Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
In terms of the code that they do, we know that it's good quality code. I've got a senior developer here (my CIO is a programmer). We've evaluated their code, and we're happy with it. The app is working pretty well. We’ve had no issues with bugs.
Their ability to understand our problems and create features and modules that we request is good. They interpret our requirements really well. In terms of adding value, we're adding new customers every month. The feedback that we get from the customers is that they're very happy with our system. I can't say I’ve spent £50,000 [$65,100] on them and got £250,000 [$325,600] back—it’s not tangible like that.
The one thing we asked them to do is integrate our app with a cloud-based account system. We gave them some pointers but left them to go and investigate how to do it. The result was that the integration was done, and it’s working. It took about six weeks, which was in line with our expectations. They didn't do it in a way which was super sloth, but it was slow. They're a pleasure, and everything they do was in line with our expectations which was great.
How did Vimanet perform from a project management standpoint?
The team I have are good communicators. They all speak good English. We only had one person on the team who came in temporarily who was difficult to understand or work with due to language issues. But on the whole, their communication and approach are good.
They helped structure a way that we're managing the project now. They've moved us from this unstructured Trello and built-in, in-house managed TFS into a Visual Studio team server which is cloud-based and more robust. We've moved away from Trello now into a proper Kanban board and swimlanes. That's all coming from them. Now they're organizing to put us on Microsoft Azure, which we wanted to do but they have the expertise to do it. It's a transition.
We see them as a partner. It’s a good partnership. As far as I’m concerned, they're like our in-house development team; they just come to work about 3,000 miles away. They're very nice people. They seem to get us, and we get them. It's great.
What did you find most impressive about Vimanet?
It’s the understanding of our requirements. We're very used to the feedback from people who outsourced work to, say, India. They've said things like "You have to be very specific to what you want because some companies will give you back exactly what you ask for with no thought around that." Where Vimanet really set themselves apart is the fact that they would challenge us, saying, "Why'd you want to do it like that for? There's a better way of doing it." That's what you want from a partner. You don't want them to take ideas and just give it back exactly as asked for because they know there are better ways. I can think of a couple of specific ways where they've done that, and they've been right. That's really good—that's a differential.
Are there any areas Vimanet could improve?
Not really. I don’t think that they need to improve anything. My summary of this is they don't work at a rate which is mind-blowingly fast or anything like that. They're doing a really good job, and I don't really want them to get any more customers because it might impact my work.
What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with Vimanet?
Invest plenty of time getting to understand them and their business goals. We did a site visit to where they're based in Krakow, Poland, and we found that to be quite valuable in understanding who they are. It worked well for us because we eased into the programming with them in the six weeks. We sent them nice, little tasks that we were very comfortable with, and then we gave them some bigger ones. I would suggest that that's a good way working. A more experienced company might approach it differently, but that worked for us. Test them out, get the feedback on what they provide for you, and then take it from there.