Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?
In our relationship, when we put out a system for our end-users, we don’t really brand it under our name. It’s almost like white boxing software for them. For example, if we launched a project with Best Buy, their system and their users aren’t going to know our company, and they’ll never know Realnets exists there. They’ll know whatever we name that software package for them. Best Buy might come up with something like Best Buy Partners Center or something similar.
So from that aspect, no, there isn’t much I can really talk about, which is a byproduct of our relationship, not necessarily a byproduct of the work. From our standpoint, one of the challenges that we have as a company is this idea that we have demands put on us, like everybody else. For the most part, one of the good things about having Realnets is our ability to scale up and scale down when we need to, especially on that development side. They’ve been a real asset in that respect.
Our work relationship is almost like a faucet. We always have it slowly running, but then there are times, either in a month or a quarter or even for a particular project, that we ramp that up and turn it full blast. Then we’re able to scale it down again in accordance with demand. From my perspective, as the owner who makes the financial decisions, that’s a huge value to us. It’s something that most companies our size don’t really have, and/or maybe just don’t take advantage of, because they don’t know companies like Realnets are out there.
What distinguishes Realnets from other providers?
When we talked about using Realnets, I was really skeptical at first in regard to their ability to do a lot of our software development, because it was a custom-built software platform that we had. Dealing with legacy systems can be a nuance, there’s a lot of learning curve to it. What was really nice about Realnets was their hands-on approach on learning and understanding why we did certain things. A lot of programmers, and I’ve been in this industry for a long time dealing with IT people, really respond well to a, ‘Here’s what I need you to do. Go do it,’ approach. Whereas with Realnets, we feel that they have really taken a lot of time to understand the why’s and the how’s of our business. They also have a ‘How can we expand this?' approach.
Typically, when working with other outsourcing companies, it leads to a tough relationship, especially when you don’t have people on the same page at that higher level. That’s one of the big advantages that I have seen with Realnets. I’m an entrepreneur at heart, and I’m looking at other projects, and certainly I would get them involved in future projects, even for my own sake. I’ve talked to other people about them and have become a pretty good reference for some of the other clients that have sought them. I really consider it a shining moment of our relationship, when our kind of engagement happened; and it continues to happen, which is really nice.
Is there anything Realnets could have improved or done differently?
Like anything else, when you’re building something it can feel like there are three cooks in the kitchen, so to speak. Between our clients asking for updates, and the Realnets team, it sometimes seems that there is a lot of stuff going on, and a couple of things might be missed, or the quality assurance [QA] wasn’t done as thoroughly as it could have been. As I said, that could be our fault, needing everything to be done yesterday. Knowing that, and being kind of a seasoned person in the IT industry, I understand that. It’s a consequence of having a lot of stuff at once.