As part of OECO Group, a cluster of The Cronos Group with dynamic and forward-thinking IT solution companies and entrepreneurs, we know how important it is to stay flexible and ahead of the curve. When they approached us with the challenge of creating a highly customisable and scalable pre-invoicing tool to serve the entire group, we knew we were the right people for the job. Leveraging our end-to-end Optis factory, we helped OECO optimise their pre-invoicing process with our comprehensive four-phase approach. Join us as we reflect on this transformative journey!
OECO needed an automated tool to streamline their invoicing process. The existing manual communication, where individuals had to send emails to the billing department for tasks like generating timesheet codes, lacked a centralised overview and left relevant stakeholders uninformed. Because of OECO's rapid growth and the unique operational methods of their diverse competence centres, an off-the-shelf software package was not a viable option. They required a tailored solution that seamlessly integrated with their existing systems while allowing for future expansions and integrations.
To address these challenges, OECO turned to Optis, recognising our expertise in truly custom development and the Optis factory model's potential for smooth scalability and extensibility. The primary objective was to centralise and process all relevant data in a structured way. The tool should contain a global overview of timesheet codes, associated companies, and rates across competence centres. This would ensure effective communication even when billing department personnel were unavailable. Optis was entrusted with the task of digitising this process and building a customised solution to meet OECO's specific needs.
Thanks to the software factory model, we got high-quality people from the entire software development pyramid, from high-level architects to the actual developers, within our given budget.
We embarked on a collaborative journey, where meticulous planning laid the groundwork for success. OECO came to us with a clear understanding of their functional requirements for the pre-invoicing tool, seeking a trusted partner to bring their vision to fruition. Together, we conducted discovery sessions, engaging in comprehensive discussions with key stakeholders, including OECO's product owner—a driving force behind the need for faster, simpler, and more structured processes within the billing department.
These discovery sessions served as a catalyst for analysing the requirements and defining the essential building blocks of the solution. We transformed OECO's business language into an intuitive application, addressing each challenge along the way. To foster alignment, we collaboratively crafted user stories and delineated the criteria for the minimum viable product (MVP). Through this iterative process, we translated their vision into tangible user interface screens, allowing us to navigate the user journey together. With a shared understanding and an Agile mindset, we commenced the next phase of the project, ready to transform their vision into reality.
In the build phase, we adopted an Agile methodology, working in sprints that allowed our client to track the application's progress every fourteen days. This iterative approach enabled us to incorporate feedback promptly, and the Optis factory model proved invaluable in facilitating this seamless feedback loop.
Throughout the development process, we maintained efficient communication channels and established feedback procedures to capture issues, identify areas for improvement, and celebrate successes. Additionally, the unique advantage of developing a tool that we would eventually use ourselves further fuelled our commitment to delivering excellence.
With our talented in-house team, consisting of project leads, tech leads, developers, UX/UI designers, and testers, we handled every aspect of the application’s development.
Our technology stack was carefully selected for its durability, flexibility, and expandability, ensuring that the solution would endure and grow alongside the client’s evolving needs.
A huge benefit of the software factory model is the continuity. When we want new features, there is no heavy, costly, and long hand-over necessary.
After an intensive four-month period of analysis, requirements gathering and development, we reached a significant milestone—the release of the MVP. We made the MVP available to select key users in a test phase, allowing them to experience the tool first-hand. This initial release served as an opportunity to gather valuable feedback, enabling us to fine-tune and enhance the application.
Based on the feedback received during the test phase, we continued to iterate and develop the solution at a measured pace. After six months of diligent work, we achieved a level of stability and maturity that warranted a full-scale roll-out. This staged approach, inherent to our Optis factory, allowed us to build, test, address issues, and refine the application progressively, ensuring a high-quality end product.
Throughout the development process, we maintained our open lines of communication, providing OECO with a comprehensive versioning overview. This detailed documentation included new features, improvements, and a changelog, ensuring transparency and allowing the client to stay informed about the progress and evolution of the tool.
Our commitment to our clients extends beyond the initial development and release phases. We are currently in the support phase, ensuring the ongoing functionality, security, and maintenance of the pre-invoicing tool. Our dedicated team diligently monitors the system, ensuring that it remains live, secure, and up to date.
In addition to providing ongoing support, we have implemented a collaborative approach for the introduction of new features. Aligning with OECO's preferred way of working, we adopted a system where they bundle potential features. Through short syncs, we prioritised and determined which features are most urgent and should be developed promptly, while also considering future enhancements. This approach shows how our Optis factory model combines flexibility with a standardised Agile development and delivery.
We were pleased with how smoothly Optis faced the challenges and how quick they responded to our feedback.
We are proud to announce that we will be extending the availability of this pre-invoicing tool to at least one other cluster within The Cronos Group. Leveraging the scalability and adaptability of our application, we can easily deploy instances tailored to the unique requirements of different clusters. While these instances will be securely separated, they will run on the same version, ensuring consistency and compatibility. FlowFactor, also one of our trusted partners, will take care of the hosting for both our existing and future instances.
By embracing the Optis factory approach, OECO has gained the advantage of utilising a dynamic system built on modular building blocks, allowing for seamless expansions and ongoing enhancements. We remain dedicated to providing exceptional support and fostering the growth and success of our clients through the Optis factory initiative.
Interested in learning more about our Optis factory model? Discover the benefits of a flexible four-staged approach paired with a consistent team on our dedicated page. Contact us to discuss the possibilities.
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