieces. We consistently use unit and selenium tests.

As a result, we proudly offer a sturdy and reliable code base, an increase of the performance (up to three times in relation to former versions) and the possibility to easily enhance our standard ecommerce tool using our proven module system.

Furthermore, we implemented a bunch of longed features, i.e. search engine optimization (SEO) has been increased exorbitantly:

  • We use cookies instead of handing over the session by URL now.
  • The SEO URL concept has completely been reworked (use of so called “speaking” URLs).
  • Content Pages are enabled to be mapped into SEO URLs.
  • The Shop will be delivered with a XHTML-valid template set (div-based layout).

The new OXID eShop will come with a package of web 2.0 stuff like RSS feeds, tag clouds and social bookmarking tools.

The admin area has been redesigned and comes up now as a smooth and simple to use administration tool.

At the end of the day, we hand out a sophisticated and state of the art software architecture that is easy to customize, where there are no limits in implementing third party systems and which is ready to use within both, SMB and large enterprise environments with an unrivalled total cost of ownership. It’s a weapon 😉

OXID goes commercial Open Source!

 As I promised a few days before, besides the launch of OXID eShop 4 there will be another little surprise… OXID eShop now is also available Open Source!

Without restrictions, without compromise. We have chosen the dual licensing model. That means, the code base of OXID eShop Community Edition is exactly the same as that of OXID eShop Professional Edition. From today every customer, developer or partner has the freedom of choice to realize their eCommerce projects either with the Community Edition (GPL v3) that is available as free download or the Professional Edition (commercial license) bundled with an attractive support subscription with guarantied response times.

For us here at OXID as you can imagine it’s a big and exciting step, that we intensively planned over the last months. You may ask yourself why we did this step and why we did it now?

First of all we strongly believe that the commercial Open Source approach meantime is the better way to build and to sell enterprise software. We want to give every merchant the chance to use our technology , to earn money and to establish oneself successfully in the eCommerce market.

Of course, we also want and need to earn money. But in our opinion, it makes much more sense to grow our business by broadening our focus in product development and quality by bringing in our community. Instead of investing in aggressive marketing, we will invest in community building to expand our business.

If you really need us, when your business grows you can count on us. Be it professional support offerings, our eCommerce intelligence platform OXID eFire or our proprietary licensed products eShop Professional and Enterprise Edition. And finally we did this step, because due to our improved development process and our completely refactored product in generation 4 we now are able to provide you with updates and patches in that quality and speed that you’d expect.

We want to invite you to build an “architecture of participation” together with us: Realizing eCommerce projects based on OXID eShop, developing modules and themes, translating interfaces or improving documentation together with us. We will give our best to establish a sustainable, trustful partnership with you.

On our website you already find a community forum, lots of documentation and tutorials that makes your life easier. A place where developers and partners can exchange and distribute modules and themes as well as a translation-tool for the interface will follow soon. But that’s just the beginning. We look forward to hear from you and to discuss with you how we can move forward and make a difference in the eCommerce world together.

Roland Fesenmayr
CEO OXID eSales AG

OXID Partnerday 2008 Plus a Half Night

Going to bed at 3 o’clock last night, after celebrating with our partners I feel unexpected good today!

Maybe this is up to our partnerday yesterday, which was a really amazing event.

Take a look at the slideshow at flickr.de!

More than hundred of our solution and strategic partnes visited us at Freiburg, Germany, where our headquarters reside, to hear about the latest OXID news, present

their solutions and doing intensive networking.

Roland Fesenmayr presented our prospective strategy with a lot of detailed information in his visionary and intoxicating way.

Afterwards we had an interesting discussion, which could clarify last questions.

The overview about the news concerning the partnerprogramm by Michael Benz the OXID Partnermanager was acclaimed by the audience.

He also presented the new partnerlevel “Solution Partner” which allows new partners to be able to start quick and easy working with OXID and presenting themselves.

www.oxid-esales.com/de/partner/solution-partner

After giving an overview about the new highlights of the new Release 4, I informed our partners in my update to the partnermarketing about the hows and whys concerning the new pricing of the OXID Enterprise and the Professional Edition, whereas we have all

actual modules included in the basic versions. The main part were the possibilities and tools how to work with the OXID

community, by using the blog, forum, contributing their modules or writing their expertise in the tutorials etc and

I think most of our partners are really interested in participating in the community. Some of them will focus on the

enterprise segment furthermore and will implement highly complex projects, but we can expect they will give support

by sharing their knowledge to some interesting points.

The finish of the morning slots was made by 11 partner in a quite sporty partners format: each of them got 5 minutes

to present their business focus and offers – after 5 minutes Daniel Lorig (Junior Marketing Manager) stroke the gong.

I didn’t imagine how much and valuable information they were able to present in this short time!

After the good and solid meal in OXID style we divided the afternoon in two parts.

In the marketing part a lot of our OXID eFire partners presented their services and the benefits by using the

integration in OXID eFire. We had top-class speakers from Webmiles, FactFinder, eBay, Heidelpay, Atriga, Ciao, Zoomio and Dresdner-Cetelem Kreditbank.

www.webmiles.de

www.factfinder.de

www.ebay.com

www.heidelpay.de

www.atriga.de

www.ciao.com

www.zoomio.de

www.dresdner-cetelem.de
Wheras in the technology slot Ralf Trapp, our Technical Product Manager, gave a live presentation in how quick

and efficient we can act within our agile software developing process: from recognizing a bug, solving it,

testing it and releaseing it in an official new version.

One of the most import aspects for our partners is: they can use these testing methods too for being able to develop stable modules and –

this is the more important aspect – to be able to speed up the time to market for customer projects.

In the last technology slot with Erik Kort (Head of Development) we learned the basics of how to

develop modules and how to certify them. There will be a new seminar within the OXID academy where we get instruction about module

developing in a very detailed way.

www.oxid-esales.com/de/service/academy

Altogether I think we succeeded to enthuse our partners to go the next steps with us and to foster the OXID community.

The highlight of the evening in the Kagan Lounge – a nice club at the 18th floor wit surround view – was the

ceremony of the OXID Best Solution Award and I was very proud to present our top-class jury: Professor Wolfgang Maass from the University Furtwangen, Thomas Karst CEO Trusted Shops and Johannes Altmann from shoplupe!

Daniel did a real good job in announcing the winners! Read more in his posting.

And now we come back to the beginning of my text – the evening ended very late after lots of good talks, new ideas and some drinks.

But sometimes during the day yesterday I got touched by this great dynamic and atmosphere and I thougt

“wow, we have so great partners and it’s wonderful to watch them combining their ideas and businesses”.

I think we can say the whole eCommerce competence of Germany celebrated in the Kagan Lounge in Freiburg last night 😉

The only one who did a very great job too, but didn’t get his adequate credits was Elie our DJ – sorry for that Elie, but our partners

preferred to network all night long and nobody wanted to dance 😉
Andrea Seeger

Executive Board, Marketing Director

OXID eSales Best Solution Award 2008

In every year the Best Solution Award pays tribute to the best realization of shop-projects with OXID eShop!

We are really proud and happy, to present you the winners of the Best Solution Award for the categories OXID eShop Professional Edition, OXID eShop Enterprise Edition and OXID eShop special category.

Best Solution Award OXID eShop Professional Edition

And the winner is…..www.kuchenkurier.de

The idea of cake-on-demand was very persuasive. A real highlight is the cake-configurator, which allows the visitor to modulate his cake step by step with bow, package, greeting card, date of delivery etc.

The design is characterized by an accurate colouring. Beige, brown, orange – these colours bring up an association to cake, baking and bakehouse.

The perfect logistic and the soon delivery also were arguments for the kuchenkurier.de.

Every evening at 5 p.m. the baker gets the information, how many cakes he have to bake over night and also the logistic-partner knows, how many cakes he gets the following day from the baker, so the order can be handled really soon. But the most important reason, why kuchenkurier.de stands out of the crowd, is the real caring focusing on personalization of the products. Cake is no commodity. Cake is event-orientated.

Congratulations to shoptimax GmbH for this delicious idea!

 

Best Solution Award OXID eShop Enterprise Edition

And the winner is…..www.closed.de

The brilliant realization of cross-selling functionality and the perfect combination of 250 products were the main arguments for www.closed.de.

When viewing a product, the visitor is invited to complete the look. For example: if you choose a jacket, you will see directly, which trousers, shoes and shirts are in line with it.

Because of the broad information the shop assures best transparency. Size Charts, material- and care-information open up as pop up.

Also every product includes a direct link to additional- and forwarding charges.  

Background and design of the system elements are created cautious, so the fashion products come to the fore and the attention is focused on the essential.

 

The animated logo with illuminated advertising-effect is a pretty loosening element.

Congratulations to superReal digital media GmbH for realizing this ambitious shop-project!

 

Best Solution Award Special Category

And the winner is….www.knastladen.de!

At www.knastladen.de you get to buy products, manufactured by prisoners from 35 companys in 23 prisons of the land Nordrhein-Westfalen. Responsible Operator of www.knastladen.de is the prison Castrop-Rauxel. It´s the place, where the shop-catalogue gets structured, articles get placed and orders are taken. A main request is, that an own product offer can be admitted from every prison. On the other hand it is necessary to offer the product on one sales platform.

The technical coordination of the central shop with the 36 sub shops, the automated E-Mail Communication and all the other technical challenges were perfectly mastered by tro:net GmbH.

Congratulations!

 

Daniel Lorig

Junior Marketing Manager