Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?
I'm not sure what I could use in terms of metrics. We used to have this as a real sore point, in terms of we didn't have this user experience at all. We've built a system so that we just had APIs [application programming interfaces] to enable our partners to be able to build this part of it. There was a significant pain point there that was mitigated as a result of engaging them.
We don't see complaints from our customers saying that it doesn't work well. We don't have a lot of bugs that get through to customers that cause them issues. It's a very small number of those things. We do have a lot of bugs in the system, in terms of little issues that we have, but it's extremely rare to have a customer report it, so I think a lot of that gets caught in testing. We've gotten pretty good at identifying what ones may actually cause a customer issue.
I don't think we have what I would call a world-class type website. It looks nice, but I wouldn't call it absolute best of breed. That also stems from the fact that we don't need it to be, so we haven't really invested in trying to do that. It's a conscious decision, but if you were looking for something where the Web experience was the core of your business because the consumers were demanding and it needed to be really slick, we just haven't tested that aspect of whether Sofmen can do that. That just hasn't been a goal of ours.
How did Sofmen perform from a project management standpoint?
We are satisfied with Sofmen's performance. We think we're getting very good value for what we spend. I think, at the start, there was a little bit of getting the communication down pat, and dealing with time zones and things like that, so that if we have issues we're able to find the time so that we can do more than one rev per day. That's probably the most challenging aspect, which I think we're OK with now.
If we had an issue, we'd shoot something to them, and then they don't get it until the next day. Then, we to wait for them to deal with it, which may not be until our next day, so it could take two days. Now, we have a sort of standard time in the evening their time, and early morning our time, which if there's a hot issue we can essentially get more cycles by using up those checkpoints. We don't do that very often, but when do have a hot item, a hot issue, we automatically go into that sort of process.
What distinguishes Sofmen from other providers?
We are using them also for some of our iOS and Android efforts. While we don't have their teams building, they do have expertise that we're leveraging in order to help us out with that. I know a lot of firms do that as well, but it's not just the Web end that we do. I guess we sort of expect that, if we hired someone, we would get someone who knows the technology that we're specifically looking for. When we go with someone external we get that as well as these other practices that they have that we can, from time to time, just pull someone in and get a bit of help. Certainly in the mobile device apps area, they seem to have that. They do well in terms of having someone who is managing it from that end. I think they have value that, and I think that's very important.
In hindsight, are there areas in which they could improve, or things you might do differently?
Not at the moment. We have had times when communication wasn't very clear. I think they've taken the feedback, and I think they're good now. I think we're fine with communicating, and I have someone running the project at their end.