Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE: CVC) is one of the nation's leading telecommunications and entertainment companies based in Long Island, New York. Its portfolio of operations ranges from robust cable television packages, high-speed Internet access and local telephone service to championship professional sports teams and award-winning national and regional television networks. When Cablevision first began offering high-speed Internet access, it decided that long-term profitability in the venture required a transition from a then paper-based, labor-intensive order collection and fulfillment system to a more automated approach. To that end, ConBrio Enterprises was selected to transform Cablevision’s brochure-ware and basic order collection site, www.OptimumOnline.com, into a robust middle-ware application that would manage Internet orders from start to finish.
Telemarketer order entry screen
With thousands of individual telemarketers and customer service reps manually querying customer account information from a legacy data source and writing-up paper orders, there was an opportunity for cost savings and increased productivity through systems integration.
The first part of the project was to create unified software for the multiple sales channels. ConBrio developed a new order entry system that integrates into the web-order channel yet is optimized for the needs of the telemarketing and customer service teams. Emphasizing speed and simplicity, ConBrio built a system that integrates with a legacy data source to retrieve account information and verify service availability. As Optimum Online service is expanded to more and more neighborhoods, all sales channels will have instant access to those service changes.
Collecting web orders produces few productivity gains if orders are later managed on paper. Thus, the second part of the project was to develop an order fulfillment system. ConBrio developed a system that tracks and assigns physical inventory, prints packing slips with UPS bar codes, and communicates with UPS WorldShip.
Integrating separate infrastructures and sales channels presented several technological and business challenges. These challenges included mitigating security concerns, developing a sophisticated permissions scheme that could manage thousands of telemarketers and myriad business owners, designing strict order workflow management, and implementing an auditing system to track data changes. Another challenge was creating a scheme to allow business owners to manage Optimum Online’s diverse set of products which not only included services and physical products (such as cable modems, network cards, and installation kits) but also order-dependent discounts.
Inventory management screen
In addition to the order fulfillment system, ConBrio helped Cablevision redesign the informational aspects of the site. This involved retrofitting a relatively flat HTML site into a solution that leverages the content management and dynamic delivery strengths of Vignette V/5 e-Business Platform. The system now allows non-technical staff to enter, edit and manage the workflow of both page content and overall site organization.
The scope was broad, yet the time frame of the project was unforgiving. ConBrio had just over three months to architect, code, test, and refine the product while retrofitting an existing web site to work with the larger, more complex design.
In the end, ConBrio delivered the product on time and as promised. With StoryServer content management, XML communication to legacy data warehouses and Perl scripts connecting UPS WorldShip to the rest of the system, ConBrio utilized a range of skills that together, made the project a success. Today, OptimumOnline.com has processed thousands of orders worth millions of dollars to the client.