CIO Services for Companies in the Southeast


Southeast Financial

“Southeast Financial specializes in financing for horse trailers, RV’s and motor homes, motorcycles, and other recreational units. Our company has been paper based for years, and we had to generate a lot of documents—by hand--for every loan application. Our loan staff had to do a lot of re-entering of data which was slow and caused errors as well. We also had a big challenge handling all of the phone calls that came in asking us where we were in the loan approval process. We had a web site where customers could fill out an application on line, but that application simply came to us in an e-mail and we did everything with our loan processing manually.

Smithware proposed that we solve our problems with a two tiered strategy. First we needed to fix our backend processes so that they were all automated (that’s how I figured out what Business Process Automation was). This meant enabling the online application to work with a secure backend database and then building a paperless workflow engine to guide the application through the approval process. Second, we needed a much better web site to get more customers to our site in order to increase our application volume and also a good way for customers to log in and see where their loan was in the approval process. They put together the team such that Smithware handled all of the backend workflow, application data, and loan workflow processing; NoSpinMarketing put together our web site plan based on our specific needs, all new web site content, and developed a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) strategy to increase our site traffic; and iDesign implemented the web site plan from a design and visual standpoint. The result has worked out very well for us. We went from being buried in paper and customer questions to a system that helps us take care of all of our business in a simplified and much more efficient way. Loan applications and closed loans are up substantially, and we plan to keep on growing with our new automated systems and web site.”
Heather Finch, Manager, Southeast Financial
Kingston Springs TN
www.southefinancial.com

Sundowner Trailer Centers

“Located out in Kingston Springs, Tennessee, our access to good IT talent has been limited for years. Most of our computers and network have been purchased without any kind of plan, and things were basically a technology mess. When we found Smithware, we hoped that we could get our systems to a point where they would be more reliable and that we would have confidence that we were putting the right resources in place to maintain and support our growth.

Smithware put a comprehensive technology plan in place and over the next few months, we were very pleased to see how much better our computers and overall technology was working for us. Scott was especially good at understanding what we did as a company and to help us put in place those things that we really needed. Now we have good backend file and print services (I’m surprised that I even know what those are!), disaster recovery with solid offsite data backup, we are entirely virus free (finally), and we have a new shop management system that is allowing us to provide much better customer service to everyone that we work with. And those are just a few of the improvements that we have seen. We have been very pleased with Smithware and look forward to working with them in the future.”
Andrea Snyder, Co-Owner, Sundowner Trailers Centers
Kingston Springs TN
www.sundownertrailercenters.com

Incentive Publications

“For years, Incentive Publications had wrestled with how to best apply technology to the distribution of our vast library of educational resource content for teachers and parents of kids K-12. We were a thirty-seven year old company that had been printing and distributing books the same way for a very long time and time had come to rethink our technology strategy.

In early 2005, Scott approached Imogene and Henry Forte, the founders of our company, with various ideas on how we might use technology to improve how we get our content to our customers. Independently, he wrote a document called, “Incentive Publications: Using Technology to Enhance the Company.” (contact Smithware to provide a line to edited PDF version) This document convinced Imogene and Henry that we needed to move into the 21st century with our web site technology. Imogene and Henry both passed away from cancer before our solutions came to be, but they both knew that this was clearly where our future success would be.

Scott did further analysis and determined that eBook distribution of our content was the best way to go and that we could use off-the-shelf tools to make it all work. Smithware developed the overall technology plan and showed us proof of concepts for us to see first hand how we could automatically offer preview capabilities for all of our books online in their entirety and how to create eBooks on the fly using a secure PDF format. In addition to the technology strategy, Scott pointed us to Tom Ranseen at NoSpinMarketing to help us design our updated customer focused web site with eCommerce and eBooks built in. Once the new site was built by Stafford Street, we have been very pleased with how the whole eBook and preview strategy has turned out for us. As of July 2006 our web site has only been live for a short period of time, but we are already impressed with the results.”
J. Blake Parker, President and CEO, Incentive Publications, Inc.
Nashville TN
www.IncentivePublications.com

Lumen Lamps

Smithware has been providing Lumen Lamps with IT support and strategic planning since before we opened our doors in April 2002. I have been most impressed with our ability to pick and choose what Smithware services we need whenever we need them. We are not large enough to have our own IT staff but with Smithware, we always have the talent that we need, when we need it. Scott has been particularly proactive in helping us keep our technology expansion in line with where we were in the growth of the business.

He has also been instrumental in defining our technology strategy for our new web site www.LumenLamps.com. This site will be an exciting new sales channel for our company and Smithware has put together the perfect team that also includes NoSpinMarketing and iDesign to design, build, and promote the site. We especially like the fact that Smithware has been able to use off-the-shelf tools to make the site perfectly fit our needs so that our products can be experienced on the web in much the same way that our customers experience them in our shop. We are really looking forward to the launch of www.LumenLamps.com this fall.”
Clay Isaacs, President and CEO, Lumen Incorporated
Nashville TN
www.LumenLamps.com

Simdesk

“Scott is one of those rare individuals who can operate effectively and simultaneously on defining strategic goals and on managing the multitude of details and tasks necessary to realize them. When Scott founded his first software company in 1988, his various titles were President and CEO, programmer, accountant, marketing director, salesman and shipping clerk. Scott successfully grew the business to twenty employees and over $2M annual revenue before selling it ten years later in 1998. He has volunteered on the board of directors of Nashville CARES for many years, helping that organization meet its operational and fund raising goals. He is very effective at understanding, focusing, and communicating corporate strategy. He is a meticulous planner, and has the management skills, energy, and attention to detail to produce results.”
Steve Mook, Software Engineering Manager, Simdesk
Austin TX
www.Simdesk.com

NoSpinMarketing

“I’ve known Scott Smith since we were both executives at empacthealth and Medibuy and have always been impressed by his ability to understand complex businesses and figure out the right technologies to make them operate better. He’s equally at home developing high level IT plans as well as he is finding and developing the technologies needed to improve business processes. Truly unique these days! For three clients over the past few months--Southeast Financial, Incentive Publications and Lumen Lamps (under development still) where Scott acts as the CIO--we’ve been able to blend our respective technology and marketing skills (with partner designers) to make those companies’ web sites integral contributors to their businesses. I enjoy working with him as do his clients, and I look forward to collaborating with Scott on many other projects in the future.”
Tom Ranseen, Principal, NoSpin Marketing
Brentwood, TN
www.NoSpinMarketing.com

Mini-Case Studies

Incentive Publications eBook Strategy and Proof of Concept

Southeast Financial Business Process Automation