Saratoga - with alacrity

We partner with successful companies and convert business ideas into technology solutions to create meaningful business benefits and sustainable solutions. Our committed and talented technology and business experts are organized into high-quality, high-performing teams that consistently exceed expectations. We love working with business people to see great ideas delivered.

We want to change the world for the better. The digital revolution will improve people's lives on a scale and at a pace that is unprecedented in human history. Our goal is to facilitate this by enabling great businesses to get their technology solution ideas out there fast, cost-effectively and ethically.

 
$10,000+
 
$25 - $49 / hr
 
50 - 249
 Founded
1998
Saratoga
4 Greenwich Grove, Station Rd, Rondebosch
Cape Town, WC 7700
South Africa

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Old Mutual, Sanlam, Direct Axis, Coronation Asset Management, Worldwide Chain Stores (UK), Stewardship (UK), TFG, Independent Media, First National Bank, CSPC (USA).

Revitalising an ageing technology stack

Worldwide Chain Stores (WCS) is an internationally recognised provider of supply chain software solutions and services. Specialising in warehouse management, procurement and labour management solutions, WCS has a track record of providing world-class solutions to large organisations in North America, Europe and Africa for over a 45 years.

The Solution

WCS’s 2nd generation Warehouse Management Solution was based on legacy technology and this presented a challenge to the long-term sustainability of the business. The technology behind this solution would need to be updated and the system redesigned. WCS invested in a 3rd generation offering called CSnx, and required a highly skilled development team to implement the project.

The Results

We delivered a robust, stable, high performing application that should be successful even through the most stringent international architectural audits. The system is easily maintainable, thereby significantly reducing...

Enhancing an international donation platform

Stewardship is an organisation based in London, UK and offers the public a consolidated way to donate to charities, organisations and selected individuals. It facilitates the gifting of over £60 million each year in donations and has a network of over 19 000 charities. Give.net is the client-facing website for Stewardship, enabling users to financially-support a cause of their choice, and Saratoga was tasked with transforming Give.net.

The Solution

The project aimed to rebuild the Application Programming Interface (API) to modernize and improve security, to adopt a user-centric approach to ensure ease-of-use of the end product and to implement seamless online card payments and processing.

The Results

The Saratoga team built in new online card-processing facilities, and the introduction of these enabled Stewardship to streamline their financial affairs, as well as give the organisation an option to incorporate additional payment options like PayPal in...

Delivering a global online field-reporting platform

Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church (CSPC) is an American based organisation that provides financial support in the form of sponsorship to missionaries who do voluntary work in various organisations across the world. CSPC needed a common reporting system for the missionaries that would result in a consistent level of accountability of finances and outcomes.

The solution

Saratoga believed the best way to enable this global community with a reporting system was to build a custom-made platform, making use of cloud and web service infrastructures allowing CSPC users to create, modify and submit project updates through a secure web access portal at any given time.

The results

– Progress reports are now automatically stored in a data warehouse that is available for user query and reporting.

– The platform allows for pre-loaded questionnaires to users, enabling sponsors to study missionary activity, behaviour, interests and concerns.

– Better...

Reviews

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Web Dev for News Platform

“It’s always been very effortless to collaborate with Saratoga.”

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$1,000,000 - $9,999,999
 
Jul. 2014 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Saratoga developed a scalable framework using Progressive Web App along with a new mobile responsive platform. It integrates with a CMS that hosts content from 17 different news publications. 

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
South Africa
Group Executive, Media Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Compared to the initial expectation that it would host one website, Saratoga built such a robust and scalable framework that it’s compatible with seven platforms. The excellent results of their work have laid the foundation for a durable and long-term partnership for the foreseeable future.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the group executive at a legacy print company. We own and produce about 17 newspapers in three cities across South Africa. On our digital platform, we aggregate and publish all the same news each day.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Saratoga?

We needed help to develop our digital news platform. 

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Saratoga helped us build a framework to host the new website they developed for us from scratch. They designed it to be mobile friendly and showcase content from other providers. For example, third-party suppliers provide financial or sports data we need to display. As they created the layout, the team helped us place advertisements and content from our CMS.
 
Over the last 3-4 years, we’ve completed several iterations. We’re currently developing on the new framework using Progressive Web App (PWA), Google’s recommended product to make apps mobile friendly and fast. They’re presently incorporating features and functionalities from the app into a basic browser. 
 
We work with Sarasota on a sprint-by-sprint basis. They perform all the maintenance and complete new requirements. As we scale up, we’ve started using the framework for other websites. As the second largest news platform in South Africa, we see over 5 million unique visitors online every month.  
 
What is the team composition? 

We work with a business analyst, a lead developer, one senior developer/architect, one junior developer, and one developer/frontend CSS designer. 

How did you come to work with Saratoga?

My company was already working with Saratoga when I joined. A reason they were selected is that they’re a smaller group within a holding company. 

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent more than $1 million.

What is the status of this engagement?

We’ve been working together since July 2014. Our engagement will be ongoing for the long term. We will always need developers to support and improve our system as we continue to scale up. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Before we started working together, our website was attracting about 1.8 million unique browsers per month. Saratoga has helped us scale the technology as our business grows and more people come to the site. They delivered a platform that’s fast, responsive, and mobile-first. We attribute the site’s growth and success to their tech and development team. 

The framework Saratoga built was so robust and automated that it generated opportunities for different websites and properties. Next week, we’ll be rolling out the sixth website that uses this framework, and the seventh one within two months. Saratoga will manage each one. Initially, we’d only anticipated them working on a single website for us. 

How did Saratoga perform from a project management standpoint?

We have weekly and sometimes biweekly meetings with Saratoga and all our different stakeholders. Together, we discuss technology, editorial, SEO, and design strategy. We have a sprint planning meeting every two weeks. 

What did you find most impressive about them?

It doesn’t feel like we’re working with an outside company. We can easily and very comfortably work in their offices. Similarly, they fit in well in our space. It’s always been very effortless to collaborate with Saratoga.

Are there any areas they could improve?

The entire software development industry is currently struggling to attract more development talent Engineers are in short supply, and it’s not as easy to find new resources

4.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Dev Partnership with Supply Chain Software Company

“They effectively brought new individuals up to speed and integrated them into the team.”

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
3.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Mar. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Using the legacy code from a previous build, Saratoga developed the latest iteration of a cloud-hybrid management platform. They currently serve as a core development team and are working on new features.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Camberley, United Kingdom
CEO, Worldwide Chain Stores
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Saratoga worked in close tandem with internal stakeholders to deliver the project on time and under budget. Although there was a steep learning curve, the team gained industry knowledge and integrated smoothly into the internal team. Their technical aptitude continues to make them key partners.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the CEO of a supply chain business called Worldwide Chain Stores. For over 48 years, we’ve developed technical solutions for warehouse and labor management. We’ve recently launched the third generation of our web-based, real-time Java application into markets. It’s a cloud-hybrid that we deploy on premise.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Saratoga?

Years ago, the third generation of our product had gone through its first phase of development. However, we had to shelf it temporarily because we’d lost our core competency for the product. When I became CEO, I wanted to resurrect the project, bring the technology up to date, and then continue development. Our goal was to match the previous iteration’s functionality before enhancing it further to meet current e-commerce needs and technological trends.

As a result, we needed resources to augment our in-house team. They needed to have a strong understanding of mission-critical applications that required 24/7 uptime and high throughputs. Furthermore, they had to have a sense of what our industry was looking for in a future platform.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They provided a team to rewrite some of the base legacy code from past product builds into new technology. We worked with them to write our business requirements in a specific way so that they could develop the functional requirements. Because we had an existing client base that had used our second generation platform, we had certain non-negotiable prerequisites: the product could have no downtime, it needed to conform to a DB2 database without being restricted to IBM tech, and it needed to be open and database independent.

Additionally, the product had to be compatible with various cloud services (e.g., Azure, Google) and be deployable with the customer’s chosen stack. They were able to achieve this by writing the code in Java and choosing particular stacks. We’ve since launched the first version of the product and continue to use Saratoga for R&D. They’re responsible for opening the technology architecture to add new trendy features, which will help us become more innovative and competitive in our markets.

What is the team composition?

They assigned a development team that specialized in technology architecture. Because they lacked any supply chain expertise, we established a competence and domain team to educate them about our industry. Over time, Saratoga has come to understand some of our terminology and processes.

How did you come to work with Saratoga?

Saratoga was a sister company of our shareholders. They recommended Saratoga to us, so we researched them. In the end, we felt that they were able to help us meet our short and long-term goals.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent about £200,000 (approximately $260,000 USD) thus far.

What is the status of this engagement?

Their work began in March 2017 and is ongoing, but we’ve worked with them in other capacities before then. Considering how much we’ve invested to get their domain knowledge up, we don’t intend to end the partnership anytime soon.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

As a collective team, they’ve helped us meet our delivery dates, stay within budget, and satisfy our customers. When we implemented the first version of the product, we held a user conference to demonstrate the platform. Customers commended us for sticking to timelines and remaining within budget. We couldn’t have done that without Saratoga’s involvement.

How did Saratoga perform from a project management standpoint?

Initially, it was difficult to bring them up to speed on our domain. We invested a lot to bring them to our location and sent our teams to theirs. They’re now a core part of our business, and we view them as an extension of our business. We communicate daily using Slack and provide updates to keep everyone on the same page.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Whenever we’ve had to increase the team or had lost a member, Saratoga was quick to send more resources. They effectively brought new individuals up to speed and integrated them into the team.

Are there any areas they could improve?

When engaging with a new industry, it’s imperative that the team members get a sense of what they’re working on. In our case, we brought them to a warehouse and let them walk the floor to give them a real-life experience. It’s not just about technology; coders still need to understand what they’re building and how a code change affects the user.

Generally, the quality of their work has been good. However, there were times when they had to redo parts of the code because they didn’t have a strong enough understanding of our domain. This depended on the developer and where they were in the learning curve.

4.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They could do better in this area.
  • 3.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    For the most part, the quality of their code is good, but it would improve if they had a better understanding of our domain.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I would definitely recommend them.

Dev Partnership for NonProfit Platform Suite

“Their desire to meet our needs distinguishes them from other providers.”

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
4.5
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Feb. 2015 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Saratoga is engaged in a long-term software development partnership. Utilizing an SQL Server and C#, they provide architecture design, product testing, and create unique API’s.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
London, United Kingdom
Grant Owens
Systems Development Consultant, Stewardship
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Saratoga reliably delivers successful products. They developed a custom API that’s capable of transforming an established platform. They’re flexible and possess the expertise to perform with limited oversight. A proactive approach to communication makes them valuable partners.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m a systems development consultant for Stewardship. It’s an organization that offers financial services to churches and charities in the UK. Beyond philanthropy, they provide both professional and educational services. I manage software development for them.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Saratoga?

We needed a new software development partner. Our previous partner didn’t meld well with our company culture, so we wanted to find a firm that understood our needs and could flexibly accommodate our size.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We have a product suite and Saratoga built up the core functionality, replaced certain aspects of it, and created new products within the platform. They built everything on Microsoft SQL Server using C# MVC with a darknet stack going all the through. They also built an API that allows other organizations to integrate with us for things like address information and bank account verification. They’ve done some business intelligence work for us as well. We’re long-term partners and their ongoing responsibilities include architecture design, software development, and product testing.

What is the team composition?

We have a project manager, one QA resource, and five developers that work on our platform.

How did you come to work with Saratoga?

I know their former CEO personally and that facilitated the original introduction.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent roughly between $500,000 and $1 million.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in February 2015 and the engagement is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

They’ve released two new developments in the last year that were on time, within budget, and built to our specifications. Additionally, they designed and developed our foundational API that leads the direction we’re taking the rest of our products. That’s been a major success and has put us in a good position for the future. Also, we don’t have to give them detailed product descriptions or guide them through development. They’ve demonstrated the ability to deliver a board scope. Another positive factor they contribute is proactivity. This enabled them to achieved goals of ours like continuous integration and automated testing.

How did Saratoga perform from a project management standpoint?

We communicate through Skype, email, and HipChat. I live close to their offices, so we’ve met face-to-face as well. Most of the documentation and formal communication takes place on Jira.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Their desire to meet our needs distinguishes them from other providers. They’re flexible and possess the ability to scale up or down with us.

Are there any areas they could improve?

They’d benefit from having a bigger pool of developers. We’re currently in a situation where one of the developers resigned and they’re struggling to fill the spot.

4.0
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 4.5 NPS
    Willing to refer