Personalized Portal for Shoppers using the .NET Framework brings speed of development to the fore
Q3's global sourcing model gives the maximum benefit to customers in terms of cost savings, improved quality, access to highly talented professionals, flexibility of operations and reduced time to market.
Client is a leading e-commerce destination, providing millions unique visitors per month. Its convenient and informative shopping experience features low prices on a vast selection of technology and entertainment merchandise. Over the past year, the company has received several awards for its innovative Web site.
To improve the customer experience, client wanted to create a personalized "start page" that provides immediate access to account information, order status, and a personalized selection of new, top-selling, and "special offer" products based on each shopper's specified areas of interest. The company also sought an efficient, re-usable way to distribute much of this same information to affiliate sites, who display content such as "Deal of the Day" to drive shoppers back for additional information and a possible purchase.
In the past, synchronizing content with affiliate sites required a substantial amount of behind-the-scenes work by employees. For affiliates, keeping up with these changes also required manual effort, and was often achieved by "clipping" content from client site and integrating it into their site.
- In just couple of months, few developers using Visual Studio .NET built a personalized portal running on the .NET Framework that integrates with the company's existing e-commerce site, providing shoppers with a real-time view of order status, account information, and a customizable view of new, top-selling, and "special offer" products based on each shopper's personal preferences.
- The Web pages comprising the portal are based on Microsoft ASP.NET, a component of the .NET Framework that enables developers to build powerful server-side Web applications and XML Web services. To build the user interface, we used the new Web Forms design tools in Visual Studio .NET. This enables building cross-platform, cross-browser programmable Web applications using the same fast and familiar form-based techniques traditionally employed for developing desktop applications.
- In a parallel effort, client is building a second solution that also bolts onto its existing e-commerce site, exposing its content via XML Web services for real-time consumption and use by the company's numerous affiliate sites. By using the .NET Framework to expose content via XML Web services, we'll be able to greatly reduce the amount of overhead required to ensure affiliate sites have the most up-to-date information. This will also make it easier for affiliate sites to promote the client, as they'll be able to access content on their site directly from their Web server, removing the need to make manually make changes to their site each time the content changes
- For the client, the decision to adopt Visual Studio .NET and the .NET Framework is leading to more than increased developer productivity. Because ASP.NET is precompiled, performance for the new solutions has shown much better performance—in some areas in excess of 100 percent over traditional ASP-based applications. The caching capabilities built into ASP.NET have contributed to greatly increased performance, allowing a level of personalization that couldn't be provided before.
- These new capabilities will translate into lower management overhead, reducing the need to stop and start services or reboot our servers to ensure they're operating at peak efficiency. Deployment of new applications has also become much easier, as we can use the new no-touch deployment capabilities provided in the .NET Framework to simply copy new code out to our production servers without having to first bring down the server, register any new components, and bring the server back online.
- Business model and culture at Q3 entails ownership of the software product development process. It is not only the team members who are dedicated to a client; it is the whole company management which works in complete tandem and efficiency to ensure that the relationship is seamless and successful.
- Migration to newer technology was achieved in a very cost effective solution on account of being able to cut down resource costs from average $90,000 to approximately $30,000 per resource.