2017 is going to be a big year for MONKEY™. As I mentioned in the last newsletter, we are transitioning our catering menu management over to our latest menu item configuration standard, that we call Open Mapping. As this is such a significant transition, I want to cover some of notes from my previous newsletter article. Before I do, I want to give you a look at some of the other exciting things we've got lined up for the first and second quarter of 2017.
Admin and Store Console Makeover
The MONKEY Admin Console and Store Consoles have served us well over many years, but the royal blue and familiar icons are looking a little dated. In our defense we've wanted to change the look and feel for a while, but your thirst for new features has kept us busy elsewhere.
As a sneaky side-project, we've been laying the foundations for the new design for some time. In conjunction with the new mobile first designs, we've created a new framework for the admin console pages. All the new pages have been designed on this new framework, yet, we've made them fit within the traditional design.
We have now hit the point where we want to begin transitioning the old pages in MONKEY to the new design. Over the coming few months, you will initially see a transition to a new navigation, header, and color scheme. This will be followed by a rather more gradual transition through each of the system pages, tweaking the design elements as we proceed. Our target is to have the first step completed before the end of Q1, 2017.
Here's a glimpse of what's to come:
List views with ellipsis button drop-down menus replacing the previous icons.
Tree views to help navigate through hierarchies. We are also adding breadcrumb trails to each page to help you find your way back home.
Forms with neatly spaced fields, with a mobile-responsive grid design. As most admin screens are feature packed, they will be more tablet friendly, than mobile friendly.
The navigation is also collapsible, so you can fit more on a page. With one click, the navigation slides to the side, to reveal a wider desktop for reports. This gives us more screen space for our new reporting platform.
We have recently switched our reporting platform to Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services, and we are seeing some great results. Here are some reports that we will be bringing to you in the very near future.
One of the great features is the built in export feature which exports reports into multiple formats, most notably Excel. Not only does it export the base data, it will export all of the charts and formatting too.
Unlike the previous version of our analytics reporting services, this will no longer be an add-on module at an extra fee. This will be included in the core MONKEY solution package.
We will be gradually transitioning existing reports over to the new platform to take advantage of the extra features. Plus we have some plans to tackle some new and exciting areas. More to come.
Standardizing the menu mapping mechanism has been our primary focus for most of Q4 and for the early part of 2017. As stated in the previous newsletter, these changes will combine the best of the existing catering and takeout menu configuration features to deliver a unified and more user friendly experience. I am incredibly excited to share with you the improvements that this is bringing to MONKEY.
For those that have our takeout module, you will likely be aware of our open mapping menu configuration mechanism. With this model, there is a high degree of flexibility in how menu items are configured. The mechanism was designed for single item configuration, but we have now extended this to manage more catering friendly configurations. This will replace existing flat, tray, and box configurations in catering.
Configuring per person priced buffets will no longer require the math skills of your customers or call center agents. Selections can be made using checkboxes which automatically split the selected items across the number of guests.
In addition to what is already available in takeout, open mapping will get the ability to order multiple quantities of a certain configuration, e.g. 3 pepperoni pizzas with mushrooms on the left, and 2 more pepperoni pizzas with double banana peppers. Previously this would have been 5 individually configured items, whereas now, it's just two.
Production reporting has now been freed from front end selection considerations. You can now design your production reports around your kitchens' catering production line.
Transitioning Your Menu
The transition from the existing catering configuration to open mapping will happen automatically. Existing menu setups will effectively remain the same, but will be contained within the new structure. You will then be able to take advantage of the new options at a time that suits you. That may be with existing items, or maybe with new items. Our Client Services and Support teams will be able to assist you with this.
We can’t wait to deliver these exciting new additions to the product, and hear your feedback. 2017 is shaping up to be a very significant year for MONKEY, and we hope these changes will translate to a very positive impact on your bottom line and off-premise sales growth!
Director of Product Management