Envision purchasing tickets online to one of the world’s most renowned museums, without paying costly Web transaction fees.
Visitors to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City now do, thanks to a new Online Ticketing Management System created with Surround Technologies’ Accelerator for Visual LANSA development tool.
The famed New York museum has sold tickets on its Web site,
www.MoMA.org, for many years. However, previously, customers paid a $7 per ticket service charge with another $3 charge for at-home printing. These fees, typical of online ticketing sites, were levied by the third-party company that processed the online transactions for MoMA.
Now, MoMA visitors are reaping the savings of the museum’s own home-grown ticketing system, the back-end system developed with Surround Technologies’ Accelerator for Visual LANSA.
Bob Rocco, Director of MoMA’s IT Applications and Development department, brought the challenge to his team of delivering greater value to their visitors. And it was clearly more than just developing a home-grown system to replace the third-party vendor, as it had to be built before they were required to sign another long-term contract with the vendor.
When Rocco presented this challenge to his team, his Project Manager for Application Development, Ramakrishna "Sudhi" Sudheendra, thought of Surround Technologies.
Surround Technologies, LLC, is a software development firm that specializes in custom development, providing both tools and services that make custom applications more cost effective than off-the-shelf solutions. The LANSA environment has been a particular focus for more than 16 years, and they offer Accelerator and a full suite of products under the Envision brand name.
"We were able to complete this project in a quarter of the time because we were using Accelerator"
"I knew Surround Technologies and their LANSA tools from LANSA User Conferences in years past," Sudheendra recalled. "I approached them with this project because of its complexity and our limited resources. We just didn’t have many people to work on it."
With MoMA’s legacy systems already running with LANSA on IBM i-Series servers, Sudheendra suspected the Accelerator tool was just what the team needed to meet the tight deadline.
Accelerator for Visual LANSA provides a framework for developing in LANSA. According to Surround Technologies President Lee Paul, "Accelerator and its code-generating wizards automatically produce the application within Accelerator’s architecture and base system framework. It does it all in a well defined methodology, so the developers can focus on functionality that will advance the business."
"Additionally," Paul continues, "Accelerator provides a professional-looking presentation layer right out of the box, so developers no longer have to worry about the user interface." Besides simplifying this difficult task, it also assures a productive user interface and impacts on-going user productivity for the life of the application.
Sudheendra contacted Paul to inquire about their development tool. Two days later, Surround’s Vice President of Application Development, Derek Maciak, was demonstrating a Proof of Concept system based on MoMA’s legacy system, which quickly led to a partnership.
"We were really quite impressed that Surround could develop a rich-interface test application so quickly," MoMA’s Rocco recalled.
To assure that MoMA’s tight timeline would be met, Surround provided training and on-site services to shorten the development learning curve. The MoMA developers then used Accelerator to build out the back-end processing for their online ticketing system, as well as generating all the internal maintenance screens for the administrative functions.
Sudheendra, who has worked with LANSA for nine years, said he has never seen a tool quite like Accelerator for Visual LANSA. "We were able to complete this project in a quarter of the time because we were using Accelerator," he said, "With Accelerator, we were able to do the entire project with only two internal resources."
"It will allow us to consider new applications that we otherwise couldn’t. I would definitely recommend it to others."
"It’s a great tool for any new or existing LANSA system," he offers, "You can use Accelerator to develop basic applications in just a few hours the first time you use it. That’s the advantage of Accelerator. You don’t have to design the forms, put in the controls, manage all the user actions, and write all the error codes, Accelerator does it all for you."
"The in-depth LANSA knowledge of Surround’s staff amazed me and we had a great time learning Accelerator. It was a life saver," Sudheendra continues, "Accelerator really discloses the true power of LANSA and the Surround Technologies team members are my new best friends! We are still in a state of shock knowing what Surround can do in VL."
So, today, New York visitors are able to enjoy the world-famous cultural indulgences of the Museum of Modern Art at what ends up being a significantly lower cost for online ticketing. But their customers aren’t the only beneficiaries of this project. The MoMA ticketing agents appreciate the clean new look-and-feel of the application and the IT team suspects there is a productive boost contained within that.
"Our users are used to the Outlook interface, and this has the same look and feel," Sudheendra said. "The new system’s user interface is far better than the one they had in the old system."
Sudheendra is contemplating other plans for Accelerator. "We will use Accelerator in future development efforts," he said, "because of the real Return on Investment in the tool. It will save us a lot of development time and allow us to consider new applications that we otherwise couldn’t. I would definitely recommend it to others."
Maciak agrees. "One of the major benefits for MoMA is now that they own the system, they can put in new features and advanced technology as they need it. Since they are no longer dealing with third party software, they can take it in any direction they want to."
"We have a great partnership with Surround Technologies," MoMA’s Rocco offers, pleased with the work his team was able to accomplish because of Accelerator.
But perhaps most importantly, Rocco and his team have helped fulfill part of the museum’s core mission, that of making art more accessible to a larger audience.