March 10, 2016
In this installment of our new Customer Testimonial series we’ve interviewed Anthony Peccerillo, President and CEO of HousingHub. Anthony explains how cooperation with Itransition turned into a long-standing partnership and what we’ve done to help his company succeed in a highly demanding public affordable housing market.
Late 2012 is when we started contemplating how we were going to build our solution. We decided that we needed a strong partner who could provide architecture design and development support for us. We were looking for a vendor who could provide us a gamut of services and be able to respond to our needs. Itransition had business analysts, software developers, experienced engineers and architects and this was exactly what we were looking for. In addition, they were in a different time zone, which would give us a window of opportunity to develop software closer to a 24-hour cycle. We did overlap a few hours per day which was great for check-ins and meetings across staff, but that also gave us the opportunity to keep our process rolling virtually 24 hours.
We set out to build a solution that reduced the amount of client side administration and management. We looked at multiple options and settled on using cloud technologies. That gave us flexibility to take ownership of the infrastructure maintenance and provide a Software-as-a-Service solution to our customers. But to get there we needed leading-edge technologies. If you look back a couple of years when we made this decision, there were few people who were experienced in this field. Itransition was able to step up to the plate and deliver on some of the important needs, one of them being an agile development process. In addition, they offer resources that are experienced in cloud. For example, one of the most critical features for what we designed was multitenancy, a fairly complex scenario to implement. Having a team of developers who knew how to implement a multitenant system was important to us.
We executed an elaborate RFP process and they were one of the respondents. The RFP required a vendor who could provide architecture design and development resources, while at the same time an offshore model that would allow us to elongate our window of development opportunity. In addition, we needed a vendor, who provided English-speaking resources, because the majority of our staff is in the United States and speaks English as a primary language. Itransition was a respondent to our RFP and that’s how we came to know them.
Itransition showed a huge amount of commitment right from the get-go. They came to our introduction meetings that we had during the RFP process and they brought a team of engineers, designers and managers as if they were coming to do the implementation and start the project, which was far from what any other vendor did. When we met them we knew they would be very engaged and we knew that they were someone, who we potentially could build a long-term relationship with.
During the RFP process we had an opportunity for the vendor to meet with the team so that we could ask questions and see what the bulk of the team was going to look like and how the company operated. Itransition stood out from other vendors. They were committed, provided a depth of knowledge, and offered us a team that spanned resources from the United States and Eastern Europe.
We had a large challenge from a business perspective. We were committed to build a single solution that satisfied the needs of the entire public and affordable housing market space. The market consists of agencies of various size. There are small agencies that may have a couple people on staff and support a small number of housing units, as well as very large agencies in major metropolitan cities that potentially have hundreds of people on staff and thousands of housing units.
From a technology perspective we outsourced technical design, development and software testing. We have an agile software development lifecycle which means that every day there are meetings amongst all the teams who set the day’s story straight, understand where we are, what issues we’re facing and how we’re going to address the day’s work. Those are very rapid meetings and happen constantly throughout the course of the day. We would sync up our activities and the expected progress on the project, adjusting resources and timelines, or deciding to move functionality in or out of the development roadmap.
Itransition was asked to help us architect a Software-as-a-Service solution. One of challenges we were faced with was flexibility in the software. Whatever we were going to build needed to be nimble and configurable to the extent that we can take it from a small agency with a few people on staff managing a few hundred units up to a very complex organization with potentially hundreds of people on staff, managing tens of thousands of units of housing. So to do that the solution needed to be configurable, nimble, flexible and scalable. And Itransition was able to deliver all that.
We’ve been working with them for two-and-a-half to three years now and they have grown beyond what we thought they would deliver initially. At the start of the project we planned for Itransition to be our technical resource vendor, and they’ve grown beyond that. Today we consider Itransition as a trusted advisor for technology.
At the start of the project we planned for Itransition to be our technical resource vendor, and they've grown beyond that. Today we consider Itransition as a trusted advisor for technology.
Since Itransition helped us deliver the initial product we’ve actually expanded their scope to other parts of HAI group. We’ve decided to do that because of their abilities to advise us on new technologies and on architecture decisions that we just don’t have the staffing to address.
It’s their commitment. Itransition is very committed to our project, as committed as our own resources at HAI group. With that, they come to work every day wanting to make an impact, wanting to innovate, taking on the challenges to deliver on tight schedules and delivering high quality results. Our quality assurance standards are fairly high and Itransition is committed to delivering those levels of quality. We had some starts and stops when we first set out to build the solution. After approximately one year, we decided that we need to make a strategic change which would impact the architecture of the entire system. The Itransition team was supportive of the change and adjusted their team and processes to support our new strategy. They were right there to provide us with a new set of resources who were able to architect and design what we needed and helped us get on a new path towards a solution.
Itransition was right there to provide us with a new set of resources who were able to architect and design what we needed and helped us get on a new path towards a solution.
Indeed, Itransition has met all expectations that we set on the team. Again, I talked about their design ability, their technical ability, but the way they manage their staff is top-notch and I couldn’t ask for a better partner to trust in executing on their end while delivering on our high level of quality. Our expectation of Itransition was that they were to augment our staff. We were going to provide most of the design, and most of the planning was going to come from the employees of HAI group. What we found was as the project evolved and became complex and we needed to have multiple work paths going on at the same time, Itransition was able to step up and take full ownership over the execution of some very complex, larger projects. Our management team is able to trust that Itransition staff will be as accountable as anybody else on the team. In fact, we view the Itransition resources as our team members.
Itransition is not a partner who is going to come into your organization and just write code for you or design what’s on a piece of paper. They’re a think tank as much as they are a development shop. They really put in the effort to understand the business value, they truly understand the balance between value, cost, and quality and deliver that in every design that they do. They challenge us on our decision. If we provide design or provide a framework for them to use, they will be there to challenge us if they feel that we’re headed in the wrong direction and help us change course. I am excited about having a partner that will do that. We use them as an advisory board and it’s been invaluable. I would recommend them to anybody who has a large-scale application to develop.