Recently on April 14, many gathered at the kintone hive Nagoya event to share their technical knowhow and expertise. Ms Tomoko Onishi from Japan’s Geo Holdings Corporation took the stage to show off how she used kintone to efficiently integrate data from all Geo stores across the country in to one.
What is Geo?
As a quick background story, Geo holds over 1800 stores across the country. Its services include media rental services, mobile phone services, second-hand recycle stores, online services and even amusement centres. The company also actively incorporates public cloud services such as AWS, Azure and kintone, and coordinates its data using DataSpider Servista.
Tomoko, the star of today’s story, started at Geo in December 2015 as a part-time worker. Without necessarily having any special skills in programming, it was here that Tomoko was introduced to kintone and began creating Apps. Being highly interested in the area and by continuing to develop her skills, Tomoko attained her qualification as a Specialist Developer at kintone University. Tomoko became a full-time employee at Geo in December 2016, and is currently in charge of overseeing kintone’s system operations as well as creating Apps. She operates Geo’s online store database, and is responsible for developing an automated registration and updating system for the future.
Geo’s store database includes information such as location, contact information, operating hours and stock information of each store. Up until now, each of the area managers for the seven store clusters was required to fill in a specific Excel sheet and then send this to Head Office as an attachment via email. Head Office then, upon verification, uploaded this to the company’s server, accessible by the public on their website. Area Managers are in charge of overseeing several stores, and thus were overloaded with countless emails and Excel attachments, often at once. It was a nightmare for Area Managers to keep up to date with each store, and time was being wasted on lengthy processes. Furthermore, locating and sending required information out manually was an inefficient process.
To solve the problem, a specific kintone App was created. Developed by Geo and Lexues Inc., the App allows staff members to input store information directly into the App. Head Office are then able to verify the information, which is shared to the server straight away. The shared information is reflected in kintone’s master sheet via DataSpider Servista, and is accessible by all staff members across the country. Also, through applying a search engine plug-in stores can be searched for by name, and thus the process has become much more efficient and easy to use. In addition, email addresses are not required and thus information sharing is just one click away.
According to staff using the system, it has become much easier to keep up to date with the current status and progress of stores across Japan. The system makes it possible to communicate easily across long distances, and has been appraised by its users. In a month, area managers save 200 minutes, and head office staff 400 minutes- kintone’s promise in reducing spending time has been kept.
The system has been further developed to automatically include information about the store and its facilities upon data about that store being shared by head office. The sharing of information to the server by Head Office is the only step currently done manually, and Tomoko is looking to make this step automatic also.
Geo’s kintone users are currently 300, with more than 100 Apps in operation. Many users approach Tomoko asking her to help create a kintone App that meets their needs and wants. While her career up until now has been nothing near that of a programmer, through immersing herself in plugins and with the help of Cybozu Developer Networks’ TIPS, she continues to improve the usability of kintone’s service for the wider community.