Welcome!

You will be redirected in 30 seconds or close now.

ColdFusion Authors: Yakov Fain, Jeremy Geelan, Maureen O'Gara, Nancy Y. Nee, Tad Anderson

Related Topics: ColdFusion

ColdFusion: Article

A ColdFusion Service Management System Streamlines Operations

Improves Service to Deaf and Hard of Hearing

In today's global economy, service providers are under increasing pressure to maximize margins and streamline operational efficiency to remain competitive.

In order to do this, providers are turning to new technologies, advanced collaboration with partners and creative service strategies to ensure a well-managed workforce. They are also creating virtual workforces where resources may work from home or on the road over a disparate geographic region. To this end, service providers are seeking to reduce or all together eliminate the brick and mortar office, and replace it with a loose coalition of people with diverse skill sets. As this shift continues in the service industry, so do their requirements. For example, they are now required to handle the entire service order management process by continually updating their offerings to stay competitive against others in the same industry; i.e., doing more with less.

The Catholic Community Services (CCS) serves the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community in Arizona and New Mexico by providing sign language interpreting, vocational assistance, counseling and other services. CCS and its agencies in Phoenix, Tucson and New Mexico, have provided interpreter referral services over 25 years. In recent times, the three agencies determined that they had outgrown their custom software, which was inflexible in dealing with changes in the market, and which had been modified locally in each city, resulting in incompatible platforms. CCS needed, not only a way to operate their backend office across three locations, but also needed new ways to increase revenue and service offerings. In order to update their service technology, they elected to go with a web-based solution to handle service collaboration, fulfillment and administrative activities.

Best Solution
After a thorough pilot development and evaluation, it was decided to use ColdFusion to develop the CCS service management solution which automates all aspects of personnel scheduling, time recording, billing and invoicing. Overall, the solution comprises five parts:

  1. Service Order Collaboration: Scheduling and collaboration capabilities are at the heart of the system. By providing greater visibility into workforce assets, administrators can deploy skilled resources by reviewing details on the number and type of associates needed for a given day and time, while keeping overtime parameters and budget objectives in the mix. The web-based platform identifies the best-matched resource, notifying and receiving confirmation from all participants.
  2. Service Fulfillment: Once the proper resource has been identified and assigned, the system automatically tracks each job until completion.
  3. Service Settlement: The system automates pay rules and ensures compliance with government regulations and contracts. It tracks service claims, ledger activity, financial adjustments, customer invoices and statements, and payments.
  4. Administrative Platform: The system includes a centralized, web-based interface for managing services, service regions, resources, accounts, service calendars, organizational hierarchies, consumers, pay rates, terms and conditions, as well as others.
  5. Reporting & Analysis: This allows organizations to track key performance indicators (KPIs) and make informed decisions for establishing best practices to ensure increased productivity at all service levels.
To summarize, the CCS solution enables management to automate and streamline all aspects of the field service operations, allowing providers to offer additional services with greater accessibility to ensure growth and fitness for service. The solution's architecture allows virtually unlimited numbers of people to interact, conduct business and receive services through a collaborative environment.

Why ColdFusion
ColdFusion was a clear winner for a number of reasons, chief among them its ability for Rapid Application Development (RAD) and prototyping. The goal in developing a workforce management solution was not to focus on the technology, but instead on the business problem and ensuing solution. ColdFusion offered the best support for developing an extensive service system encompassing over 3,000 web pages, accessible from various devices, while providing a means to expand daily, embracing new technologies, enhanced capabilities and additional uses.

ColdFusion let us centralize database access, and handle requests for over 1,000 SQL statements and debug rapidly. In order to create a large-scale, web-based system, we constructed a ColdFusion framework and scaled it to handle the entire application. By leveraging reusable components and the readily extensible language itself, we were able to create and change literally thousands of pages rapidly, giving us a better opportunity to adapt the technology to the business, as opposed to other way around. We were able to change and migrate to many Web servers and database engines without third-party plug-ins, and with few revisions as the solution evolved. Additionally, it provided out-of-the-box advantages over many other products on the market. In other words, we focused on solving the personnel resource scheduling problem, independent of the technology.

ColdFusion held the shortest learning curve of any language in the web space, moreover, with its rapid development capabilities, the real cost in software development was not in the setup, but in the cost of adjusting the software to meet new and burgeoning business requirements.

We managed to displace the initial software costs by selecting a hosting partner. By using CFDynamics, we were able to rapidly set up a dedicated environment for ColdFusion and SQL Server with support, data backups and 24/7 monitoring-- allowing us to focus on core development in an environment accessible from anywhere. Between ColdFusion and CFDynamics hosting, we were able to focus on the business because they took care of the technology. In essence, Adobe's ColdFusion became a vehicle to deliver a world-class, large-scale, multi-organization, multi-user and feature-rich environment in a relatively short period of time.

A Win-Win Program
The Catholic Community Services (CCS) witnessed immediate and real results after implementing the ColdFusion system: improved operational efficiency, reduction in time for billing and payroll processing, and the reduction of data entry errors through elimination of redundant data entry. The organization is now better equipped to provide the highest quality service possible, while reducing its labor costs. They are able to field more service requests and accelerate service fulfillment. They can coordinate various contract personnel in remote locations, match resources with the job requirements, resolve conflicts, collect billing information, and track a service order until payment completion. In general, the added benefits include:

  • Improved personnel scheduling and matching
  • Reduction in travel costs
  • Elimination of data entry errors
  • More satisfied workers
  • Faster invoice processing and payments
  • Reduced call load with customer self-service
  • Increased visibility for better decision making
The solution allows administrators to schedule service personnel across three geographic locations encompassing statewide services in Arizona and New Mexico including rural areas, keep track of work performed, expenses, and billing, while coordinating over 400 resources and service personnel. Among those who benefit from the solution are:
  • Administrators: From one location, administrators can handle all the complexities of a service order (from creation to assignment), resource confirmation, claims of services provided, final billing and invoicing. Billing statements reflect current account status and reduce collection activity for unpaid invoices in previous billing cycles. Avianco accelerates these operations as administrators can execute all order-related activities from a single screen. Administrators gain better visibility into daily operations by retrieving real-time data on employees' time, schedule, vacation, and overtime, and contractors' availability and preferences. Accordingly, they now have the ability to dynamically swap resource schedules to meet changing needs.
  • Interpreter Resources: The system offers a new level of personnel participation and self-management in the scheduling process. Interpreters get a convenient and simple way to see their future schedule online, without having to call in or receive daily paged or emailed schedules. By directly accessing information and reporting their time, interpreters feel as though they are an integral part of the solution -- contributing to the overall success of the organization. Accessing the system in the field via a wireless device (PDA, tablet PC, notebook, even cell phone), interpreters can retrieve work orders, obtain directions to their next site, and instantly submit hours and close orders from the field. With the online solution, CCS has significantly increased interpreters' satisfaction and retention.
  • Customers (the groups or businesses that provide payments for the clients): By introducing an online self-service ability, customers can create their own service requests at any time. Many customers welcome the speed and convenience of creating requests and checking status without administrator intervention. Of course, CCS acknowledges that not all of its customers are comfortable solely using the online self-service feature. However, the system has significantly reduced staff workload so they are free to handle new accounts over the phone.
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing Clients (the ultimate recipient of services): Giving the clients online access is a significant byproduct of the system. Clients could check on schedules and retrieve documents prior to an interpreter's visit.
The system also allows CCS to handle all assignments beyond interpreters, where other departments, such as Client Services are able to handle staff scheduling and coordination. Finally, the software is instrumental in setting up new services previously unavailable, such as Support Service Providers and Community Outreach programs.

What's Next
By leveraging ColdFusion, we are continuing to explore additional services and options for automation. One such service offered by the system is video interpreting through the internet, IP-message relaying, and text messaging via ColdFusion's gateway capabilities. Soon we will include an online payment option, allowing customers to review invoices online and post payments to their accounts. We are also exploring other ways ColdFusion's technology can benefit CCS and the deaf community at large.

More Stories By Nader Ayoub

Nader Ayoub is president and founder of Avianco.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessio...
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
Announcing Poland #DigitalTransformation Pavilion
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader Sergey Grebnov provided an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
JETRO showcased Japan Digital Transformation Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo® at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, added the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor analytic...