Craftsmen of Fine Technology

Ackmann & Dickenson (A&D) is an application development and digital marketing firm that delivers tailored technology solutions. A&D’s unique breed of digital craftsmanship has brought organizations to the forefront of technology by providing expertise in mobile and web development, user experience design, and digital marketing.
 
Undisclosed
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
50 - 249
 Founded
2007
Show all +
Minneapolis, MN
headquarters
  • 515 Washington Ave N Suite 400
    Minneapolis, MN 55401
    United States
other locations

Reviews

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Web Development for Energy Management Provider

"They are our development team."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
2008 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Ackmann & Dickenson partners with the client for internal software development. They augment the company by assigning resources to work on various projects such as application management or development.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
St. Paul, Minnesota
Priscilla Koeckeritz
President & CEO, EnergyPrint
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Ackmann & Dickenson built the client's first start-up app and MVP in 100 days, and the client has been with them since. They provide overall knowledge of the marketplace and technologies, quick turnaround times, and a collaborative team approach.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

EnergyPrint provides energy management services to engineering and contracting companies that serve commercial buildings. We gather, input, validate, and report on utility bill analytics for our contracted customers in order for them to find ways of improving buildings and saving energy.

What is your position?

I am one of the founders and currently the president and CEO.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Ackmann & Dickenson?

We started working on the concept for our company in 2008-2009. We wanted to take the millions of data points that are collected from utility bills and deliver cost, consumption, and carbon metrics for buildings' energy usage, using a simple reporting mechanism. We committed to answering simple questions for our customers: Is the building getting better or worse? Are there savings opportunities? Did the money spent for improving a building pay off in terms of energy savings?

We turned to Ackmann & Dickenson with the problem of processing a large amount of data and delivering simple business metrics. We needed a database and a data model which would allow us to mine that model. We also needed to build a simple application that would act as a delivery vehicle.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in greater detail.

We're a service and software company, but we have no internal software developers. Ackmann & Dickenson is our strategic partner in this area. They are our development team, so assigning them specific tasks for projects matters less than having an integrated relationship and a development roadmap.

We handle our business analysis services internally and build our own project scopes, but when it comes to actually working on a project, Ackmann & Dickenson will assign us the resources to implement. This includes everything from application maintenance to the actual developers.

We wanted to iterate over the life of our product, and to have a process in which our beta customers and business team would be part of the same team as the developers, sharing ideas and feedback as the product was being built. We preferred making iterations in small sprints and getting back to our beta clients in order to see if that was what they wanted. With Ackmann & Dickenson, we went through a 6-week planning phase, after which we built the first phase of the application in 100 days. We chose them because they were a design-build kind of company, and they were willing to become a part of our team and morph their processes with ours, offering us a strategic solution for taking our product to market. Ackmann & Dickenson's flexibility and adaptability mattered very much. Their understanding of the Agile process and knowledge of how that iterative methodology works were strong.

When we initially hired Ackmann & Dickenson, they were a startup company. The first developer they hired works as our lead developer to this day. We've been with Ackmann & Dickenson since they were young, and we've grown up together. The business sense offered by their principals – as well as their ability to understand that every project was unique in terms of people involved and what the intentions for that particular product or application were – mattered a lot. Ackmann & Dickenson was very flexible, yet held their ground for the more important items from a technological or security perspective. When it came to learning about a new industry (neither one of their owners had worked in the energy management field), Ackmann & Dickenson was very open. We've brought Ackmann & Dickenson to meetings with our clients, and I was impressed with how they handled themselves from a business perspective and how they emphasized the fact that they were a part of our team.

How did you come to work with Ackmann & Dickenson?

We looked at three different companies which came to our attention through referrals. I have a background in marketing and communications, so I knew many people who had built websites and applications for their companies. I called them and came up with names for three companies which we met. We had discussions about what we were doing and the required deliverables. We looked both at each vendor's previous work, as well as their general work process. Ultimately, we selected Ackmann & Dickenson because the other candidates required a period of 3-6 months for creating requirements, after which they would spend the same amount of time actually developing the software.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

Sorry, this is confidential.

What is the status of this engagement?

We've been working with Ackmann & Dickenson on an ongoing basis since 2009. They are a very important part of our team.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

During our startup phase, the fact that Ackmann & Dickenson was able to build an application in 100 days and get us to a viable and marketable product quickly was a huge achievement. This is the main reason for continuing to use them. When we have a new development phase for additional functionality, the scope is often as comprehensive as it would be for a new application development. I'm impressed with the fact that, when we are ready to build something, Ackmann & Dickenson will be quick in putting resources together and can deliver in a matter of weeks or months. The iterative process used by Ackmann & Dickenson is a perfect fit for us.

How did Ackmann & Dickenson perform from a project management standpoint?

My product manager works with Ackmann & Dickenson on a day-to-day basis. At a high level, because of our way of engaging with Ackmann & Dickenson, we handle a lot of the project management internally and interface with the developers directly, which is unusual for this type of relationship. From a project development and estimation standpoint, Ackmann & Dickenson has always been very efficient and partnered with us to document scope and timelines.

What distinguishes Ackmann & Dickenson from other providers?

Ackmann & Dickenson's overall knowledge of the open source world, of how applications integrate with each other, and their constant search for faster solutions have made them stand out. There have been many times in which we thought we'd have to custom-develop a feature from the ground up, only to have Ackmann & Dickenson produce a solution or idea which was already in the marketplace. For example, we initially thought that we'd have to build our own charts and graphs, but Ackmann & Dickenson proposed an existing library and customized it. We eventually selected a product called High Charts. There have been many opportunities in which we thought that we'd have to spend much more on development, but Ackmann & Dickenson brought us open-source solutions. We've appreciated their overall knowledge of the application marketplace and mobile technologies, and figuring out how not to rebuild the wheel. We didn't have to own every piece of intellectual property in the world, but rather we adapted and absorbed what was already available, making it our own.

Is there anything Ackmann & Dickenson could have improved or done differently?

The challenges we've had are not unique to Ackmann & Dickenson. There will always be difficulties when working with an outside partner in terms of obtaining resources exactly when they're needed. We've had many occasions of doing last-minute planning for a development cycle that was to start the following week. Sometimes, it will take a while to obtain the resources which we need. We've always favored the developers which are familiar with our code, instead of having to teach new people about the work. This is typical for outsourcing and code development in general.

We've had to develop project management and product management internally because we needed to own the process from an intellectual property perspective and also because we thought that we'd handle the task better in-house. This isn't really a weakness of Ackmann & Dickenson, but rather a strength for our company. Ackmann & Dickenson's business acumen comes from how they use technology in order to deliver against a business need. This is the reason for continuing to work with them 8 years later. I can't buy this knowledge through simply hiring a person. Ackmann & Dickenson has a team of 35 developers who constantly work on the latest, greatest stuff. We've morphed into doing the things which we needed to do so that we could best consume what Ackmann & Dickenson offers. We manage the product roadmap and handle most of the project management, while the business acumen, application infrastructure, and technology infrastructure are Ackmann & Dickenson's responsibilities.

5.0
Overall Score We've looked at other developers over the years, and we've continued to work with Ackmann & Dickenson for all of their strengths.
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Web Design for the Down Syndrome Foundation

"The results speak for themselves in the way the website looks; it is absolutely fabulous."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Fall 2015 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Ackmann & Dickenson created a new updated website that allowed online registration and donation functionalities.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Angie Kniss
President, The Down Syndrome Foundation
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The client has been extremely satisfied with the site's design and performance, and Ackmann's personal, hands-on approach. Ackmann & Dickenson provide excellent customer service and are responsive to the client's requirements.

BACKGROUND

Please describe what your company does.

The Down Syndrome Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose main function is to operate and support the Down Syndrome Camp.

What is your role or position at the company?

I am currently the president of the Down Syndrome Foundation.
 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Ackmann & Dickenson?

We had an outdated website and low visit volume. We wanted to update our online profile as well as have a website where our participants were able to complete registrations and visually see what our camp was about.

What were your company's specific goals for the project, especially as it pertains to your industry?

To make a website that has all the necessary information and has complete registration for events done through the site.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in detail.

We needed a full website created from the ground up. To have a registration for campers that are all online and have our other events where people can donate online.

How did you come to work with Ackmann & Dickenson?

A&D was selected due to prior customer recommendations, cost, and excellent customer service.

What is the status of this engagement?

The projected was started last fall [2015] and went live in late January. We are still working out a few minor issues.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

Sorry, this is confidential.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

The results speak for themselves in the way the website looks. It is absolutely fabulous. We could not have been more excited for the way it has turned out and the way they are always willing to help with the changes.

How did Ackmann & Dickenson perform from a project management standpoint?

Excellent. I have had nothing but a wonderful experience with our project manager. He has taken a personal role in checking in with us and helping with anything that we have asked. He had outstanding customer service and communications skills and had been a pleasure to work with.

What distinguishes Ackmann & Dickenson from other providers?

The hands-on experience, excellent customer service, and willingness to listen to what we want and make that happen are what stand out about Ackmann & Dickenson.

In hindsight, are there areas in which they could improve or things you might do differently?

I wish I found them sooner to have them do our site.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Web Design for Equipment Lessor & Financier

"They've hired the best in the market... I cannot speak more highly of them."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
May 2015 - 2016
Project summary: 

Ackmann & Dickenson redesigned the client's website with enhanced SEO, improved brand imaging, and better metrics tracking. The client is currently in the process of retaining them for ongoing management and refinement.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Conrad Magalis
Marketing Manager, Advance Acceptance
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Ackmann & Dickenson provided top-notch services, quality of work, and professionalism. They were knowledgeable in the client's field, remained ethical and transparent, and delivered excellent project management.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

Advance Acceptance is a division of First Western Bank & Trust. We're a national equipment leasing and financing company.

What is your position?

I am the Marketing Manager of the company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Ackmann & Dickenson?

The main goal was to obtain a better image and present ourselves more effectively in the marketplace, refreshing our brand. It was more of a conceptual idea, but when we drilled down into more granular tactics, we decided to build a new mobile friendly website which used a modern CMS that could be managed internally.

We wanted to integrate new features and functions in the future, such as online payments and other operational and functional applications and plug-ins. From a marketing perspective, we wanted a site which would perform well for SEO [search engine optimization] purposes. We wanted to find a partner who also offered digital marketing, SEO, and other strategies which we could leverage on a retainer basis.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in greater detail.

We created a new face for the website using Ackmann & Dickenson. Our platform needed to be clean, simple, and intuitive, allowing us to focus on new long-term business objectives and reach other markets. We wanted to drive more web traffic and tackle ongoing digital marketing using ad words. We plugged in Google Tag Manager and other tools which helped us drive marketing and enabled us to track who was visiting our site, know which pages performed most effectively, what documents were being downloaded, and so on. This platform allows us to track real data and know what's going on with our brand.

How did you come to work with Ackmann & Dickenson?

In the Twin Cities, we have access to one of the most highly-positioned markets for digital services, especially public relations marketing and development. Many large agencies have headquarters or branches here. I went through an extensive RFP process which was submitted to around 11 digital agencies, some of which I'd worked with previously. Many variables went into making this type of decision. Being a bank, we have a very long and political process, going through every risk and taking the due diligence for onboarding a new partner. It resulted in many meetings throughout the selection process.

I presented our options to the board and to some of our committees in the form of a 200-page document, including financials and due diligence. That being said, there was some very compelling competition to Ackmann & Dickenson, but they stood out on a level that was above any other agency with which I worked. I never saw such a smooth, transparent, and honest approach from any other firm.

Ackmann & Dickenson was one of the largest agencies to submit a proposal to us. They have a staff of 50 employees who have the talent to do the work quickly and not have us wait for things to be delivered. Other candidates averaged only 20-30 resources on the largest end. Having a large staff was a good indication that our project would be taken care of and not thrown under when a new client arrived. I have experienced this before and it's not very fun.

The main reason for choosing Ackmann & Dickenson – besides the fact that they were very approachable, honest, and had a good reputation – was that they offer all of the services which a marketing department would want to leverage in terms of digital capabilities, advertising, SEO, and so on.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

Sorry, this is confidential.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started the initial proposal process in April of 2015. Ackmann & Dickenson was selected in May or June of that year. We gave them an express agreement and went through the due diligence required by the bank in order to move forward. Ackmann & Dickenson was very easy to work with and provided all the necessary information.

I needed to present Ackmann & Dickenson's whole security process to my company, from their Rackspace server to the internal data handling policies used by Ackmann & Dickenson. The contract was signed in October and we kicked-off in January 2016. The work was wrapped-up last week. We have a drawn-out process, and I wanted to have a lot of headway in order to create content and get everything in place. I know how stressful it can be to write thousands of words for a project like this and refine it. I was starting from scratch, given that the company didn't have a lot of material from the beginning. Ackmann & Dickenson turned everything around quickly, and anything that ever moved slowly was due to our team's process. It would have been a month-and-a-half project normally, but it turned into a three-month one due to us having to work with the bank and having to take care of operational matters.

We're in the process of creating a second retainer for Ackmann & Dickenson to deliver ongoing management and refinement. They will work with me in order to make the project worthwhile, adding new functionalities, helping us integrate online payments, and so on.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

There have been no complaints about the work done by Ackmann & Dickenson, and everything was completely seamless. Any hang-ups were the fault of my own company. We needed to handle bureaucratic matters which held up the process. I've worked with many agencies and service providers; Ackmann & Dickenson comes on top of any other firm in terms of service, quality of work, and the professionalism of their staff. I cannot speak more highly of them.

Ackmann & Dickenson set the stage of what was supposed to be done. They asked many technical questions which weren't asked by any of the other agencies upfront. This showed us that they knew a lot about financial services and would be able to work with a heavily-regulated organization. We can't undertake anything if it violates federal law, and we need to be careful about the people with whom we work. I've worked in many organizations in a marketing and communications capacity; in my present position, things have definitely been more challenging than average. It's a good thing in a sense because it gave us time to prepare. Ackmann & Dickenson handled things in a way which was completely upfront and transparent. There were no surprises at all, and I knew what the end-result would be.

How did Ackmann & Dickenson perform from a project management standpoint?

Ackmann & Dickenson received a 10/10 in terms of project management. They set up Gantt charts and other documentation during the request for proposal process in order to give us timelines. We had weekly check-ins on-site. I prefer to do these types of things in person, which was not a problem for Ackmann & Dickenson. They took the time to accommodate my needs and to work around my schedule.

We communicated through Basecamp and other leading project management tools. From this standpoint, the relationship was perfect.

What distinguishes Ackmann & Dickenson from other providers?

The people who work at Ackmann & Dickenson are the most upfront, honest, and ethical team I've encountered from sales, project management, development, and design perspectives. There were no underhanded tactics that surprised us. The process was completely transparent, and Ackmann & Dickenson's staff was top-notch. They've hired the best in the market. So many clients from competing agencies have gone to them as a result. Ackmann & Dickenson is very good at getting the right people to do the work.

Is there anything Ackmann & Dickenson could have improved or done differently?

There is literally no negative aspect to be mentioned. That may sound incredible, but I am extremely analytical as far as marketing goes, and I have no complaints. Ackmann & Dickenson's pricing was very good as well.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

SEO Audit for Standing Desk Company

I was impressed by their numerous bright ideas and proposed solutions right from the very start.

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Mar. - Aug. 2017
Project summary: 

Ackmann & Dickenson audited a retail company’s SEO and SEM strategic efficiency to find ways to improve. Consulting services shed light on the market competition in a challenging industry.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Phoenix, Arizona
Web Developer, MultiTable
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Ackmann & Dickenson pays careful attention to detail and offers cutting-edge innovative proposals. The team always looks for creative new ways to help companies improve their online marketing strategies. All their resources are amiable and collaborative.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

MultiTable designs and engineers standing desks from the ground up. Listening to our customers' needs helps us improve our product.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Ackmann & Dickenson?

“Standing Desk” is searched for online over 100,000 times per month. We have strong competition within this market. As a smaller, privately owned company, we need insight into best practice to stand out. Ackmann & Dickenson found critical areas to attend to. They helped us elevate our game to the next level.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We’ve partnered with Ackmann & Dickenson to perform multiple intensive SEO audits. They’re experts in SEO and Marketing, and the team is personable and easy to work with. They paid great attention to detail and went above and beyond to give us an edge up on our competition.

How did you come to work with Ackmann & Dickenson?

I met the A&D Team at a marketing event in Phoenix, AZ. They presented as partners with Google.  

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Ackmann & Dickenson have delivered multiple thoroughly planned SEO and SEM Reports that have proved useful for my company. After receiving their consultation, we had a comprehensive view of our market competition’s strengths and weaknesses. The service they provided was worth a five-star review.

How did Ackmann & Dickenson perform from a project management standpoint?

They have expert insight and provided great tips and tricks.

What did you find most impressive about them?

I was impressed by their numerous bright ideas and proposed solutions right from the very start.

5.0
Overall Score Great company to partner with
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They delivered on time and was punctual at every step of the project.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They have very competitive pricing for the level of service we received.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    These guys rock!
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I would recommend them to any size company.