"With Alpha Anywhere, I was able to quickly build a consumer-facing Web site and my company's internal portal without having to hire outside resources. I saved tens of thousands of dollars and shortened my time to market."
- Dave Laskowski, President, CTG3
CTG3 helps businesses find the best fit for their telecommunications needs by matching them with services from leading telephone and cable companies. The company handles anything from DSL to Gigabit Wavelength Service. Its gross carrier sales are approximately $20 million annually, and its net is approximately $3 million in annual commissions from the carriers for which it sells.
Sophisticated app built rapidly
Reduction in resources and technology needed
Rich mobile device capabilities including location and image capture
CTG3 uses sales agents to check and compare prices and services of business telecommunications services, such as from Comcast Charter, Century Link, and Frontier, and then recommend the best services to business customers. To provide the service, CTG3 leveraged an application built with Microsoft Access that allowed its agents to take orders and perform tasks, such as checking customers' statuses. The Access application served as a front end to a backend Microsoft SQL Server database.
In order to grow, the company decided to launch two new projects. First, CTG3 wanted to replace that desktop application with a Web portal so that its agents could more easily do their work anywhere the Internet is available. Second, CTG3 wanted to build a new consumer service, CarrierFinder.Net, that would allow consumers to check what telecommunications services are available anywhere in the United States.
Microsoft Access cannot build Web sites and does not have a mobile solution, so CTG3 President Dave Laskowski had to look elsewhere for a way to modernize his existing application. Laskowski is an experienced developer but needed to spend as much time possible running and growing his business rather than writing code. So he turned to Alpha Anywhere to build the portal.
"Web programming has always been frustrating to me, there are so many different things going on. That's why I turned to Alpha Anywhere—it was a great fit and was the closest thing I could find to Access for the Web. It let me build what I wanted with very little work, so that I could turn my attention to sales, marketing, and other core parts of my business."
Laskowski started by building the customer-facing and partner-facing portion of the Web portal using Alpha Anywhere, and connecting it to the SQL Server database. "Alpha Anywhere was perfect for that," he says. "I was easily able to build the modules I needed and had the entire thing up and running fast."
Once he saw how easily he was able to create a portal, he turned his attention to CarrierFinder.Net. He had built an initial version using PHP, but the Yahoo API he used was proving to be problematic. So he used Alpha Anywhere to build the site. "With Alpha Anywhere, I was able to build CarrierFinder more quickly and with much less effort than I expected," he says. In the future he plans to build a mobile app for CarrierFinder using Alpha Anywhere, and may build other mobile apps for CTG3 with it as well.
"It would have cost me $50,000 to hire outside programmers to do all the work that I did on my own."
Alpha Anywhere saved CTG3 significant amounts of money, helped launch its projects more quickly, and added features that weren't previously possible with Microsoft Access or PHP.
"For CarrierFinder.Net, if you look at all that needed to be done, including the mapping, the APIs, and the parsing, at a minimum it would have taken several different kinds of programmers to do everything," Laskowski says. "Normally people who do this kind of work don't have the expertise to both design the user interface and do the backend. You wouldn't expect me to be able to do all that because my full-time job is running the company and I do programming only part time. But with Alpha Anywhere I was able to build the site myself. It would have cost me $50,000 to hire outside programmers to do all the work that I did on my own."
He was also able to launch the site more quickly than if he had used outside programmers, so he was able to shorten his time to market. And with Alpha Anywhere, he regularly upgrades the site with new features without have to pay outside developers.
His company saw similar savings by using Alpha Anywhere to build the internal portal for sales agents. He had initially begun using CRM software to write the portal, but it was proving too unwieldy and expensive to do it that way.
"I probably spent $20,000 with not much to show for it," he remembers. I became very frustrated trying to make the CRM system do what I wanted. Then I realized that I could do what I needed quickly with Alpha."
The openness of Alpha Anywhere was also a big plus, he says, because it didn't lock him into a single vendor's platform.
"The CRM vendor had abandoned the platform I was on," he recalls. "The platform was basically dead. With these kinds of CRM applications, you put a lot of time into trying to get them to work, but they never work the way you want. And then you're locked into their platform. That's not the case with Alpha."
He also lauds the help and support he gets from Alpha.
"Not only is the product very good, but the support you get is outstanding," he says. "The documentation and the videos are excellent. I also use Alpha mentoring and am very happy with the support provided. Whenever I have a question, the people at Alpha are always there to help."
If I had used a tool rather than Alpha Anywhere, it would have taken me twice as long to launch Fast Mirror, and possibly miss a market opportunity.
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