MediaCom International
E-Inquiry Management System
"Using Iron Speed Designer, I saved $3,000 and three to four person-weeks of development and testing time."

- Kashif Abbas, Development Lead for MediaCom International

E-Inquiry Management System

MediaCom International
Dubai, UAE

E-Inquiry Management System is a centralized portal for managing, monitoring and tracking customer inquiries and feedback. This small portal was developed using Iron Speed Designer for MediaCom International.

MediaCom is a leading company in karaoke and digital entertainment products that bring simple joy into people's lives. The company currently has a presence in the Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC], Asia, and Africa. MediaCom also plans to launch American and European divisions soon.

The E-Inquiry Management System is a new application that extends the main website's existing Admin Control Panel. The application is used in-house by the E-Business, Research and Product Development, Marketing and e-Sales Personnel teams. The E-Business team members use the application to interact with leads and prospective customers. It is also used externally by customers who submit online inquiries to MediaCom.

E-Inquiry Management automates product inquiry and post-sale feedback submissions from new or existing customers. This information is sent to the team administrator, who reviews and delegates each message to the appropriate department in the company. The portal utilizes role-based security. This ensures that system sales and post-sales representatives can only initiate, monitor and track the customer queries assigned to them. Assigning each customer to a designated representative helps MediaCom communicate more effectively with the customer.

There are three kinds of users of the application: administrators, sales representatives, and post-sales representatives. Administrators login to E-Inquiry Management hourly to review and assign new inquiries. They can see all inquiries, whether or not they have yet been assigned to a sales person. When a sales or post-sales representative logs into the application, he only sees the inquiries assigned directly to him. Representatives can review and compose a response or follow-up message in HTML format. The portal automatically emails the message to the customers and saves a copy for management review and monitoring purposes.

Responses are sent programmatically from the representative's email address (from the database). This allows customers to reply directly to the email rather than forcing them to use the application to submit additional feedback. When an application user receives a direct email response to a previous inquiry, he simply adds it to the application under the original inquiry submission.

Managers review every E-Inquiry Management submission on a single page. They can sort and filter the data by product, country, sales representative, etc.

Application size and scope

The application accesses one Microsoft SQL Server 2000 database and is comprised of ten database tables, two views and five web pages. The largest database table is the CustomerInquires table which contains approximately 700 records and grows daily.

Every month, 20 employees process 200 transactions using the portal. The number of transactions is expected to increase considerably when the application is extended to America and Europe.

The project

I spent three days creating this application. Iron Speed Designer built 80% of my application right out of the box. I spent some additional time on language translation.

Code extensions and customizations

I wrote 35 lines of custom code in about four hours. Customizations include:

Custom email alerts.

I did not incorporate any third-party components into this application.

Page layout customizations

I used the standard Hamilton page style in Iron Speed Designer.

Iron Speed Designer impact

This project would not have been feasible without Iron Speed Designer. My only other option was to outsource it and spend around $3,000 to $4,000, which is the average cost of a similar application in Dubai. Using Iron Speed Designer, I saved $3,000 and three to four weeks of development and testing time. We created the entire application in 45 hours, including design, code customization and language translation.

Next steps

We are currently implementing a new report that highlights user-based response rate and follow-up ratios for process improvement. There is also a chance that the application will become a data warehouse for several customer bases, created from different channels in the company.

About the developer

Kashif Abbas has a degree in Computer Science and experience with J2ME. He has been working as application developer for eight years and has successfully designed applications for hospitals, laboratories and clinics. Previously, Kashif worked as a software engineer customizing tourism and trading software products. He is currently leveraging his skills to help establish other e-businesses in Dubai. He thanks Iron Speed Designer for reducing his development time and cost.

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