System Integration

The bright inventive professionals at Active Lightning are ideally suited to provide the creative problem-solving and technologies needed for doing system integration. Below are descriptions and information on some projects we completed.

As an example of success, consider the first project for HardwareToy.com. The first high-volume sales period that this automated system integration was in place, it supported 3 times the sales volume from the previous year.

Gallery of Website Integration Projects

Point-of-Sale System for Single Store Location
Integrated with PDG Commerce Shopping Cart and an Amazon.com store


The Hardware Center developed an online business selling toys. The business grew so that in the Christmas buying season of 2005 their manual system for: a) order tracking and b) updating online inventory was strained to the breaking point, receiving 120 orders on a single day.
     The owner, contracted with Active Lightning to develop an automated system.
     The automation runs on the owner's desktop PC. Inventory information is pulled from the Eagle and automatically uploaded to both the PDG Commerce shopping cart at hardware-toy.com and the Amazon store every 1-5 minutes.
     Order information from Amazon gets transfered to the PDG Commerce shopping cart, because the PDG software provides an inexpensive integration with UPS and it automatically generates an email confirmation to the customer when the shipping label is printed.
     Orders from the PDG Commerce shopping cart are automatically downloaded to the owner's PC every 5 minutes into a watched folder. The Eagle takes the data automatically from the watched folder.
     Email addresses and order information are also downloaded to the owner's PC (on demand) to update the marketing database.
     A file that Amazon needs for shipment confirmation is created and uploaded automatically as well.


Website "Contact Me" Form Integrated with
Customer Relationship Management System

Ramm Fence Systems, Inc.

Overview of Systems Involved

Ramm Fence wanted to move to a new contact management system. As part of this project, it was specified that the contact request form on the website be integrated with the new customer relationship management [CRM] and sales force automation [SFA] application called ActiveControl (created by Active Lightning).
     The form generates an email with the customer's contact information. The email gets delivered to a designated folder by the client's mail server. Processing runs 3 times a day to automatically insert the request into ActiveControl.
     How does the insertion work? We compare customer information such as the zip code/street address, email address, and phone number with customer records on file to determine if the customer exists on file or is new.
     For an existing customer, we check to see if the phone number and/or address is the same one on file; if not, we add the new information and create a note so that the account manager knows that this was done. Then the processing sees who the Account Manager is for the account and examines that person's schedule to see the next available opening. Then an Activity record is created for that time slot. This causes the contact request to show up as an activity that needs doing on the Account Manager's calendar.
     For a new customer, we find out who is next in the territory to get a new account. Then a customer record is created and assigned to this Account Manager. An Activity record is also created just as it is for an existing account.


Point-of-Sale/Inventory System for Multiple Stores
Integrated with ASP.NET eCommerce Site:
variable pricing based on login

A-1 Appliance Parts

Overview of Systems Involved

A-1 Appliance Parts has a steady growing retail business selling appliance parts, both online and via physical store locations. A-1 also sells to wholesalers and wanted to grow this part of its business. It's ecommerce site was separate from its store operations.
     A-1 contracted with Active Lightning to integrate its ecommerce website with its store computer system.
     One challenge was that shopping cart application that drives the site is organized around a unique part number. However, A-1 can have multiple SKUs for a given part number.
     Another challenge was variable pricing.
A-1 wanted a system that would show retail or one of many wholesaler pricing plans depending the users account type in the store system.
     Yet another challenge was that the shopping cart application was created from a Microsoft template. The template was not engineered or documented for the kind of work we needed to do. It was opaque, using complicated mechanisms to handle straightforward tasks due to its role as a template.
     The team for this project consisted of a programmer and Sally Seaver. They overcame the challenges. The results display from Eagle appropriately. The order information is processed into a watched folder where Eagle picks it up. An account information section was created on the site where wholesalers can see their balances, order history and backordered parts.

Another project was to automate the creation and delivery of shipment confirmation emails. The automation runs on the web server. It queries the Eagle to see if an order has
shipped or is backordered. Then it builds the email to notify the customer appropriately; and sends it.