Mobile and Digital Transformation

Vokal is a mobile and digital agency that specializes in digital transformation, mobile application development and user experience design. Please contact us or visit our website to learn more about what we do.

 
$50,000+
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2009
Show all +
Chicago, IL
headquarters
  • 350 N Orleans St, Suite 1350
    Chicago, IL 60654
    United States

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Whole Foods, Groupon, Bosch, San Francisco 49ers, Walgreens, Crain, Exelon, Spot Hero.

Reviews

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eCommerce Development for Industrial Distributor

“They delivered everything they promised and met all of our needs."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$1,000,000 - $9,999,999
 
Oct. 2013 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Working alongside an in-house team, Vokal built a mobile application for iOS and Android. They developed mobile architecture and managed the engineering side of the project.

The Reviewer
 
10,001 + Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Senior Director of eCommerce, Industrial Distributor
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The iOS app gets positive reviews in Apple Store, while the Android app was featured in a tech publication as one of the six great mobile apps. Responsive and professional, they became a true partner, while their exceptional listening skills helped them meet all expectations.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm a senior director at a large industrial distributor. We operate in the B2B space and focus on maintenance, repair, and operational supplies.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Vokal?

We were working with a vendor that was no longer a true partner to us, so we were looking for a new company to help us develop a mobile application.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They worked with our in-house team to build a mobile application, developing mobile architecture and overseeing the work from the engineering standpoint. The application is compatible with both iOS and Android.

What is the team composition?

We've worked with about 10 members of their team. They're open to feedback and work with us to place the right people on our account.

How did you come to work with them?

I met them through networking a few years ago. After I saw some examples of their work, I decided to give them a chance.

How much have you invested with them?

We've spent between $5–$10 million.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them October 2013 and the relationship is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

The app ranks high in Apple Store and the reviews have been very positive. Our Android application was rated one of the six great mobile apps by a tech publication.

How did they perform from a project management standpoint?

They were very responsive. We never had any concerns about missing our deadlines. It was a collaborative process and they became our true partner.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They're great listeners and understand all of our needs.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Nothing comes to mind.

5.0
Overall Score They delivered everything they promised and met all of our needs.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They met every deadline we gave them.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Their rates are competitive, but we got extremely good value for our dollar.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    We didn't have any issues with them.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I'd definitely recommend them.

Dev Partner for Data Analytics Platform

"Vokal has always been there for us, assisting at a moment’s notice with any challenges we face."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Aug. 2013 - Feb. 2018
Project summary: 

Vokal augmented internal staff for a variety of projects, typically specializing in mobile development and UI/UX design. One project of note involved the creation of a data collection app for wearables.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
VP of Engineering, Healthcare Platform
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Vokal’s flexibility made them a reliable partner for a growing startup with a shifting workload. Despite their small size, they offered the structure of larger firms. Prototypes they developed successfully converted and their deliverables consistently met expectations.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the vice president of engineering for a healthcare startup that focuses on remote patient acute care. We offer a technology that identifies anomalies and physiology.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Vokal?

We needed to augment our internal team to gain additional expertise. We’ve worked with them on a number of projects, typically relying on their team for UI design and mobile development.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

For our first engagement, they helped integrate a wireless solution center into our mobile application. Next, we wanted to redo our existing web application, so their team took care of UX/UI design, providing mockups and high-resolution wireframes.

Another engagement involved development of a complex mobile application for Tizen. We lacked the in-house capabilities, so Vokal’s team helped us build a solution for collecting sensor data from Samsung wearable devices and uploading the information to our platform. They’ve also augmented our internal staff on Android phone projects, and we reach out to them whenever we have a work backlog.

What is the team composition?

We were assigned a project manager who was responsible for billing, scheduling, and sprint planning. We also had direct contact with a technical resource who took lead on our projects.

How did you come to work with Vokal?

One of our internal developers knew one of Vokal’s senior developers, so they rose to the top of our consideration list because of that personal reference. I also liked that, like us, they were a small firm, guaranteeing agility and responsiveness. We didn’t have the formal requirement forms larger firms often expect, but Vokal was willing to work with us to draft those documents.

What is the status of this engagement?

We worked together between August 2013–February 2018. We plan to use them again in the future.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

The early projects were prototypes for a large grant we received. Both of these projects converted. Their design and development work consistently met our expectations.

How did Vokal perform from a project management standpoint?

One of the things that convinced us to hire Vokal was their combination of flexibility and strong project management. It was clear from day one that they were both detailed and adaptable. They came prepared to our initial engagement with a template that we could modify and they’re constantly seeking new ways to improve. Despite their small size, they offered the project management expertise of a mature company.

What did you find most impressive about them?

As we’ve grown from a startup, we’ve gone through a number of cycles that included unexpected increases in our workload. Vokal has always been there for us, assisting at a moment’s notice with any challenges we face.

Are there any areas they could improve?

We have a unique setup wherein our internal engineers work in parallel with their team members. Some improvements could be made in how our teams communicate.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

When evaluating contractors, it’s important to ensure they have the technical talent and management skills necessary to get the job done.

4.0
Overall Score I enjoyed working with Vokal and highly recommend them.
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Product Development for FinTech Startup

"They recruited a high-caliber team that pointed our project in the right direction."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
May - Sept. 2015
Project summary: 

Vokal helped a startup with the early dev stages of a financial investment platform. They designed the user interface, creating wireframes they then handed to a development team.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
CEO, Fintech Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Vokal’s quality team set the project on the right track. As a smaller agency, they understood the needs of a startup and provided a tailored, cost-efficient scope focused on product success. Attentiveness and responsiveness allowed them to meet most deadlines.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the CEO and Founder of a FinTech startup. We offer an automated investing platform.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Vokal?

I needed to develop our product after founding the company, but lacked the internal staff to do so. I engaged Vokal to assist with the early stages of development as I built up my staff.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They were a helpful partner in the beginning stages. We have web, iOS, and Android versions of our application, and they helped with the initial UI development, organization, and the scoping of engineering requirements.

They produced a number of wireframes which formed the project’s scaffolding, and then handed those plans to our development team.

What is the team composition?

We worked with a team of five or six, including a project manager, designer, and two people focused on wireframe UI work. Their engineering team also added commentary to help us determine our project’s full potential.

How did you come to work with Vokal?

It was a recommendation from within our local tech community. We’d heard very positive reviews.

How much have you invested with them?

About $100,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We worked together between May 2015–September 2015.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

They recruited a high-caliber team that pointed our project in the right direction.

How did Vokal perform from a project management standpoint?

They used Basecamp to coordinate the project and Azure to create the wireframes.

The nice thing about Vokal is they're not a giant agency. They're passionate about their clients and are eager to do a good job at an affordable rate, so they scope projects to benefit the businesses they serve.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They’re committed to the success of their clients. They were attentive, responsive to our needs, and always eager to apply their expertise toward our goals.

Are there any areas they could improve?

While they accomplished every task we set, they could have been better about anticipating the project’s future needs. Had they laid out a long-term scope, we might have continued working with them throughout.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They met the majority of deadlines, despite some minor scope creep.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They have a very reasonable cost structure.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They executed every task and did so to a high caliber.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I've already recommended them.

Dashboard Development for Energy Provider

“Vokal is a partner we go to for higher-end digital transformation work, both on the process and technology sides.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$1,000,000 - $9,999,999
 
2012 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Vokal created a new mobile application to enable the workforce to be more effective and to connect with them in a more intuitive way. They began with an assessment of problems, then designed and rolled it out.

The Reviewer
 
10,001 + Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
CTO, Energy Provider
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Their work consistently brings positive internal client feedback, which translates to Vokal continuously being invited back for more projects. This collaborative team delivers expertise, strong skill sets, and high-quality work. Their work is dependably on time, on budget, and on point.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We are a large national energy provider. We perform retail services but are also a large generator and distributor of electricity in a number of states in the Midwest and East Coast. I am the chief technology officer of the company responsible for strategy and driving technology change across a large distribution of systems.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Vokal?

We’ve used them for a number of different initiatives, all of which have 3 common elements: 1) they involve either the workforce or external customers, 2) intuitive UI/UX design which takes into account how customers want to approach the business problem and make technology easier for them and, 3) solving business problems we hadn’t solved before.

We were rolling out a brand new mobile solution which would enable our workforce to be more effective. We had a field team who wasn’t familiar with mobile technologies and wasn’t as efficient as they could’ve been. We needed to approach them based on where and how they were and engage them in a more fulfilling experience.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Vokal helped us go through an assessment of our workforce and problem, providing a psychological review of how the solution would work from a functionality and technology standpoint. We worked backward into a solution design for connecting with our workforce in a more intuitive way, designing the app and rolling it out. It was a thorough experience.

They offer a number of solutions and technologies. We’ve historically used Vokal for our web and mobile environments, the digital workforce, and customer-related initiatives. They’ve done around six projects with us since around 2012.

What is the team composition?

It varies based on the project. For design, we used a single person from their team, but during development, 3–4 people from Vokal worked with ours. These have been smaller engagements but important for us in terms of how many people a solution touches.

How did you come to work with Vokal?

At the time, finding local firms that had end-to-end digital transformation skillsets was challenging. It was in 2012, but it’s even more so today. They are a local Chicago company, and our CIO at the time knew theirs. He introduced Vokal to me. We tried them out on a small engagement and found them to be a diamond in the rough. As we continued to work with them, they’ve proven their worth.

How much have you invested with them?

A ballpark total for their work is $2 million–$3 million. Our projects have not been massive in scale but rather more surgical.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with Vokal in late 2012 or early 2013. We just finished an assessment for our commercial business, which is looking to go into the next phase. I don’t know if we have work with Vokal at the moment, but they are being considered for digital transformation projects.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

It was one of our first workforce enablement apps, and Vokal did a phenomenal job helping us with it. They’re instrumental in not only creating beautiful mobile app solutions from start to finish, but they also understand the larger digital space in terms of truly delighting users in a way which truly propels our business. Vokal is a partner we go to for higher-end digital transformation work, both on the process and technology sides.

They’ve either built new products which hadn’t existed in our company or renovated old solutions which were lacking. In each case, the internal client feedback has been very good. This speaks volumes, more than metrics would. After about 6 engagements, Vokal is still being asked back.

When we look at firms to engage with for digital work, while we can turn to the big integrators, we don’t get as consistent or as high-quality workforce. There will be 1 or 2 skilled people along with some who are really learning on our dime. With Vokal, we’ve had passionate and experienced people coming to the table, which may not be a hard metric but it’s the impression we’ve had over the years.

How did Vokal perform from a project management standpoint?

They worked collaboratively with our existing business and IT teams, instead of requiring handling of the full development. Vokal integrated with the business and IT experts on the client side, meeting us halfway. At the end of the day, we needed the ability to support our solution long-term.

One of the advantages of working with a firm like Vokal is that they are flexible in their approach, and they think about the solution in terms of the capabilities they want to leave behind. Are there microservices which can be reused in our context? Are there atrophying technologies which would best be re-engineered or refreshed? They gave us different options to look at to make sure we made effective use of our technology across the enterprise. They constantly think strategically even though they act within prescribed solutions.

Our projects haven’t been on a mass scale, but the difficulty can still be substantial. We might find that a lot of the knowledge, either on the business or the IT side, for different components isn’t there. We have to have good project management and experts to come in, learn what they have to learn, and put the pieces together. For the types of projects we’ve done with Vokal on the digital side, they’re very good at delivering on time and on budget, within the customer experience we’re looking for.

What did you find most impressive about them?

The quality of the people they bring in and their comprehensive nature is impressive. Vokal has the ability to take us from the concept stage through to user and technical design, development, testing, and rollout. The strong integration and partnership capability, the skillset of their workforce, and consistently high quality make them stand out.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Not that I’ve seen.

Do you have any advice for future clients of theirs?

It’s important to engage with the team in a way that doesn’t over-define the solution, especially for undergoing a digital transformation project. Be in love with the problem you bring them, but let their expertise in human factor design and technology come to the table. Listen to those, rather than pre-deciding what you want.

5.0
Overall Score We’re always looking to put some pressure on cost, but the collaboration with Vokal is almost perfect.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    No product we’ve developed with them has gone past deadline.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    A nice problem to have is that their workforce is higher quality, but we also look at affordability.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Based on the speed of adoption and limited technical issues we’ve had, the quality is high.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I have no concerns about my reputation when recommending their team.