Running Your Business in the Cloud – A Real Life Story

JB Systems has had a lot of unique opportunities over the years, but this one in particular has special meaning. Not only because it supports a worthy cause, but the people behind it are making it work for them beyond our expectations.

Where it All Began…

Hope Gospel Mission is a local organization providing shelter, education, and job opportunities to those who have lost their homes and have nowhere else to turn for help. They came to us about 3 years ago, sat down in our conference room, and told us of the troubles they were having finding the right kind of software to manage all of the residents that they take in – either for an overnight stay or a long-term renewal program. They had struggled with how to make this easier for staff and residents, but they knew there must be a way.

At the time, more and more businesses were starting to use software ‘in the cloud’ (hosted on web servers instead of local computers or servers), but it was still a somewhat new concept in our area, especially when you’re talking about building it from scratch and running your entire business with it.

But that’s exactly what the team at JB Systems set out to do. Our developers started from scratch, listening to the needs of Hope Gospel Mission, understanding what they do, how they do it, when they do it…and started building a web-based software solution that filled the void that the mission had been trying to fill with previous software solutions.

The initial result was ResidentTracker, a completely custom piece of software that now tracks hundreds of residents, including everything from their length of stay at the mission, to what medications they’re on, to what educational programs they’re in at the mission. The reporting capabilities are endless and help their staff to better understand the impact of their operations within the organization. Their logging system also keeps everyone informed on a daily basis about each resident and what’s happening across their multiple facilities.

However, their quest to streamline the organization didn’t end there. Once they saw the capabilities of ResidentTracker, they asked about finding a way to better track their 900+ volunteers.  They wished to include a time clock to keep track of volunteer hours, a method for reporting of volunteer hours, and a way to post their volunteer needs on their website. And so, VolunteerTracker was born.

After using VolunteerTracker for six months, it proved to be extremely efficient and helpful in managing and coordinating their volunteers. So, they asked for the same capabilities for their staff. There were some additional features they wanted to add, like benefits management, PTO accrual and requests, wage information, document archiving, and more reporting. After some productive brainstorming sessions, HRTracker was born.

This full suite of software, all accessible via the Internet, has streamlined their business considerably in terms of staff time saved, accuracy of their records, enhanced internal communication, and cost savings. Because it’s fully customizable, it will grow with them as their needs change. Their tools also integrate directly with their website so there’s no need for entering information twice anymore.

And the Idea Grows…

Last spring, Hope Gospel Mission asked JB Systems to attend their national conference of the AGRM (Association of Gospel Rescue Missions). With excitement at the prospect of sharing this great software, a team from JB Systems headed to San Diego.  There, we were welcomed by gospel mission staff from across the country, who were also seeking a better software solution. As the word spreads, we hope that other gospel missions will take advantage of the possibilities that lie in the easy-to-use, custom, web-based software that has now become known as MissionTracker.

More Possibilities

Not only are gospel missions looking at MissionTracker as an option to run their businesses, but other small and medium sized businesses are looking at the individual components of it to use as stand-alone software. HRTracker, with its online time clock, PTO management, and benefits administration, is a much needed software solution for businesses who have several employees, but don’t have the cash for something like PeopleSoft.

VolunteerTracker has also caught the attention of local nonprofits, and could have a huge impact on small organizations that struggle with making the best use of limited staff time. Managing volunteers with an online system capable of quick reporting can save staff time that exceeds the cost of the program.

Both programs offer great opportunities for businesses to grow and make their lives easier, without having to invest as much as they would have in the past.

Giving Back

Obviously, Hope Gospel Mission played a HUGE role in the development of MissionTracker, and we don’t intend to take that for granted. A portion of all of the sales of MissionTracker go directly to Hope Gospel Mission.  The funds will support the programs they provide for those who have to struggle daily just to survive. It is our intent to help them in their mission, as they have helped us in ours.

Links

You can learn more about Hope Gospel Mission here.

You can learn more about MissionTracker here.

You can learn more about JB Systems here.

Chippewa Valley Predators Football Ticket Giveaway!

Once again this year, we’re loading up our blog fans with FREE Chippewa Valley Predators tickets! Come on out and watch some great football at Carson Park!

Chippewa Valley Predators Football

So, here’s the deal-io:

To enter to win a pair of tickets to one of their home games, just comment on this blog post with a testimonial about working with JB Systems! If you’re not a client of ours, don’t fret! You can still enter! Just tell us about your favorite CV Predators or Carson Park experience.

We have tickets for the following dates:
–June 18
–July 4
–July 9

Two lucky winners will be chosen to WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS! We’ll announce the winners right here on our blog, so be sure to check back often!

Special thanks to ALL of our clients and to the Chippewa Valley Predators! Check out their game schedule, roster, stats, and more on their website at: cvpredators.com

Way to go team! JB Systems wins a design award!

mogies pub, design award winner, jb systems

JB Systems won a 2011 American Graphic Design Award for Mogie’s Pub

Last week, JB Systems was chosen as a winner for the 2011 American Web Design Awards for our design of the Mogie’s Pub website! (See the winning design here: www.mogiespub.com) Mogie’s Pub was one of only 100 winners that were chosen out of 1,000+ entries from across the country. Meghan Bauer, JB Systems’ Art Director, was the lead designer on the project. Way to go team!

About the Mogie’s Pub Design:

Inspiration for the Mogie’s Pub design came directly from their local establishment and the character of the building. The client wanted the website to feel like you were really at Mogie’s Pub, and wanted to portray its fun atmosphere. The brick textures and colors we brought in are actually taken from the building itself. We shot the majority of the photography on the site and used it to showcase their delicious food and ice cold regional brews. A lot of research was done to find some creative ideas in the design of restaurant websites. We also used some pretty cool technology to make the site functional and easy to use.

The Mogie’s Pub website has also been showcased in prominent CSS galleries online (CSSMania.com, TheBestDesigns.com), highlighting the various textures and bright colors used to create their one-of-a-kind look.

See more of our work in our online Portfolio!

About the Contest:

For nearly five decades, Graphic Design USA has sponsored design competitions that spotlight areas of excellence and opportunity for creative professionals. Their online competition – American Web Design Awards – is a celebration of the power of well-designed websites and online communications to attract audiences, disseminate ideas and information, generate response, and promote products, services and ideas.

Since 1963 Graphic Design USA has been the news magazine for graphic designers and other creative professionals.

The Power of the Promo Code

Still trying to figure out how to tell if the ads you’re placing in the newspaper or magazines are actually working? Enter: The Promo Code.

promo codes, online coupons, ecommerce

A Promo Code, as used by Walgreens

You’ve all probably seen them – codes that may look something like “JUNE2011″ or “SPG56″ or “COUPON11″. These are lovingly referred to in the e-commerce world as “Promo Codes” and they can be extremely powerful, if utilized to their full potential. Some of our clients use promo codes in their online stores promoting sales, offering exclusive discounts to their Facebook followers, or as a customer service ‘thank you’. Promo codes also work great for tracking offline marketing efforts like direct mail or trade show leads.

Promo codes are really not a new concept in the marketing world – traditional marketers have used these for eons, except they have been in the form of coupons. Now with the explosion of e-commerce, the promo code is making redeeming those coupons even easier – and simple is definitely a key element in the online world.

If you’re a retailer who is already using coupons, and you’re thinking about e-commerce, you’ll probably love using online promo codes in your store. Through our e-commerce system, you can easily create your own codes, name them whatever you’d like, and attribute them to either a dollar amount or percentage off. (We’ve even gone so far as to do some crazy buy 1, get 1 kind of stuff – but that’s a little more involved.) Then, all you have to do is promote the heck out of your promo codes – email them to your customers, post them on Facebook, add them to the back of your business cards – make them all different and track which ones bring in the most sales. What?! Tracking your marketing?! That’s why we love the web!

Give us a call if you want to chat e-commerce or promo codes – or even if you just want to come up with some new ways to use your website as a marketing machine.

Purchase Your .CO Domain Names, Before Your Neighbor Does

by Gerald Bauer, owner of JB Systems, LLC

Greetings JB Systems Blog Subscribers! As most of you know, .CO domain names were announced at this year’s Super Bowl. We’re learning that many companies are buying up these domain names – just to sit on them and resell them at a later date. This is known as domain squatting and is frowned upon by most professional web agencies.

If you’d like your domain name in the .CO extension, please call us right away. Registrations are only $15.00 per year and we can secure it for you. As always, you own your domain name with JB Systems. Your receipt of purchase entitles you to that.

Call us before it’s too late – if another company purchases your .CO, they have legal right to charge whatever they’d like for you to obtain it. But at JB Systems though, $15.00 per year (like all of our domain registrations) is all it takes.

Until next time….

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