Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I outsource my project?
Many companies are simply too small to support a staff of full time IT professionals. IT departments within large organizations are frequently overburdened and don’t have the time to take on new projects. Outsourcing saves you time, improves your efficiency, and ultimately saves you money. It allows you the freedom to focus on your core business and concentrate on what you do best. Our goal is to provide you with a system that will allow your business to run smarter, faster, and more effectively without taking on the burden of a full-time team.
My office is located hundreds of miles from your location. How can you support my business?
While we are located in San Ramon, California and most of our clients are in the Bay Area, we have worked with clients throughout the United States as well as overseas. We use remote control software provided by LogMeIn that enables us to connect to your computer over the internet and provide installation, configuration, and technical support when needed. LogMeIn offers secure, temporary, permission-based access to remote computers. It’s 100% online, requires no pre-installed software, and connections can be established within 30 seconds.
What kind of response time should I expect when I have questions?
Because we concentrate on a small number of projects at any given time, we can offer more individual attention to your project. Whenever you have a question or concern about your project, we are always available via cell, text and email. You will not have to wait days for a response. Your call will not be answered by an overseas tech support division. You will always be working directly with us throughout the duration of your project.
I have a business-critical system in place in need of significant upgrades. How will my day-to- day operations be impacted?
We will do everything we can to ensure your current operations are not disrupted by a conversion to a new system. We will work together to identify data targeted for migration. Both systems can be run in parallel if required. Extensive backups will be made at every step. Migration to the new system will not occur until we are both 100% confident the new system is fully functional.
I currently manage my business on spreadsheets. Can the data be electronically imported into a new system, so that I don't have to re-key the information?
Yes. Fortunately, spreadsheets are amongst the easiest data files to import into databases. Data scrubbing and mapping will likely be required, but this process is far simpler and less time consuming than re-entering the data from scratch. Some people prefer the ease of use Excel offers them, especially for tasks such as graphing. We can use a database to store your data, then periodically export detail or summary extracts back to Excel for further analysis.
I don't have a system today, but I know I need one. Where do I start?
The first thing we will do is conduct requirements analysis to determine the nature of your data, who will be using it, how you will be using it, and what you want to do with it. An effective analysis of your needs will result in the optimal solution for your business. We will prepare a project proposal, review the details with you, and respond to your questions and concerns. Once we agree on all the aspects of the system, work will commence as soon as you are ready to proceed.
We bought a custom database system from a developer years ago. Response times are slowing down, maintenance time is increasing, and we lost contact with the developer. Can you help?
Yes. It may be time to archive historical data and enhance some aspects of the database design or the user interface (forms, reports, etc.). This is a common situation and may be addressed quickly depending on the nature of the problems.
Who owns the software once it’s built?
You do. You hire us to build your system. It’s yours to do with as you please, and we won’t sell the software to your competitors or anyone else.
Are there per user/per seat licensing fees?
No, since you own the software, there are no licensing fees.
How do you bill?
We provide a written proposal with pricing and scheduling estimates before any work begins. We bill hourly through project completion. If we come in under budget, we bill only for hours consumed. In a perfect world, we identify all requirements up front to price the system accurately. In the real world, additional features and functions beyond the original scope of work often come to light during development. We will notify you in advance of any features that would cause us to exceed the budget. It’s your call if you want to proceed with those enhancements, cancel them, or save for a later development stage.
Why are hourly rates all over the place?
A senior programmer has built over time an extensive library of code that can be re-used. Less seasoned developers will be writing code from scratch with every system they develop, requiring trial-and-error, and ultimately taking more time to build your project. An experienced developer will be able to re-use logic, forms, etc. built previously, that are proven to work, saving you time and money in the long run. A senior developer will also be able to propose cost-effective solutions based on experience developing similar solutions.