While I was Controller for Time Warner Cable's Raleigh division, I undertook to implement a commercial of the shelf (COTS) solution to streamline and automate a certain business process. The need was clear, but there was no obvious path from the current process to the new one. I determined that Access was our best, short term option, so I hired Bill based on his credentials, experience and references.
First we discussed the current process and outlined the goals of a new, interim process. I introduced Bill to my team and other stakeholders, and we agreed to a budget. He then started to map a new process and develop tables and forms in Access to support it. Within a month, starting with just an initial concept and the required outputs, he had created a database and user interface, all on-time and under budget. Almost immediately we were able to generate our monthly general ledger entry for our incurred expenses. I was pleased with Bill’s efforts, as he was able to work independently to solve a complex problem to accomplish our goals in a timely fashion. Two years later, I again hired Bill to add additional features. Within a month we had our new features, once again on-time and within budget.
For six years while I was Managing Director at a substance abuse clinic operated out of UNC's School of Medicine, I had Bill maintain our MS Access database part-time. The database kept track of our provider services and billed Medicaid for them. Medicaid is heavily regulated and the billing rules were constantly being revised, and almost every revision required altering the database in some, usually fundamental, way. Bill was a pleasure to work with - making the constant changes bearable. Most of the work involved modifying the data entry interface. Over the course of Bill's involvement, he totally overhauled the user interface. He also extracted the data for the tables in our annual reports.
He was paid as an independent contractor. Toward the end of his tenure with us, he attempted to convince me to have him build a certain management report, but I declined. He built it anyway "on [the] speculation that [I] would ultimately need it and agree to pay him." Once he delivered his work, I realized it would fulfill a very helpful function. Furthermore, with minor changes, it would bring us into compliance with a new mandatory resource utilization reporting requirement imposed by the state. We adopted it immediately. When Bill ultimately relocated out of state, he was instrumental in recruiting and screening prospective candidates to replace himself.
While I was Engineering Manager at MC Dean Prefab, I developed an Access interface and database for estimating costs on construction projects. While I had confidence in the structure, we frequently needed refinements and new functionality, and I found fulfilling these needs imposing on my time. This as a moderately large system and critical to the mission of my team: the data file took more than 1/2 gigabyte of space.
What I needed was an MS Access expert I could hand-off some of the maintenance to, someone who was not only thoroughly experienced in user interface design and data modeling, but someone I could place my confidence in to understand the business side well enough to work with minimal supervision. We brought in a couple of programmers, but I finally selected Bill. He integrated almost seamlessly into my team and was up-to-speed with the maintenance very quickly. I had Bill on my project full time and on-site a little more than a year. At the end of that time, a decision was made to retire the Access database and move to another solution, so we had to let Bill go.
At one time, we needed to re-cast some of the table structure. Bill wrote VBA code using the DAO object model to implement the restructure. After extensive testing, I decided to move ahead with the implementation and told Bill to make the switch. Using the VBA code, all the changes could be made in a few minutes, and that's how long we were out of production.
The changes enabled revenue growth of 263% year over year without requiring additional manpower!
While I was Director for N.A Benefits for Aventis Cropscience, my team had to take merged benefit operations and create efficiencies and customer service for our workforce. We served many retirees from our department and were completely dependent on a Retiree Benefits Database built on Access at a sister company.
The database had been designed on old principles and it became increasingly unstable and unreliable. Bill came to our rescue and upgraded the database. But he achieved more than that - he began a process of continuous improvement that improved the technical functionality of our tools as well as our business processes.
Bill was onsite for about 16 months and reinvented the tool to a point of great efficiency for the department. Immediately he began solving problems and, once we were fully back in business, undertook to restructure the Access database for more reliability, maintainability, and more intuitive usability. He added numerous features that improved our productivity. In one case, he made the database retain all changes to the records for review. In another case, he incorporated the life insurance benefit into the application, which had been retained in a large jumble of spreadsheets.
Once we had this, we were able to easily calculate our exposure and pay the appropriate premium to our carrier. This resulted in a substantial reduction in our monthly premium because our data was more accurate and timely. He also created from scratch an interface to review our payroll records, releasing the team from manually poring over giant reports we had been using.
I highly recommend Bill and would be pleased to work with him again.