Cape Clear powers up online education giant

14 Oct 2005

A software company established by Iona co-founder Annrai O’Toole has deployed key technologies aimed at boosting the performance of Pearson Education’s online assets. Pearson is one of the world’s biggest educational publishers, responsible for educating more than 100 million people worldwide.

According to Cape Clear, the company’s web-services based Enterprise Services Bus (ESB) was used to integrate a set of major online applications.

The company says that the new system has already delivered a range of immediate benefits for Pearson, including increased revenue, a reduction in operating and support costs, elimination of lost requests and a reduction in inter-system dependencies through the removal of tight coupling.

In addition, there is an opportunity for further increased revenue by reducing the time required for building and deploying new services. As well as this, Pearson now offers a greater level of online interaction with customers, reducing call center costs and increasing customer satisfaction through an improved online experience.

“It is very encouraging for us to see an immediate payback on our design goals both from a technical and business point of view using Cape Clear’s ESB,” says Ramana Mantravadi, chief technology officer at Pearson Education’s Central Media Group.

“Cape Clear has met both our functional and capacity needs. The user load we’ve experienced in autumn 2005 is 80pc greater than in autumn 2004. Cape Clear sustained this load without a single message or transaction being lost. For us, the ESB is all about leveraging and integrating the existing software infrastructure of disparate systems in a reliable, timely and cost effective manner.”

Pearson’s Course Compass application allows academic institutions to create and manage courses online, including the ability for students to register and enroll for preferred courses. With over two million visits during the academic year, and a set of stringent Service Level Agreements (SLAs), Course Compass needs to provide guaranteed reliability at high volume. Pearson’s ESB project was initiated to ensure Course Compass could meet stringent performance requirements, eliminating the loss or delay of data and reducing the cost of managing the internal infrastructure.

Pearson also wanted to reduce the level of technical skills required to resolve system issues while improving customer satisfaction through rapid service response. Pearson faced a range of challenges, including the integration of its diverse infrastructure, which included applications built by different groups on various platforms in discrete locations, as well as the need for a scalable, reliable messaging infrastructure that spanned its corporate network and the internet.

Using Cape Clear’s ESB, Pearson introduced a service-oriented architecture approach that linked disparate messaging applications and enabled them to build BPEL-based business processes from different J2EE and MOM applications. These services are now reliably delivered over the internet using Cape Clear’s ESB and WS-Reliable Messaging.

“Cape Clear’s ESB is being deployed to solve integration and service delivery challenges across every sector and geography,” according to Joe Voica, president, Americas, Cape Clear Software. “Pearson is another great example of a firm that needed to leverage its existing investments in technology and re-purpose those investments to better meet its commercial needs. The ESB is finally solving the problem that has hampered IT for the past 30 years – the ability to get existing IT systems to support the specific requirements of the business.”

By John Kennedy