Target Learning Consultancy

Web application case study

 

Background

Target Learning Consultancy work with colleges and private training providers to facilitate partnerships to extend the provision of learning and basic skills training within local communities. One of the training companies they work with provides a number of basic training courses for migrants. They achieve this by delivering the training through colleges who are authorised to draw down government funding for such training. There is a complex schedule of fees, different for each college and course, and dependent on various factors such as the number of attendees, the number completing a course, the number passing the examination and others.

Prior to SUMMIT's involvement Target managed all of the operational parameters and recorded course attendances on a range of interlinked spreadsheets which required a large amount of manual data entry and regular amendments.

They wanted a single integrated system that would:

  • Allow the complex arrangement of colleges, fees and courses to be set up and managed easily
  • Enable the individual course tutors to complete their course registers on-line
  • Provide a range of reports to drive the invoicing process to ensure that revenues flowed promptly
  • Provide additional information reports to facilitate management decisions
  • Ensure that access to the system was completely secure and would permit authorised users access to only those functions that they are permitted.

SUMMIT's involvement

Target's principal, Hal Hamer, met with Ian Hayes for the first time in May 2004 where the task was outlined in some detail. The subtleties of the complexity would not, however, become apparent until a later stage once the project was underway.

Following the first meeting, a proposal for the project was provided that was subsequently accepted by Target and the project was underway.

The first phase of the project was a further meeting to work out more of the details of the requirements for  the new system. As is usually the case, some areas were simplified and others turned out to be more involved than originally thought.

Primary development was completed within 6 weeks and a beta-test version of the new system was posted onto the Internet for testing, evaluation and feedback. Several adjustments and a few minor additions were made to the system over the subsequent weeks and the system eventually went live at the end of February 2005.

A pure business operations system

One of the unique aspects to this project is the fact that is has no public-facing aspect at all. The entire web site is dedicated to providing the business functions necessary for Target to carry out its business operations. If you were to go to the web site, the first page you see is a simple login page. There is nowhere else to go without logging in to one of the authorised user accounts.

Once logged in, the functions available to you will depend on which 'privileges' have been granted to your account. These vary from a fully privileged 'master administrator' account that can do everything, to a tutor's account that can access only the course registers assigned to the account. There are other variations such as course co-ordinator and finance administrator privileges.

Within the functions of the system are all of the usual things that you would expect to find in a business operations system, the difference is that this is a web site and hence is accessible to all the authorised users wherever they are, at any time - as long as they have access to the Internet.