Blue Flower

Trade Show Planning

This example demonstrates how infobrella is used by a VP of a software company to track different trade show events. It demonstrates how all the information about a trade show e.g. its expected attendance, date, communication with organizers, hotel reservation and travel information etc. can all be integrated together for easy and immediate access. This information may also be easily transferred to another user via email. Normally this information is spread between email clients, Windows filing system, browser bookmarks and user’s notepads but infobrella allows all the diverse information to be integrated in one place making it easier and faster to access.

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Purpose:  The purpose of this white paper is to illustrate how business users can integrate all their information, i.e. all of the emails, URLs, electronic files and their own thoughts in one file that can be easily searched electronically. This file can also backed up and transferred to someone else provideing them with as much knowledge. Without Infobrella, these emails, files, URL references arel scattered throughout the system. There is not any way for users to back-up all the information in one file, to back them up by project, client etc. Infobrella allows users to integrate all the information in one place  and thus transforms information into knowledge base.

 

Scenario:  Sally Smith is a Marketing Manager of a software company.  She is preparing a marketing plan for the next version of their product to present to the management team for approval.  As part of the plan, she has compiled a list of the events where the software could be demonstrated to potential clients.  She needs to track the event dates, locations, expected attendence, client demographics, exhibitor fees, etc.  She also needs to keep track of the correspondences she has with different vendors, the websites of each event, the files she creates to keep track of the information and her own conversations with different vendors.

 

Sally is a very organized person:

  • She uses Microsoft Outlook to keep track of her emails.
  • She has created a separate folder for marketing events where all the emails from vendors are filed, decreasing the overall search time when those emails need to be reviewed.
  • She has also created a favorites folder in her browser to bookmark  these event websites.
  • She has  created a spreadsheet where she has stored all the information about these events e.g. event dates, expected attendence, booth cost, event location etc.
  • And as she talks with different event vendors she makes a mental notes of all the conversations she has with them.

 

Thus we see that even though she is a very organized person, her information is still spread over Outlook for emails, browsers for website references, filing system (Windows Explorer) for the documents and spreadsheets, and of course her own mental notes. 

 

Infobrella Solution: Sally spent less than an hour  becoming familiar with the basics of Infobrella.  She then quickly entered the name of the events as they occurred to her using the “Quick Add” mode under “Events” in the List Pane.  These entries are shown in Figure 1  below:

 

 

 

  Figure 1: List Pane:  Marketing Events – Unstructured

 

She then notices that some of the events have commonalities, e.g. New England Expo and New York Expo are organized by the same promoter, Event Management. Also various chapters of PMI are hosting events and they could be grouped together. She creates two group headers, PMI and Event Management.   By using Move keys in the toolbar and Drag and Drop functionality, she was able to rearrange the events in logical grouping.  This is shown in Figure 2.

 

 

Figure 2: List Pane – Marketing Events – Organized by event organizer

 

Sally then creates a data entry form (A new Item Type) for events where she records the event name, its starting and ending dates, expected attendence, participation fees, registration due date, location and their purpose of exhibiting at the show, e.g. to promote product, to attract investors ot learn new marketing avenues, etc.  This form is shown in Figure 3.

 

 

Figure 3: Data Entry Form for Event

 

Using this form, Sally enters the data for all the upcoming  events.  This data is displayed in Item Details Pane as shown in Figure 4.

 

 

Figure 4: Item Details Pane with Events data filled in

 

The event information in Item Details Pane is displayed in the same order as she organized it in Item List Pane.  If she wants to see it in any other order, e.g. in sequential order by Start Date, she then simply clicks on the column name of “Start Date” and the data are sorted by this parameter in ascending order.  Clicking again on the same column name sorts it by descending order. This is shown in Figure 5.

 

 

Figure 5: Item Details Pane sorted by ‘Start Date’

 

It is worth noting here that Sally created a new data entry form as per her own needs. She then filled in this form  several times. She is now ready to link the instances of this form with emails, URLs, electronic files and transcribe her own thoughts into them also.

While collecting more information on these events, Sally spoke with Merrie in SBIR organizing team.  Merrie informed her that there is a poster show on April 22 and that only the first attendee from a company needs to pay the exhibitor fee of $100.  There is no additional charge for other attendees from the same company.  Sally is able to keep track of this by making a note of this information in the “Notes” section when SBIR is the highlighted topic in the List Pane.  Similarly, she can add notes for other topics which get displayed only when that topic is highlighted.  This is illustrated in Figure 6.

 

 

 

Figure 6: Notes Pane

While searching on the SBIR website, Sally realized it was an important conference and that she might have to come back and visit this website at a later date.  Therefore, she copies the URL and pastes it in the Attachment section in Infobrella while SBIR was highlighted in List Pane.  Now the next time that Sally needs to visit this website, she simply has to locate SBIR in List Pane and double click on the website link.  The website will open up in her browser.  This is illustrated in Figure 7.

 

 

Figure 7: Linking a website with Infobrella

After much consideration, Sally decides to attend the SBIR conference and registers for it.  She receives registration confirmation by email into her Micrsoft Outlook® program.  She opens Infobrella and Outlook side by side on her PC and is able to drag and drop the email from Outlook to Infobrella in the Attachment Pane with SBIR highlighted in List Pane.  This process copies the email into Infobrella, and whenever she needs to open this email, she just double clicks it and the email opens up in Outlook.  This is illustrated in Figure 8.

 

 

Figure 8: Copying an email in Infobrella

She decided to take part in the poster session.  She prepared a poster that her company will display at the show.  She opens up Window Explorer next to Infobrella and drags and drops the poster file from Explorer into the Infobrella Attachments Pane.  As before this is done when SBIR is the highlighted topic in List Pane.  Double clicking the file name in the Attachment Pane will open up the file in its native application. This is illustrated in Figure 9.

 

 

Figure 9: Copying a file in Infobrella

Three weeks before the meeting, Sally had an emergency and was out of the office for one week and her coworker had to take over her responsibilities.   Sally used the email function provided within Infobrella and sent this data file to her coworker. The email created a backup of the data file and included all the attachments within the file. Her coworker now had all the information that Sally had without needing access to Sally’s PC. Later when the department manager wanted to know the status of SBIR conference, all that the coworker had to do was to search on the word ‘SBIR’ in the Infobrella file and she immediately had access to ‘SBIR’ website, email confirming Sally’s attendance, the poster for the conference, the notes Sally had created and all the other information on why Sally had decided to participate in the conference.

 

This was a major contrast from the pre Infobrella era for the organization. In the earlier days there was no way for Sally to transfer all the information to her co-worker as the information was spread in multiple areas; emails in Outlook, files (i.e. documents, spreadsheets etc.) in Windows filing system, website references in browser. And on top of it, there was no way to link all this information by project, by event or by any other criteria. These links remained in Sally’s head, only she knew whom the emails were from and the file names and locations of the various files associated with each of these marketing events. Even the best of search engines were of no use even though they provided desk top search function since they could not link various pieces of information by subject and neither could they sort by any criteria e.g. the way Sally could sort events by ‘Start Date’.  Thus even if management were to be willing to take a security risk in granting access to Sally’s PC to her co-worker, it would be a very time consuming process at best, in accessing relevant information. Basically, things would come to a standstill in Sally’s absence and the business will have to wait for her to come back, or assign another person to the task that will have to start fresh, in order to continue the work. If Sally were to leave the organization, the       knowledge i.e. the links between the various pieces of information, she had created, would be lost forever. The person replacing her would have to start building these interconnections all over again.

 

There is no limit in Infobrella on the amount of different data entry forms that can be created. In contrast, Microsoft Outlook has forms for Contacts, Emails, Calendar and Tasks. Users cannot create new forms as they see fit. If Sally desired, she could have stored all the information she may ever want to track in only 1 file. This file could contain information relating to her personal life (Bank accounts, Insurace policies, personal goals etc.), professional life (Professional development courses taken, Technical societies meetings attended etc.), social life (Volunteer work commitments etc.), spiritual life etc. All this information could be saved in only 1 file which can be serched at will. Thus there will be only 1 place to  file the information and hence only 1 place to search for it too. Several studies have shown that this type of inforamtion storage and retrieval system significantly improves users’ productivity since it relieves the mind of the confusion arriving out of decision making on where to store and where to retrive the information from types of decisions.

 

Summary: As we see, Sally has integrated all of her information in one file.  All of the emails, URLs, electronic files and her own thoughts are in one place that can be easily searched electronically.  Without Infobrella, these emails, files, URL references would remain scattered throughout the system.  There wasn’t any way for users to back-up all the information in one file, to back them up by project, client etc.  Infobrella provides an integrated way to file and search through all of this information to save time and increase productivity.

 

 

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