The genesis of The Resource Network lay in the government sector. State governors concerned with a proliferation of organizations to which states were providing resources proposed a “Hall of States” in Washington D.C. to co-locate offices in order to achieve economy and focus. Rodgers was tasked with devising and implementing a solution.
“The idea was to use technology and data connectivity for bringing people and resources together,” he says. “Today we’ve moved from the states to the world, bringing very disparate resources together in a way that the combined result is catalytic and something more than just the sum of the parts.”
The Resource Network system was conceived as a creative use of best-of-breed data resources. At the core of the system was a FileMaker relational database application used for communications and events management that contains more than 40,000 chronological events such as meetings and public events.
Standard Microsoft products would also be employed, such as the Office suite of products, Outlook for email and calendar functionality, and SQL Server to house a repository of information on every country in the world—500 global sales regions, 4,155 country sub-units and thousands of cities and communities.
In addition, the system would incorporate Salesforce. com SaaS offerings including a customer relationship management (CRM) application used in managing contacts, accounts, and opportunities.
The key to the unique value that The Resource Network hoped to provide, however, lay not in the parts but in the whole. “Our aim was to develop in FileMaker what we call ‘synergy point’ applications,” Rodgers said. “These would connect information from all of these sources, including synchronization with Outlook email and pushing information to the Outlook calendar.”
Data connectivity would be the critical element of this synergy. It also presented the greatest challenge to making the system a reality.