Keeping the Faith

Walk into your boss' office and say: "We should e-mail our invoices to the customers. They'll get them faster, and we'll save big on printing and mailing. Letting customers see their invoices/statements/order status online will save us a lot of money answering queries over the phones!


"How about establishing an online forum for customers to ask questions about our products. We'll reduce our help-desk costs as customers will find the answers to frequently asked questions and see questions that other customers have asked. Not only that but well have a better idea of what they like and don't like about our products and our company, which could save a bunch on market research.

"Why don't we allow the customers to enter orders online instead of calling our 800 number? They won't have to suffer through hold music and we'll save big on the call center."

Of course you can't say all of this in one conversation. It's better to start off slowly-for example the e-mail option is easy to implement and saves money. Once you've proven what can be done, continue moving down the list.

It Isn't Hard
We could go on, but we think you get the picture. While all of these things could be done on another platform, the great thing about the items on this list is that in most cases the amount of effort required to achieve them on iSeries is infinitesimal compared with the potential savings. In many cases all of the hard work (the establishment of business rules in the software) is already done-you just have to expand it to the Web.

Really, it isn't hard.

(Our thanks to Andrew Borts for supplying the genesis of this list via some online discussions in the Web forum of the Midrange-L.)


Jon Paris is a technical editor with IBM Systems Magazine and co-owner of Partner400.

Susan Gantner is a technical editor with IBM Systems Magazine and co-owner of Partner400.

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