streamWrite / ATI Blog

News, events and useful information

Shapeshifters

From Mythology, to Harry Potter’s ‘Animagi’ and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s, Odo, beings that can change form at will have been fascinating to humans. The idea of being able to alter one’s form is mystical and seductive – not to mention the utter utility of such a power.

 That utility is not lost in good software. Flexibility and modularity can make a good application framework nimble and versatile – like the software that is the basis of StreamWrite PORTALS.

 When the architects at StreamWrite set out to develop a new interactive self-service platform, modularity and flexibility were at the top of the list of design considerations. We didn’t want a product that was limited by scope, use cases or environments.  The system was designed from the ground-up to be agnostic to cloud vs. prem, IP vs. traditional telephony, and using multiple OSes as they fit component requirements. The system was designed so that new ‘Portals’ can be added to PORTALS easily – even portals that were never imagined in the beginning.

 Originally envisioned as a self-help portal for IVR, IWR and SMS interactions, portals grew to meet new and exciting challenges. When a customer needed a front end routing system to deliver customer calls to a multitude of different entities using different PBX systems and call centers, PORTALS Call Routing Engine was developed to make CTI calls directly into AVAYA, Cisco, NEC, Nortel and other systems, and making routing decisions based on available agents. When courts showed interest in a system that could allow case parties and attorneys to attend hearing over the phone and via Video, PORTALS again was raised to the challenge, and the VCourt conferencing platform was born. When medical customers were interested in allowing patients to pay their bill over the phone without any onsite hardware being installed, PORTALS was again leveraged to live in Amazon AWS and consume a simple flat file from the customer in a batch routine, removing the need for them to allow deep integration into their back office systems and avoid costly and disruptive PCI certification by utilizing our compliant environment.

 PORTALS continues to shape-shift, soon adding advanced video communications and file sharing controls. So keep an eye on us – as we change!

The holidays are here! Remember to update your greetings and schedules now.

Happy Holidays!

The holidays are now upon us and it is always a blessing to be able to enjoy time with our friends, families and colleagues this time of year. We are rich in so many ways with the wonderful lives we lead. There is so much for which to be grateful. Please do take a moment and give thanks.

It is also important to take a moment and think about our customer facing systems. With updated open hours for the next couple of weeks, it is crucial to make sure web, text and telephone schedules, greetings and responses are giving out appropriate information.

With our Portals AppManager it's easy to update your schedules. Just log into AppManager, select your applications then the Holidays tab and the rest is completely intuitive. But, while you are at it, why not add all of 2019's holidays now? That way you won't have to worry about updating your Portals schedule until your 2020 holiday list is published.

Portals AppManager -- Holiday Page

One more note, do this as soon as possible. Some customers wait until the end of the day right before the holiday, then call our support desk in a panic when they can't remember what to do and have run out of time to get it done.  Our support desk is here to help you if you get stuck, but contact them if you need them before the very last minute.

Again, happy holidays to you and yours!

eCourts 2018 Las Vegas

 

The team is primed and ready for the show, if you want to learn more about our court technology solutions come by and meet with Patrick, Mark, Steve and Jeff at booth #119. They will be discussing our latest offerings and how we've been able to streamline line processes for our customers.

eCourts is NCSC’s premium education conference. By focusing on the hottest topics driven by the latest trends in technology, eCourts is the right conference for those seeking an immersive learning experience

NCSC 2018 eCourts Conference – Be there or be left behind

The 2018 eCourts conference is just around the corner, and ATI Connect and Streamwrite are excited to be participating again this year.

There has been much debate about attending trade shows in the digital age, where content marketing and social media marketing has been the popular choice as of late.

We still feel that the value in face-to-face interaction is enormous. It’s a great way to meet many of your customers in just a few days and it also allows you to meet prospects that you may otherwise never get the opportunity to know.

One of our goals as an exhibitor is to promote brand awareness in our industry, and attending the shows permits us to engage in real-time conversations, share product knowledge and receive instant feedback from decision makers looking to find solutions to an existing problem.

Additionally, it’s the perfect venue to see what’s new and what the latest trends are. You should always try to make time to walk the floor and meet actual users of the products. Spending a few minutes visiting with other exhibitors is key as well, these shows offer great networking possibilities. It also allows you to understand what your competitors are offering and doing.

So is it worth the extra time and expense to attend trade shows? Absolutely! For us, it’s a requirement if we intend to stay current with the needs of our customers as well as create new and exciting applications.

If you plan on attending the show please stop by and meet with the team and enter our drawing to win an iPad. We will be in booth #119. 

Hope to see you there!

 

Streamlining Document Production with a Document Portal

streamWrite's Document Portal ensures consistent document formatting, enforces critical document language and streamlines internal workflow for our employees.

The Problem 

At ATI / streamWrite, we had a need to improve the process of producing certain documents. In the case of our statement of work documents, which I will use as the example for this article, we have the need to produce many different statement of work templates based on varying types. Different products and projects have widely variable requirements necessitating production of a number templates that document the uniqueness of each, while still maintaining a consistent document format and containing critical boiler plate legalese that is a must for every file.

We ended up with a bunch of divergent statement of work templates in Microsoft Word format that all had to be updated and maintained. Of course, if a product specific change was needed, only the one document required updates. But, if the legalese changed, or any other broad changes were required like document formatting or branding, every template had to be updated. Not only was this a laborious process, it was fraught with human error and inconsistencies.

The Solution 

We solved this problem by taking advantage of the Open XML Format that has been in use by Microsoft to produce Word, Excel and Power Point documents since about 2007. 

What we do is start with a base Word document, or I should say multiple base documents that are basically blank documents with some initial formatting and branding pre-built into the document. We have a specific pair of SOW base documents, one for ATI and one for streamWrite. While both base documents specify the brand, formatting such as styles and fonts, and a tiny amount of language, none of the content, specifications or legalese are specified. 

We built out some .NET class objects for putting the content into the base document. The process includes:

  • Loading the base document from the document type and brand selections made in the Portal
  • Adding product or project specific document language based on a drop down selection made in the Document Portal
  • Adding server requirements and other technical details that are consistent across several project types but only as needed
  • And of course, populating boiler plate legalese that is maintained in one place and is inserted into all SOW documents

In addition, staff enter information into the Document Portal such as the customer account name, project name and make additional selections as options to be included or not included in the document.

Basically the portal inspects the document type and options requested, grabs the components it needs, builds out the document and automatically returns it for download to the browser.

The Result 

Today we only have to maintain document language in a single place no matter how many templates require it. Not only is this a huge time saver but required changes are implemented much more quickly than in the past.

All templates now have a consistent format. Gone are the days when system requirements and other items were spelled out differently from project to project. Much needed consistency is always applied.

The staff no longer have to worry about having or finding the correct current document template. This is huge for us. So many old versions of documents had been floating around our company. Now the staff simply point their web browser to the Document Portal, make a couple of selections, input a customer name and a project name and click a button. They always end up with the latest language in the proper format. 

Management objectives are achieved and the staff are happy too. We call that a touchdown this time of year at ATI / streamWrite!

The Future 

Going forward we continue to update document language when needed but we are also adding new functionality regularly. Furthermore, management has a vision that the Document Portal will be expanded to support commonly used Excel workbooks and Power Point presentations.

And, we expect ATI / streamWrite customers to have even greater needs for the Document Portal in their operations.