What is our primary use case?
We have a ton of little applications that we run across the whole entire organization that help various departments get things done better. In some cases we might have been using things in spreadsheets or manually typing up emails, and we've been using a lot of VINYL applications to help eliminate those.
We host it on-prem right now. It has the ability for us to access the databases that we need to access, so it has been a good solution for us on-prem.
How has it helped my organization?
We've had a great ability to get proofs of concepts up very quickly, within a couple of hours. From there, we just embellish and enhance them until they get to a more robust state. It's been nice and quick to get some proofs of concept out of the door, to get user feedback on them, and to keep iterating until we get something that's really useful for the team. One example would be a business travel tracker. We developed an application that lets our employees have the ability to put in a trip request and have the hotel, airfare, and trains all specified and figured out.
The breadth of the solution’s data integration abilities through its data source connectors and API integrations has been really great. There are so many different plugins that they've created. We use SQL quite a bit, XML, JSON, and REST APIs. They keep adding different functionality and we keep taking advantage of it as we can. The more functionality that is available to us, the more we're able to be creative with our solutions. When Zudy announces a new feature, we usually keep an eye out to see if it will help spark the creative juices. There are so many problems for business that we already know about, and we're always looking for another solution to help us develop an application and get some great functionality to our customer, quicker.
Overall, it's helped out tremendously with certain departments. We have been able to turn manual processes, where we were working with spreadsheets or working manually with emails, into workflows. We're saving a lot of hours by doing that. Although I haven't run any calculations on the hours saved, it's definitely in the hundreds.
It allows us to have a ton of different interactions between the various data sources and databases, and it simplifies things for us tremendously.
We're always trying to develop the functionality and get it to the customer as soon as possible. We have a process in place where we look at requirements of the application, and then we say, "Right, this is going to be a good fit for Zudy," and we'll jump in and start coding. In those instances, we know that it's going to be the quicker product and the way to get things turned around faster.
What is most valuable?
The feature that I find most valuable with Zudy VINYL is how flexible it is. There are so many ways that you can connect data to it and there are so many features that are out-of-the-box that make the product very flexible and easy and easy to work with.
It's got a great user interface which makes it a nice looking product that our employees are able to engage with quickly.
What needs improvement?
It's a pretty robust product. I'm always impressed when they come out with new functionality. But it might help if they put out different types that would provide different ways to view the data. I'd like to see more on that.
For how long have I used the solution?
We've been using Zudy VINYL for about four years at Collette.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
I haven't noticed any issues with it. It seems to be a very solid product. I don't see it going down ever. I don't hear complaints of that from anybody. It's been a very stable product for us.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We haven't had issues with the scalability. It's scalable when we need it. Everything is done behind the scenes in the database. If you have multiple servers, they talk to them and it just works.
We have approximately 200 people using it across our organization. Employees across the organization using it have various roles and have access to certain applications. We have a business travel tracker, for example, that lets employees submit travel requests. We have tour managers, have product developers, product buyers, transportation coordinators. There are a whole bunch of different roles out there that are using the product.
It's fairly embedded into our culture right now. I would put it up there with a couple of our main systems. We have our own ERP, a CRM system and in addition to that we have a whole bunch of applications that are hosted in VINYL. Those are the primary application pools that we use.
There are so many Zudy features out there that I haven't had a chance to explore. I'm really excited to try out the new form builders and the mobile functionality. Those are at the top of my list.
How are customer service and technical support?
Zudy technical support has always been great. They are very quick to get back to us when we have questions, whether it's answering questions, helping out and assisting, or jumping on a session if we need to. They've always been great with us.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We did not have a previous no-code solution.
We came to the realization that we needed a solution like Zudy because I was on a call and someone was proposing Zudy for something completely different. My ears perked up. I said, "I can use this for a lot of other places within the company, not just the one particular application that you guys are looking at it for. We ended up having a phone call with a few key members over at Zudy and were able to bang out a proof of concept for something I thought would be pretty hard to implement through our own coding practices. They knocked it out of the park.
How was the initial setup?
We didn't really have to do a setup. The vendor came in and they did the install for us. It probably took about an hour. It wasn't very complicated. We just had to provide them with a Windows Server.
We really didn't need an implementation strategy. We set up a development server and then a production server, which was pretty close to a mirror of the development server. That way there is a way to take applications that you develop on the development server and promote them to the production environment. Once we had that path set, nice and clear, that was all it really took.
On our end it involved one or two members from the network operations team.
There really hasn't been too much maintenance going on with it. It's more like a set-it-and-forget-it. The Zudy team pretty much takes care of the maintenance for us when it's time for maintenance, but the application never crashes. It's up and running when we need it.
What about the implementation team?
We used two different vendors. Zudy itself has their own Professional Services and we use another company called Zen. They have some developers who are familiar with the product, and they're very comfortable in using it as well.
What was our ROI?
We are able to turn around some applications very quickly.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
The pricing and licensing of Zudy are fair. We have an annual subscription that we pay. The subscription gets us the maintenance that we need and the support that we need. They've always been great with us.
There is an additional cost if you use their Professional Services.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We looked at a couple of no-code-only options. The big one that we looked at was the Microsoft offering called Microsoft Flow.
One of the things we really enjoy about the VINYL offering is that it's on-prem. That really works with the way our company is architected.
What other advice do I have?
I would definitely recommend you check it out. It's been a game changer at Collette. It's been really great to work with, and we're very happy with it.
The biggest lesson I've learned from using Zudy VINYL is that anything that you throw at it, anything that you dream up, they can probably work with it and get some kind of application going out there. They've got so many ties and tie-ins, so many different plugins, and a really knowledgeable technical support staff.
To develop an application within Zudy, it's a pretty quick process. We usually tend to design what the data fields are going to look like, what it's going to look like at the database level, and then design forms around that. That's the general process. We figure out what the functionality is going to be behind the scenes, or perhaps when you're interacting with it what the form will look like. We usually have some data that will trigger a grid and that can select other things. There's also the ability to send emails out from there and trigger workflows.
In terms of the ease of use of the solution for non-developers, I can't say that we have business users coming in and creating applications. That's typically not how we work. But we do have other people within IT who are not developers who have made applications. They've had pretty good success with it. Business units will sometimes say they need to look at data in a certain way, and they can build their own application. It's something that's pretty easy to pick up on once you get an understanding of how the framework works.
Interestingly enough, I don't really consider the code, or in this case that it's no-code, when I'm picking a solution. I'm more focused on delivering functionality for my team as soon as possible. In a lot of cases, VINYL has been able to help out with that particular functionality. And when the product is complete, it always gives us a professional looking and intuitive interface.
We're currently on VINYL 2.7 and we're looking forward to upgrading to version 3.0. The updated UI and UX in 3.0 looks nice and clean. It looks like it's really easy to use. There are definitely some differences in it, but it doesn't look like there is anything that would be too difficult to to learn.
I watched a demo of 3.0 and it looked like it was really simple to get things going with creating new forms. They've got a brand new form builder. Some process that might have taken a few hours can be done in a few minutes now. That's going to be really important when we're trying to make a quick proof of concept.
Also, Zudy continues to improve the solution's features. I love and look forward to their product updates. There's always some type of functionality that I can take advantage of. One of the things I'm really looking forward to implementing in version 3.0 is the mobile functionality. We have a mobile workforce and they would appreciate it if we could get some responsive sites into applications. The constant improvement and development speaks of the company and the product very well. I love the fact that they're constantly investing into their product and making it better. They're going to continue to grow their users and continue to grow offerings. That is going to be good for everybody. It's nice to see a company that is continuing to make their products better.
For authentication purposes, we reach out to Azure ID. We authenticate out there on Microsoft's cloud. It comes back and then we handle the permissions within a VINYL-based security system.
Overall, I would give Zudy VINYL a solid 10 out of 10. The application has been really great. The team itself has been really great, and we're able to get stuff out for our customers very quickly.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?
Which version of this solution are you currently using?
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