What a Web Developer Can (and Should) Do For You

As you might expect, a web developer is one who builds websites. However, a good website builder has much more to offer than just the technical skills needed to put a website together.

Ideally, a web developer has the ability to understand your business. With an understanding
of your business, the this person should be able to recommend if there is a way to use software
and/or hardware to improve some aspect of your business. This solution should have two relatively immediate outcomes. It will either increase revenue or increase profits by reducing expenses. Of course, the increase in revenue or the reduction in expenses can be indirect so it is important that you define a way to measure success before you spend thousands of dollars on a web-based project.

I call myself a web developer because websites are the most visible result of my consulting engagements. However, I also consider myself a database designer and system architect. Both of these skills are useful when building websites, because just about every project is database driven and requires some thought about integrating new systems with old.

For one project, my team was tasked with improving the efficiency of the help desk at Shaw Communications. There were several paths we considered to achieving this goal, but we decided that building a private website (also known as an intranet site) was the best solution.

In the end we accomplished the goal by making vital information available to the help-desk personnel through a single interface, a web browser, and a database that was hooked in to
Shaw's extensive customer data. When a customer calls the first piece of information they provide is a phone number. Keying in this phone number, the help-desk technician is able to review the customer's history and immediately determine if the problem being reported is new or had been reported before. On top of this, the technician had easy access to network outage reports and a knowledge base of problems other customers had. Using these tools, the technician is able to resolve an issue in less time without requiring the help of other technicians.

Having the technician demonstrate knowledge of previous issues is a great way to reassure the customer that they are dealing with someone that is knowledgeable. Thus my team achieved the
goal of reducing expenses, but in doing so we had the side-effect of improving customer relations.

To summarize, a good web developer should:

  • Try to understand your business and the unique obstacles you have to overcome.
  • Look for ways to increase revenue or decrease expenses using a software or hardware solution.
  • Implement the solution in the most cost-effective and timely manner.
  • Assess the effectiveness of the solution to ensure that it is achieving the expected goals.
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2 Comments

  1. Very informative post here. You stress that reducing the expenses is a priority. That should not be a major focus in all projects however because this can cause an "ill-designed" site. Often a cheap site, ironically will be viewed as a cheap site be it viewers. ~Doug

  2. I agree with most of your article. In the last paragraph you mention how you should "Look for ways to increase revenue or decrease expenses using a software or hardware solution." I partly agree with this statement. I believe that in addition for looking for a software and a hardware solution, you should consider a manual (no tech) solution.

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