If you have ever made a wireless connection to the Internet during a meeting, participated in a multi-location video conference, or have attended large-scale training and certification events, chances are you have Swisscom Event Solutions to thank. The group, which is part of Swisscom Hospitality Services, a division of global telecommunications leader Swisscom AG, provides temporary integrated communication networks at meetings, conventions, and special events, throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.
Event Solutions, headquartered in New York City, provides its services to corporations and production agencies throughout the world. Regardless of location, each project has the same requirements: getting complicated temporary network and communication infrastructures installed within very tight deadlines to satisfy exacting customer demands.
Until recently, Event Solutions used the company's central servers to store, retrieve, and share project information between team members. However, company security policies do not allow server access to non-employees. This presented a challenge in efficiently managing and communicating information to some project team members and prevented them from gaining access to critical documents.
Kathy Herrmann, director of project management, began searching for a better way to manage project information. She notes that Event Solutions had very specific requirements for a solution designed to increase productivity through better information organization and access. The team found that Intuit® QuickBase® met all their needs.
"One of our prime requirements was to have a Web-based solution that would connect our globally dispersed employees as well as project-related partners and suppliers," Herrmann says. "Only QuickBase was able to easily and seamlessly connect every project member, regardless of location."
"Only QuickBase was able to easily and seamlessly connect every project member, regardless of location."
Finding a solution that would make employees more productive quickly without a steep learning curve was also important. "We were able to use QuickBase almost immediately with very little training," Herrmann says. "An average project team consists of 15-25 people with 10-12 projects operating at any one time. QuickBase allows all of our team members to enter and find information rapidly in one centralized place that is simple to access."
QuickBase required very little customization to make Event Solutions more efficient, according to Herrmann. "Our people simply enter information in fields that appear similar to spreadsheets and word-processing documents," she says. "But the difference is that now all this critical information is instantly available from New York to Paris to Beijing."
Event Solutions purchased a subscription to QuickBase in January 2007 and proceeded to leverage the Web platform's project management application to substantially increase overall team productivity.
A typical project now begins with the sales team entering critical information about project scope and budget into the intuitive on-screen fields built into QuickBase. Information about past engagements can be immediately found and used for new statements of work. Once a salesperson has described the parameters of a new engagement, the project management team uses this information as the foundation for other vital details, such as tasks and related timelines while also using the QuickBase calendar functions to assign projects to the appropriate network engineers.
As the Swisscom engineers install networking and communications infrastructure, they follow the project framework that salespeople and project managers create, and use QuickBase to inform project managers of their progress. Should the engineers encounter unexpected problems, they note the issues in QuickBase, which allows tracking of the issues from initial discovery to final resolution.