BC Innovations is a small creative business located in Durham, North Carolina that provides innovative solutions including quality strategic planning retreats, training programs and conferences for businesses, community organizations, and state and federal agencies. With close to two decades of experience, the founder Scott Bryant-Comstock built his company with clients such as the United States Department of Health and Human Services, numerous state and local departments of mental health and The National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health.
Scott wanted to make his process for soliciting speaker submissions easier and environmentally friendly. The Children’s Mental Health Conference is one of BC Innovation’s largest events. In the past, potential speakers would download a form off the website and send in all of their materials by email, fax, or paper mail. BC Innovations staff then printed off all of the proposals and mailed them to each of the judges to select presenters for the conference. Not only was this a waste of paper, but it also cost BC Innovations in terms of staff time and shipping costs. Scott embraced the concept of being an environmentally friendly or “green” company and wanted to eliminate all of this time and paper waste.ach with their own billing methods.
Scott knew there had to be a way for the presenter candidates to submit their proposals online that would upload directly to his existing FileMaker database. He also wanted a way for the judges to be able to evaluate each of the candidate’s proposals online. After researching possible solutions online and realizing that he couldn’t solve this problem himself, Scott found 360Works by searching for Platinum-level developers on the FileMaker web site. Scott recalls, “I spoke to Jesse and he was great because I didn’t know what I wanted, but he was patient in starting from the basics and talking me though it.” Jesse recommended 360Works developer David Nahodyl to work with Scott.
David at 360Works immediately helped Scott craft a solution. Understanding their tight timeline, David did not oversell or over- complicate the process. He focused on presenting Scott with the right tool for the job. Scott notes, “360Works understood the time sensitive nature of the project. I thought the timeline was unrealistic, but Jesse and David knew they could get it done.”
The end solution included using FileMaker’s Instant Web Publishing (IWP) to create an easy way for the presenter candidate to create their own online account to submit their proposal. After the candidate created their account, David used the 360Works Email plugin to send an HTML email to the candidates so they could receive all of their account information and further instructions about the process. David also added a feature for presenter candidates to login as many times as they needed to edit presentations that they already submitted, to make changes to the people listed to present, or to add supporting documents. Candidates’ accompanying documents often include large graphic files that can slow down the database. To solve this, David set up SuperContainer to house all of the uploaded files and keep the database running smoothly. SuperContainer allows files to be uploaded through the web, and makes it easy to store large files separate from FileMaker while still relating the information to the database. To make it easier for the judges to instantly view and evaluate the finished proposals, David added a second access point. Now judges can login and view the completed presentation assigned to them to evaluate them for a potential speaker’s slot in the conference. Scott recalls, “We were under a time crunch, but David was incredibly helpful and patient. When I thought things were going crazy, David would respond immediately and it would be fixed in no time.”
Scott is incredibly happy with his decision to call 360Works to “green” his proposal submission process. Now when the presenter candidates complete their information online, it is immediately added to FileMaker without the need for staff to key it all in. The candidates can now use their account login to go back to their submission and change presenter names or make corrections on their own without having to call Scott to find their information and change it. Additionally, the evaluation process is more efficient with a lot less paper and time waste. After the submission deadline, judges are notified to look at the submissions they need to evaluate. The judges now login to view submissions and submit their scores online. This has significantly saved costs for Scott by reducing staff time. It has also added to his peace of mind by eliminating the reams of paper they had previously used. Scott notes, “After the amazing work they did on this submission system, I will be using 360Works for all my development needs.”
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