Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
We’ve increased annual recurring revenue by about $600,000 since we’ve started working with them. We have lowered churn rate by about 25-30% on some of our Software-as-a-Service offerings. We’ve lowered churn rates. We’ve increased productivity.
I could tell you one of the reasons we decided to give them autonomy on some projects. When we were managing projects before, a client would come to us and say, “Hey, I want to modify XYZ.” We’d go back to the client with a six- to eight-month project scope and then they would say “No thanks; we just want to look elsewhere or stick with what we have.” So one time when this happened, we decided to involve Net Solutions, and it was the exact same scope with an eight-week turnaround. We won that deal and it was much more profitable for us, as well. The profit margins were a lot bigger.
This is the third project that we’ve given the complete autonomy on, but this is the first real big one.
How did Net Solutions perform from a project management standpoint?
For all our projects, we use Basecamp as a project management platform, but we also use JIRA and Mantis for bug tracking and task tracking. We’ve used Aha.io for sprint planning. Most of the time, they recommend tools and then we take a look and we do it. They’ve influenced a lot of our internal project management and communication as well based on their recommendations.
They’ve also handled turnover issues really well. They provide shadow positions or shadow resources for all of our key positions so that if there is turnover, they have someone who has been able to soak in all the knowledge and can take over without any major hiccups. All the main guys, all the leaders and senior guys, they’ve been around since Day 1. They do a good job with their employees. I’ve actually been to their office in India in addition to their operations in Montreal and Toronto. It’s like a mini Google campus, so I don’t think their employees are ever going to want to leave. So the team that we do have, since they’ve been with us for so long, they have incomparable productivity.
What did you find most impressive about Net Solutions?
Their ability to integrate into our culture, take ownership of products, and invest in our products like we have. They live and breathe by our outputs, just like we do. I never thought that a partner company would be able to do that, but they’ve really become partners to us. They’re not vendors; they’re partners. It’s a hugely valuable relationship to us. We would be in big trouble if we lost them, that’s for sure.
Are there any areas Net Solutions could improve?
It would be counterintuitive for them, but if they had more senior architects, the super high-end software architects in Montreal or Toronto that would be great. Most of their highest-level architects are in India, and that’s where the best minds are, arguably. But I guess if they were in Montreal, it wouldn’t be affordable for us to hire them. As I’m saying this, I’m realizing it wouldn’t work. They have great soldiers on the ground here that do excellent work, but oftentimes some of the bigger resources are in India.
What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with Net Solutions?
I’d say really engage Net Solutions in your decision process for the engagement model. By that I mean if you want to do dedicated resources or if you want to do it on a per-project basis, really compare and contrast the two. Figure out what works best for you. Make sure that you include more than just yourself or the project leader in communicating with Net Solutions. Make sure the teams are fully integrated. Make sure everybody there knows everybody from your office. That’s the most important thing.