Sony officials said commercial customers who need to create, move, display, broadcast, store or manage video or data should know about Sony Professional Services, as the business unit provides competitive consulting on systems, software development, integration and implementation, and service and support. Bilchak said Sony wants to increase sales and customer satisfaction relating to its professional services groups Web presence. "We wanted to improve the customer experience," while driving orders through the site, he said.The electronics company moved away from a system with two nonintegrated Web sites for ordering hardware and software, officials said. Those systems were unwieldy and required custom software for users to access the Sony parts catalog. In addition, these sites handled less than 7 percent of the Sony Professional Services orders, with most orders coming in via phone and fax. However, the ServicesPlus site handled 25 percent of the groups orders during the first three months of its use. Sony hopes that the site will handle 15 percent of the professional services orders overall in its first year, said Tim Lindner, manager of professional services administration for Sony. Brierleys Swift said the Sony Professional Services application provided interesting integration challenges that the company overcame mainly with Web services. The ServicesPlus site uses .Net Web services to integrate Sonys internal systems, including an SAP (Service Advertising Protocol) system, an LDAP database, a mainframe-based IBM CICS, a VeriSign Inc. credit card validation system, and an Oracle Corp. database for account and order status information for credit card customers. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis in Web services.
Sony said that three months into the deployment of the new system, the number of orders handled over the Web grew 300 percent and sales rose by 15 percent. Meanwhile, the company projected savings of more than $1.5 million over two years.