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Cable Service Company Improves Performance by 5x with Verastream


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WOW! Internet, Cable, and Phone - Legacy modernization with Attachmate Verastream makes transaction processing five times faster for WOW cable company. Creation of reusable services from mainframe-based CSG billing system enables the company to streamline business processes and improve customer service.

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Cable Service Company Improves Performance by 5x with Verastream

  1. 1. Cable Service Company Improves Performance by 5xVerastream legacy modernization solution helps to streamline critical business processesCUSTOMER STORYCable Service Company Improves Performance by 5xVerastream legacy modernization solution helps to streamline criticalbusiness processes QUICK VIEW Problem Core legacy application was hard to access and integrate. Solution Used Verastream to service enable mainframe-based billing system for reuse in new business processes. Results • Accelerated processing by a factor of five. • Eliminated expensive per-transaction fees. • Improved customer service. • Leveraged investment in legacy systems. • Established a rapid application- development platform for ongoing projects. The critical nature of this account-lookup process – and the frequency of its use – meantWOW! Internet, Cable, and Phone is a leading U.S. provider of competitive it must perform flawlessly; slow response timesbundled services to both residential and commercial customers. The company or down times would inevitably result in anhas been serving communities in Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio since unsatisfactory customer experience. But due to1996. WOW! has been consistently recognized for excellence in product increases in the number and nature of customerquality and customer satisfaction by Consumer Reports, J.D. Power & requirements, the existing interface was at riskAssociates, and Broadband Reports. of being consistently overloaded.A WOW! Customer Experience Scoping the ProjectWOW!’s strong competitive advantage can be attributed to a simple philoso- WOW! needed to modernize this time-consumingphy: deliver a customer experience that lives up to its name. WOW!’s recent and potentially expensive interface system. Indecision to purchase Attachmate® Verastream® Host Integrator was in effect, they wanted to build fast, automatedcomplete alignment with that goal. processes on top of real-time integration, in a way that the resulting business functions couldRex Kennedy, vice president of applications and software development at be reused across applications.WOW!, knew the company could improve existing and future customer serviceapplications by streamlining access to their billing program. “It’s a mainframe- They had already tried a traditional screen-based application, with no open APIs, so our internal systems were having scraping product, but it could not dependablyto access billing data in a manual and non-traditional fashion,” he said. keep up with expanding demand. Furthermore, its proprietary coding language limited mainte-Because the billing system is a core application and houses critical data, the nance responsibilities to just a few internal teamability to perform increasingly difficult navigation had become problematic. members. “What we needed was an industrial-With multiple WOW! business interfaces spanning a variety of applications, strength, bullet-proof solution, that didn’tquick account lookups and expanded customer self-service were becoming require a lot of maintenance,” Kennedy said.more and more elusive. Modernizing Legacy AssetsThe Need for Speed A satisfied user of both Attachmate® Reflection®WOW! customers needed to log in whenever they wanted to view their email, and Attachmate® EXTRA!® terminal emulationaccount information, or online content included in their subscription services. products, the company found out aboutNecessary authentication called for multiple and extensive billing-record Verastream from Don Koretos, WOW!’s managerlookups to ensure a given customer had the requisite access rights. of software development. He and his team build and maintain applications for dispatch and
  2. 2. Cable Service Company Improves Performance by 5xVerastream legacy modernization solution helps to streamline critical business processes“ With Verastream, field-related processes. Following a rigorous And they can keep per-transaction fees product evaluation, they chose Verastream to a minimum because Verastream Host when you service- Host Integrator to expose their mainframe Integrator has enhanced and created enable one app, you billing data and logic as web services that efficiencies in the way users access data. have actually done it could be mixed, matched, and reused. The old WOW! solution had required IT to Reuse, Don’t Reinvent for a bunch more.” build one-off routines that would access According to Shah, all WOW! business– Amol Shah the billing system for each new type of data processes – from customer self-service, to Director, Application and the provisioning side, to the dispatch side – request. But with Verastream Host Integrator, Software Development rely on fast access to data residing on the WOW! the development staff was able to centralize business context and logic so it could be billing system. So his IT teams have begun more manageable. creating other applications, using those original Verastream-generated services, forAutomatic Conversions with Verastream Web Builder both internal and external users.Director of Software Development Amol Shah reported that his teams Shah said he likes Verastream’s ability tomapped out the 3270 screens using Verastream Web Builder, a tool that “divvy up the application” and use selectedautomates the deployment of web applications, component interfaces, and functionality because it helps WOW! workweb services from abstracted legacy functions. Responsible for teams that toward a services-oriented and maintain applications for marketing initiatives, order management, “Now we have a really strong foundationand fulfillment processes, Shah said that Verastream Web Builder brings a to build on,” he said. “With Verastream,“UI-driven” focus to the development cycle. when you service-enable one app, you have actually done it for a bunch more.”Because all of the applications at WOW! are built in .NET, Verastream WebBuilder delivered another benefit by automatically translating all modeled As an example of this functionality, Shahscreens to the .NET platform. “Having an interface that converts it for you talked about a PDA application that one ofis so beneficial,” said Koretos, who also pointed out the value of a lighter his teams built for technicians in the field.footprint on the user side and easier accommodation of different kinds of “Their familiar workflows are available toclients including Windows applications, web sites, and PDAs. “The Verastream them, whether they’re dispatching on astandards-based process lessens the relevance of the end-client platform,” job, closing a job, or referencing customerhe said. data,” he said. “The navigation complexity is hidden, while in the back end the mobileMore Control, Speed, and Simplicity web app uses Verastream-based transactions“From a development standpoint, Verastream gives you more control over to access the mainframe data.”your applications, without relying on a third-party interface sitting on thedesktop,” Koretos said. “Now, the right hand knows what the left hand is A Flexible Solutiondoing.” He explained that there are numerous steps in an order transaction With Ongoing Potentialwhere input and retrieval of data are required. “In the process, systems Meanwhile, Koretos has already lookedintegration is happening and it’s all passing through Verastream,” he added. beyond WOW!’s mainframe systems toThanks to the speed and simplicity of Verastream Host Integrator, WOW! successfully run scripts on some of WOW!’saccomplished their first production rollout within 60 days after purchasing the Unix-based applications. “We plan to convertsolution. “It was 100-percent ready to go,” Shah said. They were also able all of all our applications to this servicesto eliminate their applications whose sole purpose was interacting with the approach,” he said. “It’ll all be integrated.”3270 terminals. Kennedy concluded by saying, “We’re big fansShah reported that Verastream’s unique and intelligent session handling of Verastream, and we’re using it everywheremade transactions five times faster than WOW!’s previous solution. That’s an we can.”obvious benefit for WOW!’s 1,000 skilled internal users, but it’s all part ofthe drive to a better customer experience. See This Solution in ActionA Welcome Surprise Explore the service options atNow, with streamlined account lookup, all of WOW!’s high-speed data and customers (and a good portion of video customers) are enjoying the technology.htmlresults. When customers log in to check email, for example, the speed of You’ll see how Verastream enhances thethe new authentication process is noticeable – and welcome. customer experience by interfacing, inWOW! is also cutting costs as a result of the Verastream implementation real time, with WOW!’s back-end systems.because they can now minimize use of third-party service providers.© 2011 Attachmate Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Attachmate, the Attachmate symbol, Reflection, EXTRA!, and Verastream are registered trademarks of Attachmate Corporation in the USA. All othertrademarks, trade names, or company names referenced herein are used for identification only and are the property of their respective owners. 11-0005web.0111