Internet Solutions (IS) is a market leader in Africa with their Managed Data Network services (i.e. VPNs). On a daily basis their VPN sales team produces highly-customized and very detailed estimates for enterprise clients. This is quite a challenge given the intricacies of VPN technology and associated variable costs. Over the course of a decade, the sales team slowly developed an Excel-based model to cope with this complexity and help them generate client quotes. However this came at a cost. The model demanded much revision, development and redistribution (usually via email), all costly and cumbersome activities. IS needed to free up key sales staff with a cost-effective and durable replacement.
IS engaged Siyelo to replace their Excel tool with a centralised web-based application. The spreadsheet contained years of accumulated knowledge, so we carefully reverse-engineered it and created an elegant, flexible, data-driven model. We rapidly implemented the core of the application using Ruby On Rails back by a Postgres database, sprinkled with Coffeescript. Given our users were accustomed to the simplicity and power of a spreadsheet, we used technologies like Backbone.js to create a more productive and enjoyable user experience.
Many challenges were met and overcome by Siyelo in the creation of a new VPN pricing tool. We helped unscramble and extract the key business logic that had accumulated organically in their old Excel-based system over the past 12 years, and rapidly build a new web-based solution.
By collaborating closely with the key stakeholders, and utilizing leading edge tools like Backbone.js, Rails and cloud services, we were able to launch two web applications, for their domestic and international sales teams respectively. The IS sales teams can now properly manage their pricing, quoting and contracts in a central location, while enjoying a significantly reduced administration burden.