What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
We were in a bit of chaos for a fairly long period of time, close to 6 months. The CRM marginally met the requirements originally. But when we switched our business model, it went from marginally to almost not supporting us at all. Running my company was a nightmare. We were running this company with Microsoft Word documents, with spreadsheets, everything was manual, handwritten—it was just horrible.
Finally, after about 6 months of real, hard development, and listening to us on why it wasn't working, we are now in the best shape we've been since this company was formed.
How did Gera-IT perform from a project management standpoint?
They had a project manager assigned to our project; he's my primary contact. I have almost daily interaction with them. We used Skype, Slack, and a portal where we create tickets to monitor their progress. We used GoToMeeting with them, and just a multitude of different products.
They were good at making sure that, if someone on their side might’ve had a language barrier, their project managers were IT-savvy and didn't have a language barrier. You can tell that English is not their first language, but it doesn't hinder our ability to communicate.
We've had 3 project managers over the years. In terms of developers, there's not many. I have no idea how many are around our team in total. We don't have an internal team of developers. I'm the COO and a minority owner of the company. Myself and the person that manages my call center are the liaisons from our side. That's one of their strengths—I'm not a technical guy and neither is the person that manages our call center. They are able to speak to us in the manner that we need to be spoken to, in non-technical terms, and convert it to what they need to do on their end.
What did you find most impressive about them?
The reality is, when we were going through tough times with our organization and the software wasn't meeting our needs, it was a very stressful time. They had to deal with me when I wasn't always the nicest guy to deal with, and probably not the most rational, and enforcing unrealistic deadlines. They came through that like a champ. I think a lot of companies would’ve thrown in the towel given the amount of pressure we were putting on them, but they kept coming back for more and ultimately solved it.
Are there any areas they could improve?
The one thing they wished we would've done differently, and it ultimately becomes something that they might have done differently as well, is a lot of the QA testing. We don't have that resource allocated to us. We don't pay for that resource on their end, so they are dependent on us to do the testing.
Being a non-technical team, the testing that we do would best be described as woefully inadequate. I don't need to tell you that doesn't work out really well in the long term. They're doing development, we're not doing great testing. Ultimately, it results in more development that probably didn't need to be done.
The only thing that they may do better is to really insist that a QA manager or a QA consultant is part of the team. In other words, you have to have them. Although that's a double-edged sword, because if they forced it on me, I probably wouldn't have gone with them. I do know that it would be an enhancement, but I also know it's a cost, and a lot of companies just can't absorb that cost.
Advice for potential customers?
If you're going to do QA, you've got to really do it. You're either going to pay them to do it or you've got to have someone on your team who is capable.