Recent projects - Data entry, facilities management & programming
Some recent projects
In the last few years, we have completed (or helped complete) many major and minor projects, often in "panic" or "disaster recovery" mode. Without naming the companies involved, here are just a few examples.
Key/Master & Key/101
A large direct mail company had a problem - their old Nixdorf key to disk system wouldn't start up and there was work to be done. And service level agreements to meet. Their computer manager had used Key/Master at a previous job and called us. "How fast can you get us working with Key/Master?" Starting from scratch, John caught the 2 pm flight and, by 9 pm, Key/Master was installed on a dozen PCs, the most important 5 applications had been converted and data entry was in full swing! Not a single service level was missed.
By the end of the week, every application had been implemented in Key/Master, staff had been trained and data entry keying rates were on a par with those achieved with the system in use for the previous 10 years. Most of their customers didn't even know how closely disaster had been avoided.
A large insurance company was getting increasingly outrageous maintenance bills for its MVS-based online data entry software. They also found their old system difficult to maintain as the manuals left a lot to be desired. In under a week, we installed Key/Master, created applications that more than replicated their old systems (including intelligent look-ups to their online databases) and saved the company a fortune in maintenance fees.
Upgrade to Windows
A major hospital needed its DOS-based Key/Master system upgraded to Windows to fit their standard PC operating environment. We discussed their future system needs and any shortcomings in the old system. As a result, we were able to enhance the Windows-based solution to reduce the number of edit errors getting through to the batch system. We also reduced the total number of applications used by introducing some EasyLogic to make intelligent decisions on which formats and fields were needed.
A store too far
A retail chain allowed 3 digits for its store codes when its systems were set up in the 1980s. And the day was fast approaching when the 1,000th store was to open. The people who had set up their Key/Master system in the 1980s had retired long ago. In less than a week, Cobbs Mill Consulting rebuilt all their Key/Master applications to include 4 digits, increased the size of a number of other fields, upgraded to the latest version of Key/101 and transferred all the work to Windows. At the same time, we had given the customer's staff a refresher course and taught them many of the new facilities in Key/101
Facilities & data center management
Getting rid of the consultants
A major engineering company uses Aperture to record all the floorspace at their head office and had been using a consultant for years to create report layouts and other jobs that were "too hard." An auditor told them that relying on a consultant for such important work was not a good idea. So we spent a week there teaching them how to create thir own reports, how to modify the ones they already had and, in general, to get more out of their Aperture system while cutting costs.
Meeting government reporting requirements
A teacher training college was having trouble giving their government department the increasingly complex compliance reports they required. "We usually had the information somewhere but getting it into a usable format in a reasonable time was a nightmare". So we installed Aperture for them and helped them gather the information from all their databases and spreadsheets into one place. In the process, we discovered many errors in the existing data that would have created major budgetting problems had they gone uncorrected.
Managing many customers' computer equipment
A large computer outsourcing company needed to be able to charge customers (and provide cost estimates to prospective customers) based on how much floorspace and power they used. They wanted to implement this system themselves rather than have us do it for them. So we provided advice on how it could be done and developed some of the inter-related database records needed to get the job done. We presented our ideas to the outsourcer and that system is now bieng used regularly to ensure that customers get billed accurately with each customer carrying its fair share of the common costs of the computer site.
Moving data centers
A large financial organisation was moving its data center across town. They realised that they didn't really know what equipment was connected to what and who owned and used much of the hardware in their computer suite. We installed Aperture'sTechDoc (later updated) and carried out an audit of all the equipment and connections. The audit turned up well over $100,000 worth of unused equipment and gave a clear picture of power needed at the new site.
A leading mainframe software company needed one of its products updated to take advantage of advances in the IBM operating systems. This long term project is still going on and the product has been significantly developed by us to become an industry leader in its field
Quick fix needed
After upgrading their VSE system to the latest version, a customer's home-written Assembler print routine ceased to work so that their high speed laser printer was printing garbage. In just a few hours we found and corrected the errant instruction and the customer's production printing didn't miss a beat.