A lot of companies start life using an Excel Spreadsheet or a Microsoft Access Database to manage jobs, clients or some variety of important records. This works perfectly for many years but then something changes, like you hire more staff and have to buy more licenses, the license cost rockets, the latest version of the software takes out a key part of your database or the software just can’t cope with how much your business has grown and starts falling apart. What do you do now?
PHA Model Management was founded in Manchester in 1969 and is one of the longest established model and actors agencies in Europe. They had a Microsoft Access database that they’d been using for years to manage clients and talent on their books. They wanted to upgrade their IT, but the cost of upgrading every computer to the new version of Access was cost prohibitive. They also had some Apple Mac computers, and as there is no version of Access for Mac these where excluded from using the old system.
So Tornado stepped in and started moving the database over to a cloud based system, custom built for the functionality that PHA required and linking in with some other systems the company used.
The first stage was to have a look at what worked on the current system and what we could improve on. Our design and dev teams worked to produce mockups of key pages and forms so PHA could give feedback.
Whilst the design team where going through the mockups the dev team where working on the functionality. Planning out how pages would link together and how to make the system easy to use and do as much of the donkey work as it could. Tornado love improving productivity, so we went through with PHA what repetitive tasks they had to do and planned how we could get the system to do it for them.
Once everything was signed off we where ready to code.
Our dev team use PHP, Codeigniter, MariaDB and Bootstrap to make all the functionality. In a couple of weeks we had a working model for PHA to start testing. We built import scripts to move the data from the old database and import into the new database. It was starting to come alive.
After Christmas the database was thoroughly bug tested and a list of additional features drawn up, based on using the system for a few weeks.
In a busy model and casting agency you need to be able to quickly find records based on height, age, gender, availability etc, but on the previous system the only person who could do searches was the business owner. We fixed that by building an easy to use query builder based on the data entered in the database. Now anyone in the office can do a search for a male, aged 35, 5ft 11inches with bald/brown hair and find our Managing Director (but we don’t think Keith’s going to get many model gigs).
Once they’ve completed their search they can send out to clients lists of talent, contact the talent via email or text message (using our txtLocal integration) or export them for use in the office.
The new system will last PHA for many years and can be expanded on if they think of a new feature they’d like to incorporate.
If you have a creaking old Access Database, spreadsheet or scrap of paper and would like it turned into an all singing and dancing, cloud based web application, contact us about our custom web development services.