feature helped the client re-engineer their homegrown system from scratch to operational. The agency’s involvement continues for their modernization and migration to Microsoft Azure.
"Our reliability, scalability, and maintainability have improved by orders of magnitude because of feature's work."
feature’s work has been extremely significant for the client, who credits the agency with providing their “cornerstone offering.” The client praises feature for their flexibility, agility, knowledge, and fantastic software skills.
OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE
What business challenge were you trying to address with feature?
We have some very specific business needs to track our purchase orders – invoices – in a specific way due to many varied business partners and distributors that we work with. We weren't comfortable with building our ERP [enterprise resource planning] system on existing off-the-shelf solutions. We contracted with feature to help us build a custom order management system and inventory order tracking management system that we can use and extend out to our business partners and to the customers in the Veterans Administration.
Please describe the scope of their involvement in detail.
When we first engaged feature, they inherited a homegrown system that we had started with, and it was architected for a smaller implementation. It's become much larger since then. They helped us re-engineer it from scratch while it was still operational. That's akin to changing the wheels on a bus while it's still going 55 miles an hour. They have really done an admirable job of systematically replacing the solution we had and bringing it to an enterprise-level solution.
I'll give you an example. When we first started, the system was designed in a .NET environment that was using techniques and modules from 2000 to 2004 timeframe. It was sitting on a single server in a small data center in Gainesville, Florida. The first thing we did was to migrate it all to Microsoft's Azure platform.
Now that they got it migrated to Microsoft's Azure platform where it's stable and has many lines of reliability, we don't lose a wink of sleep. They went about modernizing the platform so it could take advantage of everything that Microsoft's Azure platform offers. They did all of the architecture, all of the engineering, and all of the migration. All I did was serve as the business sponsor and help guide our business requirements with them.
How did you come to work with feature?
They came highly recommended.
Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?
The size of the project is in the $200,000 to $1 million price range.
What is the status of this engagement?
Our partnership is ongoing.
RESULTS & FEEDBACK
Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?
Our reliability, scalability, and maintainability have improved by orders of magnitude because of feature's work. I don't have a specific metric to provide, but to give you a sense of how important feature's work is, the solution that they provided has become the cornerstone of what we offer to the community. It has become the cornerstone of our offering.
We're a distributor, so we go to a manufacturer of, let's say a spine implant, just so you can have a visual. We say to that manufacturer, "Would you like to sell onto government?" If they answer, "Yes, we'd love to sell to the government, but there's too much red tape and it takes too long." We say, "We're your 'easy' button."
If you sell through us, we already have the red tape done. We will just put your product on our platform, and we will sell it to the government. The government will buy it from us, as a distributor, and we will take the government's money and then we will give you what the government gave us, less a little bit for ourselves because we've got to keep our doors open.
At the center of that is the software. That is the essence of our company – that software – because there are many people out there who can take orders from the government and then pass it onto a manufacturer. The key is being able to do it efficiently, reliably, predictably, and be scalable. There are no other providers in our space, or distributors in our space, who are doing it as well as we are, and it's because of that software. Truly, what they've done is help us build the cornerstone of our company.
How did feature perform from a project management standpoint?
feature has been fantastic. They're enterprise-level quality work.
Is there anything you feel distinguishes them from other providers you've worked with in the past?
They're flexible, agile, and deeply knowledgeable. They are constantly looking at new technologies and ways to improve our product. We are very happy with our partnership.
Is there anything feature could have improved or done differently?