Time-Warner Telecommunications Corp (TWTC), one of the nations leading providers of managed networking solutions across 30 states, nearly missed a lucrative market opportunity due to limitations in their software when new laws were passed allowing them to pursue the residential consumer market.

The Challenge: Business constraints due to software limitations

TWTC’s original ordering system was built to support business customers only, lacking the flexibility and scalability to support new business markets. When new laws were passed enabling TWTC to pursue the residential market, their limited legacy commercial ordering system did not provide the functionality needed to support residential orders.

As a leading provider of network services, TWTC knew they needed to be first to market to capture the bulk of the new consumer opportunities opened up by telecommunications deregulations act but needed to move quickly to build an switched ordering database system with the functionality needed to support the consumer phone service.

Many of the solutions initially considered by TWTC required not only a substantial investment in infrastructure, but also a substantial amount of time to develop and deploy which was not an option if TWTC wanted to capture the lion’s share of the new residential market yet limit it’s liability and costs associated with this new venture.

The Solution: Microsoft Access for rapid prototyping and development

Enter Help4Access, San Francisco’s leading custom database application consulting company. Their solution was to build a swat team of architects and developers to collaborate with TWTC’s Order Fulfillment group. Through this collaborative effort the swat team was able to quickly build a working prototype Residential Ordering System from scratch by building a Switched Ordering Database (SODB) using the power and RAD (rapid application development) functionality within Microsoft Access.

After successfully demonstrating the prototype’s ability to support TWTC consumer phone ordering service, the team was able to rapidly develop and deploy a full-scale production ordering system allowing TWTC to successfully enter this new market and immediately begin growing their market share. Key success factors where the close working relationship of Help4Access and key business stakeholders and the iterative development life cycle.

According to Sasha Froyland, founder of Help4Access, “70% of other consulting company’s custom database application projects fail to come in on time, within budget or fail to meet the original business requirements.Help4Access’s success rates are much much higher because of two things: 1) the rapid application development capabilities built into Microsoft Access make speed to delivery much shorter; and 2) our senior world class consultants know how to tweak Microsoft Access to get every ounce of performance possible out of the tool.

Sasha goes on to say, “By directing a swat team of cross-functional skills consisting of database administrators (DBAs), developers and business analysts, Help4Access were able to build a solution from the ground-up in much less time than a traditional software development project on non-Microsoft Access platform which gave TWTC the competitive edge to get to market first.

The Benefits: Fast time to market to capture critical market share

Help4Access’s ability to quickly prototype, build and deploy an Microsoft Access solution designed specifically to met TWTC’s requirements provided the critical advantage needed by TWTC to capture significant market share right at the start of the telecommunication deregulation era.

The new system was so critical to Time Warner’s success that the Vice President of TWTC announced at an annual meeting that the Microsoft Access driven residential order system (SODB) developed by Help4Access was one of the single largest contributors to TWTC’s ability to beat the competition to market with residential service offerings.

“We’re very proud to be part of TWTC’s incredible success story” says Sasha,“by rapidly prototyping an deploying an Microsoft Access centric solution, we were able to deliver the functionality needed for TWTC to successfully capture a significant new market share.”

Help4Access is a leader in custom database application solutions delivering its expertise to the e-commerce, healthcare, financial services, education and telecommunications industries. Help4Access have provided scalable data warehouse solutions for Fortune 500 companies like DuPont, Rockwell Automation and Level 3 Communications (LVLT) since its inception in 1997.