Please describe your organization and the role that you play there.
We provide Software as a Service. It's a combination of directory services and Parent-Teacher Association management services. For example, at schools, they do a family directory. Historically, they've done it by paper, and then came the Web. We do directories as well as help PTAs manage their membership with signup tools fundraising tools, online stores, and emailing capabilities to the parents. Our product is a publicly facing website that we offer for a subscription fee. We have about 1,000 schools that use our service.
Please describe your role in the app development process.
My wife and I are co-owners. We handle most functions, but also have some consultants who help us. My wife handles most of the Web design and user interface and marketing. I handle the database management, the programming of our tool, and other business aspects.
What was the business challenge your company was facing that incited the need for an application development platform, and what was the business goal you were hoping to accomplish?
We were desktop based, but were becoming outdated. There's a fundamental issue with our business as a desktop application from a support standpoint because the chair people at the PTAs are volunteers and they change every couple years. Our product needed the ability to transfer the software and the database to a new user easily. We needed to go to a Web-based application and find a development tool where we could easily replicate our product on the Web.
Did your company have a formal selection process for deciding on a mobile app development platform? Was your company considering other platforms? Why this platform?
We did detail research and compared different products. We came up with two or three. My background is accounting; however, I worked closely with the IT [information technology] department. One of my colleagues was looking at Alpha to build accounting software, which is when I first heard of Alpha Software. I was comfortable with Alpha because they'd been around for a long time. They started with a desktop database, and they evolved into what they have today. That was a very helpful factor in knowing that they'd continue to be around for a long time, and they would continue to innovate.
What pricing does your company utilize?
We spend about $3,000 a year.
RESULTS & FEEDBACK
Can you share any success, metrics, or overall results of your implementation of this app development platform?
Taking our desktop app, which was written in Microsoft Access, and rebuilding it in Alpha took us five months. Talking with other developers that timeline would be unheard of with most other tools.
Were there any software features or tools that really impressed you and of which potential buyers should be aware?
Looking back, were there any areas of the software that you feel are not intuitive or upon which you feel could be improved?
Not within the software. Any software has a learning curve. I think Alpha is easier to learn than most software. Where they need some improvement is consolidating their documentation. They have a lot of good learning tools but it's not organized effectively.
Have you found it necessary to consult any of the company's available support resources? Was the support useful and accessible?
Alpha has a very active developer-community message board, which is very helpful. There's a lot of people on there that have a lot of experience. They've posted things to help others and answer questions.
We have a few quick questions, and for each question we ask you to rate the software on a scale of one to five, with five being the top score. What would you give the software for desired functionality of the features available?
What would you give the software for ease of use and implementation?
Four and a half.
For support as in responsiveness and resources available?
Four and a half. Every software has bugs including our own. They're very quick to address them. So, five for that, but I'd give them lower – four or three and a half on the documentation.
For overall usability and satisfaction with the platform?
How likely are you to recommend the software to a colleague or similar business?