The client needed an easy-to-use web application for frontline staff to load invoice & payment details, which were to be subsequently sent to their hosted ERP service. A previous attempt to build the system had consumed nearly a year of development effort and hadn't delivered anything, due to an excessively complex architecture and low-quality contractors.
Lateral reviewed the existing code and recommended starting again, which is not something we recommend lightly. We rapidly ramped up a team and implemented a new MVC3 web application with a much-simplified architecture, integrated with the client's preferred Oracle database platform. Extensive use of AJAX and concise semantic HTML markup drastically improved performance and usability over the old system, and the code base was nearly an order of magnitude smaller, which we believe will result in a far lower maintenance cost over the life of the system.
The system was delivered in around 10 weeks and the users were happy and significantly more productive.
The client had developed a methodology for quickly and easily estimating the cost for public sector software projects, and needed a mechanism to deliver the service. He'd previously had an entry-level developer working on implementing the idea, and after significant investment of time & money had nothing to show for it.
Lateral managed to get a prototype version of the web application up & running in about a week, and the client was so impressed he asked us to finish off the application. This entailed building the security model, integrating dynamic help/instructions into the app, creating & adding an explanatory diagram for the methodology, and ensuring the estimation calculation logic was sound and the default values sensible.
Lateral also arranged for cloud hosting and managed the production deployment of the service.
A partnership between Lateral, Leeuwin Estate winery and the Perth Entrepeneur's Organisation found us developing a native iPhone wine ordering app. Users of the app can browse the list of Leeuwin Estate wines (including photos & tasting notes), and place orders directly from their phone.
Sadly, no bottles of Art Series were harmed during the making of this app. Get it from the App Store.
The client has a large manufacturing facility, where shutdowns involve contractors carrying out hundreds or even thousands of maintenance work orders. Each work order has paperwork and associated attachments, such as CAD diagrams, photos, word documents, spreadsheets etc. Previously, printing all of the attachments and collating them with the work order documentation was a time-consuming and error-prone manual process.
Lateral designed and built a Windows service which monitors ERP work order output, detects new work order print events, and constructs a single PDF document containing the work order and all of its associated attachments. The work order ‘pack' is then sent to the nominated printer as a single job, removing the requirement to manually collate paperwork.
This project required a lot of work with file type conversion (including AutoCAD and Office formats) and PDF manipulation, and the processing needed to be designed so that errors were reported but didn't halt the workflow. The end result was a reliable, automated solution that reduced manual workload & error rates.
The client has an old, gnarly, internally-developed PHP application used for tracking work items on manufacturing projects. The users wanted better printed report output, and the menu configuration functionality was basic and not suitable for non-technical usage.
The client was delighted with the fast & competent service provided by Lateral.
MarketAg are a grain market advisory service who track a large number of prices which they use to drive recommendations & alerts for their customers. In their existing system, prices were entered and processed through a collection of spreadsheets before being imported into an SQL Server database, but MarketAg wanted to move to a web application to allow their advisors to more easily access and enter prices while on the road.
Lateral built a price entry web application that made heavy use of client-side scripting to make data entry as fast and efficient as possible. Extensive keyboard shortcuts, AJAX validation, custom tab ordering and dynamic default values were employed to speed up price entry. In addition, a price administration interface was implemented to replace the ‘change anything’ capability of the old spreadsheets, and special effort was put into making the application work well on the iPad.
The system was successfully deployed and MarketAg now have a consistent, remotely accessible pricing system that has improved their service reliability.
A small group of entrepreneurs came to us with an idea for a new service targeted at Australian households. They needed to know if it was technically feasible and how much it would cost to build and operate.
We did some analysis and came up with a ballpark cost for them, then suggested we build a proof of concept to demonstrate the product to other potential investors. The prototype included native iPad and iPhone apps connected to a cloud service, which exposed information aggregated from a large data set stored in a document database. It also encompassed integration with external online services and some specialised data acquisition logic.
The group were impressed with what we'd managed to accomplish within the budget, and our input helped shape their concept of what the service could accomplish. The search for investors is currently underway.
Best Performance is a Perth-based company that provides educational consultancy services to schools & teachers. One of their most popular services is a NAPLAN analysis service — school results are aggregated, compared, reformatted, and visualised to clearly show the school where it needs to improve.
Best Performance’s existing analysis process was based on copying and pasting raw data between spreadsheets, making it both time-consuming and error-prone. We suggested the data be imported directly into a relational database, and then aggregated/extracted/reported from there. The solution we built included the database, a software utility to import and correlate the result data, some predefined reports, and spreadsheet templates that automatically imported data from the database for further analysis.
The finished system reduced the time taken to process a school’s results from 4-6 hours down to about 20 minutes. This dramatically removed scalability constraints and enabled Best Performance to pursue an aggressive growth strategy, including looking at expanding the business interstate.