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Case Study Ivey Publishing

London, Ontario
Retail

Academic content management system handles online orders, fulfillment, and royalty payments

Ivey Publishing manages and distributes the business case study collection for Canada's premier business school, the Richard Ivey School of Business at The University of Western Ontario.

Ivey Publishing required a new web-based application to replace its core online and business process systems. The new application needed to touch all aspects of Ivey Publishing's operations, from its retail website to its administrative tools and billing system. It also had to allow for increased internal efficiencies, and create an improved online experience for Ivey students and customers.

Read Details

Challenge accepted

Design and implement a completely new web-based foundation to enable Ivey Publishing to grow in a scalable way through self-service and process automation.

Solution delivered

FD built a custom application that meets Ivey's needs, leveraging significant third-party products and services wherever possible. The system manages the relationship between authors and cases, tracks sales, and calculates royalty payments based on specific royalty agreements and business rules. Users can easily find Ivey Publishing products using a variety of searching and browsing options.

Technologies

  • Microsoft IIS
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Crystal Reports
  • Cascade CMS
  • Apache Lucene
  • E-xact for payment gateway
  • Great Plains accounting software
  • iTextSharp for PDF manipulation
  • Microsoft Dynamics GP
  • Vitrium DRM
  • BLToolkit for data access layer
  • Telerik Controls
  • jQuery
  • Google Analytics
  • Microsoft IIS
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Crystal Reports
  • Cascade CMS
  • Apache Lucene
  • E-xact for payment gateway
  • Great Plains accounting software
  • iTextSharp for PDF manipulation
  • Microsoft Dynamics GP
  • Vitrium DRM
  • BLToolkit for data access layer
  • Telerik Controls
  • jQuery
  • Google Analytics
  • Microsoft IIS
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Crystal Reports
  • Cascade CMS
  • Apache Lucene
  • E-xact for payment gateway
  • Great Plains accounting software
  • iTextSharp for PDF manipulation
  • Microsoft Dynamics GP
  • Vitrium DRM
  • BLToolkit for data access layer
  • Telerik Controls
  • jQuery
  • Google Analytics
  • Microsoft IIS
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Crystal Reports
  • Cascade CMS
  • Apache Lucene
  • E-xact for payment gateway
  • Great Plains accounting software
  • iTextSharp for PDF manipulation
  • Microsoft Dynamics GP
  • Vitrium DRM
  • BLToolkit for data access layer
  • Telerik Controls
  • jQuery
  • Google Analytics

Benefits of deliverable

The ability to shop for Ivey Publishing products by easily searching and browsing items.

A convenient express order facility allows clients to access previously purchased items to adjust/re-use previous orders.

Faceted searching that allows continual refinement of search results based on various criteria.

A tab system that lets users scan search results based on "best sellers", "new", or "all" items.

Streamlined product management, including maintenance of all cases, authors, and distributors.

Sales and royalty data easily accessible, eliminating the need for tedious manual tracking.

Solution details

FD Solutions considered using a full e-commerce framework, but believed that the inevitable reliance upon a specific release level and the heavy degree of customization required would outweigh the benefits and, in the end, increase the cost to Ivey. FD therefore proposed building a custom developed system that would meet Ivey's needs, leveraging significant third-party products and services wherever possible.

Since the preferred technology within Ivey Publishing was the Microsoft .NET stack and was where the existing IT expertise lay, FD recommended building the solution on the Microsoft platform.

In collaboration with Toronto-based design firm Delvinia, a leader in digital strategy and customer experience, FD delivered a custom solution that solves the common retail needs of product and SKU management. As well as e-commerce transactions related to selling business cases on line, and a system that also supports a complex back-office. The system integrates with Great Plains accounting systems, interfaces to third-party print shops for fulfillment, loads usage data from third-party distributors, integrates with a content management system (Cascade), and integrates to a digital rights management application (Protected PDF by Vitrium Systems). The result is an automated, streamlined, efficient, and accurate system that users have embraced, and that well positions Ivey Publishing for future growth as their business moves on line.

Screenshot of search results on the Ivey Publishing website

The site iveycases.com is much more than an e-commerce vehicle. In addition to selling cases on line, the system supports and manages a complex administration of copyrights, case authors and writers, third-party distributors of Ivey cases, third-party suppliers of non-Ivey cases such as those from Harvard University, as well as tracks and reports on sales data. The breadth of functionality that the site provides, and workflows it supports, was made possible due to extensive collaboration between FD and Ivey to recognize business needs for various user roles. Well thought-out design and an agile approach that continually engaged Ivey led to custom development that met the diverse and intricate needs of Ivey Publishing.

A few words about the project

Feedback

It's been really great working with you. Our project together is really the first time I have seen what I would consider truly successful outsourcing. Your leadership and the dedication and professionalism of your team made all the difference.

— CTO at Ivey Publishing

Developing Ivey Publishing's infrastructure required integrating business processes with technology to meet the needs of what has evolved as an online business. Your strategic design of the new database, and overall functionality, not only aligns with online business needs, but it provides the flexibility necessary to continue growth in a fast-changing digital environment.

— Associate Director at Ivey Publishing

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