D-reizen faced a challenge in trying to remain on top of the latest and most exciting holiday deals. Finding and showcasing the travel specials was not particularly difficult. However, when it came to ensuring payments were processed in ways that satisfied both the tour operators and regulators, the company had a struggle with its existing system architecture. In Holland, it is customary for a tour operator to require a down payment for a holiday and then collect the full payment within six weeks of the trip. For each type of holiday (cruises, cycle, sport, camping, etc.), slightly different policies have to be applied for the downpayment. These policies are enforced by the trade organization, ANVR. In addition, D-reizen was lacking the flexibility in their IT systems to support certain types of commercial campaigns. For example, when a credit card cost was not calculated during the campaign, D-reizen needed to be able to keep up with changes in payment rules as well as regularly add new trips to its system.
The problem was that each payment rule modification necessitated a change in the company’s core, home-grown system code as well as an update to the Website. A new rule begot a develop/test/accept/deploy cycle. It was effectively a new release for every rule change, which occurred at least monthly. The process took about five days. It was a resource intensive process that hurt D-reizen’s ability to be flexible and quick with promotion of new travel deals.
The rule management process was also cumbersome, a frustrating situation that involved IT in multiple discussions with business managers. “Every time IT sat with business, the whole solution, the whole decision table would change,” said Lucas Nijenhuis, Functional Architect at D-reizen. Mr. Nijenhuis, who has been with D-reizen for 11 years, realized that the company needed a simple way to empower business managers to change payment rules without necessitating a series of unproductive meeting with IT, a coding cycle, and a re-release of the core business application and Website.