ALD Automotive is the first to implement the new Miles user interface with enhanced functionality from fleet management software specialist Sofico, which aims to improve customisation and user satisfaction, while increasing productivity and efficiency.
Called Rich Internet Application or RIA for short, the new browser-based user interface replaces the current Rich Desktop Application interface (RDA) within Sofico’s main Miles software system, and has been designed to make the experience for the end user far more user-friendly, with increased functionality, greater use of dashboards, charts and graphics, and improved visual appeal.
The new functionality is the latest development for Sofico’s Miles software system, which has been designed specifically for contract hire and leasing, fleet management and auto finance companies, and currently manages over one million vehicles worldwide.
ALD Automotive first began using the Miles fleet software system in the Netherlands, where it operates a fleet of 27,000 vehicles, several years ago.
The company then rolled it out to its operations in Belgium and Luxembourg where it has a further 63,000 cars under management.
ALD Automotive has now gone live in the Netherlands with the new Miles RIA user interface, a move championed by Ron Peters (pictured), team leader information systems, because he believes it delivers so many benefits to the business.
“We are the first fleet customer to be using the new user interface on a live database,” said Peters, “and were very keen to have it because of all the new features and benefits it offers.
“We can now configure and customize the screen layouts within Miles to exactly how we want them and we can adapt them ourselves to meet the exact needs of our business.
“For example, we provide fleet management services to fleet customers as well as operational leasing, and we can now customize the Miles quote screen for whichever service we are offering.
“We also provide fleet management services to a number of vehicle manufacturers, including Ford and Volvo, for example.
“Now we are able to design quotation screens to match the specific data requirements of each manufacturer, and we can assure all this information is on one screen which is a major advantage.
“Another benefit of the new user interface is that it allows the user to set up ‘my favourites’ and ‘recent history’ features similar to those you see with Internet Explorer.
“This allows the user to go back to a customer that they deal regularly without having to open up new screens every time. This increases productivity and efficiency, especially where you may be contacting one customer 20 times a day.”
There are lots of new features that Peters finds very useful. “The new screens highlight any omissions you make by lighting up the omitted area, while information bubbles contain vital customer contact information which you can easily access without having to leave the main screen,” he said.
ALD Automotive Netherlands is now training its staff in the use of the new Miles RIA user interface, and has created a team of four ‘super users’ who can not only train the end users but also provide a first line of IT support and guidance.
“We either go to Sofico’s offices in Belgium or their trainers come here to help us get up to speed as quickly as possible with the new interface,” said Peters.
ALD Automotive will be making the new user interface available to its Belgian operations from the second quarter of 2013 to ensure it can access the same benefits across its whole Benelux operation.
Walter Maes, head of product development at Sofico, said: “The key difference between our new RIA and other internet applications is the higher level of interaction in our interface, which offers all the benefits of being browser-based without the drawbacks of a traditional, page-based web application.
“Put simply, a RIA user interface can be considered as a web client with the capabilities of its desktop counterpart.”
“Over time, this new technology should enable us to explore further context-driven screens as well as develop customer-specific implementations.”