Capmation helps HGR modernize legacy software DataFlo
Full Stack Development
HGR is a leader in buying and selling used industrial surplus and equipment, including industrial robots, MRO, CNC machinery and hardware. Working across North America and Mexico, HGR provides an efficient solution for all-inclusive equipment services—from inspections to purchases to off-loading.
HGR buys and sells used industrial surplus and equipment across North America and Mexico. To make those transactions possible, the company uses a legacy software called DataFlo. The application not only holds vital company information like inventory and scheduling, it also provides integration to selling sites, such as eBay, that enables client purchases and sales.
HGR created its legacy application over 10 years ago as a custom ERP (enterprise resource planning software) on the backbone of a now deteriorating and outdated framework.
“It was an Apache web server sitting on top of J2E Java with an Oracle back end,” said HGR CTO, Tim Perkins. “There was no modernization put in place because the project was written with a Nexacro UI. The code used to develop the legacy application was becoming too old. This implied a risk that some integrations might cease to work because of compatibility differences.”
Additionally, HGR struggled to communicate with DataFlo’s creators due to language barriers. Miscommunication over drawn-out email exchanges significantly obstructed HGR’s ability to update DataFlo over numerous attempts.
“The development firm that built the product didn’t speak English. We would bring in an interpreter, but that individual didn’t have a technical background so it was very difficult to discuss what needed to be done, especially with the time zone challenges,” explained Perkins.
Losing operations in DataFlo had the power to cripple HGR. With the clock ticking on DataFlo’s usability and the current partnership failing to provide a timely solution, the company needed a new approach. It sought a partner who would preserve the platform as the company’s backbone by adding new functionality and enhancements. The first step was taking control of the source code and installing and configuring it in local environments.
From the beginning, communication played a critical role in the partnership’s success.
“Right off the bat there was good project management by Capmation. Everything from the daily standups to the weekly reviews ran very smoothly. It felt like they were our own development team,” said Perkins.
Because having a clear understanding of the original code was imperative, Capmation took the lead in forging communications between the new development team and the original South Korean team by bringing in a Korean-speaking developer. After months of coordinating the transfer of knowledge, Capmation was able to put full control of the DataFlo framework in HGR’s hands.
“We wouldn’t have been able to do that if Capmation hadn’t engaged so effectively with the Korean team and determined what that group was and wasn’t doing. Capmation was able to really quickly assess how the architecture was built and make it work. Now, we’re able to do these builds on our own, maintain the existing software and, in some cases, extend it.
Although the DataFlo modernization will be a three-year process, the successes of the first year are already evident.
The team has set up all of the tools required to modernize the application—including frontend, backend, AWS and other technologies—and has begun to build on top of them. In addition, the team was able to encapsulate an entire module and migrate data from some of the subsets. This allowed HGR to execute user testing to ensure that the new DataFlo not only fulfills the minimum requirements, but is also functional.
“With Capmation, everything is done within a modern and agile framework. Some teams I’ve worked with cut corners. With Capmation, I know everything is being done the right way. I’ve worked with teams across the globe and this has been the best experience hands down. They’re always 100% engaged,” he explained.
In addition to completing internal segmentation of DataFlo’s modules for piece-by-piece updating and beginning user testing to ensure functional expectations and demands, the team has also secured licenses for the software in DataFlo’s frontend, ensuring future updates will go more smoothly.
“Capmation is making it all work for us. We’ve got a working framework that we’re all comfortable with, we’re collaborating with a consistent team, communication is going well and there are no time zone issues with either the Ecuador or Fiji team,” added Perkins.
Meanwhile, the partnership with Capmation has expanded to reduce HGR’s backlog of application maintenance and bring other applications up to date, including eBay integration, Product Feed and the MyHGR website. Reducing the maintenance issues has led to increased speed and efficiency.
“We’ve probably done more maintenance development in three or four weeks than we’ve ever done,” said Perkins.
With DataFlo’s modernization progressing and additional applications in development, Capmation and HGR envision a successful partnership moving forward. Martín Unda, Capmation’s Business Analyst and Project Manager overseeing the project, says the key to successful outcomes always goes back to strong partnerships.
“We work together in the decision-making process,” said Unda. “We gather as much information as possible from HGR, analyze the data, develop a strategy and solicit feedback. This strong collaboration strengthens the partnership, keeps everyone on the same page and creates the best results.”
When asked if HGR would recommend Capmation, Perkins deliberately tamped his approval.
“I do recommend Capmation, but maybe I shouldn’t,” Perkins joked. “I want to keep them for myself. Working with Capmation is like hitting the easy button. Once we hit the button, everything fell into place.”
Length of Project
Approximately three years, currently in year one.
- The modernized platform paves the way for future technological innovations and integrations.
- Improved software functionality increases worker productivity.
- Significant headway in the maintenance backlogs allows better processes and integrations.