WaveMaker is helping Brunswick web enable their bowling league management system. Working under tight timelines, Brunswick has used WaveMaker to migrate a set of AS/400 client/server applications to Linux web applications. "I was stunned at not having to write any custom Java code to build a sophisticated web business application," said George Redenz, Development Manager for Web Enablement at Brunswick.
Brunswick Bowling & Billiards is based in Lake Forest, Illinois. Net sales in 2005 were $465 million. Brunswick makes bowling equipment and supplies as well as operates more than 100 family bowling centers throughout the United States and Canada.
Brunswick has over 100 bowling centers. One of the most important business activities in these centers is the management of bowling leagues, in which bowlers from different teams compete with each other over the course of a bowling season.
The CRM systems to support the bowling league management were initially built on AS/400s. Each league had its own database, making it impossible to do effective marketing to bowlers who belonged to several leagues.
With a better system, Brunswick believes it can increase the percentage of bowlers who return from one season to the next while reducing marketing costs. The business objectives include centralizing marketing efforts to deliver a consistent message while removing the burden of customer retention at the bowling center level.
The system was being managed by an outsourcing provider. When Brunswick made a decision to bring these applications back in-house, they had a very time sensitive requirement to re-build the core applications for the web within 3 months.
The Brunswick team was looking for a rapid prototyping and development tool for building web applications. Prototyping was important for improving communication with the end users and ensuring that the final application met the actual business needs.
The Brunswick team evaluated using Java, Spring and Struts, but worried that this approach would not allow for rapid prototyping, and would take considerably longer. The Brunswick team was also impressed with the visual development environment offered by WaveMaker.
The Brunswick bowling league management system consists of four business systems, all of which were deployed in 2007:
- Marketing and Reporting: provides marketing reports and controls the direct mail campaign.
- League Telemarketing: manages responses from the direct mail campaign, including follow-up calls.
- League Management: handles rolling over customers and teams from one season to another.
- Data Validation and Cleansing: corrects addresses and phone numbers in marketing database.
Moving forward, Brunswick also plans to use WaveMaker to help migrate a number of obsolete client/server applications built using Lotus Notes applications to Web 2.0 applications. WaveMaker will allow Brunswick to quickly migrate these applications to the web while also deploying the applications to a standard Java platform that meets IT standards.
Functionality of League Telemarketing Application
The Brunswick league telemarketing application is a sophisticated system for telemarketing. Functionality includes:
- Direct mail generation: system sends postcards (with bowler info bar-coded on them) to league bowlers at end of season to confirm they are coming back next season
- Bar-code scanning for responses: bowling centers scan returned postcard into system with hand-held scanner (acts like keyboard entry)
- League dashboard: for the bowling center general manager, the dashboard shows key customer retention data
- Telemarketing support: system helps sales directors for bowling centers (who are not always computer savvy) call bowlers who have not responded to postcards
- Sophisticated security based on user roles: system uses role-based access controls. When a sales director logs in, they only see the leagues that are associated with their bowling center. A single user can have different roles at different bowling centers.
- Enforce do not call rules: system doesn't display phone numbers for bowlers who have asked to be placed on do not call list
- Detailed reporting for league, center or district: produce reports on key league data for screen viewing or printing.
- Improved efficiency: system automatically pulls up all bowlers for a particular household, so telemarketer only has to call household once
- Track call-back reminders: monitor bowlers across leagues for follow-up calls
Coming Up To Speed on WaveMaker
The 3-person development team at Brunswick had extensive Java experience before working with WaveMaker. The team attended a one week training course that included working on actual application development. After this, the team was largely supported by the thriving WaveMaker development community at dev.WaveMaker.com. Rapid Prototyping and Development Timeline with WaveMaker
Brunswick has demonstrated that WaveMaker is an excellent RAD tool for prototyping and delivering web-based applications. In building their second WaveMaker application, the Brunswick team found that WaveMaker delivered a tremendous productivity improvement.
The initial application was delivered within just two weeks of creating the requirements! This short cycle time enabled the Brunswick team to go through two full user acceptance testing cycles and roll out to 103 locations within a 10 week timeline.
According to George, "My boss was absolutely floored with what I got done in the amount of time I had! It would have taken me at least twice as long to build this using spring and struts."
Here is the timeline for the Brunswick Telemarketing application:
- Week 1 - draft requirements, create Visio wire frames, interview users
- Week 2 -3 - build alpha application in AG (3 developers)
- Week 4 - user feedback
- Week 4-5 - build beta application in AG (3 developers)
- Week 6-9 - beta test application in 10 bowling centers
- Week 9 - make final application adjustments (2 developers)
- Week 10 - roll out application to 103 bowling centers
Technologies Used In Project
- Database: MySQL
- Security: LDAP
- Reporting: BIRT for reporting
- Dashboard widgets: Fusion Reports