The new website – www.flightcentre.com.au – built by Cirrus Australia, IBM and other business partners on a Websphere Commerce platform and launched in February, is now proving very popular with visitors because of its great look, ease of navigation and vastly increased functionality.
However, Cirrus Australia CEO Darren Phillips said it was the hidden features that were the real success of the project.
“What the visitors see is the great new look, easy navigation and integrated search engine which allows them to shop and book travel with ease. However, behind the glossy exterior is a robust platform designed by Cirrus in conjunction with IBM and other business partners that facilitates an online catalogue, marketing campaigns, and customer shopping experiences,” Mr Phillips said.
“When creating a solution for an iconic brand such as Flight Centre, one of the challenges is the product information update. The details and prices of thousands of flights and accommodation change all the time,” he said.
“The updates need to be available on the site as quickly and simply as possible. Previously a manual process was required each time any product on the site was updated. That manual process was time consuming and created room for human error.
“The new solution automates most of the update process of the product and online catalogue; and thus brings more reliability, accuracy and efficiency to the business flow,” he said.
“Flight Centre has many brands and websites. The platform we have created enables common production information to be updated across all sites once only while also providing a foundation for the integration with other sites.
“The new solution is more stable and faster than the old site with a load-balanced architecture, which automatically balances the load across a number of servers. This minimises the online-access waiting time and the system down time, because the information can be accessed on another server if one of the servers is overloaded or down.
“The web analytics features of Websphere e-Commerce allow Flight Centre to respond to the customer needs more efficiently; thus improving ROI and profitability.” Mr Phillips said.
Flight Centre Global IT Manager Peter Wataman said he was very pleased with the redevelopment.
“Ours was a large project and there are only a few companies with the Websphere Commerce skills to complete it successfully. Cirrus Australia’s IBM certified staff has a reputation for being among the best in Australia,” Mr Wataman said.
For more information about Cirrus Australia, visit www.cirrusaustralia.com.au.