In 1999 I had an opportunity to meet with two gentlemen in Fairfax, Virginia who served as consultants to Nextel. They explained how Nextel was opening new retail outlets all around the country, and noted the challenges they were having from a construction / build-out perspective. Seemed the regional managers were using an Excel spreadsheet to track the build-out process, including permitting, CAD drawings, construction, services such as power and internet, and much more. Each manager would complete the information in his or her build-outs, and would save and send the file to the next manager. Eventually the spreadsheet would make it to management for evaluation and assessment of the overall progress.
This workflow led to a myriad of challenges including time-lapse between individual manager updates, ability to generate meaningful reports, versioning of the spreadsheet and many others. It was difficult for management to address issues in a timely manner when their data was often many days or even weeks old.
I put together a proposal to develop an online application that would allow each manager to login and update progress for his or her locations, and would allow management to run roll-up reports on the fly. NextelStores.com was launched in early 2000, and was a huge success. Not only were the territory managers thrilled to have a flexible, accessible, easy-to-use portal, management was equally as thrilled to have real-time, in-depth reporting at their fingertips. Nextel was eventually acquired by Sprint, who kept the platform and continued to use it under the SprintStores.com domain.
Below is a screenshot from the application login page in 2003.