I was immediately fascinated by the Eventi Sociali corporate mission: to provide volunteer associations with vehicles equipped for the transport of the disabled, the elderly, the sick and in general the weakest individuals in the community.
To achieve this goal, Eventi Sociali mediates between the world of profit and the world of non-profit by raising the necessary funds for the purchase of the vehicles and the special equipment they require. Fundraising takes place thanks to a group of agents who offer the rental of advertising spaces on the sides of the vehicles, so that the sponsoring companies can contribute substantially to the huge costs necessary and obtain a return in image and advertising.
When an association or an institution needs a special vehicle and cannot afford the purchase independently, it turns to Eventi Sociali, which deploys several agents in the territory where the association operates at the same time with the task of contacting as many potential sponsor companies as they can as quickly as possible.
Before this phase, Eventi Sociali identifies on the surfaces of the vehicles the geometric spaces where the advertisements will be placed, treating each vehicle as a sort of multi-space billboard. The vehicle will be purchased and set up only when the sponsorships collected can cover a pre-established share of the entire surface of the vehicle.
At an organizational level, before the advent of the app, there were various coordination problems and management aspects of administrative flow that were difficult to solve with common office automation tools:
- It often happened that two agents operating in the same area were selling the same advertising space, and in this case one of the two contracts had to be canceled.
- It happened that, not having a list of prospects available, an agent could contact a company that had previously been contacted by another agent.
- Sometimes the sponsorship contracts were imperfect, as they lacked one or more substantial elements not collected by mistake.
- The sponsorship contracts filled in manually by the agents could be difficult to read.
- It was difficult for the administration to precisely monitor the work of the agents.
- The graphics collected by the agent, almost always in paper form (business cards, letterhead, etc.), came to the graphic studio in disparate and disordered forms, sometimes even without contractual reference.
Eventi Sociali therefore decided to turn to an expert in management who was able to develop a mobile application to solve the problems described above, and they hired me for this project. (Thanks!)
Before the development of the app, four main areas of intervention emerged during analysis:
- Administration side: define the means and all the geometric spaces in which sponsorships can be hosted / Agent side: select one or more free spaces to be included in the sponsor’s contract;
- Administration side: administer the lists of prospects to the agents’ devices / Agent side: access all available information of the prospects, filter the list by address or other search element, find the closest contact (not previously contacted by other agents) to the geo-localized position of the agent’s device;
- Administration side: define price lists, payment methods, discounts / Agent side: conclude the sale easily respecting all the mandatory inputs with the aim of making the contract perfect in its final phase, that of the digitized signature;
- Administration side: create a cloud archive that is easy to consult and automatically prepared by the app in which the PDF files of the contracts are stored / Sponsor side: obtain a copy of the PDF contract by e-mail / Graphic studio side: obtain by email the graphic elements collected by the agent, which the agent photographed using their device.
Subsequently, the app was created by assembling these elements and defining different processes according to the role of the user: a user with the agent role, for example, will never be able to define vehicles and price lists, so the behavior of the app is diversified depending on what the role of the user is.
The following roles are managed in the app: SuperAdmin, Admin, Sales Director, Area Manager, Agent and Graphic Designer..
Cloud archive and mail sending service
The creation of the archive in the cloud was carried out thanks to the implementation of the Zapier integration service. Thanks to this service, the app can communicate with other web applications and use processes not directly available on the server.
Brief explanation of the process
A trigger (a Zap) is created in Zapier which constantly monitors the sheet in which the contracts created by the Agents are recorded; upon inserting a new row in a Google Sheet, Zapier reads its contents and sends a data packet in JSON format to the pdfmonkey.io service; the latter interprets the package received and “spreads” it in a template created in HTML, embellished with a CSS stylesheet, which represents the structure of the document for which the PDF is to be created. Being an asynchronous process, a second trigger defined in Zapier waits for the creation of the PDF and then uploads the document created by pdfmonkey.io in Google Drive to the Vehicle folder, which has been designed to contain all the advertising space contracts collected by the agents. Finally, the ID of the document in Google Drive is written in the contract sheet exactly in the line from which the data package originated and is thus made available for download in the form of a link.
For the definition of the subsequent process, that of sending e-mails, the creation of a lightweight application on the Google Workspace platform was preferred because it is economically more convenient. The process has a logic similar to that described above; here, a temporal trigger examines the content of the sheet and when it detects the completed PDF news, it invokes the function of sending mail to the customer, the administrator and the agent containing the notification and the attachment of the newly created contract; then it sends an email to the graphic studio containing the graphic elements collected for the creation of the advertising space.
Benefits obtained from Eventi Sociali
The app has streamlined most of the business processes that are linked to the core business of Eventi Sociali, significantly impacting the entire company organization. The most important advantage was time gained in managing contracts; previously interventions by the secretariat were often required to correct errors or recover missing information which, in some cases, could also be the cause of a reset of the negotiation. The app has greatly facilitated the work of agents in the field; now everyone can access information in real time and they don’t run the risk of wasting resources by running after contacts already worked on by others. Just as the administration has easy tools to monitor the efficiency of each agent, the entire control chain (sales managers, area managers) can also observe the processing status of the contacts and intervene when necessary to provide support in contractual conclusions. Finally, even the graphic studio can take advantage of a more precise working scheme and quickly obtain the basic graphic elements useful for creating the advertising to be affixed to the vehicle.