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XML Supports B2C and B2B e-Business Strategy with Back-End To Front-End Integration


Software AG, Europe’s largest system software company, today announced that Apollo 2000 has gone live with its XML powered e-Business strategy. The Birmingham based gas and electrical retailer is utilising Software AG’s Tamino XML Server and EntireX to support its Business-to-Consumer and Business-to-Business websites. The site went live in Quarter 4 2001.


“We had talked to a number of Web agencies about what we wanted, and Software AG was the only company able to address our goal of running a site from the back-end system,” explains Paul Kearsley, Marketing and IT Director, Apollo 2000. “We wanted real-time information to be available on-line, including instantaneous stock updates when a product is ordered and to be able to run overnight price changes where necessary. This is key for our customers and our affinity partners, so they can trust our website as they would our in-store staff.”


Apollo 2000’s B2B strategy is a live environment based on XML and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) messaging. It allows electrical and gas suppliers, which includes the likes of Panasonic, to trade online with Apollo 2000 and ensure maximum and real-time availability of products.


Apollo 2000 sells 1300 gas and electrical product lines on its website and it holds minimum stock in its dedicated Northampton warehouse. The warehouse takes deliveries from the manufacturers for these 1300 lines only, so it is imperative that the stock ordering system runs in real-time to enable Apollo to maintain their desired minimal inventory levels. Optimum stock levels result in lower overhead costs and more efficient stock inventory processes. Software AG’s Tamino XML Server houses all the product information, and the application accesses this on request. The importance of this is heightened by the addition of Apollo 2000’s affinity partners to its customer base. These include large corporate customers, who want to offer staff a way of sourcing electrical goods at a discount from their own corporate websites.


Tamino XML Server stores information in native-XML format, giving it an advantage over relational database management systems, as no extra data conversion layer is needed. In order to make the data available in real-time to Apollo 2000 customers and affinity partners, EntireX was used. By using this technology, time to market for integrating affinity partners is now just 15 minutes. EntireX provides integration up to ten times faster than traditional technology and eliminates up to eighty percent of traditional coding requirements with a flexible, graphical point-and-click functionality and an XML compatible infrastructure.


Kearsley continues “For Apollo 2000, it is no good saying we will be able to deliver a product on a certain day if we can't fulfil such a promise. That is why we enlisted Software AG's help and experience to ensure we can. Without our Web Services application - based on Tamino and EntireX - we would not be able to do this. In a highly competitive market where numerous electrical retail chains have ceased trading over the last few years, it is more important than ever that our customers remain loyal to us. We have to be able to deliver our products on time and we must maintain optimum stock levels in order to succeed.”



Apollo 2000 is also interested in deploying kiosk technology, which should be in-store by the end of 2002. “In-store kiosks are an ideal way to increase our customer service,” concludes Kearsley. “At times when it is particularly busy, they allow the customer to come into the store, view and feel the product, order it, pay for it, and leave, all without the need to tie-down a member of staff.”



Geoff Cooke, Country Manager UK and Ireland, Software AG, concludes, “Apollo 2000 is leading the way for all retailers, and this is a first for the electrical retailing industry. The success of Apollo 2000’s customer and affinity partner websites clearly demonstrates that XML is the key to an integrated e-Business Strategy. Using Tamino XML Server and EntireX, together with Software AG’s integration expertise, Apollo 2000 has combined its B2C and B2B strategies into one e-Business strategy. The back-end to front-end system integration clearly shows how XML can be the hub of the e-Business revolution.”



about XML


eXtensible Markup Language, XML, is an international standard for the interchange and storage of data. XML has a number of unique benefits: it is platform neutral and scalable, thereby providing the assurance that documents and data can be exchanged with absolute confidence. XML is self-describing, which means that data is tagged with a description of its content, making information understandable and useable when exchanged between parties. Finally, data encoded in XML is future proof and will withstand developments in software and hardware over time.



about Apollo 2000


Apollo 2000 carries the largest range of gas and electrical products in the UK, including a massive range of washers, dryers, dishwashers, fridges, freezers, vacuum cleaners, microwaves, gas and electric cookers and fires. The company also stocks TVs, video recorders, Hi-Fi, radio cassettes and all the latest in digital technology including digital TVs, widescreen TVs, hand held PCs, pre-pay mobile phones, digital camcorders and DVD players. Brands carried include Zanussi, Bosch, Dyson, Cannon, Creda, JVC, Sony, Panasonic and many more. More information at www.apollo2000.com



about Software AG


Software AG, Darmstadt, Germany, is Europe’s largest system software provider and a major global player offering cutting edge technology for data management and electronic business. Since 1998 the company has focused its development activities on XML products for the Internet. With about 3,500 employees and representatives in over 70 countries, Software AG has revenues of 588 million euros in 2001. Its distribution and technology partners include market leaders such as IBM, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard as well as innovative IT solutions providers like Extensibility, Softquad and Citrix. Software AG’s products control the central IT processes of thousands of renowned companies worldwide to include Lufthansa, ZDF, Dresdner Bank AG, DaimlerChrysler, Deutsche Bahn AG (German Rail), BP and VIAG Interkom. Software AG is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (MDAX, Security identification number 724264 / SOWGn.F). Software AG’s UK offices are located in Bracknell and Derby.

More information at http://www.softwareag.co.uk


For more information please contact:


Richard Bennett/Tamsin Keynton
MCC International
Tel: 01962 888100
Email: richard.bennett@mccint.com
tamsin.keynton@mccint.com

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of MCC International Ltd in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Personal Finance, Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit https://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.