Hackathon-01

IgnitionOne Hackathon!

So much to do, not enough time! Familiar to anyone?  Most likely.  So, what happens when you want to squeeze another project into the pipeline?  You want it to be innovative, you want to satisfy your clients’ needs, and you want it soon, real soon.  You do what any good team does, you find a way to get it done!  And that’s how the first IgnitionOne Hackathon in Atlanta was conceptualized. We are well integrated with our clients and knew what could create a positive value add for them, so we put them right to the top of the list.

A Hackathon: 5 developers. 2 days.  Could this be done?

As the weekend for the Hackathon neared, we finalized the projects and agreed on the requirements.  A bunch of other folks wanted to help out as much as they could, as we were anxious for our team’s success, so, we did what anyone does out of anxiety, we baked!  Apple pie, raspberry bars and samosas.  We headed to the office on the first day anticipating a stressed team. I hate to disappoint, but I don’t have a story of empty boxes of pizza, half eaten Chinese food cartons, unkempt hair and tired eyes.  Maybe that’s what you’d imagine when you’ve set big expectations for a small group of people in a boxed amount of time, but what we saw was quite the opposite.

Pictured: Craig Alexander, Brett Koenig, Mike Simpson, Vic Kirkpatrick, Mike Dugan, Dave Ragals, David Strube
Pictured: Craig Alexander, Brett Koenig, Mike Simpson, Vic Kirkpatrick, Mike Dugan, Dave Ragals, David Strube 

Developers huddled in a conference room or concentrated at their desk, nothing out of the ordinary. They were confident and clear on their objective.  When asked how they’re doing, they simply answered ‘We’re on track, here’s what we have so far’ and gave us a brief update.  But they didn’t need to speak about it; they could showcase their actual work. It was definitely progress! And I was eager to see how the concept would actualize into a product within a day.  And right on schedule the next day, they were prepared for a demo.  Not a work in progress, but near complete pieces of functionality that would change the way our clients use data from the DMS.

Grid Export was something we had on our wish list, and I was ready to see it.  One of the developers started the demo: Go to Media Management, filter your campaigns however you want them, click on Grid Export.  There you have it, a .csv of your campaign assets, complete with performance and engagement metrics.  Simple and fast!  I was impressed.

Then there was Web Query.  Essentially, web query functionality allows users to import data from a web interface into a spreadsheet.  For IgnitionOne users, this has to encompass account hierarchies and different levels of campaign assets available within the DMS per user permission settings.  To see a completed product that included all of this was exciting.  We downloaded the necessary add-in and completed set up of a normal spreadsheet.  Within a simple interface, we selected various levels of account assets (selected campaigns & groups).  All of it downloaded into separate tabs within the spreadsheet, mirroring the DMS.  We went through the steps again using a specific pre-defined filter within the DMS. And again, the Web Query feature was easy, quick and completely integrated within the DMS. The team had created more than a data pull down. There are so many ways our clients will benefit from this customized on demand data access tool. Whether they will use it to retrieve keywords for analysis, download ads to audit or create dashboards ready for presentation, this is another innovation that will simplify marketers’ day to day work.

At the end of 2 days, the challenge was more than met.  We have performance reports underway, we have Grid Export and we have Web Query.  Bounty well deserved for our developers and lessons learned for me.  When you create great features with clarity and confidence, they will speak for themselves.  You don’t need fancy words or comfort in food.  Though, I must say, the food was well appreciated!

Congratulations Mike Simpson, Mike Dugan, Craig Alexander, Vic Kickpatrick, Brett Koenig on setting a great example (and excitement) for hackathons at IgnitionOne.  And Donella Cohen, keep the Apple Pie coming!

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