In terms of results, could you share any statistics, metrics, or user feedback that would demonstrate the quality of their performance or the success of the engagements?
That's difficult to answer. The industry we're in doesn't really have existing statistics and benchmarks. As I said, the first phase cost roughly $50,000, but we had estimates from other companies for that exact same phase that ranged anywhere from $75,000 to $350,000. Dolphin Micro came in and did high-quality work for far less than the others would have, which is a real testament to their value proposition.
It's tough to give a figure because I don't know what we would have done had we not gone with Dolphin. We knew what other options were out there, but they weren't very good options for us, given what we knew about the people we were dealing with. Even in 2011, there were two golf companies that spent upward of $100 million trying to accomplish what we've done on a shoestring budget, which is a testament to Dolphin's capabilities.
When working with Dolphin Micro, is there anything that you would consider unique about their practice that distinguishes them from other vendors?
Expectations change in time. When you see something come in under budget and ahead of schedule, you tend to assume that is the norm. So, you almost fail to give them enough credit. But, when that happens again and again, it is obvious you are working with an outstanding company. They're probably one of the most reliable and versatile technology companies out there.
In retrospect, are there areas in which you think they could improve as a service provider?
I think if there were any changes needed, we would have already made them. Maybe the one thing I'd say is that if Dolphin Micro had asked more questions up front on a couple things, maybe we would have gotten it right the first time instead of needing to go back and rework it. However, in all honesty, you can spend so much time up front, that you actually waste time in the process. So, I don't know if I actually would have preferred that up-front investment. I really think I'd rather have it just get built, and then fix what's not working. We'll test it, and we'll figure it out, rather than sitting there with paralysis by analysis, trying to figure out how to make everything perfect from the beginning. So, for me, that's always a tradeoff. But, I like how everything ended up, and I wouldn't change anything about our working relationship.
What advice, if any, would you give a future client of theirs?
Go into the project with very specific goals and objectives of what you want out of each phase. Don't just say that you want to build a new website. Narrow it down as much as you can at the very beginning. Identify your pain points, the problem you are trying to solve and what the end goals are.
I guess my recommendation is to do what we did and have a clear idea of what you want, even down to what the screen might look like. If you don't have a graphic artist on your team, hire one or find somebody that can do that, just so you can go to Dolphin Micro and say, "Here's what we want."