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Online teamwork application takes Prediction Analytics from stressful to streamlined

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Challenge: Prediction Analytics needed a way to synchronize knowledge. Juggling 20 to 30 client projects at a time, the company (a subsidiary of Experian) uses a combination of software and research to provide consulting to retail and restaurant markets. Consequently, it’s imperative everyone at Prediction Analytics know the state of a project. And the old method—a time-consuming, manual system of spreadsheets, e-mails and memos—just wasn’t cutting it.

“We have a complex process in place on our end,” said Jack Hall, Prediction Analytics project manager. “With so many projects going on, the biggest headache I had was the unknown.”

To further complicate matters, the lifecycle of each project required collaboration on many levels—production teams, development teams and sales personnel—all of whom may at any given time be traveling or working remotely.

Solution: One of Hall’s first tasks as project manager was to streamline project reporting and team collaboration. In January, after considering a variety of desktop and enterprise software solutions, Hall implemented Web-based DreamTeam, an application available through salesforce.com’s AppExchange. “With other industry standard applications, you pay for the license for each user as well as a server license. And they would have required extensive integration. With DreamTeam, you push a button and it’s plugged into your world.”

With DreamTeam, Hall said Prediction Analytics has a central, online teamwork and project management application accessible anywhere there is an Internet connection. From one source, all records of a project can be seen in overlaying Gantt charts. Now, Hall, a sales representative, or a company VP need only login to their saleforce.com account to check the status of a job or sale; no more waiting for e-mail replies or running database searches.

“DreamTeam answers the questions you normally have to ask a lot of people,” Hall said. “We’re able to execute departmentwide a lot faster both high- and low-level reporting. We need everyone using it.”

Results: Many at Prediction Analytics use the Web application not just for project status and reporting but also fof coordinating tasks. Using DreamTeam’s calendars and document management functions, production and development teams organize activities and share documents. Files can now be created, edited and uploaded automatically from salesforce.com through DreamTeam, providing more efficient team and cross-departmental collaboration.

By far, the time saved with DreamTeam is the application’s greatest benefit, Hall said. When assessing software options, Hall determined it would cost as much as $40,000 to install comparable solutions on Prediction Analytics’ servers. Instead, the company gets all the increased efficiency for $40 a year per DreamTeam-user without any installation downtime. And if Hall or anyone at Prediction Analytics needs an additional feature for better performance, an integrated “suggestion box” lets users pass on insights. DreamFactory then augments the application, effective immediately.

But the effects of DreamTeam extend further than just within Prediction Analytics. In the long run, Hall said he foresees the Internet software playing a vital role in improving client relationships. “It’s important to have a cutting-edge application like DreamTeam,” Hall said. “It helps fulfill promises made to clients.”

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