We're passionate about building great software

Sphere Software has built innovative software solutions for industry leaders since 2005.  With headquarters in Chicago and regional offices in New York, Miami, Buenos Aires, and Eastern Europe, Sphere is a global company with a local focus and a national presence.

Sphere routinely helps a wide range of clients from start-ups to Fortune 100 by transforming initial visions into effective technological products.

 

Our consulting and development services include: Agile Mobile & Web Custom Applications, DevOps Engineering, Atlassian Service & Support, Solution Architecture, Staff Augmentation, Cloud Solutions, Big Data Analytics, Chatbot Development, and UX / UI Design.

Our technology expertise includes: Ruby on Rails, Python, Go, Scala, Java, React.js, Node.js, .NET, Clojure, PHP, Kubernetes.

We believe in the unlimited potential for new uses of open-source technologies.  And we are true evangelists of a modern agile methodology that guides every step of our hybrid software development model.

 
Undisclosed
 
Undisclosed
 
50 - 249
 Founded
2005
Show all +
Chicago, IL
headquarters
  • Sphere Software
    220 N Green Street
    Chicago, IL 60607
    United States
other locations
  • Sphere Software
    Ukraine

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Buzzfeed, Tumblr, Nokia, Subway, Land's End, Sears, Bass Pro Shops, Beachbody, Morningstar, Groupon, ING Bank, Delta Dental, Gett, BluVector, Berlingske Media, Chicago Stock Exchange, Kuoni, Enova, Ideeli, OneMain, Fuse Universal

Reviews

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Blockchain & Chatbot Projects for Fintech Startup

“They’ve had a high impact in a specific field.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Sphere Software provided chatbot development and implementation, and blockchain-run smart contract development. Their work included UI/UX, blockchain, AI development, and QR, among other features.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Montreal, Canada
Executive, Fintech Startup
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Both services produced excellent results, gaining positive feedback from customers, the in-house tech team, and relevant stakeholders. They are knowledgeable, skilled, and dedicated to delivering quality, quickly rectifying any issues and making a strong contribution to the company’s growth.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the executive chairman of a fintech startup. We have operations in Brazil, focused on providing unsecured personal credit and financial literacy tools to the Brazilian middle class.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Sphere Software?

We had numerous challenges, including the security of customer information, and our operational efficiency, in terms of providing a seamless and fast customer experience. We also wanted to always be at the forefront of technological innovations. Finally, we were concerned about cost efficiency. We didn’t want to do things ourselves when we can get it done better, cheaper, faster elsewhere.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We first worked on a chatbot. The challenge was efficiency, cost, and automation. Around 80% of our calls make up for 20% of possible questions, and those can often be basic—many of the questions are easy and quick to answer, but there’s a high volume of them.

We decided to automate one part of our customer service using a chatbot implementation. Their team helped us structure a knowledgebase, which was later automated on the messaging platform via a chatbot. For instance, a customer could open a chat with us asking about their next due date. We would ask a couple of ID validation questions, and the chatbot would return an answer.

They also helped us develop a smart contract. Sometimes, our customers will either forget or intentionally challenge the fact that they took out a loan, in order to avoid paying it back. We’re an online fintech, so we’re not going to send out paper forms for people to sign, as that would be hugely inconvenient, expensive, and time-consuming. On the other hand, we needed something that was digital, yet still enforceable in a court of law.

We’ve come up with a smart contract that runs on blockchain. The lending contracts are registered, and they’re provable, using blockchain. They can be easily exported into PDF format and validated by anyone. This represents a huge step forward for us, both in terms of ability to enforce contracts and in leveraging blockchain as a real tool.

What is the team composition?

I usually work with 2–4 people from their team, depending on the exact nature of the task. When we need more development talent and UI people the team may expand to four people. On the smart contracts, the team was around three people.

How did you come to work with Sphere Software?

I’ve known Leon (CEO, Sphere Software) for a long time now, and it’s why I turned to him to meet our needs. The company I used to work also used their services. I always heard excellent feedback from my tech team about them, their quality, and their cost.

Leon has a unique structure, which I call “onshore/offshore”, whereby he’s sometimes able to make available offshore people who are onshore for specific amounts of time. This is cheaper, but it also enhances the skillset and knowledge of those people. I thought that it was a rather unique business model, which had a number of advantages.

What is the status of this engagement?

Within my current startup, we started working with them two years ago.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

They’ve had a high impact in a specific field. We have our own in-house tech team, so we don’t rely on them to run our entire tech stack. However, the things we’ve asked them to do were very important for the growth of our business and its cost control. We were able to outsource those tasks and see good results.

In terms of quality, we look at whether the deliverables were done on time and budget or below. From a qualitative or customer perspective, we check if the products work as they need to, if they break or if people are complaining, and if the tech team reports any problems with the build. I’ve only heard the best types of reviews. The chatbot worked, and any issues were fixed by the Sphere team. The smart contracts work, and we’ve demonstrated them to the central bank. It’s important for our company’s credibility, and they delivered.

How did Sphere Software perform from a project management standpoint?

They’ve always been very good from a project management perspective. They responded within the limits we agreed to. Some of their people would be working from Ukraine, so their hours would be different, but we were able to set up chat sessions that overlapped with our schedules.

Whenever I needed to discuss something more strategic or high-level, I’d get a hold of Leon or his COO, and they’d always make themselves available. They've always provided excellent quality of service.

What did you find most impressive about them?

We were able to leverage a number of specialists within Sphere—we were given access to an impressive variety of specialists, including a top UI/UX designer, a blockchain expert, someone specializing in chatbots and AI algorithms, and a developer who worked on a small QR piece of code. The sheer scope of talent and knowledge they were able to deliver was really helpful.

The other part is that Sphere was able to provide near-onshore quality at near-offshore prices. The value for money is really high with them, as opposed to some of the alternatives.

Are there any areas they could improve?

It’s hard to think of any glaring problems.

Do you have any advice for future clients of theirs?

My advice to a Sphere client would be the same as for the client of any other outsourcer: that they should try and understand what they want to get out of a certain process before making the decision of outsourcing. Once the decision to outsource is made—because of any number of issues like cost, time, efficiency, and so on—they should be specific as to what needs to be done, and spend a little time thinking about the project, the budget, and timelines. They should also discuss what’s going right and what’s going wrong on a periodic basis with the relationship manager.

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

Backend Receipt System for Transportation Service

"They take ownership from the beginning and they have a good ability to hit deadlines..." 

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Jan. - Mar. 2018
Project summary: 

Sphere Software developed a third-party payment receipt system. They created a micro-service that interfaces between an external provider and existing business systems. The system only consists of a backend.

The Reviewer
 
1001-10,000 Employees
 
Israel
Engineering Manager, Transportation Service
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Code quality is strong and bugs are not an issue. Sphere Software is highly communicative and provides a strong pool of resources, which makes them ideal for ongoing partnerships. Although individual resources can always improve, they are dedicated to success and employ a collaborative work style.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the engineering manager at a transportation service. We provide taxis, delivery, and shuttles to private users and companies.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Sphere Software?

We work in diverse markets, ranging from the U.S. and U.K., to Israel and Russia, so we need to create software that can work in both robust, and not too robust, online environments. It also has to be able to handle market changes, differing sets of regulations, and fluctuating costs.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

There was a new regulation in Russia that required us to integrate our payment receipt system with a third-party vendor, because of specific formatting issues. Every time someone pays us, we email them a receipt which shows the amount, so it was going to affect all of our projects and transactions. They developed a backend only, micro-service to handle all of that logic, which we integrated into our system.

What is the team composition?

I have two people from Sphere on my team, and one of them worked on the receipt project with us.

How did you come to work with Sphere Software?

When I got here, they were already working with the company. I was very happy with the initial developer we got from them, so I went ahead took another one. I interviewed their selections, both technical and personally, to make sure that I'm getting the right resource. They seem to have a very strong pool of candidates.

What is the status of this engagement?

We worked on this project from January until March 2018.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

In terms of quality of code and number of bugs, they’ve been very good. We measure them by the same standard we use for our own employees internally.

How did Sphere Software perform from a project management standpoint?

They take ownership from the beginning and they have a good ability to hit deadlines, communicate, respond quickly, and collaborate. They have great teamwork.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Their commitment to finish the work, and putting in the extra effort to finish everything, stood out to us.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Since we work with individual employees, they’re very independent, so I don’t have feedback as a company. Everyone can improve themselves, but it’s all person improvement. I don’t have anything in general.

Any advice for potential customers?

If you pick someone up, be ready with everything they need to complete the work, like technical design documents. Otherwise, they might be idle as they wait for the definition of the work.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    On average, in terms of internal engineers, they're very good.
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’m very likely to refer them.

Software Platform Dev for Retail Electricity Supplier

“Sphere is always able to find an expert, no matter the technology.”

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Summer 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Sphere Software developed a software platform within six months. After the platform’s launch, the company fixed bugs and performance issues as they arose. A Sphere developer continues to support the platform.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Founder, Retail Electricity Supplier
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

By providing a development team with a variety of expertise, the Sphere team was able to work in-house to complete the project on time and under budget. Their receptivity to feedback also means they can fix small problems quickly and always find solutions for the ongoing project.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm the co-founder and president of a retail electricity supplier. We buy energy on the wholesale markets and deliver it to our customers over their regular power lines, based on their specific energy usage.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Sphere Software?

Sometimes we need to supplement our team with an experienced individual with specific expertise, but don’t have the time to find a permanent employee. When Sphere provides us with the expertise we need, we’re able to balance cost, speed, and quality. We’ve been able to use them for several different projects now.

For one project, in particular, we needed to find people skilled in .NET. We do most of our in-house development in Ruby, but we found a source code to a system in .NET that was affordable, so we bought it. We didn’t necessarily want to keep it long term, but we needed someone's expertise to help figure it out. We brought Sphere in to find someone who knew .NET and SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) quickly because we didn’t have any documentation, all we had was a source code that didn't run well.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

I don't view our work with Sphere on a per-project basis. It was an undetermined project from the beginning, but it involved data migration and required mastery of various technologies. We were able to get the software platform up and running quickly. After we switched platforms, we spent a few months fixing bugs and addressing emergencies as they arose.

In addition to getting SSIS running, a big part of this project was creating documentation so that when we ultimately need to replace it, we already have a document explaining how it functions. When there's a new implementation, we don't need to dig through the original implementation and can instead leverage that documentation to rewrite it. We're doing that now and it seems to be moving at a good pace.

What is the team composition?

We have a project manager and two developers working on our projects, who were a core part of our team.

How did you come to work with Sphere Software?

A colleague recommended Sphere to me in 2005 when I worked for a different company and were trying to build a platform from scratch. After I started to work on the project and quickly realized we needed help, so we brought them on. Sphere became the group’s go-to partner, but I continued to partner with them when I worked with different companies and thought of them immediately for our current work.

What is the status of this engagement?

We began work on the project in summer 2016, migrated the following December, and then spend a few months fixing bugs and other problems. We still have one developer working on it.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We'd been paying an external vendor about $50,000 a month, but when we brought on Sphere we were able to bring the project in-house. When we stopped working with the external vendor, the project was completed in about six months, which meant the work was completed more efficiently and without the same financial burden.

However, my biggest concern is always project performance, and whether or not that performance can be maintained. Sphere is able to create a well-functioning product, and I consider that successful.

How did Sphere Software perform from a project management standpoint?

We even created internal email and chat accounts, so not only were they available to communicate, they could also be a more prominent part of the team.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Sphere is always able to find an expert, no matter the technology. If I need somebody that knows a particular technology, I can have a few qualified candidates within a couple days, which means I can find a good fit for the project all the sooner. It's important that we're able to leverage new technologies without needing to rely on in-house expertise.

Are there any areas they could improve?

They're very receptive when I ask for something to be fixed or adjusted, but I don't know how much they solicit feedback from other clients. I've worked with them long enough that it's easy for me to immediately tell them what works and what doesn't, but I don't know if that conversation happens as easily with other clients.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

It's important to keep in mind you're working with people in a different time zone and with a different holiday schedule.

Clear communication is also important, particularly if the team isn't local. When software projects fail, it's usually because they didn't communicate requirements or gather necessary information before the project started. Often, we don't communicate certain ideas or concepts because we assume certain knowledge is obvious, but that's not always the case, especially when working with a company overseas. Continue to make incremental improvements so you can learn from what you've already built.

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

Ruby System Dev for Online Lending Company

"We get a consistent number of quality senior engineers."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
4.5
The Project
 
Confidential
 
2014 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Using Ruby on Rails and a PostgreSQL database, Sphere Software is developing an online lending platform. The tool is used to transfer funds, manage accounts, and store customer information.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
CIO, Online Lending Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Sphere Software ensures total code coverage, documentation coverage, and adherence to company standards. The team constantly takes feedback to improve their workflow and deliverable quality. They provide accurate estimates and learn from any errors.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the CIO of an online lender that offers installment lending and lines of credit.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Sphere Software?

We needed to get a new platform up and running quickly, so we contracted some senior engineers through Sphere Software. They built it to our specifications and under our guidance.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Sphere Software developed our online lending platform. They were responsible for everything except the financial internals, which we handled ourselves.

They built the system we use to acquire and store customer information, the system we use to interact with financial institutions and move money, and the system our customer service representatives use to manage customer accounts and deal with customer requests.

We use Ruby on Rails on a PostgreSQL database. They used AngularJS on part of our system, along with CoffeeScript and sundry technologies.

What is the team composition?

They presented resources and we managed the project internally. Sphere Software offers project management, but we didn’t enlist them for that. Our team ranged between three and four offshore developers.

How did you come to work with Sphere Software?

I found them because my boss from another company had a relationship with them. It was essentially word of mouth. We worked with them at prior companies and were satisfied with the resources they found.

What is the status of this engagement?

The current project began in early 2014 and the collaboration is ongoing. They built the system from scratch. We were up and running in a few months, but we’re constantly building and changing lots of things.

Our team included people with whom we’d worked at prior companies. They knew the lay of the land, understood the puzzle we were attacking, and quickly started work with that team.

As they came and went, we brought in new people. Sphere helped us maintain a continuum from that first team. They had good, solid knowledge of what the system does, how to navigate it, and how to change it, which has been good for us.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We review every line of code they write and ask them to make corrections when they do something we don’t want. We educate them on our standards. By and large, they adopt them.

The quality is as good as we can get. We demand 100% code test and documentation coverage, and they give us what we ask for. No code moves to production until this happens. 

We review the quality of their design work. When they create something that could be terribly inefficient in production, we tell them. They learn, improve, and they never do it again.

We generally choose self-driven engineers. We don’t simply take what Sphere Software puts on our team. They hand us candidates, we interview them, and we decide whether we want to work with them. 

What did you find most impressive about them?

We get a consistent number of quality senior engineers. Occasionally, we get some true gems who are really good. I can’t characterize it better than that. Sphere Software secures some very good developers. Not all of them are the best fit for us, but we work them out through the interview process.

They also all speak English well. Some are extremely fluent, while others are good enough to get the job done. We don’t have any complaints.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Contractors and employees make the same effort to improve. We monitor and correct reversions to bad habits as they come up. We remind them to break down and estimate their work. Not many teams do this well, so we have to constantly remind them that it needs to be done. They do it and get back on track.

Do you have any advice for future clients of theirs?

To get good value from the collaboration, be actively involved. Choose team members rather than just taking what’s available. Be on top of everything I’ve mentioned. There is no magic solution. No contractors can deliver the best team in the world. You must work to make that happen.

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

Staff Augmentation for Contextual Commerce Platform

“They treated us like a giant client and I didn’t feel like I only had one developer.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Sept. 2017 - Apr. 2018
Project summary: 

Sphere’s Golang developer worked on multiple parts of a system including an ad server. He added telemetry, logged data, and restructured a Go application and a contextual machine learning engine.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Saint Petersburg, Florida
John Adams
CTO, Bringhub
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

With the help of a very talented developer, Sphere completed the project successfully, resulting in high customer satisfaction. They delivered superior communication and managed the process smoothly throughout the project. They offer high-quality expertise and high-value solutions.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the CTO of Bringhub. We started off as a universal shopping cart app and then moved into the contextual commerce space. We try to extract context from digital content and place monetization opportunities in it, such as ads, product placement, or other informational layers.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Sphere Software?

We needed staff augmentation for our platform. We had been looking for Golang developers, and it is hard to find great Go talent.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

For the last few years, we have been a Go shop. We had a lot of different systems built by different people. We were trying to consolidate a lot of them, create reusable components, and add more telemetry information into it.

The developer worked on a few different pieces of our systems. One portion he worked in was our ad server. We have a monolithic Go app and his responsibilities were to add in telemetry, log data, and set the InfluxDB and Grafana so that we can see how information and calls are flowing through our system. He planned and implemented the division of the app into microservices. Then, we moved him to our contextual machine learning engine and do the same types of best practices, re-architecture, and telemetry implementation there as well.

What is the team composition?

We used one developer, who we had for 40 hours a week.

How did you come to work with Sphere Software?

Sphere responded to our posting and said they had some great Go developers. I got on a call with them and they showed me who they had. There was a developer whose code I was familiar with, as I had used some of his libraries before. It was exciting that they had him, and we hired him on.

How much have you invested in them?

We spent around $50,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We worked with them from September 2017–April 2018. Things are just wrapping up now.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

The project is complete, and everything delivered by Sphere has been successful. As we need to do more, we will consider Sphere.

How did Sphere Software perform from a project management standpoint?

They have been fantastic, and communication has been great. They treated us like a giant client and I didn’t feel like I only had one developer. We even had an onsite visit from the CEO. We were treated like great clients and the whole process went well. We never had any issues and are very happy with them.

What did you find most impressive about them?

The quality of their engineers is the most impressive. We’ve been looking at other engineers on their team for another project, and everyone that I’ve spoken to is really good.

Are there any areas they could improve?

As long as they can keep delivering resources that know how to work and are good at communicating, I have no problems.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Don’t be afraid to reach out. Everyone I have spoken to over there is very receptive and wants to help. I was a little afraid that we didn’t have enough money to get great quality candidates, but they want to provide value.

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

Web App & iOS App Dev for Mobile Gas Service

"Their developers were intelligent, and the quality of their code was to my standards."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Winter 2016 - Summer 2017
Project summary: 

Sphere Software developed two iOS applications, a web application using React, and the backend of the web app using Python. 

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
New York
CTO, GasMob
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The developers met deadlines as required and were adaptable to the ever-changing new features added to the apps. They coded with precision and there was rarely a need to correct mistakes. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the CTO of a mobile service company that services gas on-demand.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Sphere Software?

We wanted to outsource the development of two iOS apps and one web application.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Sphere Software developed an iOS app for gas drivers, iOS app for consumers, and a web application using React. Their team also developed the backend of the web application using Python and integrated administrative features such as keeping tracking of invoices and employees, maintaining the location of assets, and making changes to orders/arrangements.

What is the team composition?

I worked with a web developer, backend developer, and two iOS developers.

How did you come to work with Sphere Software?

I met with the Leon (CEO, Sphere Software) at a dinner and after an interview with their developers decided to hire them. 

How much have you invested with them?

We invested $90,000 in the engagement.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started the project in December 2016 through the summer of 2017.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

I measured their success by analyzing their code for cleanliness and precision. Their developers were intelligent, and the quality of their code was to my standards.

How did perform from a project management standpoint?

We handled the project management, but they communicated well with us and met deadlines as required.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They had good developers and were adaptable to the ever-changing new features added to the apps. 

Are there any areas they could improve?

They could have better-predicted changes and avoided mistakes.

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

Development for Financial Company's Customer Service Response

"They made our work easier. Customers satisfaction rates are higher."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Oct. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Sphere Software built an AI-powered chatbot to automate multi-platform service channels. The tool used parsing and search functionalities to generate responses.

The Reviewer
Executive Chairman, Financial Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The chatbot increased productivity and customer satisfaction ratings. The team leveraged wide-ranging skill sets to define parameters and lead development. Their reliability and efficiency made costs reasonable. Customers can expect to work with an open-minded and flexible team.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm the president of the holding company for an online lender.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Sphere Software?

We wanted to automate our manual customer service channels, which included phone, chat, and email.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Nearly 80% of inbound chats addressed only 20% of all topics. Common cases included product features, underwriting rules, and information updates. Sphere Software started engagement by building an AI-powered chatbot functionality to automate at least 75% of these repetitive interactions. The resulting tool generated responses by parsing customer queries and searching knowledge bases.

What is the team composition?

The team included two developers that interfaced with a member of our technical team. We also interacted with the COO and CEO.

How did you come to work with Sphere Software?

We knew their reputation. They were open-minded, flexible, competitively-priced for their value. Importantly, they offered a viable solution that matched our needs.

What is the status of this engagement?

This project started in October 2017 and ended recently. Work on related projects is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

They made our work easier. Customer satisfaction rates were higher. Consequently, we had to hire fewer people.

How did Sphere Software perform from a project management standpoint?

They were leaders; the team set the scope and structured development. We communicated via phones, video conference, and email.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Their team had a wide range of expertise. They could answer any question, even when the topic was out of scope.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Although costs were reasonable, they still could’ve been cheaper.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Research the scope prior to engagement. It’s easier for the vendor to be effective when the client has clear expectations and goals. This preparation benefits dynamic processes and milestones.

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

Offshore Dev Services for Online Community Marketplace

“Sphere Software has some talented developers, and their pricing is competitive with local agencies.”

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Apr. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Sphere Software provides a range of offshore development services for an online marketplace. The collaboration began with a Ruby on Rails site relaunch, since expanding to include ongoing development support.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Jemal Swoboda
CEO, Dabble
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The resources and developers that Sphere Software provides are skilled and have the required technical expertize to complete their tasks successfully, with the team easily scaled in either direction. The deliverables are always high quality though they could improve their mobile testing procedures.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Dabble is an experience marketplace for finding, listing and hosting local classes, experiences, and events. We’re based in Chicago, and I am the company’s CEO.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Sphere Software?

We were re-platforming and preparing for a site relaunch. The goal was to scale the company.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Sphere Software’s initial involvement was around code refactoring for the relaunch of our site’s frontend and backend. Most of the work was Ruby on Rails development and support. We had our own design team.

What is the team composition?

We initially brought in 2 of their developers. Because they did a great job, we decided to add 2 more.

After parting ways with our own CTO [Chief Technology Officer], rather than hiring a new one, I reached out to Sphere Software again. They assigned a team member, who has been working with us for over a year. I think of them as my default CTO/tech team. 

How did you come to work with Sphere Software?

One of our team members had worked with them in the past, likely as a developer. He recommended scaling up our dev team using Sphere Software's support, and due to our goal of launching the product sooner rather than later, we agreed to do so.

How much have you invested with them?

We spent just under $100,000 with them on the first round of projects in 2016. With the new project that began at the end of 2016, we’ve spent over $140,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them in April 2016, on an on-and-off basis. We’ve been working with them consistently since November 2016.  

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

I can scale their resources up or down, as required. Sphere Software has some talented developers, and their pricing is competitive with local agencies. Even if I could pay less by working directly with some of these resources, the company gives me the flexibility I need, and they eliminate the issues that would come with hiring developers in Ukraine.

Looking back, a couple of projects were probably done by junior developers, and could have been improved with better direction from my side; I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Whenever I had a chance to address an issue, it was quickly fixed.

How did Sphere Software perform from a project management standpoint?

My background was non-technical, so not having a tech lead on-site was challenging. Over the last year, I’ve gotten better at communicating scope. If our budget allowed it, it would have been better to have Sphere Software assign me a project developer and project manager, and let those people be the intermediaries. In order to save money, I became the product officer and managed the team.

Projects were always delivered with high quality. Sometimes, they stretched out longer than expected, which I credit to scope creep and changing story requirements. There are also some challenges to working with offshore developers. They are good English speakers, both written and spoken, but things can get lost in translation, and firing up the video chat can be slow.

I’ve worked with offshore companies in the past when I had less experience. The language barriers were much worse. With Sphere Software, we’re mostly dealing with business decisions in a dynamic way. We’re thinking out loud and fixing or implementing items. We’re a startup, so there’s not a lot of time to sit back. We have to be on top of things, and sometimes launch builds before they are fully tested.

What did you find most impressive about them?

I’ve appreciated their responsiveness and the quality of our developer. I would hire him if I could. He’s been with us for a long time, has become a part of the team, and I feel that he enjoys the work. The product team I’ve worked with for billing issues, scale-up or scale-down issues is also very responsive.

Given the flexibility that they give me, I would hire more Sphere Software developers and engineers before hiring my own. This is not just because of the savings, but because I get quality work out of them. If I ever start another company, I think that I will work with them again. They give me the flexibility of not having to bring in someone full-time until I’m ready.

Are there any areas they could improve?

They could do better in terms of testing, before something is pushed to staging, for me to test. Many developers simply minimize their screens to test the mobile view, but doing this on a desktop isn’t really the same as testing on a mobile device.

Half of the traffic to our site is mobile, so it’s important for the developers to actually test on smartphones. It’s taken me extra time to test on multiple devices. Had they done it first, I would have saved time and money.

Do you have any advice for future clients of theirs?

Clients need to be clear about what they’re looking to accomplish: define the scope of work and understand that a dedicated project lead, available in during their morning working hours is important.

Most of Sphere Software’s developers are in Ukraine, which means that they are working from 2 am to 6 am, while we’re sleeping. When we wake up, we have work to review. Having someone available from 7 am to 10 am our time will allow us to get a lot more done, a lot quicker.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    There’s always room for improvement.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Staff Augmentation for Ride Sharing Business

"They can learn any language or platform quickly."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
2015 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Sphere Software offers augmentary Ruby on Rails and Go development resources for a website and backend system. They serve as an extension of the in-house team. 

The Reviewer
 
1001-10,000 Employees
 
Tel Aviv, Israel
Boris Korenfeld
VP R&D, Gett
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Developers from Sphere Software learned new coding languages quickly and produced reliably high-quality deliverables. Several Sphere Software developers earned full-time positions because of their impeccable organization, technical skill, and seamless assimilation to company culture. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am VP R&D at Gett, a global ride-sharing service available in 100+ cities. We operate in Russia, Israel, and London, as well as in New York under the Juno brand.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Sphere Software?

When I joined the company two years ago, I wanted to spearhead organizational and technological restructuring by recruiting highly qualified developers and QA technicians. This is a difficult and time-consuming thing to do in Israel, so I contacted Sphere Software for help.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Sphere Software mainly worked on the backend of our platform and on our B2B website. They became an extension of our team in Israel, developing new functionalities and even leading our efforts in many cases. Beyond providing good technical resources, they are also passionate about the business side.

The technology stack is relatively flexible. My first requirement was Ruby on Rails, which they could offer me immediately, but I also asked for Go developers. This is a new language, so they’ve had to learn it with my team.

What is the team composition?

We worked with around 10 developers from their side across different teams in the global R&D. In addition, we hire local development in every country, and I know that the London local team has hired a lot of Sphere Software’s developers.

We had interviews with all our Sphere Software candidates, so it wasn’t a matter of being assigned a developer and having that person start directly. Some of them didn’t match our culture, but we were very satisfied with the ones that we hired.

How did you come to work with Sphere Software?

I know Leon Ginsburg [CEO, Sphere Software] personally but our office in London contacted me for a recommendation of a consulting company, and I referred Sphere Software to them. I visited London after several months and found that they’d hired around 15 of their developers.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with Sphere Software less than two years ago, shortly after I came onboard.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

I don’t know how Sphere Software's recruitment process works, but our candidates were very strong. They can learn any language or platform quickly. They work as an extension of our team, so we don’t give them full projects. We measure their effectiveness by the velocity of the team and how many bugs are identified by our QA resources. Sphere Software is among our best developers.

How did Sphere Software perform from a project management standpoint?

We’ve handled them just like our own employees. We have a group manager who manages team leads, so I haven’t worked with Sphere Software directly. My managers have told me that they want to continue the collaboration because all their developers are well-organized.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They supplied the required number of high-quality developers in a very short time. Sphere Software achieved this by pulling developers from their internal projects and assigning them to us. Because they also run internal projects, all their developers complete Agile development and technology training. They’re up-to-date and knowledgeable about modern methodologies. The company also knows how to hire talented people. I know their head of HR personally, and she is very capable.

Are there any areas they could improve?

I cannot think of anything. I’m a satisfied customer.

Do you have any advice for future clients of theirs?

I don’t have any special advice, other than setting expectations and defining requirements well. Different approaches to working with consulting companies exist, so set timeframes and cultural and technological expectations.

When I started working with Sphere Software, I clearly explained that all developers should pass the same recruitment process as our internal resources. Technical knowledge isn’t the only important factor. A developer who doesn’t fit in with our group culturally can be a big problem. If the work is project-based, then that’s another story, but if the provider acts as an extension of an existing team then you should check for the cultural component.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Their cost is very good.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I would even give them a 6.

DevOps Staff Augmentation for Ride-Sharing App

“We’d think about using a new technology, only to be surprised that they had already used it in the past.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Sept. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Sphere Software’s resources augment an internal dev team that implements automation processes and monitoring tools for a 24/7 production environment.

The Reviewer
 
1001-10,000 Employees
 
Tel Aviv, Israel
Sergey Lanzman
DevOps Team Lead, Gett
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Sphere Software’s efforts have helped reduce development time and improved the stability of the product. Their technical expertise and innovative concepts set them apart from other vendors.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

I am the developmental operations (DevOps) team lead at Gett, a global ride-sharing service. We operate in over 100 cities in Russia, Israel, and London.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Sphere Software?

We hired them to build continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) solutions as well as automated processes and monitoring tools for a 24/7 production environment.

What were your goals for this project?

Our goal was to implement DevOps culture in our company. We also wanted to set up infrastructure in Amazon Web Services for fast and stable code delivery, including monitoring after deployment.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

We chose Sphere Software based on feedback from other R&D teams.

Describe the project in detail.

Sphere created a high-scale log solution for microservices and mobile devices. They’ve provided R&D tools and set up monitoring and alerts for production services. Their team has also handled builds, testing, security checks, and deployment for microservices with modern open-source tools.

What was the team composition?

We usually work with one engineer from Sphere.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any outcomes from the project that demonstrate progress or success?

The delivery tools have improved the speed of all R&D teams and reduced development time. As a result, our B2C and B2B customers have noticed that our product is now more stable.

How effective was the workflow between your team and theirs?

We consider them part of our team.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

Sphere’s engineers have extensive experience in working with the best technology. We’d think about using a new technology, only to be surprised that they had already used it in the past.

Are there any areas for improvement?

None that I can think of.

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