Waterous Corporation is a World leading fire pump and water delivery manufacturer. Established in 1886, Waterous has over a century of instilling confidence and trust with firefighters all over the World. Waterous manufactures the highest quality pumps in the fire service industry. With Waterous Pumps “Everything Counts”! Pumps and fire fighting apparatus are crucial components to the longstanding tradition of saving lives and protecting citizens.
Like those citizens who count on firefighters to protect their community, firefighters depend on their fire pump manufacturer to provide trustworthy, high-powered equipment that performs on a moment's notice. It's a responsibility Waterous proudly accepts and delivers. Waterous leads the fire suppression equipment industry by providing superior fire pumps and industry leading customer service and support to fire departments throughout the World.
Waterous Corporation needed a way to provide their customers with a self-service customer portal. With a growing International customer base, a self-service customer portal provided a clear return on investment (ROI) allowing 24/7 access whenever and wherever needed. With data residing on multiple computer platforms, they needed seamless application access to data housed on the IBMi and Microsoft SQL Server to deliver a solution that would answer the majority of customer questions and concerns without the aid of customer service agent. Waterous had two main design aspects that had to be met: First, the data needed to be served “real time” to the user. Second, the site had to have a secure customer registration and data access process that was managed solely by the customer. Since Waterous already owned the Web Object Wizard (WOW) Enterprise Edition software, PlanetJ Corporation teamed with their developers to provide an affordable, flexible solution.
Waterous prides itself with providing industry leading customer service and support to all of its customers. Without a 24/7 customer service staff it was becoming harder to provide its customers the level of service they were accustom to. It was important to Waterous to have “real time” data access and a robust and secure registration process. In addition they wanted to provide the customer the ability to manage user registration and access to their data. The SSL secured portal was designed to allow user registration requests to be approved by the customer’s site administrator. Currently, the administrator has the flexibility to accept or decline registration requests as well as restrict user access to certain options on the site. Once approved, each user can manage their account under their ‘My Account’ tab. All passwords are encrypted and authenticated at time of log in.
The MyWaterous site allows customers to search for orders, quotes, invoices, account balances, and returns. They can also email copies of customer documents. By clicking My Search Options/My Orders the customer is able to view a list of orders and drill down to any of the orders within the list:
The same is true for customer quotes, invoices and balances. The drill down feature (circled above) will bring up individual order details as shown:
Development Process and Experiences
Waterous knew what they wanted but had no experience in developing customer portals. They spent several months reviewing potential partners before selecting PlanetJ. PlanetJ had extensive knowledge and experience working with both IBMi and Microsoft SQL Server platforms and were confident they could provide a “real time” data access solution without jeopardizing performance. As stated by Brian Haag, Applications Development Manager at Waterous, “PlanetJ was very professional in their approach and were able to show us several sites they developed that did much of what we wanted to do from a security and data presentation aspect.”
Waterous and PlanetJ developers spent 1-2 weeks, on-site, developing the concept and putting together the project scope and design specifications. Once designed, PlanetJ worked both on-site and remotely with Waterous Developers for approximately 4 months to deliver the final product. A final Executive Review was presented and met with glowing approval.
Benefits to organization
The site allows Waterous customers 7/24 real time access to their data. As they have become more adept at using the site they now have answers to many of their questions at their fingertips. This allows our customer service and support staff to devote their time to more urgent customer needs.
- Windows 64bit server 2.8 GHZ processor
- Network: High speed connection to IBM i
- Hardware : IBM iSeries
- Database Server: DB2
- Software: WOW 7.1, WOW Email, WOW Usage Tracker
Provision of real-time data to Waterous customers has been a time and money saving tool. It has provided a level of customer satisfaction and service, and was an affordable application as it was a perfect fit for the WOW development environment. Waterous expects a full-blown commerce site in the near future. With the flexibility provided with WOW, the task will be efficient and easy to complete!