What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
Their team was professional and the end results were positive. Patient feedback has been positive with regard to the UI/UX. We've also gotten positive results from the medical team and physicians for our concepts and outputs.
We decided as a company to pivot in a different direction. The problem and product are the same but we're looking into a different market. We scrapped our clients from the summer because they didn’t fit the new direction. I created a clinic and using Carescribr internally. We're optimizing the software alongside the clinic to ensure that the product's components function and do so properly before we go back out to the market.
How did smartData Enterprises perform from a project management standpoint?
In the beginning, we communicated via Skype meetings. When we had a specific issue, they sent a message during the day. Due to the time difference, communication came in spurts. I provided feedback routinely around 11—12 at night, which their team reviewed and sent back to me in the morning. There was a constant flow of communication, but it was asynchronous.
As the development went along, we became less dependent on audio conversations. smartData Enterprises sent a new build that I would review, work through, and test. I typed up changes or created a video for larger changes to send to their team. They confirmed by a text message that their team understood.
What did you find most impressive about them?
smartData Enterprises has a wide variety of engineers with expertise in many different areas. If I had a question that the immediate team couldn’t answer, they outsourced the question to other people. Their team expanded the network to get an answer or complete the task correctly rather than spending a lot of development hours tinkering. They had the ability to get an answer fast and implement it into our project. I have no reservations about their technical skills.
Are there any areas they could improve?
The time difference made the engagement a little challenging. Their team made mistakes at times and without realizing, called me at one or two in the morning.
My overall experience was great, but certain aspects ran us over budget. There were a couple of instances when I felt that their team thought they understood where the project was going but made an assumption. This lead to back and forth as well as meant that we had to walk back the project because their team went down a path that I didn’t want, which was costly and we ran over budget.l This was towards the middle of the project when I gave them space to work more independently. I had a couple of demos set up in April or May because their team assured me the product would be done in March. They were able to pull in the resources to get ready for the demos, but I wasn’t able to display the software in two of the three demos as promised because it wasn’t functioning at the level promised at that time. I could only show a scaled-down version of the product. The process required negotiation in expanding our budget and scaling back on a couple of features to finish. I wasn’t happy but it got us to a place where the platform functioned.
Do you have any advice for potential customers?
Sit down with the supervisor or whoever’s going to be the interface between the client and the development team. Be clear about the features you want and give visual representations as examples. Once the idea's communicated correctly, smartData Enterprises will execute.
There’s also a level of humility that both sides need to share to be able to come to the same place. There were instances when I felt that they weren’t actually understanding what I was saying, which was proven because their team came back with a feature that wasn’t what I wanted. When I requested that they get back to me sooner and give me more incremental feedback, there were conversations in which they would interrupt to assure me that their team knew what they were doing. This may be because we were speaking in a different vernacular.