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Doug Nebeker ("Doug")
I am looking for a SaaS or software based meeting room booking system. We currently use Microsoft Exchange and have meeting room setup within that.
If someone wants to book a meeting room, they include the email address of that room and someone that approves the email and the room is booked.
However, what is happening is that often that the room is booked and so you end up emailing another room etc. It's a real pain!
Windows users can open shared calendars and see what rooms are free, but half the company is Mac users and this does not work. OWA is also not much better.
I am looking for a meeting room system that integrates with Exchange but has a SIMPLE web based booking system, showing when rooms are in use etc. Bonus for a Andoird / IOS version as well.
Has anyone seen anything like this ? I have been looking for a simple SaaS project so if not I might build it :-)
You should take a look at this. A very reasonable solution can be achieved just using a recent version of Exchange.
You Sir, have stumbled into the Land of the Ghost Office Administrators. It's a broken management system.
You have a situation where there is no clear hierarchy of working groups, individuals working on multiple projects with weak connections between them, no clerical staff to keep track of everything on a human scale and an environment that requires gaming skill to get the resources you need when you need them in order to perform your job.
The weak link is human. People need to be flexible in their work scheduling in order to actually accomplish anything. If you have an automated system for booking meeting rooms, you have to find a way to hold bookings in reserve so you have something to barter with your colleagues when plans change. Typically, alliances are formed, so you can always get a room if you are desperate, by convincing others to give up their booking in return for future favours. If you left it up to calendar servers, you would be at the mercy of employees who have better access to preferential bookings, who have no incentive to manage the system to benefit you. There is a lot of incentive to restrict information flow, so that alliances and narcissistic sysadmins don't lose power.
Bet you didn't know you were working in the Matrix. If you have found a way to make the current system work, why would you look for a system that is more fair and diminishes your power? If you have figured out how to game the current system, don't expect those that have to help you in your quest.
Perhaps you write your own? They are not that hard to write. I wrote this one in Access 2010 (web services) . The resulting application thus runs on site (if you have SharePoint), or you can use office 365 at $5 per month hosting. Video here:
So the above runs on office 365 – an interesting platform. Note how half way thought the video I run the room booking system 100% in a browser.
Note when you publish the Access application the result is a XAML (zammel) forms system with really what amounts to a .net application (forms are AJAX). The back end is now residing in SharePoint lists (so no MS Access parts are used to drive the web application). I ONLY used Access to build this application without any other tools. During this festive system I likely will spend a few evenings and re-write the application in asp/vb.net.
Albert D. Kallal
Edmonton, Alberta Canada
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