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Simplifying Standards and Procedures

  Product Review published in DM Review Magazine
July 2002 Issue
  By Javed Matin
Review of: SpinIT from Stirling Systems Group, LLC

REVIEWER: Javed Matin, CEO for Myriad Solutions Inc.

BACKGROUND: Myriad Solutions Inc. is a consulting organization specializing in the areas of process, project and model management. We provide our clients with a total solution. Our solution consists of leading-edge tools from vendors such as Computer Associates and Stirling Systems Group and quality services such as consulting, training and implementation.

PLATFORMS: Server and administrator client: Windows NT 4.0. Non-administrator client: Internet Explorer 5.0 or above.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Myriad Solutions has always believed in the importance of standards and procedures (S&Ps;) and has put a considerable amount of work into creating and maintaining them. Before implementing SpinIT (Standards & Procedures on the Intranet for IT), the challenge we faced was building a dynamic, Web-based delivery mechanism (instead of paper) that was easy to use and maintain and would make content accessible to our various departments without impacting our technical resources. We also needed a flexible solution that would allow us to update our S&Ps; on a regular basis and move that responsibility into the hands of the content owners. With SpinIT, we found a solution that addressed these specific needs without additional unnecessary and hard-to-learn feature sets.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: SpinIT solved our challenges in a number of ways. It allows us to centralize our S&Ps; on the intranet for easy accessibility and compliance, and enables us to add content as we see fit. It serves as a portal for all of our departments' S&Ps; and supports our role-based access requirements by offering secure login and user permissions. SpinIT permits us to instantly post standards using images or text and writes HTML "on the fly," saving valuable time. Its simple tree structure enables intuitive organization of our multiple domains of corporate S&Ps.; Finding content is straightforward with the keyword search feature, and standards can be cross- referenced. With the "staging area," our content managers can save incomplete standards that are not yet ready to be published.

STRENGTHS: Although SpinIT solves a complex problem, it's not a complex product to use. Its greatest strength is allowing the people who "own" the content to update it themselves without having to go through our Web group. This has streamlined the process and allowed our Web group to focus on their core competencies, relieving them of more mundane tasks. We also find the secure login and user permissions to be extremely valuable - being able to restrict access to certain "subjects" allows each department to ensure private content remains private. The data model management S&Ps; that ship with the product have the potential to eliminate months of work for any organization that uses a data modeling tool. For us, SpinIT has provided an invaluable framework for the S&Ps; that are essential to our company's success.

WEAKNESSES: SpinIT currently contains only a few prepackaged templates. While it is certainly easy enough to add our own, we are hoping that future releases of the product will ship with other templates in addition to the templates already included.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Our main selection criteria for electing SpinIT as our standards and procedures portal was whether it would answer our challenges or not - which it does. In addition, we were unaware of any similar products in the marketplace. Based on our experience with the Stirling team, we felt certain that they would provide excellent service.

DELIVERABLES: SpinIT provides a central location for all of our departments' S&Ps.; Now the S&Ps; are easy to access, manage and maintain. We are certain that the ease of access to our S&Ps; has had a direct and positive impact on productivity.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Stirling Systems Group has been extremely attentive to our needs. They worked closely with us during the entire evaluation and installation process and have remained attentive throughout implementation. We were so impressed by our experience with Stirling Systems and SpinIT that we partnered with them to add SpinIT to our product offering.

DOCUMENTATION: The installation and user documentation is complete. Although Stirling Systems Group provides a free Web-based training session with their maintenance contract, SpinIT is so intuitive that we feel confident we could have been up and running easily on our own.


For more information on related topics visit the following related portals...
Content Management.

Javed Matin, CEO for Myriad Solutions Inc.

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