How Jostens Improved End-User Experience for Online Yearbooks

Jostens is one of the world’s leading providers of yearbooks, class rings, graduation materials, and championship rings, including the NFL Super Bowl rings.

Earlier this year, Jostens deployed AppDynamics to manage several of their applications. I talked with Theresa Chasar, Sr. Director, IT Infrastructure, Operations, and Services at Jostens about their experience with AppDynamics and their deployment use cases. She had some amazing stories and best practices to share.

In this blog, I will summarize what Theresa had to share about how Jostens improved online yearbooks end-user experience, and ultimately their bottom line with AppDynamics.

In February, over 20,000 schools across the US and Canada complete their yearbooks online.

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 8.49.14 AM

Last year, there were a few performance challenges with Jostens yearbooks online service during the peak season.These performance issues resulted in bad experience with students, schools, and advisors. Their bottom line took a direct hit.

Coincidentally, I could relate to the students’ frustration will stalls and outages. My daughter was leading her yearbook team last year and I remember how much time and effort she and her classmates put in compiling the content for the yearbook and how they depended on the online service for uploading the photos and content required for designing the yearbook. Any downtime could seriously jeopardize all their hard work.

Yearbook online performance issues at Jostens caused advisors to request deadline extensions, which resulted in squeezing the plant fulfillment time. The added fulfillment time led to higher costs from Jostens to pay overtime wages in addition to the revenue loss caused by the outages.

Jostens had no visibility into what was causing problems in their highly-distributed environment with 20 upload servers, 24 application servers, 2 Oracle databases, and email servers. The volume of traffic was spiking to 6,000 calls per minute and they couldn’t identify the problem areas or tune the applications to lower latency.

Jostens deployed AppDynamics Java APM earlier this year to get visibility into code performance. They were able to quickly identify the slow running business transactions and the root cause of the problem. Heavy load on the storage was causing poor average response time, and subsequently leading to sub-optimal user experience. They tuned the critical business transactions and turned off some of the non-critical business transactions based on the sales and advisor feedback. This reduced the load on the storage and the application performance improved dramatically.

After the AppDynamics deployment earlier this year, Jostens significantly improved the performance of yearbook online during their entire peak season. By addressing the performance issues, they had huge savings. Also, their plant workers didn’t have to work overtime, which resulted in an additional savings in wages.

To learn more about Jostens’ use case, plus two other deployment use cases and best practices for exceptional customers experience, Join Jostens’ Theresa Chasar on Thursday, April 2nd, at 10:00 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time in a webinar “Jostens’ APM Best Practices for Exceptional Customer Experience.