The Instant 'Gratification' Application Platform

Posted by Romeo Elias on Tue, Nov 27, 2007 @ 01:15 PM

On behalf of Jane Roberts

"You can configure an application in weeks not months or years," we like to say. Nice phrase, huh? Rolls of the tongue. Weeks! (Not months or years). Lofty. Bold. I like bold. It's compelling; intriguing, but is it for real?

My IT friends from job-experiences-past ask how I am and strain to comprehend the technology I describe to them. "Instant what?" And I am left wondering why the platform seems so incomprehensible to them. Am I not explaining something accurately? Or is our patented technology just too implausible to be taken seriously?

Those who are willing to suspend their disbelief tend to ratchet down the capabilities in their imaginations; "Surely, then, it can't be anything too complex or useable on an enterprise level then," they assume. "Nothing, for example, capable of managing a multi-billion dollar project then can it?" But the truth is, it is and it can. It has and it does. But I no longer have to worry about the plausibility because I have just experienced the fact of it. I am now no longer floating around in the world of white papers and theory and am now in that firmly grounded place of learning by doing.

Here's what happened: In the last few weeks, a tiny team of us-- three to be exact - a sales manager, a developer, and a writer (see also: self) - configured an application in a matter of weeks. (Not months or years). In less than 200 hours all-totaled between the three of us, we configured a substantial, feature-rich application. We based it on a conglomeration of requirements by the sales and marketing teams as well as on an application or five, one of which we happen to know took another company approximately three years to build. (That's years. Not weeks or months).

To be honest, I could hardly believe it myself. No wonder my friends think I'm working in fantasy-land. In a word, it was dazzling.

What did we create? The application imports leads from Excel spreadsheets provided by outside sources, sorts those leads by locations and assigns them to custom-defined sales territories, builds account and contact profiles, and generates "to do" items for the sales team based on those leads. And it does all of this with a few mere clicks of the mouse by the end user. The sales team can then use the system to track calls, close deals, generate reports, etc. And now, not only are we going to sell this application, we are using it ourselves.

Why am I so dazzled? A bit of background: After two decades in the software technology industry, I have never seen anything like this. I have lived and breathed software design processes from requirements specifications to installation and implementation. And the fact that our team spent less time from day-one of dreaming it up to deploying it than the typical Fortune 500 company would have spent drawing up the first iteration of a project plan for such a system is simply staggering. And surprisingly gratifying. From design to deployment in weeks. Literally. And now I can say with absolute confidence, "Yes. It's real."