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Ten Questions for John Meleky, IT and Security Director, Voice Retrieval Systems

Voice Retrieval and Information Services (VRI) is one of the oldest and largest privately held service bureaus in the United States. The VR Election Services business unit offers complete board election services for pension and retirement systems, associations, credit and labor unions, and university alumni associations.

A 15,000 square foot facility in Dallas, Texas, houses the company's iSeries model 720. All core production applications were written by VRI.

What types of applications did you develop with WebSmart?

For our election services, we developed applications to let members of organizations vote over the web along with the use of Interactive Voice Response equipment. All of the data that's collected is kept in a single and secure central data repository on the iSeries machine. For our other services, we will be using WebSmart to develop an online solution for 24/7 payment capabilities.

Was any training necessary?

I did attend both basic and advanced training but the product is very easy to use, very intuitive.

What led to your selection of WebSmart?

I looked at WebSphere and it was very complex, with all the training involved, and long development cycles it didn't fit into my timeframe.

What are a few things you really liked about it?

It was easy to set up. They provide what I call quick start documentation so I was able to be productive very quickly. We are now able to construct sites within hours.

Did WebSmart generate 100 percent of the executable code?

Yes.

How much traffic does your site see?

It depends, we run multiple elections at a time so usually at the onset of an election the traffic is very heavy. Our single largest election so far included 500,000 people.

Were any hardware upgrades required?

No. We upgraded to the 720 from an AS/400 model 400 but it had nothing to do with WebSmart-- it was because of IBM support.

Are you using any other BCD products?

We also have Catapult, Docu-Mint and now Nexus.

Did BCD's Technical Support team give you satisfactory answers when you called?

I am very, very amazed. Anytime I ask a question it gets resolved in less than 24 hours. They really follow through- they are concerned, and they have a nice knowledgebase that you can access which includes solutions that you can incorporate into your own programs. They also have a monthly email newsletter that gives examples and new release information.

What would you like to tell others about your experience with WebSmart?

It's the easiest product to use bar none.