AttaainCI Has a Dashboard

If you’re reading this on Thursday, June 26, 2008, the day it was posted, you might get the impression that I’m writing diligently and working hard. 

I’m not.  I’m on vacation.

I wrote this on Tuesday, June 24, 2008.

TypePad, the SaaS that I use to create this blog, has a dashboard from which I can set blog post times.

Don’t I sound in-the-know?  "SaaS and "dashboard," indeed!  SaaS-sy!  Thank Daryl Scott, CEO of Attaain, Inc, a member company of business acceleration center VT KnowledgeWorks.

In his demonstration of AttaainCI, a competitive intelligence (another cool term I learned) system, Daryl Scott showed us AttaainCI’s dashboard.  Just like in a car, it overlays AttaainCI’s operations with a user-friendly interface that allows a person to use the system simply without having to understand its complexity.

I heard Doug Juanarena of GenTek Ventures say recently, "You don’t have to understand how the clock works to tell time."

Exactly.

When I read the description from Attaain, Inc.’s website of AttaainCI as software-as-a-service, I thought Daryl Scott had coined a very nice phrase.  It is a nice phrase.  it just didn’t originate with him.  Software-as-a-service, or SaaS, just means you do stuff online that you used to do on your home computer. 

For example, ten years ago, I loaded the software package Microsoft FrontPage 98 onto my PC, created websites, then sent them to a another company’s servers.

When FrontPage 2000 came out, I would have had to buy the software package, load it, configure it, learn it, and start again.  Too much hassle.  I didn’t. 

In contrast, today I create websites using TypePad, whose software is stored on its servers.  When TypePad updates its software, I use the new button on the dashboard, and keeping going.

My beloved sixth grade science teacher at Margaret Beeks Elementary School, Mrs. Rosa T. Holmes, listened raptly to my classmates’ reports of the latest oddity we had read about in National Geographic or the latest rocks we had found in the wilds of Blacksburg that just had to be bones or arrowheads.  She would shake her head in what I thought at the time was profound awe.

"Learn something new every day," Mrs. Holmes would say.

Although I realize now she was teaching us to love discovery and had seen and heard it all already, year after year at that, I still have Mrs. Holmes’s voice in my mind when I feel wonder.

When I saw AttaainCI’s dashboard and learned what SaaS was, I shook my head and thought, "Learn something new every day."

If anything goes wrong with the blog, Jim Flowers, director of VT KnowledgeWorks, can make a high-tech phone call to my cell phone.  Since the blog is stored online, not on my home computer, I can use TypePad’s SaaS dashboard on my sister-in-law’s computer or at a library, cure what’s ailing, and get back to learning something new every day.

In Minneapolis for a few days rather than in Blacksburg. 

But like Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator, I’ll be back.

Attaain, Inc. is a member company of high-tech business accelerator VT KnowledgeWorks, located at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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