Abajo en el Valle
It tracks contact details and fees related to client cases, and is well organized and logical up to a point.
It needed some enhancements and finishing touches before rollout to three satellite offices.
We began with a redesign of the main navigation page, which was a patchwork of buttons, labels and fields. This rework was a great way to get a general idea of the systems architecture in just a few hours.
It became apparent that the 39 databases were only minimally related, requiring redundant data entry as faxes, requests and fees were generated and tracked.
Fortunately, a unique serial number assigned to each client had been consistently used in the various databases. So we created relationships based on this number.
Now when a letter, agreement or release is generated, portals in the main database display a log of these contacts and their status, all on the same page.
Previously, users were supposed to enter these contacts in a separate log but they often did not.
Similarly, expenses and timesheets were input on several screens and not summarized. So we created a one-page log with an intuitive interface that automatically calculates expenses and time.
Finally, there were numerous critical dates within a prescribed window of time associated with each client that needed to be more closely tracked.
Now a single click displays all upcoming meetings and events to ensure that critical deadlines are not overlooked.
This project put our virtual infrastructure to the test. Dozens of files were exchanged through our FTP site over a few weekends. (The system was live during this time, so development was done on weekends).
New features were effortlessly demonstrated using Microsoft NetMeeting, precluding the need to travel (although a few days on the border is always an intriguing prospect ).
In software development, its always challenging to pick up where someone else left off. Weve done it a few times now, so maybe were getting pretty good at it.
Gone By, Things to Come
Its been almost two years since this enterprise was launched, and its been a great ride. Thanks to some terrific clients and encouragement from family and colleagues, we expect to be around for a while.
Hows everyone else? Pessimism abounds in the advertising industry, documented in Adweek on a regular basis. In our experience, abounding pessimism in the ad biz is apparent and easily measured under all economic conditions.
Other fortunes ride heavily on the performance of the financial markets. It would seem volatility is assured for the foreseeable future, so we empathize with these folks.
Were committed to the success of our clients and well continue to evolve the business to better serve them. Sound like a plan to you?
Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.
Despair: Its always darkest just before it goes pitch black.
Dysfunction: The only consistent feature of all your dissatisfying relationships is you.
Irresponsibility: No single raindrop believes it is to blame for the flood.
Indifference: It takes 43 muscles to frown and 17 to smile, but it doesnt take any to just sit there with a dumb look on your face.
Editors Note: By special request of reader WLP in Galveston, this space will henceforth be devoted to attempts at humor. Submissions are welcome.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.