Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?
One of our main customers was using the system originally. There were three companies that were our competitors, who had the same type of deal out there. Everyone came back saying ours was much more user-friendly regarding the aspects of being able to navigate through it and use it effectively. That was 100 percent MIT's doing. They put it all together and showed us what they thought. We liked it, and we hoped the customers would like it. Once they got access to it, they loved it. It was very user-friendly, and it wasn't confusing. Tasks were easy to perform and information was presented to our users in an accessible and intuitive way.
A lot of our in-house staff members also say that it's very easy to use. They didn't have any issue with it at all. When they issued a bill to our accounting department, or they issue a report for analysis on an oil well, we had an area to submit that. When it was submitted, it fell right into place in the system. We've never had anything be assigned in the wrong well or anything else that wasn't an input error on our part. Each of these locations are identified by a series of about nine numbers, and a couple times we've had a typo, so it went to the wrong location, but that's was nothing that was done by MIT Group.
What distinguishes MIT Group from other providers?
What I would say is unique is the personality of their staff. They're very easy to work with. You'd think you've worked with MIT Group for 20 years, and you have a great relationship with them. We've worked with a lot of companies, and a lot of times people are trying to stick 100 percent to what I'd call the business structure, but they brought in a lot of enjoyment into it, too. Very personable – I guess that's the best way to put it. They are very personable – easy to get along with and easy to work with. They were upfront with about changes that increased cost. They'd say, "We can do this, but in order to do this, it's going to be this." Usually the actual change in cost was very small. They have a pretty good idea of what it's going to cost you before they talk to you. I really appreciate that because I work with budgets.
They were also good in their estimation of project completion. They actually completed it quicker than they said they would. They came in probably about two to three weeks early. That was pretty good. Actually, in our world, that's exceptional and almost unheard of.
In hindsight, are there areas in which they could improve, or things you'd do differently?
No. They really handled everything we needed and either met or exceeded our expectations. They did a fantastic job, and I was very satisfied with their performance. Our other employees who were dealing with them kept coming back and saying, "These guys are great." They were able to come down to our level sometimes. If they were talking above our heads on technology and the things they were doing, they very quickly would recalibrate and come back to put that in layman's terms. We all appreciated that. They were able to come down to our knowledge level.
What advice, if any, would you give a future client of theirs?
I would say listen to them. A couple of changes we have made, we should have listened to them. We would kind of go ahead and force it and say, "Hey, we want this," and then some issues would come up. The customer is always right but, sometimes, the customer needs to listen because it isn't his or her own area of expertise. They definitely have the knowledge, and we should have listened to them more. We probably would have saved a little bit of money, too.
At one point, Brad [Johnson, chief information officer at MIT Group] said, "If you do this, you're not going to gain anything. It will just cost you more money," and he was right. I thought they were very fair on everything they did. We're owned by an investment group right now, and they had another deal where they've done this with another company. Once we explained to them what we paid versus what they paid, they really didn't believe us. They paid quite a bit more for almost exact same type of program.