Estravel builds an integrated business system with IBM WebSphere and DB2

Published on 16-Apr-2009

"The integration of our business systems with the Amadeus flight booking system is a huge leap forward for Estravel – an IT enhancement that makes a real difference to the daily operations of our business." - Andres Kreegipuu, Vice President of IT at Estravel

Customer:
Estravel

Industry:
Travel & Transportation, Retail

Deployment country:
Estonia

IBM Business Partner:
Eliori Äritarkvara

Overview

Estravel is Estonia's leading travel agent, with the largest market share in the sector. The company employs 180 people at nine locations in Estonia, and has expanded internationally by opening branches in Latvia and Lithuania.

Business need:
Estravel wanted to improve the efficiency of its business processes – especially by introducing integration with the Amadeus flight booking system – but its ten-year-old legacy sales application could not provide the required functionality.

Solution:
Eliori Äritarkvara (www.elior.ee), an IBM Advanced level Business Partner, helped Estravel create a new browser-based business system, running on IBM WebSphere Application Server Express and an IBM DB2 Workgroup database. The new platform is built on open standards, making it easy to develop and integrate with other systems.

Benefits:
Amadeus integration eliminates manual processing – helping to save time and reduce errors. Inbuilt tax calculation helps Estravel comply with new EU legislation. Improved reporting and CRM capabilities help the business respond faster to customer needs. Simple graphical interface improves user-friendliness. IBM middleware is designed to deliver excellent reliability.

Case Study

Click here for an Estonian version.

Estravel is Estonia’s leading travel agent, with the largest market share in the sector. The company employs 180 people at nine locations in Estonia, and has expanded internationally by opening branches in Latvia and Lithuania.

To help the business grow, Estravel wanted to optimise some of its core business processes – but its legacy systems were not flexible enough for the required modifications. The existing green-screen sales application was more than ten years old, and was based on outdated proprietary database technologies that were becoming difficult to support.

The need for a new solution
“We realised that we needed a more integrated environment,” explains Andres Kreegipuu, Vice President of IT at Estravel. “For example, approximately 50 percent of our sales involve booking flights using the Amadeus airline reservation system. If we could integrate our sales system with Amadeus, we would save time for our employees and reduce the chance of making mistakes. However, our existing IT infrastructure was just not capable of offering these functionalities.”

Estravel also wanted to update its systems in response to legislation. When Estonia entered the EU in 2004, the company became subject to a new and more complicated taxation system. Since the legacy system was unable to apply the new taxes accurately, employees had to calculate them manually, which was a time-consuming task.

Building a partnership
“We decided to find a partner capable of developing a new business system to meet these needs,” comments Andres Kreegipuu. “We had previously worked on some smaller projects with the team from Eliori Äritarkvara, and we were impressed by their capabilities, so we asked for a proposal.”

Eliori Äritarkvara, an Estonian IBM Advanced level Business Partner specialising in systems development and integration, worked closely with Estravel to analyse the requirements and design the new application and infrastructure.

Leveraging IBM middleware
“We recommended a three-tier architecture based on IBM WebSphere Application Server Express and IBM DB2 Workgroup,” explains Indrek Lang, CEO of Eliori Äritarkvara. “These are strategic products and IBM has a clear road-map for their future development, so we were convinced that they would be a sustainable choice for Estravel’s future. Moreover, IBM is committed to supporting open standards, which makes integration relatively simple.”

Andres Kreegipuu adds: “Nowadays, even mid-market businesses can afford to implement WebSphere and DB2 software. These products were originally designed for large enterprises with many thousands of users, so we are confident that they will be able to scale to match the growth of our business.”

With the middleware in place, the Eliori Äritarkvara team used IBM Rational Software Architect for WebSphere Software to project manage, model and develop the new business application, creating a user-friendly Web-based front-end.

“Our old application was entirely text-based, so we spent a lot of time training new employees to use it,” says Andres Kreegipuu. “The new solution has a graphical interface that is much simpler to use – and since it is browser-based, we don’t need to install client software on all our PCs.”

The solution runs in an IBM AIX environment on IBM Power Systems server hardware, providing excellent performance and stability.

Integration and new functionalities
With the new application, when a customer wants to book a flight, the data is automatically transmitted from Amadeus – so there is no need for employees to enter it in two separate systems. A similar interface will also be created for other travel service products like ferry tickets and holiday packages. Integration with Web-based e-commerce tools for a fully automated online booking process is in development. As a result, customers will be able to book tickets online, without any help from Estravel staff. The booking process will be able to be completed more quickly, and the chance of error reduced.

“The integration of our business systems with the Amadeus flight booking system is a huge leap forward for Estravel – an IT enhancement that makes a real difference to the daily operations of our business,” comments Andres Kreegipuu.

“Besides integration, increased automation is one of the most important benefits of the new solution. For example, all tax calculations are now performed automatically, so our employees can concentrate on customer service without worrying about whether they have done all the maths correctly.”

The system also stores customer information to help employees serve customers more effectively, and provides a wide range of customisable reports to help managers make important business decisions. Finally, a stock management system helps each branch office ensure that it has sufficient supplies of travel guidebooks, brochures, pre-printed tickets and other consumable items.

“This solution, built on IBM WebSphere and DB2 technologies, gives us a comprehensive, open standards-based platform for managing our core business processes,” concludes Andres Kreegipuu. “Over the long term, the integration and automation provided by the solution will help to increase efficiencies and reduce our operational costs. For the future, we are planning to integrate a number of other systems, and we will continue to work with Eliori Äritarkvara to optimise our business processes.”

Products and services used

Legal Information

IBM Eesti Toompuiestee 33 A 10149 Tallinn Estonia The IBM home page can be found at ibm.com IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, DB2, Rational and WebSphere are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. A current list of other IBM trademarks is available on the Web at “Copyright and trademark information” at: http://www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. Other company, product or service names may be trademarks, or service marks of others. IBM and Eliori Äritarkvara are separate companies and each is responsible for its own products. Neither IBM nor Eliori Äritarkvara makes any warranties, express or implied, concerning the other’s products. References in this publication to IBM products, programs or services do not imply that IBM intends to make these available in all countries in which IBM operates. Any reference to an IBM product, program or service is not intended to imply that only IBM’s product, program or service may be used. Any functionally equivalent product, program or service may be used instead. All customer examples cited represent how some customers have used IBM products and the results they may have achieved. Actual environmental costs and performance characteristics will vary depending on individual customer configurations and conditions. IBM hardware products are manufactured from new parts, or new and used parts. In some cases, the hardware product may not be new and may have been previously installed. Regardless, IBM warranty terms apply. This publication is for general guidance only. Photographs may show design models. © Copyright IBM Corp. 2009. All rights reserved.