At The Office at 12 AM, Thinking About ReLiC
So its 12 AM, and I am at the office waiting on the AT&T guy to fix the phones. The office is an hour and a half away from home. Sigh. There is some funny business going on across from the office. 4 cars are parked next to the train tracks…weird. People are getting out in the dark and talking to each other. We turned the lights off. Hmm…
Valuable programming time is being lost, so I decided to blog on one of the Agent Computers. The boss (one of them) is here with me, just hanging out. Bored.
Thinking of all the things that have happened the past few weeks leaves me feeling amazed. I have learned so much about programming in PHP, running mySQL queries, writing wordpress plugins, etc. I love being in this type of environment where I am free to develop my own abilities (with the help of Google of course). And the scary thing is others are starting to notice these abilities.
I wrote/am writing an app for the office, and dubbed it ReLiC, for Records, Lifespans and Commissions. I wrote it from scratch, from login, user permissions, to sales entry and complex reporting. I was successfully able to make it do payroll for our call room agents who are on a commission basis, with charge back abilities for canceled policies as well.
I wrote the app for the company I work for because we have had for the past year or so no consolidated method of data entry. My primary job was SEO implementation and web design. When I first started, I asked for the sales data so I could run some reports and find out how many sales came from SEO and from other leads. Well, they pointed to a random unprotected computer and said it was in an excel file there somewhere.
So, as a temporary solution I came up with the idea to use Google Docs spreadsheets to track agent sales. It was a big hit, I made a little sales board spreadsheet to go along with the Data entry that the bosses loved, because they could check sales from anywhere, even their phones. Everyone in the office made a Google account, and we shared, and still do share, many many excel sheets with information we want to store and collaboratively edit.
The problem with this method was that it was too easy to edit. A difference in capitalization could mean hell for reporting. Every time something needed to be done you would have to scan the document for inconsistencies. The whole process was manual and tedious.
So, after getting my feet wet recently with hard coding a PHP based AIM/ARB integration for authorize.net to bill for one of our new products, I took a day and created the basis of ReLiC, presented it to my bosses who were amazed, and given the ok to keep developing it.
Now, it is the primary input for sales at the company, it gives both agents and admins the baility to see information on cancelled policies to be saved (or charged back), and runs payroll, storing as much data as I can into mySQL tables that I can easily use to report on with PHP reports over a web interface. It’s great, and is running fabulously.
I have many add ons to the system tha tI am currently working on. Reports on commission payments from carriers is coming this next week, and eventually I will be able to calculate CPA for marketing to add to the CPA for agents that we currently have so that we can get some solid, dependable and accurate information as to the income and expenses of the company.
I look at myself writing this software and wonder where the heck I learned to do it, I guess it is just natural.
I always told myself that if I had a superpower, I would use it. I hate movies where the superhero wants to be a normal person. I never understood this, but thats for an’other blog.
To quote Jim Carrey in the Mask “With These Powers I could be, A SUPERHERO!”. Well, maybe not, but I am very happy, ambitious and excited to further develop my abilities. Writing this Database App has created a skillset for myself that was not there before. I knew PHP, but not to the extent I do now, and I want to learn more.
I am actually looking for some PHP developers to discuss with, I need ot learn a few more key aspects of OOP (Object Oriented Programming), to sharpen my abilities. Specifically on the subject of classes. Drop me a line if you happen to be a PHP programmer with some good experience.
AT&T guy is here, said it was a problem with the connection between local office and main office, copper wire went bad, just so happened to fail as the power went off in our building? Weird. Heading home in a couple minutes.
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So its 12 AM, and I am at the office waiting on the AT&T guy to fix the phones....