Axel Sturmann – IT Manager, Venstar Exchange
Azati Software augmented an internal IT manager to assist in various projects. Their work revolved around SugarCRM customization and specific tasks related to foreign exchange transactions.
Azati Software understands how to provide quality work which can later be taken over and managed by internal teams. They’re consistent with deliverables and communicate well. They team is reliable, always able to answer questions and figure out unexpected issues related to custom CRM and AWS EC2.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Introduce your business and what you do there.
Venstar Exchange is a reseller of foreign exchange services to a British company. For example, if you need to exchange and send funds abroad, then you can do this through a bank, or through us. We strive to provide the better service and rates. I am the manager for every aspect of IT within the company, from website design to database management, CRM customization, and phone issues.
What challenge were you trying to address with Azati Software?
We needed customization for our SugarCRM instance, from a company which was familiar with the platform, and which we could ask for help whenever I was out of my depths. I’m a jack of all trades, master of none, so I needed specialists who could jump in to answer questions and take over projects I couldn’t handle.
What was the scope of their involvement?
Our CRM needed to be customized considerably. We needed new modules with very specific tasks around foreign exchange transactions. In particular, we needed a module which kept track of all the beneficiaries our clients needed to pay. We needed a custom form on which clients could submit beneficiary information, store this in our CRM, and then allow the client to select which beneficiaries they wanted to direct the funds to from each transaction.
The transactions and beneficiary modules needed to be custom-made in SugarCRM, and linked with all other modules: the accounts, contacts, leads and so on. Azati Software helped us enormously in creating that, pretty much building the transactions module from scratch.
We have a development instance of our CRM saved on an Amazon EC2 server that Azati Software has access to and can work on whatever they need to. I check the work and, as soon as I understand what they’ve done and how it works, I move it across to our live instance.
They are also excellent at troubleshooting bugs. When faced with a bug I know that I can either tear my hair out, or call Azati.
How did you come to work with Azati Software?
I am married to the best friend of the wife of one of Azati Software’s staff. He is more involved with web design, but we found out that the company also specialize in SugarCRM, among other things. I’ve dealt with the two specialists in the company for our area.
How much have you invested with Azati Software?
I don’t know off the top of my head, but many thousands over the years. The question is more how many more thousands have they saved us!
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working with Azati Software in 2011. We have had multiple jobs for them over the years, both small tasks and larger ones, like the creation of our CRM modules.
Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
They understood what we needed, had very good communication, and, if something was unclear, Azati Software asked us questions and didn’t make presumptions. They produced a high level of work which fit our needs. The comments made in the code made it very simple for me to later understand what was done and why, as well as to make my own tweaks, if need-be.
The amount of time which Azati Software’s work has saved our company, as well as me, has been fantastic. We typically look at what we need, and at what can be automated, and get Azati Software to do the work. What might take me three or four days to figure out how to do, Azati Software can do in a couple of hours because of their existing knowledge.
I know that, if I have a question, their team will have an answer, or they will figure it out a lot faster than I could. I perform most of the programming for our company, but I’m nowhere near as skilled as Azati Software, and I have too many other things to do, whereas they know their stuff, and will get the job done invariably cheaper.
How did Azati Software perform from a project management standpoint?
This is hard to answer, as I haven’t really had experience working with Azati Software on projects involving multiple people. I tend to work directly with my favorite programmer at Azati who I since know personally.
What did you find most impressive about Azati Software?
I’ve recommended Azati Software on multiple occasions, to anyone looking for their types of services. We have also used a smaller company in India, which was even cheaper, but, given their quality of work and English language skills, I’ve preferred to deal with Azati Software. They may be more expensive, but the quality of work and communication stand out.
I need to have my needs understood, which is critical when talking with programmers who have a different native language.
Are there any areas Azati Software could improve?
They could knock their prices down, but this is subjective and I would say it even if they were cheaper. Overall, I’ve been extremely happy with Azati Software, and have recommended them regularly.