A low-code development partnership and ERP SaaS transformation.
US-based business management software vendor Evosus is an inspiring story of niche software entrepreneurialism. Supported by hands-on development and training from TimeSeries, Evosus is also a shining example of how to quickly rewrite a very successful client-server application suite to become a modern Cloud-based SaaS offering.
Back in 2001, Evosus founders Patrick Gagnon and Corey Holton spotted an opportunity to write a business application for a local pool and hot-tub company. Today much evolved and employing more than 50 people, Evosus offers an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) suite that’s used by more than 500 retail and service companies in the pool, hot tub and hearth/fireplace industries across North America. The Evosus ERP suite streamlines business management processes so that these firms can focus on business growth, rather than admin.
Cloud shift challenge
With the emergence of Cloud computing, Evosus saw a need and great opportunity to re-launch its product-set as a Cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering. The challenge Corey Holton faced as product development head was how to rebuild for the web, an application consisting of millions of lines of legacy code (Microsoft Visual Basic and .Net) designed for a Microsoft client-server environment. And urgently too: success within a year was needed to meet the rapidly shifting expectations of customers and the market and to counter the potential threat of new competition.
“We estimated that re-coding our platform for the Cloud within a year would require 30-40 developers,” said Holton. “At such an effort, we’d have needed to outsource; meaning high on-going costs, a loss of control, high risk of complications, delays and maybe even failure.” He continued: “Had we outsourced the work, we’d have lost intimate knowledge of the workings of our own product, meaning ongoing maintenance and development would have been fraught with cost and difficulties.”
Of various Mendix partners, we selected TimeSeries for their business professionalism, clear Mendix expertise and because their developers really are sharp. We needed a partner we could rely on for the long term and the whole TimeSeries approach resonated with us.
Executive Vice President
TimeSeries and Mendix
Fortunately, Holton knew that a low-code approach offered an alternative strategy to re-coding. A low-code rewrite would take a fraction of the time and if Evosus re-trained its existing developers and sought a little external help, then the project could be undertaken speedily in-house and without the potential downsides Holton feared of outsourcing.
“Having evaluated all options, we elected to rebuild our ERP suite internally on the Mendix low-code platform,” continued Holton. “Re-writing our suite in Mendix, has significantly reduced the complexity of writing for the web, enabling us to create in a day, what would have taken a week to code. With the excellent support we’ve received from TimeSeries as our enablement partner, it took us just a year from development kick-off to launch our new web-based ERP app in the Cloud, which we’ve adoringly called LOU. Building Evosus LOU on Mendix with TimeSeries as our partner, has meant not having to outsource. We’ve retained control of our product and continue to maintain and develop it internally.”
A warm, trusted partnership
Collaborating with TimeSeries on the project has proven a masterstroke in Holton’s plan for a speedy and confident go-to-market.
TimeSeries supplied Mendix training, expert-level developer expertise and a variety of pre-built components to help ensure success for Evosus. TimeSeries delivered:
- Long-term development work on specific modules and on technically complex work requiring expert-level Mendix skills.
- Short-term development boosts, such as providing Mendix-skilled man-power to complete sprints to deadlines.
- Mendix skills training, on-site and remote, and often through on-the-job skills transfer. Evosus developers, once Mendix novices, are now highly competent. See also TimeSeries University.
- Pre-built components. These included a scheduling widget (for coordinating jobs with people and asset resources) and an advanced data visualization grid allowing fast viewing and reporting of large and complex data sets, such as sales or inventory information. For more on these, all built in Mendix, see TimeSeries Mendix Accelerators. These off-the-shelf components saved weeks of Evosus LOU development time.
“TimeSeries’ developers know Mendix, our company, our product and our people well and are productive immediately they join the project,” concluded Holton. “Having TimeSeries at our back, with access to their training, their developers and insight has sped our product transformation to Cloud, boosted our success as a business and reduced the stress on me as both a founder and head of development!”