What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
Because it no longer requires manual intervention, the start-to-finish provisioning time for a new customer has gone from a week and a half to about an hour with the automation IT Svit has done. It’s a drastic improvement. We no longer require engineers to provision a new customer—the tech support analysts and implementation team who are admins can just key in the data. The net result is that we can now deploy hundreds of customers a month as opposed to five or six. It opens up huge sales and deployment possibilities.
When we started the project, we had planned to keep the technical project management in-house because we saw it as critical. But IT Svit’s technical lead proved so good—he really understands not just the development, design, and technology of the tools but also how to make software work—that we changed our plans. Lots of people write code but few understand how to overlay the software functionality with the business process. We quickly realized that they could handle the technical project management. They provide guidance to the other teams on how things ought to be done. That has freed up internal resources to do other things and lowered our costs.
We’ve ended up coming in probably 30%–35% under budget so far. I think it's going to continue this way given that the results from them have far exceeded our expectations.
How did IT Svit perform from a project management standpoint?
We communicate daily. At the beginning of the day, they lay out what they’ll do that day and, at the end of the day, they give us an update of how far they got and any challenges they faced. We also do status calls every Tuesday and Thursday. When we started these calls, it was just us and the IT Svit team. Now we have the other teams on that call and IT Svit leads it from a technical perspective.
We do our own development and, when you're moving as fast as we move, knowing what's happening is critical so that we can make decisions. We have to make decisions very quickly and we’ve been frustrated with other companies that don’t do a very good job of providing status updates. IT Svit has shown me a different way to communicate.
They’ve come in under every deadline we've had. They're typically done before we're ready for them to be done. That's been consistent throughout all the work they've done for us.
What did you find most impressive about them?
There are two key things. First is communication. Communication is what makes it all happen—and is the most important thing when you’re outsourcing and working remotely. It’s critical because it lets you manage your project and stay on track. Without us having to demand or push back, they’ve had consistent communication processes in place, like the twice daily status updates. It’s not just the technical folks but also the business colleagues that check in with us. Every couple of weeks they send us a survey about how the team is performing in order to adjust or correct any issues.
A very close second is their knowledge of technical architecture. They have the ability to implement our requirements. They didn’t depend on us to give them requirement details. They were able to take the high-level requirements and make suggestions on how to build out the new architecture.
Are there any areas they could improve?
Some of the colleagues’ English skills could be improved. This is minor but, given our global society, it’s a tough one. Some of the technical people aren’t as fluent in English but all of the key people we work with on a daily basis are perfectly fluent. It was a concern of mine going into the project and we were hesitant. But we took a gamble and it paid off.
Do you have any advice for potential customers?
We fell into the trap of paying too much attention to the price. The cost per hour is the metric that we all use. We calculate the estimated time to complete the project in hours and the hourly rate we’re paying. I’ve learned from this experience with IT Svit that this is a bad idea—because they work fewer hours than other vendors on similar engagements but get twice as much done, if not more. They might be more expensive, but it’s worth it. I would suggest that, for anyone looking at working with them, do it. They’ll save you not just money but time. They’ll improve the quality of your work because they’re invested in it and perform extremely well. Because they perform so well, they can shorten the time it takes to get work done compared to someone working at a lower hourly rate. If those lower-cost companies are focused more on development skills than architecture and design skills, they can cost you more money, more time, and cause your project to fall behind. If IT Svit falls within the skill set that you need, don’t pay attention to the rates. In the long run, they’ll be cheaper and you’ll get a better-quality product.