Location Insight – Connecting clients with their customers!
Companies with multiple locations need to:
- Direct existing customers to the most convenient location to meet the current need, and
- Attract and drive new paying customers to ‘brick and mortar’ locations.
InfoNow’s Location Insight suite of services uses geolocation technologies to direct existing clients to their business locations by utilizing search engine optimization techniques. These services also help attract new customers by displaying the client’s name and locations on popular organic search engines.
Location Insight allows clients to communicate with existing and prospective customers and provide useful and highly relevant information specific to the customer’s location. Location Insight allows clients to drive business to locations specified by the client. Utilizing a variety of data management collection and storage techniques, Location Insight provides a convenient way to display the most accurate and current information to end users. With Location Insight, data management can be done on the client side using clerical staff – thus reducing client costs.
Other uses of the LI technology include telephony and wireless display platforms to ensure that the user receives consistent information – whether viewing locations on the web or on wireless device, or using telephone voice display.
For businesses with many physical locations, LocationInsight™ provides a powerful, integrated, local-search-marketing platform. LocationInsight™ combines the industry’s most advanced web, XML and mobile locator platform with a unique content management system.
Why Search Engines are important?
- 70% of shoppers feel that store locators help in the purchasing decision while 90% of web visitors expect to find some sort of store locator with maps and directions on the websites they visit (Source: igservices.com and infogrowcorp.com)
- 47% of local searchers visit a local merchant as a result of their search (Source: comScore)
- 25% of all searches contain a geocentric (local) term (Source: comScore)
- 70% of U.S. households now use the Internet as an information source when shopping locally for products and services (Source: The Kelsey Group)
- 50% of local searches conducted through search engines are with the intent to purchase (Source: The Kelsey Group)
LocationInsight uses locational information to drive more customers to your places of business. This is mainly achieved by:
- Providing a unified hosted solution to increase customer traffic to all your business locations utilizing a combination of locator technology with Internet search engines, mobile and telephony platforms
- Delivering high-performance local search engine optimization solutions, enabling brick and mortar locations to compete in today’s Internet-driven marketplace
Forgeahead developed multiple locators and enhanced/supported almost 40+ existing clients over a two-and-a-half-year period. During this tenure Forgeahead developed different types of locators for LocationInsight’s most important and revenue generating clients like Bofa, Chase, Visa, CIBC, WU etc.
- Web based locator that displays location of bank branches and ATMs
- Mobile locator is a mobile application which is similar to the web interface and displays locations for searched input.
- XML Locator provides standard XML/HTML based detailed location results with a static map.
Forgeahead developed the following major locators:
The objective of the locator system is to:
- Provide a single interface for both branches and ATMs using locator best practices.
- Drive organic searches to Chase locations through organic search (local SEO).
- Allow users on chase.com to easily find locations by entering their address through a form on chase.com (a search widget).
- Upgrade the interface of the locator to improve customer experience and to convey Chase’s technological and design sophistication.
- Browser compatibility support for almost all versions of IE, FF, Chrome and Safari.
- Internationalization support for French and Spanish languages.
- Implementing ADA compliance
- The objective of this project was to develop, deploy and host an internet locator for users to find Merrill Edge Financial Solution Advisors (FSA). FSAs support the Merrill Edge Advisory Center, which is a division of Merrill Lynch. Merrill Lynch is a division of BANA.
- The new locator has replaced the older static version for finding the FSAs.
- The Mortgage Advisor Locator allows customers to search CIBC Mortgage Advisors by city and province, postal code, name or language spoken. Users will be able to view locations on the result list and navigate to a specific Mortgage Advisor’s profile web page, hosted by CIBC
Visa/Amex and Bofa Profilers:
- Improved the usability of the all profiler applications by allowing users to load ATM data in commonly used Excel spreadsheet format. System was modified to allow users to enter latitude and longitude coordinate values for each location and allow multibyte characters to be downloaded in Excel spreadsheet format.
- Improved usability of the Visa International and Regional BID Reports by including the name of the person who made the last record update in the report.
Forgeahead also provided some key generic solution to all LI locators:
- Bing REST web service implementation: Analyzed and implemented Bing REST web service for XML locators.
- Migrated all LI locators to Bing token service
- Fix Geocoder: Resoled Geo coder problem for all locators, so that locator will return results for not only specific search but also for malls, railway stations etc.
- Reverse Geocoding: Implemented reverse geo coding for XML and web based locator interfaces.
- Batch processing for Bofa and Visa locators
- Automation: Automated functional test cases for major locators like Boa, Chase.
Forgeahead chose the technology and methodology based on the best fit for the context, performance and scalability needs.
- REST web services
- HTML, JS, AJAX, JQuery and CSS
- Apache Tomcat 5.0, Apache Tomcat 7
- Sql Server
Project building tool
- Browser compatibility support for:
- Mozilla firefox ver. 3.6, ver. 4
- Safari ver. 4, ver. 5
- Google Chrome ver. 10, ver. 11, ver. 12
- Internet Explorer ver. 6, ver. 7, ver. 8, ver 9
Forgeahead’s Development Methodology
Forgeahead decided to adopt the SCRUM agile methodology to reduce time-to-market and manage the innumerable changes that needed to be incorporated. This would maximize return on investment (ROI) by identifying and re-evaluating product features.
The major pillars of the Forgeahead Development Solution include
JIRA: JIRA was effectively employed for task management, defect management as well as tracking. All tasks and defects were logged in JIRA and worked upon in the respective sprints as per priority. All defects were migrated from Bugzilla (used earlier for defect management) into JIRA for better utilization of Scrum and to help manage defects and tasks.
Build and release: Code releases were made as per defined sprints. Regression testing on the application on release dates was run on QA server. Sanity check and ad-hoc testing was performed when the changes were made. The project phases were close knit to ensure minimum deviation and maximum effect. Hudson tool integrated with JIRA to deploy project on QA, production-test server and production server. Hudson integration with JIRA helped in quick deployment without login in to the server directly.
Forgeahead’s Project Methodology
- Executed all major projects using the SCRUM methodology.
- Ensured requirements gathering was done by account managers to ensure information completeness.
- Ensured submission of project estimation by the Scrum Team.
- Conducted shorter Sprint review/feedback cycles to ensure that all the teams were in sync.
- Adopted well define processes for estimation, code review and deployment.
- Held demo for the customer on every Sprint release using collaborative tools (Webex or GoToMeeting).
- Enabled the same development environment for the whole team.
- Ensured close collaboration between team members and client to reduce turnaround time.
- Developed Chase, Meweb, CIBC-MA, CIBC-WG, WU, Nationwide from scratch and enhanced locators for Bofa, Visa, Amex, TD etc.
- Implemented SEO for Chase locator.
- Extended and enhanced profiler applications for Visa, Amex and Bofa without any documentation or help from the onshore team
- Implemented ADA compliance for Bofa and Chase locators.
- Migrated all LI locators to Bing token service
- Allowed users of WAP – enabled devices to search for physical business locations based on their physical proximity to a store or service.
- Simplified locator to operate within the restrictions of the mobile device such as the smaller screen
- Developed native device applications for iPhone, BlackBerry, Palm, G1
- Updated test cases for all the locator applications
- Provided internationalization support for locators.
- Developed locators within timelines and a few like CIBC-MA, CIBC-WG, Visa-Profiler etc. were completed well ahead of schedule.
- Ensured that the locators passed client acceptance criteria—these locators are currently on production
- Automated critical test cases for Bofa-Gen3 to reduce the regression cycle efforts
- Analyzed and validated new ideas through brainstorming sessions on product ideas, approach and technology
- Introduced scrum methodology for locator development.
- Performed functional and load testing
We faced several challenges initially when we started onsite-offshore project delivery in the development environment including:
- Creating an offshore development team/environment
- Winning the trust of LocationInsight to transfer full locator development offshore
- Building configuration and deployment procedures for development/QA environment
- Moving locator development to Scrum/Agile methodology.
- Supporting multiple customers and live applications (almost 40+).
- Setting up offshore geocoders
- Setting up a local box with database, and local VM to allow developers who work from office to share
- Syncing up local virtual box with the LocationInsight libraries
- Implementing ADA compliance
- Ensuring browser compatibility for all browser combinations
- Creating and implementing rotational policy for the team.
Benefits Maximizes Internet-driven buyer traffic to brick and mortar business locations
- Delivers consistent results across all buyer touch points
- Manages and integrates location data, keeps it synchronized as business data changes
- Configures unique business rules by location (i.e. promotional offers, product and service availability, etc.)
- Presents a seamless interface to meet branding and localization needs
- Offers business reporting features that help identify new growth opportunities and guide business decisions
- Utilizes state-of-the-art mapping technology through Microsoft Virtual Earth, the leader in commercial mapping imagery
- Shortens turnaround time on change and ad hoc requests
- Delivers complete development/QA support along with infrastructure and maintenance