Customer Service

Systems Management


Customer Service [Back to top]

Sales support: For Eclipsys Corporation, I developed a configuration and pricing tool for a diagnostic image storage and retrieval product that reduced quotation preparation from days to minutes. The tool featured nine built-in sanity checks to insure that the components proposed matched the prospect's volume of business, produced a detailed bill of materials, and automatically calculated annual subscription pricing based upon volume and contract years.

Public information: For Harvard University, I led the development of an integrated web site for the Financial Administration. For its Budget Office alone, placing frequently-requested information on the site saved 1200 hours of administrative effort each month.  [Back to top]

Systems Management [Back to top]

Production control: The Financial Administration of Harvard University supports accounting, budgeting, human resource, procurement, student finance, and research administration operations. Nightly computer operations for accounting alone involved dozens of batch jobs, and each of the fourteen monthly payroll runs required several separate programs. Documentation on production job streams had been maintained in loose-leaf binders which were difficult to keep up-to-date and frequently covered with hand-written comments. I replaced this paper-bound system with Lotus Notes, enabling faster access to information on expected results from each job step, explanation of job completion codes, and contact information for software support personnel. In addition, the Notes database could be updated in seconds and revised information made immediately available to all production control staff.

System scorecard: When we created a Unix platform for Harvard's Financial Administration, we developed an intranet site as well. One of the first applications was a system scorecard that enabled business line managers to see at a glance the status of their production systems and the results of overnight processing. Managers no longer had to wade through paper print-outs each morning or call computer operations to ascertain system status.

Product configuration: For deNovis, I co-designed a tool that dramatically simplified the process of configuring healthcare benefit plans. The heart of the deNovis system was a complex and sophisticated benefit plan language, which required months of training and practice to gain expertise. The tool we developed enabled the configuration analyst to describe a benefit plan as a decision tree and to transform the tree into a close approximation of the deNovis language in a series of small discrete steps.  [Back to top]

Operations [Back to top]

Accounting: In conjunction with installing Oracle Financials, I co-authored the nightly and monthly closing procedures for the general accounting function at Harvard University. By carefully defining the sequence of journal feeds, allocations, and postings, and by detailed documentation of problem determination and resolution procedures, we were able to reduce closing time from six hours to an average of 30 minutes.

Development: Posting pledges and donations at the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation was error-prone, and staff spent nearly as much time correcting bad transactions as entering information in the first place. Producing an accurate status report was nearly impossible. Through a detailed examination of the system's configuration, we determined that inappropriate coding structures were at the root of the problem. Reconfiguring the software to accord with the underlying data model, and insuring that each information dimension was independent of the others, we were able to eliminate nearly all transaction errors and to produce accurately status reports weekly and on demand.  [Back to top]