These days, telling a client you don't have a web site is like telling them you don't have a fax machine. Even if you don't think you'll get much use out of an Internet presence, having a web page reassures clients that you are up-to-date, and positive client perception is a very important element of a successful business.
An Internet site can be one page or a hundred pages. It can include contact information, answers to frequently asked questions, reference materials, or your entire sales catalog. One of the Internet's best features is how much you get for your dollar. You can probably put your entire sales catalog online with full color photos of each item, changeable whenever you want, for only twenty to thirty dollars per month in hosting fees.
There are many products on the market designed to produce web pages without the user having to understand HTML, but to create a professional full-featured web site requires hand coding, design know-how, graphics experience and in-depth knowledge of how the Internet works.
Hammer Data Systems can design and develop an Internet presence to meet your requirements. We handle any necessary graphics work in cooperation with Hammer Visual Engineering, write your copy and mount your site on the server of your choosing. If you don't currently have a server, we will recommend one. Development charges usually start at $200.00 for simple single-page sites. Group discounts are available for members of organizations such as Chambers of Commerce and professional associations.
Are your systems running the way you think they should be? Are you or your staff doing double work? Copying information by hand? Many times, a particular way of doing a task develops bit by bit over a long period of time. These types of tasks can benefit from a re-evaluation in terms of currently available tools. You may still be calculating payroll by hand because, when you first started doing payroll, the payroll clerk didn't have access to a spreadsheet program. A fresh look at your current methods can help to ensure that you are getting the most use out of the tools you have available.
A new system won't help you if it doesn't have all the necessary functionality. The worst enemy for you and your programmer is "yeah-buts".
"Yeah, it does regular sales fine, but it doesn't handle special orders."
"Yeah, it looks great, but I can only sort by invoice date. I can't sort by customer."
"Yeah, but you didn't tell us you needed to be able to email order confirmations directly from the entry screen!"
At best, yeah-buts are inconvenient. At worst, they introduce a problem that requires a complete overhaul of your brand-new program.
Your best defense against these issues is a methodical and thorough spec process which follows your processes beginning to end and notes all necessary functionality. In addition to guiding you through this process, your Hammer Data Systems information manager can suggest features you may not be aware are available, point out trouble spots before coding begins and help you to develop a rollout strategy to minimize the natural turbulence caused by change.
It doesn't matter how good your systems are if your people can't use them. An information management system is a tool for you and your people to use to run your business. The screens and reports must be clean, clear and intuitive. Your information must be easy to enter in to the system and, more importantly, easy to get back out of the system. When your client calls, a decision has to be made or a problem has to be handled, you need to be able to get the answers you need quickly and accurately. Hammer Data Systems knows how people work with computer systems. We can create database systems and user interfaces designed for ease of use and flexible power.
Your end users, like your managers and data entry staff know what they need. You employ programmers who know your systems and know how to make them run. They are all very good at what they do. One problem - they can't talk to each other. For example:
Manager: I need a report.
Programmer: I won't be able to run any outputs for you until Thursday.
Manager: No, I mean, I need a report that I can run myself every couple days to check on sales figures.
Programmer: Certainly, I can create a report generation interface for you that will allow you to dynamically select from multiple available ODBC sources to generate an infinite number of fully customized reports. I can have that written for you in about eighteen weeks.
Manager: Huh? No, I just need a simple month to date total from the ... Never mind, I'll just get copies of the invoices and add it up by hand.
We specialize in being able to speak both End User and Programmer to make sure that your internal or external programming staff and your end users agree on the scope and focus of your information management and systems projects.
Bar coding is an excellent way to speed data entry, reduce keystrokes and practically eliminate typos. Bar coding hardware and software is surprisingly inexpensive and easy to use. It can usually be made to work with your existing programs using keyboard emulation (where the computer sees the bar code entry as if it had been typed on the keyboard). You don't need products to use bar codes. Any repetitive data entry process, including payroll, can see huge improvements in both efficiency and consistency from creative use of bar codes.
Integration of your databases with the Internet can automate order processing, make information and support available to sales staff on the road, and allow customers to generate selected reports without having to call you. In many cases, browser technology can also be applied across your Intranet, reducing network traffic and allowing increased data security by limiting data access.
One-on-one or group training is available for techniques ranging from user interface design to use of specific software programs. Training and seminars are specifically geared to your particular training needs and are arranged by request.
Hammer Data Systems, LLC
8138 Main Street
Garrettsville, OH 44231
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