JOHN WILEY & SONS EXTENDS SYNON TO THE WEB WITH LANSA
Founded in 1807, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., is a global publisher of print and electronic products with publishing, marketing, and distribution centers in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia. Headquartered in New York, Wiley has more than 2,300 employees worldwide and 1999 revenues exceeded $US 508 million.
Wiley historically developed all its AS/400 core systems with Synon/2E (now Cool:2E). In a continuous effort to meet customer needs and provide timely information, Wiley has extended its core applications with LANSA to provide web-based order entry and inquiry. In a staged implementation, thousands of bookstores over the world will be able to access Wiley’s regional AS/400s to place and trace orders and access electronically published contents.
“We are impressed with the LANSA product and its ability to develop Internet solutions,” says Stephen Foster, Associate Director of Systems Development. “Having Synon experience, the learning curve is not that big at all. After using several other Internet development tools, we are confident that LANSA will be the tool for our Internet applications, now and in the future.”
The online system gives better service to our customers. An order will be filled immediately and shipped without delay.
Wiley has more than 11,000 active book titles, 400 journals/subscriptions, and publishes about 1500 new titles in a variety of formats every year. Wiley’s customers include thousands of college bookstores, public bookstores, libraries, corporations and end-consumers.
Until recently, customers placed their orders by phone, fax or mail, with only a few larger bookstores using EDI. Wiley has 80 Customer Service staff in the US alone, with nearly 170 worldwide. As well as handling phone orders, staff had to re-enter all fax and mail orders.
“A few years ago we introduced a web-based order entry facility that was hosted by an outside company,” Foster explains. “The application was not real time and orders placed during the day were emailed to us for re-keying the next business day, so we lost at least a day. And the system did not allow customer inquiries. We started to look for a solution that would truly integrate with our core AS/400 application.”
“We wanted to let our customers come online and access the information real time. We wanted to improve the speed with which we respond to orders and other customer requests and cut down on the number of phone calls coming into our Customer Service department. Many of these calls were simple inquiries, easily handled by a web application.”
In search of integrated solutions
Stephen Miglin, Project Leader, Systems Development, adds, “We used Synon/2E for all our development. Synon introduced Synon/TC, a thin client solution based on third party software called Jacada CST. We tried that, but the performance of the Java client interface was not acceptable. Then Synon was taken over by Sterling who dropped the Jacada product. So, this path was a dead end.”
“Then we tried Net.data which showed us the potential of the web. Net.data is good for a quick inquiry, but proved not the best product for real development. All the coding was very low level.”
“Then we looked into LANSA,” says Foster. “We were impressed with the product and saw the potential to develop Internet solutions using a product similar to Synon. During the evaluation process, we visited LANSA Canada and actually worked with the developers for the day to really see the product in use. That was a great day, convincing us that LANSA would be the product for our Internet solutions – and it certainly has been.”
“A colleague and I attended a LANSA training course. There are similarities between Synon and LANSA and the learning curve was not too steep. When we came back, we had a customer inquiry function up and running within two weeks.”
Fast integrated web solutions
This web extension is directly integrated with an in-house developed Synon/2E application. Internal staff uses the green-and-black Synon/2E interface, while customers use a LANSA for the web interface to the same system.
“Currently, any green-screen development is still done through Synon. Any web development or GUI development will be done through LANSA,” says Miglin.
Wiley uses a staged implementation approach for developing web applications. New functionality is first offered to about 10 beta sites whose feedback is used to fine-tune the application. After about a month, the new functionality is made available to college bookstores and end-consumers in the US.
Miglin explains, “Eventually, we hope most customers will use the web for order inquires. We expect around 1,200 college bookstores in the US alone, and an even larger number of retail bookstores and end-consumers. Once we are fully live here in New York, we will roll out to regional centers worldwide, including Toronto, Australia, the UK, Singapore and Germany. We have sales offices dotted all around the world that have AS/400 access at their regional center shipping point.”
“The initial system offers a customer inquiry function. Customers key in a user-name and password, then display their orders and credits. There is on-line tracking information for UPS, RPS and FedEx. You can search for a specific ISBN, trace it to a particular carton, and obtain status.”
“Some books come with a ‘demo’ CD, purchasers can register on-line and use their credit card to obtain an ‘un-lock’ code to turn the ‘demo’ into a fully functioning CD. Subsequent stages will include an on-line catalog, convention ordering and direct ordering from email hotlinks.”
“The initial system was built by two people in about two months – including setting up the infrastructure. Now that we have the experience and infrastructure in place, we expect the shopping cart application to take only one month.”
Green-screen is still done through Synon. Any web or GUI development will be done with LANSA.
“LANSA’s multilingual facilities will help us to get a bigger market share in Asia, especially in markets like Japan, where there is a strong preference to do business in their own language,” Miglin predicts.
“Our Singapore office wants to offer Mandarin, Japanese and other DBCS languages to their customers. Canada and Europe will offer the web application in multiple languages to their customers, as well.”
“The online system gives better service to our customers,” concludes Foster. “Bookstore staff can now obtain shipment status at any time of day. With our shopping cart system, an order will be filled immediately, and we will ship without delay. On top of that, we expect significant long-term savings within our Customer Service department.”
“On-line product delivery is where the industry is headed. Making books and journals available on-line in different manners and formats is a formidable challenge. Printed copies will not disappear, but electronic distribution and publishing of content is becoming more and more important. LANSA will help us stay ahead of this development.”
Company and System Information
- Founded in 1807, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., is a global publisher of print and electronic products, specializing in professional and consumer books and subscription services; scientific, technical, and medical books and journals; and textbooks and educational materials for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as lifelong learners. Wiley has publishing, marketing, and distribution centers in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia.
- Headquartered in New York, Wiley has more than 2,300 employees worldwide and 1999 revenues exceeded $US 508 million.
- Wiley uses an AS/400 model 720 for web-serving, a model 730B for production, and another model 730B for development. The LANSA web-based application integrates with Wiley’s in-house developed Synon/2E application and utilizes an IBM® web server.
- Wiley regional centers around the world will implement versions of the LANSA web-based systems, including Canada, Australia, the UK, Singapore and Germany. Internal staff in regional sales offices use Synon/2E green-screen terminal emulation with Client Access, and T1 connections to their regional office AS/400 system.
- Wiley uses ROI an AS/400-based product for on-line credit card verification and JD Edwards Financials for Accounts Payable/Receivable and General Ledger.
- For more information visit Wiley at: www.wiley.com.