Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?
The main success factor is it working as specified. In that sense, it's a 100 percent success. I needed it to do very specific things and produce specific results. The tool works by turning insight into metric. We would present a list of questions, the respondents self-score the questions, and the system itself creates a report based on those results as compared to a norm group. The formulas within it are massively complex. You have to create standardized numbers and compare one score with another. The key factor, in terms of the tool being trusted by our clients, was the results being stable and accurate. When it ran live, we had an extensive testing period to ensure that, compared to my research data, the output of the tool was accurate. It's a complete success. It does exactly what I need it to do.
The other measure of quality, for us, is the uptime of the system, which has been very high. There were a couple of points where third-party systems had changed, we spotted it, and they updated the necessary areas immediately. You can't fault them for speed.
Any ongoing developments have been very flexible. They always knew that we would do more with it. They didn't build it and think it was finished, but made sure that we could add other elements: 360-degree feedback, group reporting, and so on. A measure of success was how quickly we could add on the new functions rather than doing a massive rebuild. It is a very scalable tool.
In terms of general finish quality, it's built to a very high spec. We just gave them the templates of the reports. The actual interface was created by them; it's nice and user friendly. They could see the need for certain things being in certain ways. They were co-designing, not just having me say, "Do this." Rather, it was them telling me, "If you do this, this will happen." They changed some of my thinking, to make sure we got a better product. Overall, it was a very positive experience with them.
How did W2S Solutions perform from a project management standpoint?
The budget we set didn't shift and they met their deadlines. We were probably a bit late on things like testing and providing data. In terms of hitting the key milestones, all the way through, they were ahead of us. We were playing catch-up with W2S Solutions, rather than the other way around. Compared to some other software companies, this was a refreshing change.
What distinguishes W2S Solutions from other providers?
The can-do attitude. Nothing is a problem to them. They immediately say, "Yes, we can do that." They don't think of how expensive they can build something, but rather realistically focus on making what you want quickly.
Their CEO is someone in whose hands you feel safe. They are an international company, and there's always the worry of losing track and control of your project. With the team there, though, you never feel that. Their attitude, more than anything else, distinguishes them. I really enjoy working with them, and I'm eager to find the next piece of work to do with them.
Is there anything W2S Solutions could have improved or done differently?
The only thing would be that they're not the right people for writing the descriptions and names for things. Occasionally, you will find something named quite randomly or find a mistype. They are not copywriters, and are not necessarily proofreaders. I had to make sure that, where I had specific text requirements, I was more explicit in telling them which words to use, rather than letting them second guess. It is something that they can sharpen up, but it is a shared responsibility. This is more of a caution for working with any software company.