The ALA (American Library Association) is the oldest and largest professional association for librarians in the world. When ALA wanted to update their online store’s software (which was about 10 years old at the time with no support and original developers available), Ceylon Solutions came to the rescue. Ceylon Solutions not only helped integrate the store with the latest services through custom module development, but also stabilized the legacy code to ensure better performance and reliability.
The mission of ALA is “to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.” When the legacy online store started to fail in delivering on some aspects of this mission, Ceylon Solutions bravely undertook the challenge of extending the legacy system’s expiry date. It was a tough ask as none of the previous developers or support engineers were around when Ceylon Solutions took over. However, in just 6 months, the Ceylon Solutions team delivered a fully revamped online store which was more stable, had more features, and performed better than the old one. Ceylon Solutions then continued to maintain the solution and engage with ALA until the legacy online store was finally decommissioned.
The ALA develops and sells materials such as books, e-books, journals, online learning modules, and graphical materials such as posters, bookmarks, and clothing. Their online store was almost 10 years old, based on a legacy software package that was no longer supported by its original developers. The platform was nearing expiry date but ALA were not ready to build or purchase a new one.
The functioning of the ALA Store was mission critical for the publishing department. The website supported all of its marketing efforts, including quarterly printed catalogs and marketing eblasts which announced new products. It allowed for registration in online learning classes and sent orders nightly to the fulfillment center. The online platform needed to be modernized and stabilized.
Understanding the requirements of ALA and their requirement to keep the costs minimal, Ceylon
Solution proposed updating the existing modules and developing a few new ones to allow for
integration and other new features which were essential.
Working closely with the ALA team, the Ceylon Solutions team ensured nothing was lost in any upgrade/new module implementation. Quality control was built into the process to ensure that all old and new modules were tested from the start of the development to ensure synergy with the existing legacy system. Different team members led the development of different modules to ensure the focus and clarity was not diluted for any single implementation.
Taking on the re-building or upgrading of an existing software which was built by a different team and did not carry any on-going support was not an easy task...and not one that many companies would take on. However, understanding the needs of our Partner (ALA), and helping them reach their objectives was the main focus of the Ceylon Solutions team. These challenges were overcome through some amazing teamwork and dedication to achieving the end goal.
ALA was able to use its legacy webstore for at least four years beyond the expected termination date. The ALA team were extremely satisfied with the stability and added functionalities of the ‘new’ platform after the Ceylon Solutions team handed it over. ALA estimates that over USD 83,000 was saved via the development and maintenance done by Ceylon Solutions. The actual ROI is difficult to quantify in this case the user-experience and stability delivered can’t be calculated.
Long after the expiration date of the legacy system, ALA moved to a new e-commerce platform (after having had the breathing room to plan and fund that migration properly). Dan, who overlooked the project from ALA’s side claims that he was very happy knowing that the ALA Store was in far better shape after Ceylon Solutions upgraded it, than when he took over it.