Success Story: The Phone House

B2B Integration

  • Headquarters

    Munster, Germany
  • Industry

  • Challenge

    Migrate to a robust, flexible and scalable B2B infrastructure to enable strategic transition from service provider to  leading retailer.

  • Solution

  • Results

    • A robust, flexible and scalable B2B infrastructure supports company growth
    • Secure, reliable and quick partner onboarding saves time and reduces costs
    • Proactive escalation management enables quick problem resolution (including automatic event supervision)
    • Superior security and stability with zero downtime improves service to customers
    • Better communication capabilities enhance customer satisfaction
    • Automated business processes, including prioritization of critical vs. non-critical data flows

“Axway Interchange and Axway Sentinel make up the core of our retail infrastructure. Without quick data exchanges between The Phone House our partners, there would be no business. The platform is extremely critical and strategic to our business.”

Major Business Transformation

The Phone House, previously a full-range service provider for wireless solutions and broadband technologies, is transforming its business to become a leading retailer in the German market. The company successfully changed its business model and gained a strong position in the consumer market. Today, The Phone House has over 200 stores in Germany, and 500 reseller partners.

The Phone House developed a retail proposition to align with the strategy of its mother company, The Carphone Warehouse. Carphone, the largest independent mobile phone retailer in the world, has further strengthened its retail strategy by forming a joint venture with American consumer electronics giant Best Buy. Carphone has thrived for 20 years by offering its customers simple, impartial guidance over their choice of handsets, networks, and tariffs. Today Carphone and its subsidiaries offer a range of laptops along with a wide selection of connected devices.

The strategy required for the Phone House to become a leading mobile and broadband retailer in Germany not only meant changing its business goals, its B2B gateway needed to be migrated to a more robust, flexible and scalable infrastructure. As the new business continues to expand, more and more transactions will be required with external partners.

The Phone House chose the Axway Interchange solution to support the new strategy and its business transformation. The Phone House has had B2B gateway solutions in place since the early nineties, and these were based generally on in-house solutions and commercial software products. “We needed to upgrade to a leadingedge technology to make the strategic transition to a retail operation. Axway’s product portfolio of solutions fulfilled all of our requirements,” stated Thomas Hutters, Head of IT Operations at The Phone House.

B2B Gateway at the Core of the Retail Business

One of the main processes managed by Axway Interchange is the connection to the major network operators that activate new subscriber contracts in real time. These transactions are routed through three channels: direct sales\ in the retail stores, indirect sales through dealers, and via an e-commerce portal. Customers are highly satisfied since transactions are handled quickly, and they get the service they require.

Other transactions handled by Axway Interchange include complex workflow processes based on file transfers to business partners.

“Axway’s Interchange and Sentinel monitoring system make up the core of our retail infrastructure. Without quick data exchanges between The Phone House our partners, there would be no business. The platform is  extremely critical and strategic to our business,” said Hutters.

Speed and Flexibility

With over 100 independent partner connections and a growing number of trading partners, The Phone House must implement new interfaces and protocols quickly and easily. Time-to-market implementation of new projects has improved greatly with the use of the Axway Interchange solution. Bringing new partners on board and ramping-up communities have become simple operations.

“Our new partners are delighted that communication between our companies is established so quickly, and that we can adapt to their protocols thanks to Axway’s multi-protocol architecture in the Interchange solution,” Hutters said. “Most solutions available on the market provide implementation protocols, but Axway’s solution offers the capability to easily integrate JAVA API’s in any situation. For example, we were up and running within just a few short days with a major network operator and trading partner who was using ebXML.”

The infrastructure transition was managed by an Axway Solutions Architect and a local partner as a fixed-price, fixed schedule project.

“Axway handled the management of the migration in collaboration with our teams and an external partner. The work got done on schedule and this was critical to the continued operation of The Phone House,” added Hutters.

Proactive Monitoring and Message Prioritization

Axway Sentinel monitors business activity on the entire EAI platform now in place at The Phone House. Most of the external exchanges, as well as the interfaces to back-end corporate applications, are monitored  using Sentinel. The solution’s proactive and comprehensive escalation management enables The Phone House to know the exact state of its critical business transactions at all times. Errors such as bottlenecks are  detected and resolved immediately.

The monitoring capabilities brought by Axway’s Sentinel solution also enable The Phone House to prioritize messages. The Phone House averages about 160,000 messages and related transactions every day.  Prioritization conflicts are resolved using Sentinel. Critical messages such as mass activations or mass tariff changes need to be prioritized and taken into consideration immediately. Such prioritization was extremely difficult to manage with The Phone House’s former system.

Active/Active Clustering

Another salient advantage in choosing Interchange resides in its ability to function in an active/active clustering mode. Due to the critical nature of its business, The Phone House decided to put a high availability  platform in place as part of the migration project.

“Axway’s solution is absolutely stable. I am very happy with the stability and reliability of the system. In addition, when we saw the richness of the feature set in place, we knew we had made the right choice for our business,” Hutters concluded.

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