After too many Sunday evenings watching his wife juggle phone calls with the kids' music teachers and athletic coaches, Richard Ruben realized that there had to be an easier way. So he found one. This week, his company, SkedgeMe, released its eponymously named "smart" scheduling application."E-calendars such as Google's and Outlook's are really just [hard-copy] calendars that appear on your computer screen," Ruben says. "But SkedgeMe has business intelligence built into it, using complex rules to do all the work that you would otherwise have to do yourself through phone calls and e-mails."
SkedgeMe is cloud-based, so there's no hardware or software required. To start using it, just enter your log-in ID, click on "Manage Business Settings," and set up the scheduling rules you want the software to follow. Then use it to set up appointments with employees, partners, suppliers -- anybody you interact with on a regular basis. SkedgeMe functions as a mini-CRM system as well, allowing users to set up and edit contact profiles and share them with others in their organization.
The key features and functionality of SkedgeMe:
-Sends e-mail "invitations" to the people you want to schedule time with; recipients can accept or decline right from the e-mail. Sends automatic e-mail reminders, too, and you can even e-mail customers to "advertise" an open time slot.
-A widget allows you to put SkedgeMe on your website. No website? No worries. You get a free micro-site with SkedgeMe.
-Need to see how many times you've met with a particular client in the past 6 months? SkedgeMe logs every appointment that's scheduled, canceled, or changed. Take advantage of SKedgeMe's ability to capture structured data by running a report. These reports can be used in a number of ways -- to look for customer scheduling trends, for example, or to generate an invoice.
-SkedgeMe's color-coding system makes it easy to see at a glance whose schedule you're viewing and the status of scheduled appointments (green means confirmed, yellow means unconfirmed and gray means the meeting or event has already taken place).
Interest in SkedgeMe is coming from all quarters, according to Ruben, who says he expected to see more independent service providers signing up for the app. Although the SkedgeMe client roster does include some solo players -- an acupuncturist and several physical therapists, for instance -- most of the buzz is happening within departments or divisions of midsize companies and enterprises.
Users hail from a variety of fields. One university's career guidance office is using SkedgeMe to make appointments with students. A law firm is using it to schedule on-campus interviews. A hospital has signed up with SkedgeMe to schedule its EMS training sessions. And several companies are using the software to schedule trade-show booth time.