feature assisted the client in the creation of their innovation center, helping with every step of the process from ideation to development and delivery.
"feature performed very well. I was happy with everything, from the statement of work process all the way through to the status updates I would get for some projects."
feature was able to not only contribute to the client’s creation process, but also help them avoid costly mistakes. The client noted that they would like more ongoing feedback, but they praised feature for their engineering capabilities.
OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE
What business challenge were you trying to address with feature?
We were looking for a strategic partner to work with us to develop an innovation center where we can quickly create and bring ideas to market from a technology perspective. We also wanted to add capacity and resources to our application development team members. We needed to work with a third-party partner to help us develop our reference architecture and also quickly scale up any mobile applications and even internally hosted applications. feature had that skill set for us.
We originally were looking for a digital partner to work with our digital strategy, and they just didn’t have the breadth of offerings we were looking for, but I did admire their engineering capability because they’ve got some pretty solid software engineers. That’s a kind of skill that is difficult to find and difficult to sustain within your organization, but these guys were a great partner in that respect. I have used them for many projects so far this year.
Part of it is also helping us with acquisitions. We’re pretty aggressive at acquiring companies, and the team at feature, with their deep engineering background, can tell us the value of some assets and the value of software that we currently use and things we’re thinking about using. They would go through and actually do code reviews and process reviews to help us evenly value software assets.
Please describe the scope of their involvement in greater detail.
feature gave us advice not only on the software development side and the design, but they also helped us with the ideation process, even flushing out the business side of some technology initiatives that we’re working on. It’s really strategic level elements that they offered, and it’s an additional value that I know they didn’t charge us for.
They touched every bit of the life cycle, and that means from analysis to design, development and even delivery. It’s been in both website and application development. We’re actually now working with them developing a prototype for a mobile application in the Android space. That’s where we see a lot of value with their capabilities; they can deliver across that spectrum.
How did you come to work with feature?
It was interesting. We had a digital strategy initiative that was under way. I had just joined the company. It was already out for RFP [Request for Proposal], but when I inserted myself I made sure to find somebody that would work closely with us and our own internal team and make the whole process less disruptive.
When feature responded to the RFP, it was clear they couldn’t offer the breadth of services that some of the bigger players in town, and out of town, could provide, but we were intrigued with their response and the individuals, Mike Potts and Jeremy Vaughan, were impressive. That’s how I met them. I got a sense of their organization and their capabilities. As a software developer and an architect myself, I could see that Mike Potts and his technical team was very strong on the engineering side and on the business, digital start-up space. As these opportunities came across, we continued to grow the relationship across several different projects throughout the year.
Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?
I would say we spent north of $300,000 with them this year. I’d be comfortable in saying that it will probably be a little more than that by the end of the year. I’m very happy with their services.
RESULTS & FEEDBACK
Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?
I think they helped us evaluate vendor capabilities and make several strategic decisions and avoid other nonstrategic decisions. Previously, everyone was thinking we were going to go down one path, and it was after feature shed light on some of the challenges with that technology stack, that we decided to go a different direction. They helped us avoid a pretty significant investment that would have been a bad in my opinion. It was only through their due diligence efforts that we were able to see that challenge clearly and pivot to a different strategy. Their proactive capabilities and their engineering capabilities were invaluable to me.
How did feature perform from a project management standpoint?
feature performed very well. I was happy with everything, from the statement of work process all the way through to the status updates I would get for some projects.
Is there anything feature could have improved or done differently?
They could do better with continued feedback, like a snapshot or a summary of all projects (enter: Docio).This is talking from an executive perspective because I do have several things in motion with them. Just an executive one-page document would be helpful, to know where we are, and I think that’s a maturity opportunity for them. They’ve been doing a solid job verbally, and when they’re here for meetings, but I think an artifact that can tell us where we are at times, and where things are in the life cycle of the project, would be very helpful.