I worked on too many projects at Trilogy to count, but here are
some of the highlights from over 7 years of technical projects...
As one of the original members of the Trilogy Automotive business
unit, I helped develop technologies supporting what became the Automotive
business unit's two main markets: consumer internet websites, and
product information maintenance applications. We first deployed
early versions of this technology for Volvo in spring of 1997, in
what might have been the first Internet car configuration solution.
I led the 13-man team that developed a more robust prototype in
a sales cycle with General Motors in 1998. In that prototype we
pioneered market-leading features that would later lead to a business
relationship with Ford. Those features included:
- Start anywhere configurations. No longer would you be
forced to pick a "package" for your vehicle before you
picked what color you wanted. You wouldn't even be required to
pick a vehicle model before picking the color, for example.
- Completed Configurations. We developed a method for filling
in the blanks in a configuration, removing the need for a customer
to make decisions about features they did not care about. If all
you cared about was color and price, fine. We won't make you pick
which tires you want.
- Accurate Dynamic Pricing. After each selection, you are
presented with a price that reflects a completely configured vehicle
(this feature depended on the configuration completion feature
above). Delta prices can also be generated and presented. No longer
would you wait to finish configuring the vehicle only to find
that the price is out of your range.
- Configured Vehicle Visuals. We displayed a graphic representation
of the vehicle, complete with visible options such as luggage
racks and colors and tires.
These features were implemented on top of a new Java configuration
engine, the fastest on the market, produced by our development team.
Our work changed the world wide web presence of Automotive companies
like Ford and Toyota, and later, Nissan as well. And by closing
business with the front end presentation of product data, we gained
entre to the back-end generation and maintenance of that customer-facing
For Ford, in particular, we deployed a lot of websites. We also
added features to improve the scale and reliability: predictive
page generation, page caching, partial page caching, etc. This is
a partial listing of the sites we deployed for Ford:
Reynolds and Reynolds, 1996. Reynolds was an early entre into the Automotive industry and helped us
land work with Chrysler, for example. We deployed a CRM application for two divisions of Reynolds. Later we
also deployed an incentive management system for their sales group.
Sales Cycles. I was the technical lead on sales cycles with
BMW North America, GE Capital Fleet Services Europe, and GM. While
none of these led to blockbuster deals, they did lead to developing
the technology that would ultimately lead the Automotive business
unit to success. For GM in particular we put it all together in
a compelling demonstration of a configuration application that
met all of the OEM requirements.
Toyota Motor Sales, Gulf States Toyota, Southeast Toyota.
They requested a proposal for a new dealer management system.
The proposal requested that bidders only apply if they were going
to propose all of the work. They did not want any partial bids.
We talked to several other vendors but couldn't come to an agreement
that was satisfactory. So I proposed something novel: let's just
pitch what we are the best at. So we pitched to Toyota that we
were the config solution regardless of the general contractor
they picked. And we won a $5M business. Later, I also helped deploy
the technology at Toyota as the team lead.
Ford. Working primarily with Kevin Gilpin, we built the
prototype for the Global Maintenance Application that would someday
be the primary maintenance interface for all Ford product data.
Kevin was primarily responsible for the back-end, while I was
primarily responsible for developing new ways to slice and dice
the product data and push inputs to the back-end, and display
the massive complexity in manageable form to the user. This work,
along with the Consumer Internet website software we developed
prior to workign for Ford, represented the two main pillars of
the software sale completed between Trilogy and Ford in the fall
I'll be adding some additional information about computer projects
I worked on while at Trilogy in this section.
Centigram, 1994. This was the first customer I worked
on for Trilogy. In a three-month project we deployed Centigram's
first-ever configuration application. This application addressed
configuration of each of the four systems sold at the time, as
well as upgrade paths and add-on configurations. When we presented
the application at the annual sales meeting, we received a standing
ovation from the sales force.
Intervoice, 1994-5. At intervoice we deployed a cutting-edge
configuration application similar to Centigram's. But, in addition
to the configuration functionality we deployed for Intervoice,
we also deployed a lotus notes-based application for replicating
business data among sales, management, and engineering. In this
way, the management team could monitor the deal-flow, while engineering
had access to all of the pending configurations, enabling Intervoice
to spot small problems before they became big ones.
Nortel Networks, 1999-2000. As a member of our Technical
Sales team, I joined the Nortel Networks sales effort at about
the time they closed a deal to acquire Bay Networks (another Trilogy
customer). I was brought on for my experience with configuration,
telecom, and e-commerce applications. We proceeded to navigate
very difficult political waters by proving the technology worked
at Bay, and at another division, BWA (Broadband Wireless Access).
This culminated in a multi-million-dollar deal for software and
services and a 9-month deployment effort.
After selling the deal, I stayed on as the Technical Lead and
Project Manager while we looked for someone at Trilogy to take
over those responsibilities. Eventually I procured a top-notch
project manager, and later, a great Technical Lead, to take over
the work at Nortel 5 months later. I also put together a team
of 10 top technical consultants with the skills to deploy one
of the hardest implementations we had undertaken. Nortel had a
lot of systems to integrate with, and myriad standards to comply
with, and our team delivered.