Database By Design
Building Better Business
Thursday, July 06, 2000
To: Whom It May Concern
Re: Bonnie Bevan & Database By Design
Central Investigations & Collections is a collection agency that conducts collections for thirteen, Municipal & Justice Courts in Mississippi. Because of the nature of our business we must adhere to strict guidelines regarding correspondence, record keeping and accounting.
Prior to hiring Bonnie, we were using an antiquated database application (Q&A from Symantec Corp.) and while it served our purpose, its mail merge and record-keeping system was labor-intensive and counter-productive.
In the summer of 1998 we decided to migrate to a Windows-based application. We reviewed several off-the-shelf applications but found that either they contained many functions we would not use, had a steep learning curve or where out of our budgeted price range.
We next searched locally for a programmer that could build an application within our budget restraints. We began our first venture with the director of the MIS (Management of Information Systems) of a local university. This "director" and one of his Computer Science students took three months and delivered a few "conceptual" modules that never worked.
Last year, we hired a programmer from "NASA" (Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL) to build our database application. He took six months longer than expected and the primary functions we needed (mail merge, letters, and accounting) ended up as a hodgepodge of copy and paste functions that rendered the entire program useless.
Our next searched yielded Bonnie Bevan and we soon learned that this was the person we really needed. Based solely on emailed sketches, copies of letters and screen designs, she was able to provide us the exact program we needed. But, she added much more to the application that we did not think about and, she was completely within budget and expected time frame.
About two weeks after we retained her, we had a viable, working demo on our hands. Six weeks later, the database was completed to our satisfaction. Please note that there were no delays on Bonnie's part..only ours and that was due to modifications and changes that we had not previously thought of.
In addition to my thoughts and input, Bonnie continually provided us with her own thoughts/suggestions..many of which we used because they would save us time/labor and provide for a more efficient operation.
After the application was complete, we need to migrate data from the "old" Q&A program to the "new" program. Under Bonnie's direction, we exported our data to an ASCII file and emailed it to Bonnie. Two days later we received an emailed file from Bonnie and, after opening the attachment, two wonderful events occurred. First, a newer application overwrote the existing one and that modified the Utilities Menu to include a button labeled "Q&A Import". Next, we clicked on the import button and within three-four minutes, over 9,000, flat-file, Q&A records were imported into the newer, fully-relation, program.
So awesome was the process that we called Jack Threet, the MIS Director for the City of Laurel, Mississippi and told him what had occurred. Prior to this Q&A import, we had discussed with Jack, the possibility of electronic data transfer to eliminate the need to enter data manually.
Jack sent Bonnie some test data and, just as we expected, we clicked on the email attachment, updated the collections database and seamlessly imported Laurel's data. If we had found Bonnie a year earlier, we could have avoided hand-keying in data from a printed report…a report that contains over 800 pages of data with 55, separate "accounts" on each page!
We are so happy with the product that Bonnie Bevan has delivered that she will be the only consultant/programmer that this firm will use. We have already contracted with her to produce a "contacts" management system for our company and will use her to develop and maintain our statewide database (website) that we are currently developing.
If I can answer any specific questions you may have, please call.
G. L. Sanders
4 Cots Street
Shelton, CT 06484
Phone: 203-922-9205 Fax: 775-637-4093