SOURCE: Skyway Software

March 27, 2006 09:19 ET

Skyway SOA Platform Adds Southern States to Client Base

TAMPA, FL -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 27, 2006 -- Skyway Software, the award winning SOA solution for developing and delivering custom applications and services, is pleased to announce a new addition to its client base. Southern States, a $1.2 billion leader in the farming and agriculture industry, is raising the bar on implementing applications by adopting a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). Using SOA, Southern States will not only be implementing revenue-producing applications, but they will also be meeting the needs of their members even faster.

Thomas R. Scribner, President & CEO, related that the Southern States team wasn't looking to hop on any buzzword bandwagon, they were simply looking to deliver integrated applications faster. Scribner states, "We are looking forward to using the Skyway SOA Platform to build systems that improve business processes and customer service to offer continual improvement for the organization. With the Skyway SOA Platform, we will be able to integrate and potentially re-write our systems which are functionally rich, but technically challenged, sometimes difficult to integrate and somewhat inflexible due to maturity. Ultimately, re-writing these systems and the ability to write new applications faster and cheaper will help the IT Department save money, increase productivity and support business demands -- all factors that will add dollars to our bottom-line."

Karen Lankford, VP of Information Systems at Southern States, adds, "The magnitude of the impact Skyway's SOA Platform has on real business issues can be measured by our Zone Pricing project. Zone Pricing is a critical issue for Southern States. Our current systems limit us to one price per product. Even with more than 1200 locations, if a store has a territory competitive pricing issue and a product price needs to be changed it has to be done manually. If the price is not modified quickly, Southern States could lose a sale. The Zone Pricing project effort alone is projected to generate millions of dollars per year in revenue for Southern States."

A common concern about any new solution is that the expected revenues generated by the project might be offset by the cost of implementing the new solution. Case studies from Skyway Software report that starting with the first project the Skyway SOA Platform enables IT teams to complete projects faster and less expensively. Lankford explains, "The Skyway SOA Platform is one of those special finds, it is a technology solution that improves time-to-market while decreasing expenses. Using our current staff and technology approach, to make necessary code changes for this project would take 1,500 man hours of IT development effort. Yet, by using the Skyway Platform, we've estimated being able to build the application to maintain the prices within 360 hours! Then, our staff only has to expend 650 hours on modifying custom code to send/receive the prices to the various systems. The speed of this development will allow us to change Zone Pricing faster and complete the project spending fewer dollars."

Skyway Software agreed to assist and now has completed helping Southern States in its initial application development for the Zone Pricing project. Jared Rodriguez, UDDI Specification author and CEO of Skyway Software, states, "At Skyway our goal is to make the adoption of SOA as smooth as possible. It is exciting to see so many customers benefit from the Skyway SOA Platform which delivers J2EE-based Web applications faster than anything on the market regardless of whether the client is building new applications to alleviate application backlog, meet customer service needs or due to compliance issues."

Specific touch point areas for the Skyway SOA Platform project included building applications to integrate existing systems without committing to a specific platform for these apps. Lankford adds, "For example, prior to Skyway Software, we would have selected to build the Zone Pricing App using OneWorld and would have committed our resources in one area. With the implementation of the Skyway SOA Platform in our Shop, we feel that we can utilize this across S&P groups and not overly commit any one group."

Another area of improvement involves building applications to provide more consistency among S&P Groups. Lankford adds, "For example, prior to Skyway Software, we had no commonality to error codes and messages across groups. With the Skyway SOA Platform, Southern States will begin various internal projects to produce common error codes and messages across applications to ease support issues. Skyway Software also provides the ability to easily incorporate e-mail messages and integrate Help Text within applications. This will not only speed the delivery of applications but allow us to build and monitor more consistently across applications therefore reducing overhead of development."

In addition, the Skyway Software installation has also given Southern States the ability to build applications based on data stored in disparate systems. Lankford adds, "The Skyway SOA Platform will allow us to begin projects that previously required a senior person understanding that particular system to build the application related to that system. With Skyway Software, we can assign a person with less experience in this application to connect to those databases/tables and build the integrated application. We can also incorporate technical documentation directly into the application without going through a second pass of the application."

The Skyway Software SOA Platform will deliver tangible results to Southern States. "That's the point," according to Rodriguez. From his perspective, "What good is technology if it doesn't deliver on the promise of positively impacting your business? The goal is to find a solution that doesn't add to a company's service delivery challenge; but rather, simplifies the process of building and deploying services."

In an effort to show the tangible dollar-value of implementing the Skyway SOA Platform the Skyway Software team designed an ROI calculator for Southern States which has been generalized and posted on the Website (www.skywaysoftware.com) for anyone to evaluate potential project returns. This is just one of many tools Skyway Software provides on their Website to help demystify the uncertainty of SOA, also available are white papers, a terminology dictionary, and case studies.

About Southern States Cooperative, Incorporated -- www.southernstates.com

Since its beginning as a Virginia Seed Service in 1923, Southern States has been at the forefront of agricultural advances throughout its 80 years in business and is now a $1.2 billion farmer-owned cooperative. As a result of its leadership role in agriculture, Southern States has continued to expand and today encompasses some 1,200 retail locations in 23 states. Owned by more than 300,000 farmers, the cooperative purchases, manufactures and processes feed, seed, fertilizer, farm supplies and fuel.

About Skyway Software -- www.skywaysoftware.com -- Marla Whittemore -- 813.288.9355, ext. 118 -- marla@skywaysoftware.com

Skyway Software is the award winning provider of SOA design and delivery solutions. The Skyway SOA Platform enables companies seeking a competitive advantage to design and deliver custom applications and services faster and cheaper. This shortens the time-to-business impact and decreases development expenses, while allowing IT to adapt quickly to dynamic business fluctuations. Ultimately, the Skyway SOA Platform offers maximum infrastructure flexibility by accelerating and simplifying custom applications and services.

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