Over the weekend, you may have noticed that we launched a new version of the . ?When you click the link from our home page to our client login, what you now see is a completely re-done Data Center (2.0, if you would). ?DataCenter 2.0 may not look new, but honestly, it really is new. ?We didn’t change the portal’s design (yet), because we want to ease our clients into the new platform before we start making the?DataCenter 2.0 a lot mo betta.
the New GAP Data Center?
The new GAP Data Center is designed to be in form and function almost exactly the same as the old data center (with a few exceptions). The rationale for developing the new Data Center is bi-cameral where each balances the other. The first was to migrate the New Data Center to an environment that was good at a lot of things the old one was not – such as back-ups, cloud-computing and storage, and incorporation of open source technologies where feasible. The biggest benefit to being in a new environment however is the ability to maintain and further develop the data center over time with minimal expense or development time.
The second rationale was to ease migration to the New Data Center for our existing employees and clients. That is, few have the time to learn new systems, so we developed the new site to look and feel and work almost exactly the same as the old. ?DataCenter 2.0 may not look new, but it should work branding spanking new.
When the orginal DataCenter was first developed 4 years ago, Gary and company collected all the change they could muster from their couch cusions to pay for the ?development. ?What the development team?created was nothing short of a masterpiece. ?The old DataCenter was easy to work with, touted never before offered search capabilities, ?and was the platform that supported the early days of the business. ?Over time however, the little engine powering the old DataCenter could no longer handle the massive?load of information gap intelligence collected. ?Currently, there are over 20,000
?market intelligence reports and roughly 7,000 price & promotion databases?stored on the DataCenter. ?Essentially, we outgrew the old engine, which slowed to a crawl with the weight of our data on its shoulders. ?With that came the development of the DataCenter 2.0 and shifting from milk truck to Abram’s tank.?
Things we added
* Improved search performance (searches are both better at matching and take a fraction of the time to complete)
* Ability to add categories easily (thus reflecting our growth as a company)
* Permissions by category and type (I.E. if you’ve subscribed to a particular product, that’s the only product you see).
* Deep-linking that works with login requirements – in other words, when we send a link in your market intelligence report, you click on it and you do not have to be logged in for us to properly re-direct to that specific article after you log-in. That log-in step is now not a problem.
* The site works well and looks good in Internet Explorer 7.0.
Things we removed
* The redundant pricing and promotions links in the right navigation bar
* The redundant recent news links in the right navigation bar
Things we improved
* Speed – page loads in general should be much faster.
* Search – no longer takes a minute (literally) to get your search results and the results should be much more relevant.
* Authoring environment for Market Reports. We are working currently on a system for BOTH authoring and alerting.? So if a new pricing and promotion report or market intelligence report is uploaded an alert is sent immediately.? Currently our email alert system is separate but this will change soon.
* Session timeouts have been extended to 24 hours.? So if you frequently visit the data center, you won’t need to log in each time.
*Back-ups, redundancy and load-balancing.? Not that you noticed this before, but we’ve been doing periodic back-ups of all our data.? This is now enhanced with our use of cloud-computing.? Our Data Center is now a part of .? That’s a fancy way of saying the reliability and accessibility of our systems is literally the best technology available on the market.? This means less downtime and?more capacity to scale up to the demands of our users.
In the near future, we will be paying a lot of attention to performance.? We know that your time is precious and we want to make sure anything we build saves you time.? The fine tuning of the performance and reliability of our data center is key to that.
Further down the line we want to add more functionality to Data Center 2.0.? We’re adding a “shopping cart” like report generator tool.? I mentioned alerts – those will not only send alerts via email, but if you choose, also via Instant Messanger
.? If you have trouble viewing our reports in your email client, then we’ll send links to you instead.
In addition, one of the things I’m most excited to incorporate is integrating our search with semantic search capabilities.?? Semantic search uses artificial intelligence to extract meaning from unstructured text.? Once we do that, we can enhance that text’s findability and categorization by integrating it with our search AND providing alternative categorizations that you can also create for yourself and your organization.
Since the GAP DataCenter 2.0 is licensed to the entire corporation, inviting others from your company to use the data center should be effortless, right?? We think so to.? We’re working on innovative and intuitive ways to make that a reality.
Looking way into the future, I imagine each article and each data point being a point of discussion. The richness of meanging that can come from interacting directly with the data in the DataCenter, asking questions of our analysts, tagging and creating your own heirarchies of meaning are all now possible now that we’ve relaunched in this new platform.
We apologize for the mess and for any bugs that you may discover in the near future.? We appreciate your patience and continued support of our little engine that is getting bigger.? In exchange, we promise that we will change the way you ever thought you could view, use, and communicate marketing research to your co-workers, partners, and customers.