USE* Rich Portal Foundation

In USE* IT we look at IT solutions as an opportunity to add value to our projects and for our customers. So our developed tools and services work in perfect partnership with our IT solutions. We develop comprehensible, extensible and functional tools that not only satisfy the actual needs, but that also add value beyond the simple brief.

Marcus Jansson, Director of Operations Sweden, and Operations Manager USE* IT
For USE* Rich Portal Foundation is built to suit the needs for small clients and large OEMs alike, being everything from a web portal page serving a team, to a large-scale solution integrated into business processes.

The Challenge

In USE* IT the core value of any software solution we develop is the transformation it brings to our teams and our customers. Transformation is easily quantifiable in time and cost savings, but the emphasis of USE* IT is to provide tools that will shape and support medium term changes to our customers’ businesses strategies and processes.

The Solution

To complement the experience of USE* in the automotive sector, and particularly in aftermarket-related business, the applications we develop primarily target our established customers. This means that we are developing new applications on the basis of a concrete understanding of our user community’s processes and strategic objectives - an aspect of USE* IT’s business that no other software developer can bring.

From a development perspective, our software tools are all based on a common USE* Rich Portal Foundation platform. USE* Rich Portal Foundation is a suite of components and modules that USE* IT can introduce and adapt for to a given context; it also provides a complete web-based Content Management System (CMS) for our customers.

USE* Rich Portal Foundation is built using the powerful web-language PHP, and using databases like MySQL to bring power to the solutions. The main concept of working from the same Rich Portal Foundation platform is to empower rapid product creation by enabling the re-use everything from small pieces of code to complete modules. When there are requirements for functionality that go beyond the scope of the extant portal data set, our team can focus on adding that functionality, re-using components like user and group management that provide the same security layer across all Rich Portal modules.

The principle of the Rich Portal Foundation is simple - we develop the functionality to operate and support processes and teams, enabled by a growing and cost efficient core of foundation software modules.

Its Benefits

Most importantly, because at USE* IT we use the Rich Portal Foundation as the base platform for virtually any tool we develop and deliver, building on common basic functionality like superior user and group management and security layers, any solution can be easily expanded with third-party add-ons or addendums developed by ourselves.

From a user perspective, USE* Rich Portal Foundation provides a complete web-based Content Management System (CMS), which can be deployed as it is for a number of uses:

  • corporate web portals
  • intranets and extranets
  • e-commerce and e-procurement solutions
  • training and e-learning suites

The portal is designed to be easy to install and set up, and is easy to use, which provides an ideal start to build sites and solutions with. With a minimal amount of instruction, you can empower your business to easily manage contents and structures.

It features a secure and reliable User and Group Management System. This allows users and groups to have different permissions, and for some users to control user permissions, edit, publish and administrate.

Rich Portal Foundation Authentication is an important part of user management, and supports multiple protocols, including LDAP, OpenID, and Gmail. This allows the implementation to integrate into existing account information systems.

Rich Portal Foundation Media Manager is a tool for managing media files or folders and you can configure the MIME type settings to handle any type of file. The Media Manager is integrated into the Article Editor tool so you can grab images and other files at any time.

Rich Portal Foundation Language Manager provides support for multiple languages and UTF-8 encoding. If you need your web site in one language and the administrator panel in another, Language Manager makes this possible.

Rich Portal Foundation Language Content Management uses a simplified three-tiered system of information that makes organising your content very easy. You can organise your content any way you want and not necessarily how it will be on your web site. Your users can rate articles, e-mail them to colleagues, or automatically save them as a PDF (with UTF-8 support for all languages). Administrators can archive content for safekeeping, hiding it from site visitors.

Creating content is simple with the Rich Portal Foundation WYSIWYG editor, giving even novice users the ability to combine text, images in an attractive way. Multilingual content can be managed easily.

Rich Portal Foundation Language Template Management means that the application’s look and feel is designed using templates - a powerful way to make the site portal and any software solution look exactly the way you want. The level of visual control goes a step further with powerful template overrides, allowing you to customise each part of your pages.

Our Achievements

USE* IT has deployed or is developing a range of tools based on the Rich Portal Foundation. These include:

SRTD Portal – Service Repair Time Database
SRTD Portal was the first tool to be developed to support work delivered by USE* Publications for one of our prestigious OEM clients. SRTD supports the USE* Publications’ team’s work with Workshop Manuals and warranty labour times. The tool features advanced authoring of procedures facilitated in both an efficient and easy way. The tool includes a Workshop Manual Browser for online dissemination of workshop manual data to dealer technicians, as well as export capabilities for output data information interchange with customer specific tools and publication systems.

i-SERP Portal
i-SERP Portal is a web-accessed database that supports advanced work conducted by USE* Automotive SERP engineers prior to and in the early stages of a vehicle programme’s concept design. i-SERP Portal allows labour times to be calculated and labour times and in-warranty parts costs to be captured as targets. Later, once product development begins, programme performance can be tracked against these values.

At the time this article goes to press (November 2009), it feels too early to talk about USE* Rich Portal Foundation’s achievements in anything other than a technical context. In this case, describing the achievement really means reiterating the challenges that we devised USE* Rich Portal Foundation to address, specifically: to deliver a template for software development that would complement our desire to help USE* shape and support medium term changes to our customers’ businesses strategies and processes; and to be able to deploy these solutions rapidly and cost effectively.

Case Studies

SRTD Portal

SRTD Portal

Create and publish workshop procedures and lab...
Rich Portal Foundation

Rich Portal Foundation

Scaleable modular software development


What’s it all about?
Online RTS

Online RTS

Workshop-manual cued warranty times

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