Please describe the scope of their involvement.
STX Next has developed our solution in its entirety, from coding to testing, design, and everything else. The technologies used included Django and Python, the front end is an HTML5 responsive layout using Bootstrap and AngularJS, and we used MySQL on the database side of things. The mobile side of our product has been developed as native iOS and Android applications. Our platform is hosted on Amazon Web Services EC2. We use AWS OpsWorks configuration management and [Amazon] CloudFront as a content delivery network.
We plan to be moving more toward the mobile part in the future. STX Next has given us specific suggestions around the tools that are to be used for developing native apps. Previously, we'd built a mobile prototype that was a tool that allowed us to publish on multiple platforms like Windows, iOS, and Android. STX Next proposed building more concrete, native apps, walking us through the reasons for this. They've had some good chats with our CTO about the different tools and frameworks, which they use, plus the reasons behind each choice. Even though we're in our early days, the process seems to be thorough. We've been working with STX Next since November  on the desktop design side of things.
We're involved with them on a daily basis. I keep in touch with their project manager for planning, management, design, and so on.
How did you come to work with STX Next?
We tried different developers and had a number of unsuccessful outsourcing relationships. It took us some time to find STX Next, but, once we started working with them, we had a great relationship from day one.
They reached out to us a while ago. At the time, we'd always built our software in-house, without the use of outsourcing companies. We kept their name on file for a while and, when we started looking at outsourcing options, we started a collaboration on a trial basis. We tried two or three other companies for a month at a time. The whole vetting process took around five to six months.
We took on a developer from STX Next. There was an instant difference in the quality of work as compared to the others. Previously, there had been a lot of handholding involved in the process. The first person they assigned to us demonstrated huge initiative and brought much to the table themselves, instead of having a paint-by-numbers approach. They asked us questions and proposed directions for the development of our software. It felt more like having an added team member than an outsourced developer.
We decided to see if this was a fluke or not, so we started using a product manager from STX Next. That role had been fulfilled by us until that time. The person we worked with turned out to be even better. She asked us smart questions and brought things into discussion that we hadn't even thought of.
After this, we decided to meet them in person. There's a huge difference between having a remote outsourced relationship, even with tools like JIRA, HipChat and Slack, and meeting face to face. We had a two-and-a-half to three-day workshop with them, going through the product details. After that, we decided to progress to a full team.
Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?
The initial scope of the project has been set at around $400,000 to $450,000.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working together in November 2015.