JMC – IT Future is 360° Service and Innovation

17 May 2021

Field report by André Steimann

Entrepreneurs know the challenge of finding the right IT partner. The choice of a redundant IT infrastructure (HA cluster) and performant service level agreement (SLA) poses strategic decision problems for today's company. «High availability» in the IT landscape requires the right partner, but also the necessary broad range of expertise.

André Steimann, Sales & Marketing Manager at JMC Software AG, explains opportunity and challenge in today’s IT landscape for Swiss SME.

Generally, a company's IT landscape consists of different providers and different contact people. So it is no coincidence that unsuitable interfaces lead to expensive conflict potential.

JMC Software AG recognized this concern years ago and positioned itself smartly and competently in both markets. The one for software engineering as well as system engineering - True to the slogan «we are a 360° service provider and direct contact for all IT needs.»

For Betty Bossi we had the opportunity to developed a full stack Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) platform where different applications and peripherals can just plug and benefit from several features such as full-text search, favorite list, nutrition plan, single sign-on, google and apple pay.

In few words Betty Bossi is now able to:

  1. Create new application for smartphones by using all mentioned features right away;
  2. Optimize search for customers with rated search, synonyms, filter, facet and much more;
  3. Enable the use of the customer login for all apps as well as the sharing of the favorites list and all other information about the different apps.

JMC has been business partner with Betty Bossi for years and develops the ERP system as well as the e-commerce service with the entire shopping cart and campaign logic in the lifecycle

Due to an interface with Betty Bossi ERP system and single sign-on technology, the login can be used for all apps. Likewise, the login can be verified and used by partner systems.

Digitization is an important topic for Betty Bossi. They have created a few thousand recipes and published them in various books and on their subscriptions. Many recipes are available on their website, but not every one. Betty Bossi wanted to provide a better recipe experience for their customers. Their goal was to create an app where each customer could find the recipes, create private notes about a recipe, and mark their favorite recipes to make them easier to find. That was the birth of Betty Bossi's recipe app.

JMC uses the agile framework Scrum. We improve the functions of the SOA platform in small steps and provide them regularly. This allows our customer to react to a new feature early on and our product meets customer requirements to a greater extent. We use C# with .net Core 3.1 as programming language and a SQL server as data storage. Improving the performance of the solution, we use Redis as a cache server and Solr for our full text search. For communication with the apps, we use a RestFul API. These modern technologies allow us to respond more precisely to our customers' needs and create new features with less effort.

The goal of the SOA platform is to create a web service for different apps. All apps can consume different functions of the platform. This brings some disadvantages. A smartphone app must be validated by Google and Apple before it is published in their stores. This makes synchronous deployment of the web and apps impossible, and changes to our web service cause problems with older versions of the apps. Our solution to this problem is a versioning web service. Different versions of the API run in parallel and older apps can use an older version of the SOA platform. Another challenge is the performance of the SOA platform. Apps use different features and each new app requires new resources. To improve the scalability of the SOA platform, we use microservices. This allows us to improve the infrastructure only for functions with high workload.

Betty Bossi can create new smartphone apps and use all implemented features immediately. Every new feature on the platform is available for every app. This reduces the cost of new apps and Betty Bossi can create new MVP with a smaller budget and a lower risk. If the new MVP does not meet the client's requirements, Betty Bossi can reuse the already created features on the SOA platform for another app.

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For Metro Boutique we realized a new e-commerce platform with API in 2020.

A front-end template customized for the customer made it possible to present a functioning online store version after only a short time. During the project, the JMC team together with the Metro Boutique team developed specific design and UX (user experience) requirements for a customized front-end.

JMC also implemented the required interfaces in the backend for the integration with the internal ERP System for the data exchange with the online shop and the transfer of the order information from end-users.

Solutions of PostFinance and MF Group have been integrated to support the payment and checkout process, while Emarsys has been the selected partner for a very performing customer Engagement Platform.

After realization and release of the new online store, JMC developed a dynamic customer application interface (API) for allowing the integration of smartphone apps. As a result, the Metro Boutique online shop supports all requirements for a modern omnichannel e-commerce platform.

Knowing the customer is key today and Metro Boutique had only a simple CRM integration until then. The existing integration did not allow to know anything about the customer who was currently in the store.

Metro Boutique wanted to provide a better customer experience both online and in-store. Customers should be able to use reward points won from the loyalty system. Mail campaigns were to be conducted with better targeting.

Metro Boutique decided to integrate the Emarsys CRM into their online store and extended the functionality with the Emarsys Loyalty System.

JMC also introduced a two-way interface to Emarsys and implemented loyalty functionality and newsletter subscriptions.

Smartfactory developed a smartphone app to add loyalty functionality to the customer shopping experience.  Thus, JMC was responsible for implementing a web api to integrate Smartfactory's loyalty app.

Metro Boutique now better understands its customers' behavior by extending its existing CRM with a loyalty system. Today, they can run optimized and targeted campaigns both online and in-store. This solution also improves customer retention and new customer acquisition with a targeted audience channel, mostly based on a mobile app.

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