Who's the concierge at your company?

June 19, 2007 The Customers Rock! blog points us to Chad, the web concierge at Element Fusion (formerly  From the Customers Rock! blog: Chad’s job as concierge is to hand-hold the customers as they take their first steps with Light and make the who experience quick and easy.  He gives out his direct line or clients can email him directly as well in order to contact him with questions about the first 2-3 sites they bring on board.  What I found the most interesting about Chad (who is a real person, by the way - that’s his picture up above!) is that he is a high-level director of IT at the company, not a low-level employee.  Being a true concierge, as in a hotel, is a part of Chad’s job.  Tim explained to me that they felt it was important to show the…

Should log_notes update the last modified timestamp on the case?

June 13, 2007 On most workflow objects in Clarify, such as case, subcase, etc. there is a column which indicates the last modified date.  For example, on table_case, there is a modify_stmp column. In older versions of Clarify (including up to version 11.5), if you perform a log action (such as log notes), that timestamp is not updated. In later versions (such as 12.5), that timestamp is updated. The high level APIs in our fcSDK (such as log_case_note, log_case_phone, log_subcase_note, etc.) mimic the Clarify functionality. But, because they've been around so long, they mimic "older" versions of Clarify. So, our log* APIs do not update the last modified timestamp on a case. So, the question is: should our log APIs update the last modified timestamp? I could, but I would prefer not to, add version conditional logic, such as this: if (CLARIFY_SCHEMA_VER >= 59){…

Using the Tab control in Dovetail web applications (such as fcClient and fcAdmin)

June 12, 2007 We use a client-side JavaScript object for creating tabs in our web applications. Unlike in the Clarify Classic Client, tabs in our web apps are the same page as the parent. When you click on a tab, you are actually displaying the HTML elements on that tab, and hiding the HTML elements on the other unselected tabs. It's all a bunch of Dynamic HTML (DHTML) goodness.  It's trivial to make tabs visible/invisible, reorder tabs, resize, etc.   The case page in fcClient is a good example of the use of tabs:       Here we will walk through the steps needed for creating and using tabs within a page. In your ASP page, Include the javascript code for building a tab <script language="javascript" src="../code/tab_builder.js"></script>   In your ASP page, Include the stylesheet <link rel="stylesheet" href="../stylesheets/webagent.css" type="text/css">   Create an array of tabs…

The Future of Amdocs Clarify

Static image June 8, 2007 How does the future look for the owner of the Amdocs Clarify CRM system?   When Amdocs acquired Clarify, it led the way in combining its specialization in billing with CRM. This was an exciting story for the industry as a whole, sparking more acquisitions, and fueling general interest in the broader integration of departments.   The story since then has been a mixed one for Amdocs customers, although the surge in CRM has led to some new integration possibilities. The upgrade path for the once-pioneering Clarify system under Amdocs has had a tortuous history, with no progression outside of the proprietary Clarify codebase, and with Amdocs moving awkwardly into thin-client experimentation. Lately the company has been developing open frameworks.   Even within the main Amdocs constituency of telecommunications, some Clarify owners have looked outside of Amdocs for help, notably with the Dovetail Software enhancements. Amdocs remains…

Four Letter Words in Software Development

May 31, 2007 37signals warns about four letter words. We've run into this here in our development in the past. "We can just do ..." This tends to result in redesign later on down the road. I'm guilty of it myself at times. Once you acknowledge it, recognizing when it happens becomes easier.

A more conversational form of SelfService

May 29, 2007 John Ragsdale points us to noHold, which is a more conversational form of web SelfService. A dialog is much more engaging than search results. And you can easily escalate your question to a support agent at any time. Linksys' implementation is pretty slick. From, click on Technical Support, then Ask Linksys. I especially like their abundant use of screenshots in the resulting articles. I tend to grok things much better with screenshots as opposed to straight text.

Happy To Be Of Service

Static image May 25, 2007 The current IT and software development world is very much concerned with services, and service oriented architecture. This is a world well suited for Dovetail Software, we were service oriented from the beginning.   We started life exposing Clarify processes in APIs, and these have evolved today into Web services as well. Our purpose was always to provide extensibility to the Clarify install. It was a more elaborate procedure in earlier years.   “SEC.NET also supports “API invoke mode”, which allows any of the hundreds of available high level APIs from the Dovetail SDK to be invoked. This was originally written to allow systems to send email for integration purposes [...] This capability was built years ago, before the prevalence of SOA architectures. Modern systems will typically just call anAPI directly, or even make a WebService call, as opposed to invoking an API over email (basically, RPC over email).” – Email…

Technology is supposed to make our lives easier

The New Yorker has a good article on feature creep vs. simplicity. "And marketing and sales departments see each additional feature as a new selling point, and a new way to lure customers. Often, the result is a product like Microsoft Word 2003, which has thirty-one toolbars and more than fifteen hundred commands."