Mekko Graphics is designed for management consultants and corporate strategists and provides dozens of business charts and graphs in a cost-effective package that integrates seamlessly with Microsoft PowerPoint.
Founded in 1995 as Knowledge Management A
Jorge E. RodriguezPartner and Co-FounderJorge Rodriguez is a co-founder of Mekko Graphics.He has more than 45 years of experience in software engineering with extensive experience designing and building large-scale database systems and desktop information delivery solutions.He is a strategic adviser to the Mekko Graphics team and played a key role in designing earlier versions of the product.
Jorge RodriguezJorge Rodriguez is a co-founder of Knowledge Management Associates.He has more than 35 years of experience in software engineering with extensive experience designing and building large-scale database systems and desktop information delivery solutions.At KMA, Jorge is the lead software architect.He plays a key role working with clients and KMA developers to design and build technology solutions.
Reliable Software, Inc. Knowledge Management Associates High Availability Case Study - Michael Stiefel
Because of the highly-distributed nature of the solution, as well as the stringent availability and performance requirements, KMA co-founder and chief technologist Jorge Rodriguez decided to use a consultant accustomed to pushing Windows NT Server and Microsoft BackOffice to the limit.He didn't want a "cowboy," however, but someone who would take a disciplined approach to systems design, thus achieving an optimal balance between performance and stability.
The Importance of Careful Analysis
The choice, he says, was obvious: Reliable Software, Inc., Brookline, Mass., a specialist in crafting solutions involving Microsoft Corp. technologies, including Windows NT Server, Microsoft Visual C++, Microsoft SQL Server, and Microsoft's Component Object Model (COM).
"All of Michael's initial guesses panned out," says Rodriguez, who adds, "Getting the core application working properly in such a short time gave us and our clients a great deal of confidence that we could deliver the solution in an extremely timely fashion."
The system now receives 5,000 queries per week, and research that used to take the firm's consultants three weeks "now takes just a few minutes," according to Rodriguez.
Reliable Software, Inc. Knowledge Managment Associates .NET Conversion - Michael Stiefel
Jorge Rodriguez, principal at Knowledge Management Associates, Inc., Waltham MA, was all too well aware of these requirements when he wanted to update KMAâ€™s popular Mekko Graphics software.Mekko Graphics offers dozens of business charts and graphs that integrate seamlessly with Microsoft PowerPoint, and is the kind of tactical, high-ROI application that usersâ€"in this case, thousands of financial and management consultants worldwideâ€"grow to depend upon, and passionately bond with.
Rodriguez knew that any upgrade would not only have to offer users significant improvements over the current versionâ€"otherwise, they wouldnâ€™t upgradeâ€"but that the upgrade process itself would have to be executed near-flawlessly, with lots of input from, and testing by, users.
Mekko Graphics had originally been written in Visual Basic, and, at the time Rodriguez was pondering the upgrade, the code had already been reworked numerous times.
It made sense, therefore, to build the application from scratch on a more modern platform--.NET to be specific.
Rodriguez called in Michael Stiefel., principal of Reliable Software, Inc., Brookline, MA, and author of Application Development Using C# and .NET , to serve not just as an architect and developer for the project, working in partnership with KMAâ€™s own development team, but also as a consultant and trainer.
Using the Platform to its Fullest Extent
Rodriguez selected .NET because it offers an improved development process and allows the creation of more robust, and more easily maintained, applications.
Many of these benefits were apparent from the very beginning of the development process, he says. â€œWe could see that it provided a better way of architecting, and a better way of coding and testing.
Stiefel also assisted KMA in developing application features that would have been difficult to achieve using other development platforms, including a highly-popular â€œundoâ€� capability that allows users to step back through entire graphical scenarios. â€œThis is something the users really loved,â€� Rodriguez says.
Stiefel was also instrumental, Rodriguez says, in developing Mekko Graphicsâ€™ version identification capabilityâ€"a very important feature in a â€œlong-lifeâ€� product with which many users have been creating their own objects going back as far as ten years. â€œHe helped us create an environment and infrastructure within the product that enables us to handle multiple versions,â€� says Rodriguez. â€œMekko Graphics can now handle objects created with all past versions of the product AND will also be able accommodate those objects into the future.â€�
Stiefelâ€™s primary contribution, according to Rodriguez, was being, â€œa good thinker and a good architect who was always pushing us towards the direction of making things clear and clean.
Weâ€™re always challenging each other, and he challenged us.
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