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The Idea Bureau


Alitex creates bespoke high-end greenhouses for both consumer and commercial clients. Their customer base includes the National Trust and Kew Gardens (from a commercial perspective), and their process runs from initial sales, through to design, manufacturing and installation for clients who wish to enhance the natural beauty of their homes and gardens.

We worked with them to create an internal tool, called Eden, to allow their Sales team to create proposals after client visits. The platform also supports other teams for tasks including project management, manufacturing and after-sales, through data exports and integrations.

The Problem

Alitex were previously using an ageing CRM platform based in Microsoft Access to create their customer proposals – a system that as the business grew, was no longer fit for purpose. Difficult to update, the proposals it produced were of poor quality and didn’t communicate the Alitex brand effectively, causing numerous issues and inefficiencies for their Sales team. Alongside the costly software licences, this meant it was of the utmost importance that the project was completed quickly.

In order to support business growth and to keep up with the evolution of the marketplace, anything that replaced this old system would need to be web-based, with real-time updates for customers; however, it would also need to work offline, as many sales meetings take place at their clients’ residences.

“The team at The Idea Bureau were fantastic at really getting under the skin of our business to understand how to best create a solution that answered to our needs. The result was an intuitive, user friendly, beautifully designed and on-brand product that look great for both our internal teams and customers alike.”

Andy Hancock
Managing Director

Our Solution

We initially held a discovery workshop to flesh out the specific requirements of the project. Working in partnership with Alitex, we became experts in their sales process, and how they design and engineer their structures, to ensure the system and the technical information inside supported their needs. We challenged their preconceptions, where necessary, to ensure we’d be creating something that fulfilled such a detailed brief, while also remaining flexible for the future.

One of the key features of the brief was that the system be self-sufficient, so the Alitex team would no longer be reliant on an external provider to update the product information and other content within their own platform. They wanted to have ownership over the system’s capabilities, so we empowered them to manage the platform internally.

The speed of proposal creation was another concern, as using the outgoing system meant it would take many hours to complete. The team asked us to incorporate their onsite information gathering process into that of the proposal creation, reducing the number of steps required and allowing proposals to be created more quickly.

Project Type:
Internal Management Platform
Database, CRM
  • 50%
    decrease in time required to create customer proposals.
  • 16%
    increase in proposals created (year-on-year 2021 vs 2022)
  • 92%
    of all orders are now accepted online.

How the platform works

Designing the database structure was an incredibly convoluted process. It was clear to us that the outgoing system had a number of issues, and correcting these would be very time consuming. The formulas, calculations and logic that drive the the proposal pricing process were complex and called for rigorous testing of the outcomes to ensure the system was accurate.

Eden was built as a replacement platform that mirrored all the functionality that Microsoft Access had provided for the team, with added features that could meet the expectations of the modern customer. We used Laravel, a web application framework, to create a custom application that would be tailored to Alitex’s specific needs, and Laravel Nova to build the admin panel, allowing the team to control every aspect of the system.

We also developed a custom proposal tool to enable the sales team to quickly and easily enter a new order, as well as being available offline to use at customers homes.

In order to visually represent orders around the country within our custom reporting section, we integrated the platform with third-party tools, such as business management software, NetSuite, and Mapbox, a mapping API tool.

“The intuitive, yet simple style The Idea Bureau team created means we’re able to maintain and evolve the systems ourselves, going forward, with whatever trends and ideas.”

Jess Tubb
Business Administrator

Working together

We pride ourselves on becoming an extension of our clients’ team, validating their ideas and sharing expertise from both sides to build the best product. Embedding ourselves in their process is critical to achieve this, as it enables us to understand them to a degree where we can be constructively critical and gently push them to evolve.

We love that we’re able to work with the team on retainer to continually evolve the platform, meeting with them regularly; together, we’re always planning the next big sprint, as well as keeping on top of bug fixes and small updates.

Empowering our clients to adapt quickly as their business changes is also very important to us. The Eden platform has allowed Alitex to add new products or adjust for fluctuations in the cost of materials, post-pandemic, which assists them in remaining competitive in their field.

“The new system has decreased the amount of time it takes to create our quotes by 50%. The final results has increased our efficiency and saved us doing extra paperwork.”

James Whittle
Senior Sales Designer

Conscientious design

Intuitive, yet simple, the new project proposal design is highly considered, allowing customers to accept proposals instantly online. This improvement in efficiency not only allows the team to increase the amount of proposals they send, but also requires less input from them, meaning they can be less hands on.

While it’s mainly a sales tool, the Eden platform also assists other departments in the company by taking its data and outputting it in a number of useful formats, such as summary PDFs and custom spreadsheets.


This project was a landmark moment for us, as we were able to bring our design and technical expertise to the table for a client within the commercial space, an industry we’re keen to work in more frequently.

Both The Idea Bureau team and Alitex worked incredibly well together, and we’re extremely pleased to have gained a long term client in them. Their positive feedback has been an immense boon for us.

How can we help you on your next project?

Contact us today