Scott Francis

Trilogy Projects

I worked on too many projects at Trilogy to count, but here are some of the highlights from over 7 years of technical projects...

Trilogy Automotive 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 product data.

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:

Early Automotive Customers

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 and Ford

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 of 1999.

Trilogy Computer Projects

I'll be adding some additional information about computer projects I worked on while at Trilogy in this section.

Trilogy Telecom projects
Early Telecommunications Customers

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

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.