Drupal Setup for Shipping Consolidator
- Web Development
- $50,000 to $199,999
- Jan. 2015 - Ongoing
- Willing to Refer
"I’d say that Websolutions, provided with the resources that were contracted, has proven to be extremely flexible and helpful."
- Other Industry
- Bear, Delaware
- 11-50 Employees
- Phone Interview
Websolutions Agency used Drupal for the coding of the client’s e-commerce website. They did the frontend graphical design, as well as the backend infrastructure setup.
Though it’s not their specialty, Websolutions Agency implemented hosting and networking solutions to the site. This flexibility is what this client values most about working with Websolutions.
A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.
Introduce your business and what you do there.
We are a shipping consolidator organization that helps customers across the globe shop within US retailers and save up to 80% of the shipping costs for international shipping. It’s a good position for both sides because we enable customers to shop with retailers that do not generally do business with international clients. We are basically an e-commerce company with a warehouse in Delaware.
I am the CIO [Chief Information Officer].
OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE
What challenge were you trying to address with Websolutions Agency?
We’ve been working intensively with Websolutions for the last year and a half on developing our e-commerce system.
What was the scope of their involvement?
The scope of their involvement ranged from initial discovery and advisory functions to the development of the initial phase of the project. Websolutions Agency advised us on how to plan the project in terms of a timeframe for the delivery of certain functionalities. They helped us with the programming and coding of the site using the Drupal platform. They were involved in the graphical design of the user experience, the frontend development, the backend development, and infrastructure setup. Although the configuring and hosting of the site isn’t their specialty, they were quite flexible about it and helped us in those areas as well. They also did many integrations with third-party services during this development.
How did you come to work with Websolutions Agency?
Our Chief Executive Officer decided to use PHP as the underlying technology for building our e-commerce system. I knew the co-owner of Websolutions and I informed him that I was looking for such technology providers. It turned out that his company was doing that because Drupal is PHP-based. Beneath Drupal, PHP is the development programming language. They were quite good with the offer, and we did an extensive discovery phase where they wanted to check that Drupal would work for both the CMS [content management solution] system and the e-commerce part in terms of its capability of providing all of our requirements. It turns out it was possible, and they were very flexible about their role in the whole development. They were open to good ideas and suggestions. Based on other offers we had, they were the optimal choice.
How much have you invested with Websolutions Agency?
The size is a six-figure amount.
What is the status of this engagement?
It’s ongoing. As long as the system lives, we shall always be developing something. The intensity of it, of course, changes from time to time, but it is quite intensive so far. The software development started late January 2015. We started talking about it and contracting and negotiating maybe two months earlier.
RESULTS & FEEDBACK
Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
The project contains about a dozen integrations with third-party services. We’ve developed a whole enterprise resource planning system for our business, so it’s not just a complex website, but rather it’s an information system. We are constantly bombarded with requirements from a business side for changes, updates, and upgrades, and we are constrained on the budget side and on the time side. Under these circumstances, I’d say that Websolutions, provided with the resources that were contracted, has proven to be extremely flexible and helpful. They were forward-going with us the whole time, and they still are.
The resulting quality of our system is a combination of the fact that we used Drupal, which is a good open source platform that offers tried and true components, and the quality of the developers we used from Websolutions. We constantly had changes we wanted to make, so we cannot blame Websolutions for every bug in the system because there was not that much time for testing. Based on the feedback from our customers, we know where we stand in terms of our system. We know that we still have issues that we need to work on, whether they are caused by the development, our business decisions, or changes in the market.
How did Websolutions Agency perform from a project management standpoint?
From an A, B, C, D mark, I would say that Websolutions has proven to rise from a C-level in the beginning of the project to about B-level, with A being the best. Of course, people fluctuate. The project had many changes in the development theme, so of course this also had some influences on the quality of coding in certain periods of the system development. The current team that is working on the project is quite good; I am quite satisfied with them and particularly with the lead developer. He is really solving all the issues that come our way. I am also extremely satisfied with the frontend developer that we have. They are also taking care of our infrastructure on the hardware side, including networking, hosting, and such things, which is not their specialty. They explicitly said they cannot guarantee they will be able to do those things, but it turns out that we are using them more than the official help we hired at various points in time. That says a lot in itself.
What did you find most impressive about Websolutions Agency?
I would say they are open and flexible in any term you can imagine. If your budget changes and you have contracted something with them, they are flexible even with the contract. If it’s in their power to be flexible, they adjust the resources they have, either to remove some resources or provide some resources additionally to the project. They care about your success and they are ready to learn. I’m the CIO, but I am also a system architect and business analyst. From first-hand experience, I know how ready they were to learn all the best practices that I brought to them with this project. They are using the practices in the project as much as they can. Their flexibility to adapt to user needs and to consider the customer in terms of making something cheaper, but still deliver the business value, is what I value from them. You are not just a figure on their balance sheet.
Are there any areas Websolutions Agency could improve?
That’s a very dangerous question to ask from someone who has been a quality auditor for 11 years, and who has optimized organizations and systems all his life. I’m quite strict about improvements, so yes, of course, there can be better things to do always. For instance, currently, with Websolutions I would say the best thing that would help them is improving their planning of resources, in terms of having more time to do validations and verifications of the code. At the end, we got the quality we wanted. We would have gotten it sooner if more complex parts were more rigorously verified before pushing to production.
Service & Deliverables
"I would like to see a lesser need for system corrections after deploying it to production. I expected the deliverables to have less bugs. I think they could improve there."
On time / deadlines
"They deliver everything on time as much as it is in their power."
Value / within estimates
Willing to Refer5.0
"I am absolutely ready to recommend them for some other projects.