The most valuable feature for us is the workflow aspect of it because it's extremely powerful and completely flexible. You build your own workflows so it's got full, customizable workflows with all the features like branching and loop-backs and things that you'd expect a workflow to have. Secondly, it's versatile because it's a sort of build-your-own-application, completely customizable to meet your needs and you can do it really fast.
Improvements to My Organization
We wrote it specifically for a major 10-year waste water treatment plant construction project. But we also manage a whole range of construction contracts totaling $2 billion.
All of these construction contracts have processes for handling different types of information -- technical submissions, requests for information, management of financial change, pay applications, correspondence, and many other different types of documents. There are rules in the contracts about how they get handled and Intellect enabled us to systematize how we handle and process all this information.
It's allowed us to enforce and audit everything -- and scale it as well. There's now accountability because you always know where you are in the process, who owns what, and it's reduced the number of people required to administer it.
And because it's customizable, we've configured it to match the way we already work.
Room for Improvement
In the eight years I've used Intellect, it has improved dramatically. Four years ago, I would have suggested improvements to the way it handles printouts, but that's been improved by the integration with PDFs. I also would have suggested integration with other databases, but that's been done as well.
Two years ago, I would have requested a mobile version, but now there is one. At the time, I also wanted a hyperlink that could link to any record anywhere in the system irrespective of which template is was. But they added that upon my request.
Also, there were cursive queries that involved parent-child and parent-parent relationships, but the data in the system got very large. Those queries would then take exceptionally longer and slow down the system, resulting in performance issues. So Intellect developed a new way of avoiding cursive queries altogether.
I struggle to think of a big new feature that I'd like added because I've built it out to be very big and very stable. It just works. As our big project is winding down, we're considering whether to market it more generally for our company. Because we've built it out, we can use it in the future.
Actually, one of the big things that they could have improved is the visual interface of the project, but even that's just being revamped, so I can't complain about that now.
Use of Solution
We haven't encountered any issues with deploying it.
When we began using it in 2007, we had some stability issues with the very early implementations, which were partly due to the platform and partly because it was a custom application. But since then, stability has been very, very good. The platform is sufficiently mature and the stability issues have been dealt with.
We have 400 concurrent licenses with many more users than that. I know that Intellect has done implementations for tens of thousands of licenses, so I don't think scalability is an issue. You can have many people logging in and your internet speed will govern how fast the application runs, not the application itself.
Customer Service and Technical Support
Realistically, you have to support your application because you wrote it for your users and Intellect doesn't necessarily know how it works. If there's an issue with the platform, they'll provide support as well as professional services for an extra charge.
They have the ability to support you at every level, but for the key issue of supporting problems with the platform, they're very, very responsive. I'm able to pick up the phone and talk collaboratively with a person. They've really helped us build out our platform.
When we were starting the construction project, so we had a very tight timeline. So we scooped out what we wanted the system to do and we accepted that it had to be built in a modular fashion. We built the backbone of the system in 8 weeks with the first two key modules. We brought in two Intellect professional services people for eight weeks. During this time, the trained us and worked with us to develop and work the application.
The setup wasn't completely painless. As soon as it went live, we realized we hadn't quite designed it the way we wanted it and it wasn't quite right, but it was working, so we carried on with it. Afterwords, I planned out a larger design three weeks later and, without taking down the system, with the help of the professional services people made the changes overnight. So in the first three months, we had some wobbles, but we were on course to build out the system smoothly over the next two-and-a-half years.
Because it's so flexible, we were able to make major changes to the system even after going live. We weren't stuck with our initial implementation.
Designing workflow using Intellect and implementing everything in Intellect proves that you have a process because it's there built into the system. And because it's built into the system, you're constrained to follow the process, so by definition you're following the process that's in the audit trail.
Every time the auditors came along and said, "Prove that you're following these processes," you just pull up a few records in the system. So there's a huge reduction in effort required to meet quality assurance requirements.
This is but one way that we achieve ROI with Intellect.
I've done this lots of times. I've been asked by many people about what licensing is and there are some key things. The first thing is, you want something like Intellect if you have information to manage and you have processes and rules that have to be gone through to manage the lifecycle of information. If you're managing 10 pieces of information, you don't need Intellect. If you've got thousand pieces of information and they all have to go through the same process, the same routing, then you want something like Intellect. Therefore decide if you need it, and then if you do go down the road to having a system like this, the first thing you have to do is decide what you want the information system to do, and it's equally important to decide what you don't want it to do.
You decide what you want the system to do and not do and then you come up with an implementation plan. You put a lot of thought into the shape of the system and you design the backbone of the system to be big enough or flexible to meet your current and future needs. You produce a plan like that, but it's really important from the outset to decide what it's going to do and what it's not going to do. What are the boundaries of your system?
I'd probably rate it 8-and-a-half out of 10 because it's not perfect and there's always room to improve something.