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Home >> Customers >> Success Stories >> JB Were

JB Were Invests in ISYS

Australian stockbroking giant, JB Were & Son has a client-registered website which allows large corporate investment clients to gain access to the latest stock market research information. Using ISYS:sdk and the Cold Fusion authoring environment, the JB Were Internet project team has devised a user-friendly, highly intuitive service that maximizes knowledge transfer to site visitors.

John Brand, Project Leader for Internet Development at JB Were, was responsible for the public and client Internet sites as well as the company Intranet. ISYS is used on all three sites.

The aim of the client project was to establish the ultimate online service for the stockbroker’s larger corporate customers. “We wanted to provide a service for the institutional clients where they could gain access to research and analysis,” said Brand.

The research information is mostly published in HTML and clients can access password-protected information on investment and financial information for industries, companies, commodities and the like with a wide variety of search methods on offer. Searches can be done by stock, sector, analyst, keywords or combinations, and can be cross-referenced against each other.

Clients entering the site with a password can save their personal query preferences with re-executable transposable dates. For example, a client might visit the site on February 3rd and define a query on all articles about Coles Myer over the last three weeks. This query is saved and when the client enters the site on March 3rd, he can trigger that query and the system will serve up the information by calculating the last three weeks from the day of the current visit.

This provides a tailored, personal aspect to the service. No-one else can access an individual client’s query. Once they log on, they enter their own realm - a personalized Internet site, served with all the information that JB Were can offer.

JB Were has implemented ISYS across a broad range of areas. ISYS:web is used extensively on its intranet, and also used on the public Internet site as the search facility. The company has many SQL databases and Brand’s team has pointed ISYS at these as well. It is far quicker to make a query from ISYS than it is to follow the search parameters of the databases themselves.

On the JB Were intranet, each department has its own information resources indexed by ISYS:web but at the same time there is a company-wide knowledge bank that ISYS also indexes.

While the client website contains research and analysis information, the stockbroking firm also deals with a lot of rapidly changing data. The automatic update feature of ISYS:web proved to be of great value to John Brand and his team. ISYS automatically updates upon a change or addition of data, which means that the latest information is always on hand. As the stock market changes over night, JB Were staff are busy inputting the details. ISYS then identifies the changes and updates its index so that come morning, everything is already in the computer and able to be searched.

When it came to the registered client site, Brand chose to use the ISYS:sdk for its flexibility. ISYS:sdk allows the powerful ISYS search engine to be seamlessly integrated into other applications. It has been used in document management systems, human resources systems and help desk systems. Now JB Were & Son has integrated the ISYS:sdk into a highly effective client services website.

Because this password protected site is basically an information searching facility – not a site with a search facility attached, ISYS:sdk provided a great level of customization. “ISYS:web is a great facility to add to a website,” said Brand. “ISYS:sdk is the best tool when you want to create a site where the sole function is searching. The document searching is part of the user’s realm.”

While ISYS:web has security facilities and integrates with Windows NT, the security requirements for this site were much higher. ISYS:web is customizable, but Brand wanted complete control over the output and to be able to fully manipulate the query options and fields. “We needed to create a transparent interface for the search engine to ensure compatibility with the look and feel of the site. ISYS:sdk worked perfectly. The core product is excellent.”

Using ISYS:sdk also enabled Brand’s team to develop a more comprehensive audit trail. This provides the staff at JB Were & Son with the opportunity to review client queries. From this they can establish individual interests and trends in order to further cater to customer needs. It also allows them to regularly evaluate the service to ensure that clients are getting the best information available.

J B Were & Son chose ISYS after sampling a variety of products. Brand evaluated four Internet search tools and eventually narrowed the field to two options, a North American product and ISYS. ISYS won based on customer service and the ease with which it could be installed. “I simply couldn’t install the other product, “said Brand. “Taking two weeks to return my call, their technical support team in Australia couldn’t get it working either. It was also three times the price of ISYS.”

When asked what the biggest hurdle in getting the site off the ground, Brand’s answer showed the depth of thought and planning that has gone into the project. “The hardest part was re-evaluating what information is. What do people want from a document? What is a document but a collection of information?”

“A lot of information is generated every day. People don’t want to have to wade through it all to find what they want, but allowing them to search stacks of documents isn’t enough. We have a new medium with the web, there are alternative ways to present information and we need to find the best way to do it.

We’ve had to look at how we change peoples' perception of what a document is. Say you make a query and the answer lies within a 100-page document. ISYS can take you to the exact spot within that document but perhaps that isn’t enough. Perhaps this isn’t the best way to present you with the information but at the same time, you might need to see it in context, which is the rest of the document.

It’s a constant challenge and has been the hardest part of putting this together. We want to provide the full picture for people and present information in the most beneficial and useful way. That’s meant a lot of second-guessing and thought over how we serve up the answers to simple queries.”

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