Gulistan Carpet creates an intuitive customer portal

IBM software helps the company modernize its portal while taking advantage of existing application logic

Published on 24-Jul-2012

"The Rational HATS software allowed us to take our existing green screen applications, and with Royal Cyber’s consulting help, modernize those so that we can have key features that our competitors also have." - Kermit Lewis, director business solutions/IT, Gulistan Carpet

Customer:
Gulistan Carpet

Industry:
Consumer Products

Deployment country:
United States

Solution:
Enterprise Modernization

IBM Business Partner:
Royal Cyber Inc.

Overview

Gulistan Carpet is a premium manufacturer of fine medium to high-end carpets since 1924. The company has more than 380 employees and operates facilities in Aberdeen, North Carolina. Gulistan Carpet supplies its merchandise to big box stores, distributors and dealers in the United States and Canada.

Business need:
In an increasingly competitive marketplace, Gulistan Carpet wanted to create a more modern, dynamic, flexible customer portal that would enable it to stay ahead of the competition.

Solution:
Gulistan Carpet worked with IBM Business Partner® Royal Cyber Inc. to use the logic of the company’s existing applications to create a more intuitive and full-featured customer portal.

Benefits:
Usage of the portal, which enables customers to enter orders and get timely information via the web, increased by 50 percent just one month after it was launched.

Case Study

Gulistan Carpet is a premium manufacturer of fine medium to high-end carpets since 1924. The company has more than 380 employees and operates facilities in Aberdeen, North Carolina. Gulistan Carpet supplies its merchandise to big box stores, distributors and dealers in the United States and Canada.

Staying ahead of the competition

Gulistan Carpet needed to update its customer portal. As the housing market in the United States and Canada has slowed over the past few years, the carpet industry has become more competitive. “Our key challenge is the housing market,” says Kermit Lewis, director business solutions/IT, Gulistan Carpet. “As the housing market goes, so goes our business.” The company’s existing, ten-year-old customer portal lacked many of the features offered by the company’s competitors. Gulistan Carpet therefore wanted to create a more modern, dynamic, flexible customer portal that would enable it to stay ahead of the competition. “Some of our key competitors, which are much larger than us, had spent quite a bit of money in modernizing their customer portals, so we needed to modernize also,” says Lewis.

However, it was essential that Gulistan Carpet preserve the logic of the organization’s existing back-end Report Program Generator (RPG) programs, which were running on an IBM® Power Systems™ server and integrated with the company’s existing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. The company sought a solution that would:
● Leverage its existing back-end RPG programs
● Provide a modern, easy to use GUI
● Simplify order entry for customers
● Offer quick flexible navigation between customer options
● Enable customers and staff to quickly generate Microsoft Excel and Adobe PDF documents containing account data
● Dynamically pull product information

Creating an intuitive GUI from existing applications

Gulistan Carpet worked with IBM Business Partner Royal Cyber Inc. to implement IBM Rational® Host Access Transformation Services (HATS), IBM WebSphere® Application Server and IBM Rational Host-On-Demand software. The Rational HATS application, running on the WebSphere Application Server platform, consolidates data from two Power Systems servers running green screen applications. The company’s website and portal run on one of the Power Systems servers and the company’s back-end systems reside on the other.

Gulistan Carpet developers worked with Royal Cyber developers to extract the logic and data from the company’s existing green screen applications and create a more intuitive interface. The Royal Cyber team used IBM Rational Application Developer software to aid in its development of the new interface.

Gulistan Carpet uses IBM Software Subscription and Support services to stay on top of product enhancements and access technical support resources if necessary. The company also relies on IBM Business Recovery services for disaster recovery.

Delivering intuitive self-service options for customers

“The HATS software allowed us to take our existing green screen applications, and with Royal Cyber’s consulting help, modernize those so that we can have key features that our competitors also have,” says Lewis. Now, dynamic menus provide quick and easy access to any screen. Plus, the Rational HATS Custom Widgets feature enables viewers to view and download consolidated data from a single screen. The Rational Host On-Demand software provides secure, browser-based access to the company’s applications and data, enabling customers to get timely information via the web.

Customers now have self-service options that were previously unavailable. For example, they can now readily access and download account or product information, without having to call the company’s 800 number.

In addition:
● Dynamic menus support a performance increase of 53 percent and save 1.2 minutes of navigation time per green screen
● Downloading PDF files of statistics enables a performance increase of 85 percent and saves approximately 12 minutes
● New portal increased customer usage by 50 percent within one month now that customers can enter orders and get timely information via the web

“Our customers are saying this is a much better application, it’s much easier for us to get what we need,” says Lewis. Gulistan Carpet plans to extend the solution to provide a more modern, intuitive portal for its sales team in the future.

Solution components
Software
● IBM® Rational® Application Developer
● IBM Rational Host Access Transformation Services
● IBM Rational Host On-Demand
● IBM WebSphere® Application Server
IBM Business Partner
● IBM Business Partner® Royal Cyber Inc.

For more information

To learn more about IBM Rational software, please contact your IBM marketing representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/rational

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Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Software:
WebSphere Application Server, Rational Host On-Demand, Rational Host Access Transformation Services, Rational Application Developer

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2012 IBM Corporation Software Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of America June 2012 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, and Rational are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. The performance data and client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. It is the user’s responsibility to evaluate and verify the operation of any other products or programs with IBM products and programs. It is the user’s responsibility to evaluate and verify the operation of any other products or programs with IBM products and programs. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided. Statement of Good Security Practices: IT system security involves protecting systems and information through prevention, detection and response to improper access from within and outside your enterprise. Improper access can result in information being altered, destroyed or misappropriated or can result in damage to or misuse of your systems, including to attack others. No IT system or product should be considered completely secure and no single product or security measure can be completely effective in preventing improper access. IBM systems and products are designed to be part of a comprehensive security approach, which will necessarily involve additional operational procedures, and may require other systems, products or services to be most effective. IBM does not warrant that systems and products are immune from the malicious or illegal conduct of any party. RAC14261-USEN-00