What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
We needed a really good home on the internet and a resource for people looking to do business with the federal government. We don’t have formal metrics, but we did come into compliance with our contract vehicle program management office and that was one metric in that we were compliant with what they wanted contractually and then we have also had a significant amount of feedback from our partners saying the website looks great. It was outdated before and it was noticed within the community. The feedback we have gotten has been positive.
How did Direction perform from a project management standpoint?
From a project management standpoint, I think it was primarily Ian who was running the show. I was interfacing with him and I think that he performed very well. He was very easy to work with, very on top of his stuff, and just very open. I’m sort of a picky customer. He was able to accommodate our requests and a lot of our direction as to where we wanted the website to go relatively easily.
For the rest of July to the middle of August, it was me and Ian interfacing, and we just knocked off the last touches. We took a break for a while and I reengaged with Ian and he has been really responsive and that is how he has been throughout the whole period.
What did you find most impressive about them?
I don’t really have a good point of reference, but they stood out with the description of their approach and their go-to market approach. They stood out with their offering. They were very specific in what they would do and that was what we were looking for. We just wanted someone to work on our website. We didn’t want to engage in larger digital marketing efforts. We are going to pivot at some point to our social media presence and give that a refresh over the next six months to a year, but we are not really heavy on that end of the business, as a lot of businesses are. It was just a very simple search and they really met the criteria, focused heavily on the website itself, and were working with us to get it where we wanted it to be. Seeing that was their approach, it was very attractive and set them apart. The pricing seemed right where we wanted it to be. I think a lot of the other competitors I did see would have wanted to offer us more than what we wanted, and they were also much higher priced. With the price point for what they are aiming for and their business model, I think Chris (CEO) at Direction has it in a pretty good spot.
Are there any areas they could improve?
It isn’t a negative, but one of the things I would recommend, or a piece of constructive criticism would be that I think on the project management end, at points, they were maybe too eager to meet my needs. I would throw over a few things I wanted to be changed or improved, and this was probably in July. We had already launched, and it was just clean up at that point.
When we launched, we knew we had a few things to fix but we didn’t want to wait any longer, and we couldn’t because of our program management office requirements with our contract vehicle. There were things that we had to fix and those diminished as we worked through the list.
There were several points where the feedback I would receive would be that they took care of all of it and they wanted me to check it out. I would go check it out and it wouldn’t be all of it. There would still be some things left, and then I would follow that up by telling them there were still some things that needed to be fixed and what needed to be focused on. Eventually, they would whittle it down to zero. It is almost like taking an ax to a tree. It’s not necessarily that they weren’t doing it. They were very eager to get things done for us and had a very positive attitude and I think that might have led to a rush to finish the product.
I think a better approach, is just managing expectations better, and to start working away and stuff and let the client know when they have gotten through some with a little more to go. Just go through it methodically. It takes a little bit of time, and I wouldn’t have had a problem with that, and the communication would have been key there. I think it is just slowing down a little bit and being a little more careful in that kind of stuff. How can you complain about that.
When I would follow up with Ian and let him know some stuff got taken care of and some didn’t, it was never taken the wrong way. He was totally cool with me continuing to hack away with my ax. I can be a picky executive and customer, and he handled that very well. It made me having to go back and do that more tolerable and it was never angering or enraging. They are nice, professional, and good at what they do.
Do you have any advice for potential customers?
I would say to other potential customers or partners, to just be involved and not to be afraid to be involved. There is a creative aspect to websites as well as an image aspect. If it is your company, you want to be on top of that. Just prepare to be more hands-on and I think that was one of the other things that I liked. They were pretty upfront with working with us hand in hand, and I was totally down with that. You want to have that artistic control, for lack of a better term. Just prepare to be involved. It is a more efficient price point and that probably does entail a little more activity on the customer’s end, but it is totally worth it if you’re ready for it and if you’re prepared for that.