Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Playing with Software 

One habit I've never lost since the early days of the PC is playing with software. That is, buying a program that seems to fit the PR business and seeing if it does. Over the years, I've found a number of tools that way and quite a few that were not applicable as well.

Lately, I've been noodling with Project Management software that allows one to build detailed Gantt and PERT charts with manpower estimates. This is the second time I've returned to this software. I originally looked at it more than 10 years ago and found it wasn't that useful for most PR tasks. I've decided to take a second look to see if matters have changed since. I'm also playing with Microsoft Visio to see if it can add to explanations we give to clients. I've tried programs like Visio before and found them to be somewhat useful but not worth the price in the end. This time, it appears I might have found ways to use the software on a regular basis.

To those who wonder why one should bother doing this, the answer is that one learns as much from a tool as clients who see the products of it. New tools teach one new ways to think. That's valuable in PR. We've got to look at the world in many different ways to understand it better.


Glad you posted this today. I thought I was the only one "wasting time" on researching software capabilities for PR (ungrateful peers!). One successful experiment I can claim credit for was using GoldMine contact management software to manage the company rolodex, coordinate our firm's special projects and networking events, and eventually developing the onboard project manager to incorporate our client relationship management - all this while networking our office staff communications and activities in a groupware package.

The program, out of the box, was a tough nut to crack since it is primarily sales management software, but upon customizing it to suit our needs we got a lot of mileage and converted to a near-paperless office. The firm continues to use GoldMine to this day, three years after I moved from L.A..

The best upside to all of the hard work was gettinng recognized by GoldMine, who commissioned a case study on my work in developing a CRM solution for a new market (in 2002). You can view the study at http://www.frontrange.com/downloads/Detail.aspx?id=711 .


Jeff Clark
Intel Corp.

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