“ENTERPRISE-READY” FUNCTIONALITY FOR YOUR WEB SITE
Here are a few examples of our specialty: “Enterprise-Grade” features.
Interactivity With the Market is Key
Here are some interactivity ideas that may have relevance to your business…
- Customer feedback, product ordering, service tickets, product or service inquiries
- Supplier or customer intranet portals
- Market surveys
- Online training course management systems
- Public comment capabilities on selected blog posts
- Customized data collection from sales force in the field, feeding into an internal business workflow
- Newsletter sign-up forms
- Automatically populating website blog articles into social media sites
Integrating with Line of Business Processes
One of the most powerful capabilities in a WordPress site is the integration of external data collection into internal business planning processes. These processes are typically built into a secured, credential-protected intranet section of your site, where only specific, authorized personnel can access it.
Often our clients manage many of their internal work flows using common tools like Microsoft Excel, Google Spreadsheets, small database applications, and the like. A typical application for us has been to craft a customized web site data collection form where the accumulated data is downloaded into the client’s business software such as an automated, macro-driven Excel spreadsheet, or accounting software. The example shown here was a very comprehensive operational marketing planning system for a client.
The second example is that of a client’s internal, Excel-driven planning system for setting package and pricing strategy. We developed both the Excel-macro driven system as well as a web-enabled input form in their website for remote usage by selected team members. We offer unique capability and services to build both the internal as well as web-based components of such integrated business processes where needed.
Customized Data Collection and Data Management
One of the greatest strengths of WordPress as a development platform is the prolific after-market for “forms” plugins. This area began to serve a simple need for website “contact forms”, which it still serves. But with the best-of-breed forms plugins, it now enables very powerful and flexible data collection forms that can serve a variety of complex data form needs and unique data management scenarios.
There is a huge selection of forms plugins available, but by far the acknowledged best and most powerful plugins are Gravity Forms and Formidable Pro. They both have nuances and particular strengths and we use them both, depending on the specific needs of a client application. They both offer advanced APIs (application programming interfaces) which enable very flexible, customized treatment of data as it’s being collected and after collection.
These plugin options have helped shape WordPress into a development platform with limitless flexibility and programmatic power.
Interactive Data Visualizations
We are seeing more instances of web-based charts and graphs being used on company web sites, particularly in protected intranet portals and “executive dashboard” type applications. Business executives are accustomed to the ever-present Powerpoint presentations and Excel models with effective, embedded data visualization tools. Unquestionably, business communication is facilitated by the use of data graphics in lieu of spoken words or tables of numbers whenever possible.
Charts and graphs are becoming ubiquitous in business communications. Along with increasing demand for “executive dashboard” type applications, there is a clear trend toward integrating this functionality into business web sites.
We have developed best-practice templates for integrating powerful data visualization tools into web sites, particularly using Google’s powerful Charts API. We can help you build similar sophisticated data visualizations into your own websites where it can enhance customer engagement and internal management reporting .
Check out this example application.
Intranet Portals for Customers and Employee Groups
For many years now, intranet capability has been available to large companies with bloated IT budgets. Tools like Microsoft’s Sharepoint and similar proprietary software have served those needs in enterprise-sized organizations. Our own experience in working with those types of platforms has been less than satisfying. They tend to be very costly, both to license and to fund the technical IT resources needed to support them.
With the right WordPress plugins, configuration best practices, and WordPress’ programmatic flexibility, intranet functionality is readily available to smaller to medium sized businesses living with “real world” budgets. Typically, this type application supports individual employee departments and groups, where collaboration is required in a variety of work flows. Or it can be used for individual customer or supplier portals where similar customized workflows are used.
The key aspect of these intranet implementations is the capability to create custom content types and to define specific user groups, with restricted user access points. The WordPress system, along with our experience and learning curve in these applications enable very cost-effective and powerful capabilities.