Thursday, 25 June 2009

Lingo have tried all sorts of CRM's, (customer relationship management systems) tools to track our activity and to help us improve service and efficiency. We currently have several methods of managing our work flow, including making use of an array of various software and our own systems to follow to keep it all together, but these all have their limitations or drawbacks; where one piece of software is good at logging data, such as Microsoft excel, it cannot support creativity, or if using a mind map for creativity it cannot cope with detail, but the main drawback of all is that there is not ONE place for everything. You constantly have to remember which programme/document tracks which information. For example, we track emails, client appointments and internal conversations through outlook, and Google calendar, but we track job progress and hours in excel and Mindjet. You have to switch programmes all day long, you have to scan your brain (or the server) thinking "where did I save that?" or "what did I write that in?".

But at last, we are working towards our own, custom made version of a customer/job management database.

Comprehensive handling of all our data in one place will make it easy to be thorough, consistent, transparent and efficient. It will include:
  • tracking/logging of incoming communication, (many possible different types of telephone call, mobile call, sms, email, instant messages, blog comments, forum posts and so on)
  • tracking/logging of hours spent and hours quoted on each project
  • project pipeline/ forward time planning
  • project notes - meeting notes (a place for all notation)
  • technical specification for each project - helping domain, hosting and email management
  • task managament - who is responsible for each piece of the process

By tracking all these elements (and more) within our in house database we will be able to increase efficiency and reduce any gaps in our project management. Gaps such as repeated question/answer "what's happening with the domain transfer?" "when's Liz's next meeting with this client" - previously anyone wanting to know the answers to these questions would have had to look in outlook and excel, but will now turn to one place.

The intention is that by increasing our efficiency and decreasing the data handling we each do, we should be able to reduce the time taken on each project and therefore increase our profitability and sustainability.

All I can say is that the database cannot come soon enough! Craig and Claire have been working hard on the set up of the database fields, with Craig leading the way on database design, and Claire on studio procedure and protocol. Steve and I have been enjoying a true director's roles during the early design stages of the database - directing the development and direction.

The 'Dough-base' (aptly named by Claire - in keeping with our bread theme) is expected to be operational (in the truest sense of the word) by the end of July. A custom made database is a solution we may be able to offer to our clients in the near future too.....

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

blogging about blogs...

There's a lot of blogging going on!!!
The blog from our Work Experience (WEX) student - Will
(here he is designing new rss icons_!)

...and the blog from Noel Hobden who's onboard for downhamweb

:-) well done guys - good blogging!

Remember, the key to successful blogging is to keep doing it, keep it exciting and fresh and relevant. (Our studio is a busy place at the moment and there's lots going on (*including me shooting off in fast cars) and you both have cameras....and the ability to tell the wonderful world wide web what's whappening in here!!!

Once you've got a blog - the best way to promote it is to read and follow other similar blogs. Also, tell your friends in Facebook and other social networking sites.

Mum, see how easy it is?! ;-)