Delivering solutions and services that help Enterprise companies compete in a changing digital landscape.

Case Study

Michaels Customers Enjoy Faster Website and Less Frustration

Asponte Custom Crafted Solution Ensures Future Digital Success for the Well-Known Arts and Crafts Retail Giant

Michaels is the largest arts and crafts retail chain in North America– providing the creative inspiration and supplies hobbyists and do-it-yourself decorators need. The Michaels Companies also owns multiple brands which allow them to provide a wide variety of art supplies, on-site framing, floral design, and the latest seasonal merchandise both in store and online. Michaels is on a mission “to inspire and encourage everyone to unleash [their] inner maker.”

Business Challenges
Michaels existing portal site had been working for three years but performance had begun to slow down.
Each service Michaels offers includes a number of products, many offering a range of details like color, size, and shape. Over time, the vast catalog of products and services grew beyond the original system’s original design and would need to be streamlined.

Our Approach
Asponte worked with the client’s IT team and their hosting provider to identify what caused the slow down and to deliver a final solution that set Michaels up for future digital success. Our investigation included setting up loadrunner scripts, investigation of output, suggesting changes, and then performing the iterative process to solve all issues.

This project evolved into a two-faceted engagement; the first was to tune the existing site for performance. All users enjoyed an immediate improvement in system performance.

The second facet included user setup during a new user’s initial login. The goal was that the new login would force the user to complete their user profile before being allowed to complete login.

Integrating with Tivoli Identity Manager, we created a set of portlets to help the user set up things like custom challenge/response questions. This allowed all user setup tasks to be done during the portal flow without having to redirect to a third website. Additionally, it kept users from bypassing this until all aspects were done.

Software Leveraged

  • IBM WebSphere Portal
  • IBM Rational Application Developer
  • Tivoli Identity Manager


After Asponte’s engagement, customers enjoyed improved website functionality while shopping and Michaels was able to direct advertisements to those customers’ inboxes.
Asponte successfully identified the case of the performance problem– previously made custom code handling the specific class, method, and line numbers. The development team was able to quickly resolve the issue and provide a fix to the performance issue.
The new set of portlets streamlined the registration process for new users setting up their profile. The streamlined process resolved the frustration customers experienced when trying to register a new account; dramatically decreasing the number of customer support calls related to user account creation.