Case: Ramirent renewed its digital services with a customer-centric approach – North Patrol provided consulting support for the project

Ramirent Finland Oy (Ltd) is a leading construction equipment rental company in Finland, serving its customers nationwide through a network of over 60 rental outlets. The company’s customer base is extensive and diverse. While the construction industry represents Ramirent’s largest single customer group, its clientele also includes installation companies, industrial facilities, shipyards, municipal and government agencies, as well as private households. North Patrol supported Ramirent in a comprehensive digital service renewal, assisting the company throughout various stages of the project.

North Patrol is a consulting firm specialized in the design of digital services and information systems. We shape ideas into a vision and service concept, find the best architectural and technological solutions, design a functional user experience, and compete to find the ideal partner for implementation work. We do not sell implementation projects, nor do we sell licenses; we are genuinely on the side of the customer.

5 February 2024

Mikko Jokela

Ramirent had started a project aiming to enhance customer-centricity and digital customer experience. As part of this initiative, the need for renewing the website became apparent. The old website had various conceptual and technical shortcomings, failing to serve Ramirent's customer base adequately. Additionally, the maintenance and ongoing development processes could use improvements. With these shortcomings, it was clear that actively improving the existing site was no longer viable. Instead, a solution truly serving the business and Ramirent's marketing communication was required.

North Patrol joined to support the site renewal project in late 2022. While Ramirent had already done some groundwork, progress took a new turn when we joined forces. Our focus was particularly on the following closely interlinked aspects:

  • Clarifying the digital service offering
  • Developing a customer-centric digital service concept
  • Evaluating suitable technology solutions and facilitating the procurement process

Clarifying the digital service offering

Even though the website development was urgent, it was important to first examine Ramirent's digital presence as a whole. Ramirent offers several different digital services, such as the construction site portal RamiSmart and the customer loyalty program RamiKlubi, each catering to slightly different customer segments. Despite Ramirent's business primarily focusing on business-to-business transactions, it was necessary to also consider stakeholders such as consumers and job seekers. Additionally, physical rental stores play a significant role in the overall picture, so it was essential for the digital and physical worlds to support each other seamlessly.

We approached the overall picture by understanding the needs and motivations of the customer base, which helped clarify the roles of different channels, services, and systems. With a clearer understanding of the big picture, the role of the website also began to naturally align with the user paths.

Developing a customer-centric digital service concept

When developing the concept design, we conducted an extensive interview series with various business functions within Ramirent. From these sessions, we gathered valuable insights to be considered in the concept work. During workshops, we discussed the specific characteristics of different industries and supplemented previously identified buyer personas. Through these discussion, the customer-centric approach that served as the foundation for the work gradually began to materialize.

We designed a web service concept consisting of two very different main sections. For buyers, the need for equipment is urgent, so it is essential to enable them to quickly and smoothly rent equipment. For enablers, especially decision-makers and those who influence decisions, the needs are more informational. Ramirent should be presented to them as a reliable business partner.

The new digital service concept was also presented using a user interface prototype. This helped both Ramirent's staff to understand the upcoming changes more concretely and potential implementation partners, to whom a link to the prototype was provided as part of the request for proposal materials.

Evaluating suitable technology solutions and facilitating the procurement process

The technology choices for the new online service were made carefully. It was important to avoid the previous mistakes. As explained by Jouko Jylhä, the IT Development Manager at Ramirent Finland: "The current web platform, its technology, and maintenance model had become a hindrance to the development of digital services. The technology choices for the renewal were intended to ensure that this would not happen with the new solution. There needed to be multiple suppliers available for the technology choice to avoid vendor lock-in."

We evaluated various approaches and technical solutions suitable for Ramirent's needs. Therefore, Ramirent had a good understanding of the pros and cons of different options even before the tendering process. However, the tender process was decided to be conducted in a so-called technology-agnostic manner, allowing all participants to propose the solution they believed was most suitable for Ramirent within the specified constraints. This resulted in the challenge that the proposed solutions varied significantly. Some proposals were of a "headless" nature, some relied on commercially licensed solutions, and some were based on open-source software. After thorough comparison and evaluation, WordPress was chosen as the platform technology for the website redesign, with digital agency Evermade selected as the implementation partner.

The renewal project is currently underway with the aim of launching the new website in early summer 2024. However, we are already thinking further ahead. As Marika Salmi, the Marketing Development Manager at Ramirent Findland, points out: "This isn't a one-time effort – the website development doesn't stop at launch. Results will be measured, and based on them, we'll continue to evolve. The work goes on."

Mikko Jokela

Mikko Jokela is an expert on web and digital business.

Mikko consults the customers on web platform and vendor selections, defining functional requirements, and especially on how digital channels could support business needs more effectively. His areas of expertise include utilizing web and digital channels for better business, and web technology selections.

Mikko has been working for IT vendors in several roles. He has been in charge of a business line, responsible for web business development and a consultant in several web projects. Mikko’s main focus has been in private sector customers but he has also work experience on education and public sector.

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We are a team of ten consultants, all of whom are experienced designers and technology experts. Every year we design and prepare over 50 different online services and information systems. Our customer satisfaction is very high (9.5 out of 10), and we have helped many customers transform their digital services.

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  • We specialize in digital service design

    We specialize in high-quality design and requirements specification of digital services. Our mission is to help customers succeed in their software project by creating the best possible foundation for implementation – whether it is an agile implementation done inhouse, a project done with a partner, or a publicly tendered project.

  • We don't sell coding or licenses

    Many software companies recommend software solutions that they also implement themselves. We don’t do that. We don’t do software implementation projects or have partnerships with technology providers. Our perspective on the software market is broad, as it should be for our customers. Our goal is always to find the best possible software solution for our customer, whether it’s a custom-built solution, a SaaS service, an open-source platform, or a combination of these.

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    We design digital service concepts, implementation methods and architectures that are sustainable and can be further developed. We place great importance on the feasibility of software solutions, the availability of good partners and the predictability of costs.

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