Every year, thousands of new students start high school, and everyone needs a laptop to do their schoolwork. Previously, the county municipality solved this by putting out a tender with an order of the number of computers they needed. This meant that all pupils received the same computer, that the county municipality was the owner, and the schools' IT workers had to be responsible for all preparation and support.
With the new solution from Pearl and Komplett Bedrift, ordering computers becomes much more flexible for the students and easier for the county municipality and the schools. Via a separate portal, students can order their own computer and choose from several alternatives that the county municipality has selected. The computers are subsidized by the county municipality so that the students themselves only pay a deductible. The size of the deductible depends on which PC the student chooses.
"This was the kind of project where you really see how skilled people are. Together, we managed to solve challenges that were entirely new to us."
Status meetings at one o'clock at night
The first version of the solution was built in 2020, and the schedule was tight: The order came in May, and the students were to have their computers in August – with orders coming in already from July.
"It went very well, but we did not have a lot of time. Pearl worked night and day; I know they at one point had a status meeting at one o'clock at night," says Tormod Hystad, Customer Journey Manager B2B at Komplett.
"Both Pearl Group and our own developers put in a great effort, and all students got their computers by semester start."
Pearl's project manager, Sarita Engebretsen, is just as pleased with the collaboration.
"It was a perfect collaboration, where everyone from the team worked together immediately and solved everything. Komplett has a close follow-up and a low threshold for picking up the phone, which is absolutely necessary when working remotely, as we did during the pandemic," she says.
"This was the kind of project where you really see how skilled people are. Together, we managed to solve challenges that were entirely new to us," adds SAP consultant Miodrag Marinkovic.
Sarita Engebretsen and Miodrag Marinkovic think the project with Komplett Bedrift was a perfect collaboration.
Not without challenges
The development of the solution has not been completely without its challenges for the partners.
The backend is built with SAP's ERP, and this has been Pearl Group's part of the collaboration. With two buyers of the same product – both the student and the county municipality – a lot of tailoring and adaptation was needed.
The purchase is basically a private consumer purchase; the student owns the computer, and all rights and guarantees follow the student. This means that the student must receive a full receipt for the entire purchase – but without paying the total amount.
The county municipality pays the difference and prefers not to pay each of the thousands of computers one by one with regular online banking payment, as the students do. Electronic collective invoices were needed, as were reports on which purchases the invoices consisted of.
In addition, they wanted to offer different types of insurance according to the student's needs, and also other extra equipment such as sleeves, which meant that there was also a need for a so-called BOM ("Bill of Materials") – a list of items included in the purchase.
Tormod Hystad and colleague Kai Sæther in Komplett are impressed by how the collaboration between Pearl Group og Komplett Bedrift has worked out.
Another challenge was to ensure that the student has the right to receive a subsidized computer from the county municipality. In the first version of the portal, this had to be approved manually by the county. In this year's version, the solution automatically extracted information about who has been offered a school place from the county municipalities' administrative portal, Vigo, and thus had the right to a subsidized computer.
As long as the students are approved as buyers, they will proceed to the Komplett portal to choose from the county municipality's selected computers. The portal works on both desktop and mobile, and it was actually developed by two summer students and an interaction designer at Komplett Bedrift. It is fully integrated with the regular online store on komplett.no, and so the students can see their order on the usual "My orders" page and get help with the computer via customer support in the same way as with all other Komplett products.
And even though most of the work took place at the beginning of the corona pandemic, the collaboration went painlessly.
"It actually went better than painlessly; it went great. The county municipalities that have used the solution have been very active in giving feedback and input, and Pearl has been quick on their feet and fixed any small errors right away," says Account Manager at Komplett, Kai Sæther.
Rogaland County Municipality came in as a customer of the solution this year and is satisfied with the solution and the partners so far.
"It's very nice. The portal works well, and they seem professional and deliver as expected," says advisor Tore Wersland in Rogaland County Municipality's education department.