There are many companies with huge investments in mainframe applications who remain convinced that establishing a Web presence for their applications will cost a fortune, and there are a great many Web development companies who are more than happy to confirm that, and charge the fortune.
We are happy to bring a real life success story from DORISE SA, a company who were prepared to believe the opposite; that by licensing Gweb Professional Edition they could add a Web dimension to their business, fully integrated with their mainframe application, without spending a fortune, without waiting months or years for development and without impacting the mainframe application at all.
DORISE SA is a typical 'mail order' business in the sense that they send out a thick catalogue to their customers, showing the whole range of products that they offer. The customer wishing to purchase articles from the catalogue gives the order to DORISE. The staff at DORISE enter the order using a mainframe application running on a GCOS7 system from Bull. The order is processed, the stock updated in real time, a delivery slip is issued to the shipping department and an invoice is generated.
The obvious e-business alternative to the catalogue is to put the complete product range into a Web database accessible from a browser, allow the customers to browse through the electronic catalogue and to select items in their shopping basket. This can be done using a standard 'web shop' system. In the case of DORISE this was delivered by EUROCONNECT.
The problem is that many customers do not want to place the order until they know if the stock is on hand, and what the price will be. This information is known in the GCOS application and available to DORISE staff, but previously could only be given to the customers in response to a telephone, or other inquiry.
The innovative solution to this problem was provided by Alliance en France (Gallagher & Robertson distributor in France), who used Gweb Professional Edition to link the shopping basket to the GCOS mainframe application. The customer, after selecting the items of interest, is now able to click a 'Connection' button that causes Gweb to submit the items in the shopping basket to GCOS, and receive stock on hand and price information for all the items in the basket.
The customer can then enter the delivery details and quantity of each item they wish to purchase. A click on the 'Order' button submits the details to the GCOS application, which then returns the order with the net price back to the customer. A final click on the 'Confirm' button starts the order process on the GCOS system, and results in delivery and billing. The whole of the e-business purchase process is thus customer driven, using nothing but a standard browser, and without intervention from DORISE staff.
Mr. Loic CAIGNART, manager of the IT department at DORISE said:
"Our company, DORISE, situated in Le Mans, home of the 24 hour race, wished to also be present at the forefront with new technologies. With a catalogue of over 30.000 articles in the domain of industrial supplies, we moved from the paper era to e-business in proposing:
An on-line catalogue, continually updated Using Gweb Professional Edition, our customers:
look up our stocks in real time
are informed about their net prices
and finally can order, with automatic issue of a delivery slip to our shipping service
This world first with a GCOS system, is the fruit of a strong collaboration between the three parties involved:
ALLIANCE en FRANCE(GWEB PROFESSIONAL)
Our DORISE team
The e-business application developed using GWEB Professional Edition has been put into production in a very short time, only two to three weeks. This has been made possible because it relies on, and uses, existing, proven transactions on the BULL system, which are used internally to fulfill the same functions.
The putting into production of this e-business application, which is the fruit of the joint work between ALLIANCE en FRANCE, distributor of Gallagher & Robertson products in France, and the DORISE team, has been very easy and did not necessitate changes to the GCOS system. The GWEB Professional software has enabled our company to have an e-business application on the Web, to provide a better service to our customers, to develop our business activity without augmenting our own internal resources and to take a competitive edge vis a vis our competitors.
The pertinent remarks and suggestions made by the customers using the application will allow us to incorporate these modifications and to continue to be the leader in e-business in our own activity sector."
We congratulate DORISE for their vision, and Alliance en France for their professional implementation of the Web-to-Mainframe link.