Online Catalog Project Features Tight IBM AS/400 Integration
June 16, 2009 Dan Burger
There are boatloads of retail companies that depend on the IBM AS/400 (iSeries, System i, IBM i) to run all, or at least a big majority, of their business applications. These are highly functional, highly customized programs that tend to be not only industry-specific, but also very company-specific. They are prized for their features, their functionality, the speed at which they run, and the dependability of the platform they run on. Yet many companies struggle with the integration of these backend apps and new Web-based front ends that interface with customers, suppliers, and all those who are outside the AS/400 system.
In the case of Ros Hommerson Footwear–a manufacturer and distributor with a chain of retail stores, impressive catalog sales, and now the convenience of online sales–the integration was achieved with the Web site design and development folks at Mountain Media, a company with a list of e-commerce products and services and the familiarity of the AS/400 system.
This outsourced e-commerce and catalog fulfillment project centered around the integration of the inventory management system running on the AS/400 and the capability for customers to view, from a Web browser, the fine detailing and craftsmanship of the merchandise. So the system was built to push and pull order and inventory data stored on the AS/400 and also to provide customers with the capabilities to shop by size and style and to view the shoes by panning and zooming in on images–in other words, an enhanced and modern online buying experience.
One of the reasons Ros Hommerson chose Mountain Media was the company’s 10 years of retail Web site design and deployment experience, which included working with other footwear manufacturers and shoe retailers. Mountain Media offered the same kind of industry knowledge to the customer interface side that the AS/400 applications brought to the backend business processes. It was a customized approach rather than a “cookie cutter” or “templated” solutions that offer little room for competitive advantages.
The Mountain Commerce suite also makes search-engine visibility a priority while building in up-selling and cross-selling features, order management and fulfillment, pricing and promotions handling, payment processing, and catalog management.
For a look at this project’s results, visit www.ros-hommerson.com, which was launched earlier this month.
Ros Hommerson Footwear is based in St. Louis, Missouri. Mountain Media, a company that specializes in commercial Web services such as search engine marketing, graphic design, and Web hosting, is based in Saratoga Springs, New York.