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Too Many Cooks, No Recipe

Who: A small computer services firm with eight technology savvy employees, many of whom have Microsoft certifications of one sort or another.
The Problem:  The company clientele includes major nationally known banks and they were looking for a way to securely share information via their website.  However, despite being computer systems experts, nobody on their staff had any knowledge or expertise in this area.
Their Solution: The company was so concerned with the security of their data they ended up purchasing their own dedicated server to host the website.  This meant substantial (and expensive) infrastructure to support the server so it would be available 24/7.  Their judgment may have been clouded by the fact that installing servers at client locations is one of their areas of expertise.
They then set about designing a database driven website.  Originally, the timeline for completion of this project was 10-12 weeks.  Unfortunately, despite their technology background, no members of the staff had much expertise in website creation, let alone integrating the site with a database.  Nobody had any idea how to get the job started, let alone finished.  The first four weeks were used just trying to learn how to accomplish this.  Another two weeks was used examining various solutions.  The company then decided to use Microsoft Access combined with a Microsoft FrontPage "wizard" to pull the project together.
While this is certainly one way to do it, it proved to be not very robust.  Clients were unable to find all the data they needed, and sometimes the database was entirely unavailable.  Code was written, rewritten, and rewritten again, in an attempt to make it all work.
In the end, the entire project took an astounding 14 months to complete at a cost of well over $100,000 in wages and equipment.  To make matters worse, because of all the problems clients shunned its use.
This company has since gone out of business.
What Should Have Happened: At the very least, a WebZealot consultation could have gotten this company's employees looking in the right direction.  They were a smart bunch and with some direction they could have accomplished their goal with the tools at hand.  A week of one-on-one on-site training and education could have jump started the project.  Even better, WebZealot could have taken over this task entirely.  The website and integrated database could have been easily and securely hosted by a hosting company without all the additional (and expensive) infrastructure.  Total cost to develop the solution would have likely been less than $10,000, with an eight to ten week completion time.


Who: A builder of high-end custom homes wants a web site.  It's a small two-person company, and neither person knows a lot about how to get a website started... But they do know they would like a way to show clients and potential customers what they have, and their upscale clientele are very Internet savvy.
Their Solution: They did take the crucial first step: They claimed their domain name.  But that was as far as it went for months and months.  They looked at some ready-made websites, but because they weren't comfortable with the technology they were unsure of whether or not they would be doing the right thing.  They contacted a few web development companies, but these places would either talk down to them because of their limited Internet knowledge, or they wouldn't talk to them at all because they were small.
What Should Have Happened: They should have called WebZealot right off the bat!  WebZealot understands the Internet and all its jargon can be very daunting.  But that doesn't mean they don't deserve an attractive website!
Fortunately, this story has a happy ending! 

High-tech Goes Low-tech

Who: A startup company that makes process automation systems for clients around the world.  The company, though fairly small,  is widely regarded as the leader in their in their field of technology.  Obviously, as a technology company, they want a website.
Their Solution: While they are experts in process automation, they are NOT experts at building websites.  Additionally, as a fairly young company, they are pouring as much effort as possible into the product they are selling.  The task of putting together a website falls on the shoulders of one of the company partners.  First, he tries using Microsoft PowerPoint, then exporting it to HTML, resulting in some strange results.  He then tries Microsoft Publisher.  This produces better results, but the website still has a somewhat ragged look and feel.  This is confirmed by a client who offhandedly comments that the site reflects poorly on the very sophisticated and high quality product that is being sold.
What Should Have Happened: This scenario simply SCREAMS for help from WebZealot!  This company makes million dollar deals, yet they can't spare a few thousand dollars to create the website their product deserves.  If one client commented on their website looking shabby, then you know there are other potential clients who may be writing them off.  WebZealot could quickly, easily, and inexpensively get the job done.  Though they may be a technology firm, it's okay to seek help, especially when your website may be the first impression folks get!

The Internet Billboard

Who: A small software company which uses the web primarily as a giant advertisement... An "Internet Billboard" where people can find out about the product, how to purchase, get support, etc.  But the company starts thinking maybe they can get their site to do more for them.
Their Solution: They want to get a better idea of who is coming to the site, and use this information as a way to generate sales leads.  There are several forms on the site where customers are prompted to provide name, address, and phone number.  The results from these forms are then emailed to the business manager who in turn distributes the contacts to the appropriate people within the organization.  However, this requires a lot of manual intervention.  Sometimes a potential may visit the site multiple times, but the business manager can't keep track of multiple incidents of the same lead, which results in duplicate (and unprofessional) sales calls to the same customer.  When the business manager is away from the office, hot leads pile up.
What Should Have Happened: Sounds like this company needed a custom Customer Relations Management (CRM) solution!  WebZealot could come in and quickly integrate all the data from the web forms into a simple to manage web database, accessible by anyone or everyone in the company.  Additionally, automated follow-up emails can be generated to keep these customers "in-the-loop" and prevent them from falling through the cracks if the sales staff gets too busy!  The data collected can also be used to create sales invoices and proposals at the click of a button without the need to manually reenter the pertinent information.

Paying Too Much

Who: A graphics designer who originally set up his website during the Internet boom of the late 1990s.  The company who got him on-line offered him a "special deal" with hosting and domain name registration for $40 a month, and tacked on a dial-up account, for another $20.  He feels fairly certain he is now paying too much for hosting, and he certainly doesn't need the dial-up account anymore since he now has a high speed connection.
His Solution:  His original webmaster is nowhere to be found, and the email address he originally used when creating his site is no longer being used, but his hosting company is still sending his invoices to the old address!  He sees the monthly charges on his credit card, but has no idea who to contact about moving his site, or at the very least trying to get his account onto cheaper space.  He is unsure of some of the technical aspects of web hosting, and is afraid to move his site elsewhere for fear of losing part, or all, of his site.  So, he continues to pay the outrageous hosting fee every month, and his ISP is all to happy to keep charging him that old inflated rate.
What Should Have Happened:  He should have called WebZealot of course!  WebZealot is all too happy to hold the hand of the Internet novice in a situation like this.  Lots of ISPs are making a KILLING from customers that are still paying those old, inflated fees.  WebZealot is happy to show you how you can save a BUNDLE on hosting, and is happy to help you move your site!
Fortunately, this story has a happy ending! 

Too Much Work!

Who: An aviation enthusiast in Sweden maintains a website for like-minded folks.  The site both to his pleasure and dismay, has become overwhelmingly popular!  People send him photos and information for the website on an almost daily basis.  However, he must manually add this information to his site, and republish his site several times a week.  It goes from being a hobby to being almost a part-time job.  Problem is, he already has a full-time job, and a family!
His Solution:  He ends up shutting down the site, in an attempt to stem the onslaught of emails and information he is being bombarded with.  While it seems to be an extreme action, he feels he has no real alternative.
What Should Have Happened:  WebZealot could have told him it sounds like he needs to harness the power of Active Server Page technology combined with a web database.  Instead of sending emails, the visitors to his site can submit their information via a web form.  The data from the form can then be stored in a database for his review, and with a click of a button it can be added to the site.  No need to cut and paste or republish every again!  Photos can also be uploaded and added, with no intervention on the part of the webmaster.  And not only can the site be easier to maintain, but the information is more current and accurate than ever before!
Fortunately, this story has a happy ending! 

All case studies are based on true stories.
In some cases, identities have been changed to protect the innocent!


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