It was great meeting and talking to everyone at The Works: 2012. I wanted to share my notes from the Expert Panel and Roundtables. If you notice anything significant I didn't mention, please leave your comment below.
Search - Both the MDB and Enterprise search engines are based on a boolean and SQL Server's Full Text Searching (FTS) service. 10 years ago that was just enough for a user to get their job done. Today in the wake of Google users expect a lot more and we need to deliver.
Improvements are coming quickly. Late last week Gregg Dourgarian prototyped a search system within Enterprise that allows us to expand FTS to take account user meta data like interest codes.
Korey VanDeWalker took those concepts and refined them to handle a bigger database with better noise-word filtering and synonyms list. While we're not to Google caliber this is a definite improvement to what we had just last week.
Currently we're going to spend some time load testing Enterprise and SQL Server. We don't want to crash the system for anyone trying to search through 100,000 users. We'll send out notifications once we're ready to go into production with the system.
The improvements won't stop there. Next up will be improved ranking and geo-location searches along with Semantic Searches in SQL Server 2012.
Sales-focused CRM - There was a good discussion at the Expert Panel to what TempWorks is and what we should focus on. This discussion continued into what should be incorporated into TempWorks and what should be left to the experts.
What is apparent is every staffing provider has some kind of sales team. For a sales team to be productive they need a good toolset. Salesforce was brought up as a popular tool for sales to use and for good reason, it their focal point.
What was also brought up is it is very expensive for the functionality that is truly needed.
Long story short, if TempWorks can incorporate 10% of Salesforce's functionality needed for staffing sales we can save our customers a lot of money.
Traditionally CRM has been second or third priority for us but it's time to focus in on it. So far I have received some good CRM must-haves but I would love to talk to some people in our market space with Salesforce experience and see what pieces would be great within TempWorks. I am also open to general wish list items so if you have an idea, leave it in the comments below.
Accounting/GL integrations – Just like the CRM discussion, TempWorks’ primary focus is not accounting/GL. Also like CRM if we can incorporate the basic features needed we can alleviate a lot of our customers pain. One item that generated a lot of excitement was the discussion around a solid QuickBooks interface. It needs to be one-click easy and just work.
Calendar/Tasks – I know as well as all you that the calendar features in TempWorks need work. The development around this area was never treated with much respect. Mostly just get a calendar to appear and maybe do something. We need to change this. We need a calendar system that blows our competition out of the water, works with Outlook and maybe others, and we can be proud of it. It’ll be a lot of work but we need to do it for our customers.