Chillisoft driving digital transformation
By Jacqueline Raw from YCagel
Interviewed: Riaan Backer, CTO: HOMii Lifestyle
Chillisoft is a values-driven professional software development house. It prides itself on the impact it makes in business, on individuals and on furthering software professionalism. Chillisoft is a living example of a successful, human-centred company delivering real-world, sustainable technical solutions.
HOMii is a property development company that is doing to the traditional residential property sector what Uber has done to transportation – disrupting the South African property rental market by leveraging technology, a deep commitment to community and creating aspirational, lifestyle-centric living spaces while allowing ease of availability to all.
The three key factors influencing my decision when sourcing the right vendor for this project were price, the vendor’s ability to understand our business and articulate the right technical solutions and a collaborative team that would not be afraid to push back if we were going down the wrong path.
My initial process was to evaluate three companies against the first factor, which was price. Although Chillisoft was not the lowest cost solution, the other vendors were just software houses that seemed to focus on billing customer hours, which could have become problematic.
The difference with Chillisoft was that it first sought to understand (and buy into) the project’s deliverables and that it was committed to showing value to the business early on. Being a purpose-driven business, Chillisoft had a vested interest in the project from the start.
In undertaking a project like ours, traditionally, a company would have to have a business analyst, a system analyst, a tester, a developer, and perhaps even an architect. Chillisoft has a hugely advantageous model that includes a developer who possesses knowledge across all these specialities, which is uncommon. This meant we had access to a highly skilled developer who could understand and articulate the business objectives and so take the business requirements and convert them into technical, scalable solutions.
Another critical factor was that Chillisoft is free from the traditional processes of developing business requirement documentation first and then going through a lengthy process of getting a system built. The company got stuck into the project with two developers fulfilling business analyst and systems analyst roles, while understanding the business well and developing solutions. It was evident from the beginning that their intention was not to accumulate billing hours, but rather to build a scalable system as soon as possible. This was the core deciding factor for me.
Chillisoft proved to be a value-first business as it focused on getting the right solutions out as quickly as possible.
What did Chillisoft bring to the table and how did the company work with your team?
The Chillisoft team quickly proved to be a team of very talented individuals!
Writing code is not all they know – unlike so many others in this industry – they also have substantial knowledge around systems. This showed up in their firm understanding of Azure Cloud and that the team was fully trained on the DevOps tools that we use. They further bolstered their value by bringing their knowledge around DevOps processes to the table.
A key standout for us at HOMii was Chillisoft’s superior knowledge around our business’s technical domains – back-end, front-end, cloud, security and mobile. The company understood our business model quickly and thoroughly and, due to that, could challenge our decisions to ensure we received the best possible solutions.
Before Chillisoft’s engagement, we were not focusing on other smaller things that needed to be configured, set up, maintained and managed – they jumped in and assisted us in these areas. This support allowed us to focus on building functions and features for the new system very quickly instead of having to put new processes in place to build those features.
What was Chillisoft’s process, and how did the company adapt to yours?
At the beginning of the project, I outlined my process with the Chillisoft team. They reviewed it, made comments and recommendations, and collaboratively we designed a process to support and drive our ability to deliver and release features into production, daily. They provided hands-on best-practice solutions that were not merely textbook-type insights, but rather input on what works best, based on their vast experience.
The team built and embedded a process to implement professional development practices called TDD (test-driven development) which has proven to be extremely beneficial. By applying their recommended processes, we have been able to confidently make changes to the system, release the changes and show our HOMii customers value – daily!
Chillisoft has proven it knows what does and does not work from a process perspective and that it is collaborative in finding the right operating rhythm with my team.
How did Chillisoft deliver, what were the results?
With a value-first, collaborative approach, the Chillisoft team delivered in three months what vendors would traditionally build in two years or more. Their commitment to showing value upfront meant we saw wins early in the project. The team was not interested in accumulating billable hours, their core focus was on delivering the right solutions, fast.
Without the Chillisoft team, I could not have come this far in such a short amount of time. Beyond the scope of this project, we have been able to leverage the technology that Chillisoft has developed to drive digital transformation throughout the business and so reducing our operational overheads.
All I have left to say is that Chillisoft brought exceptional value, is an exceptional company and has a super-sharp team. The Chillisoft team helped Homii deliver on our promise of being a prop-tech disruptor by enabling an aspirational lifestyle through leading-edge technology, which is Homii’s custom built IP.