What is our primary use case?
Our primary use case involves transitioning work that has traditionally been done on spreadsheets. We've used VINYL to connect different systems — especially pulling data from multiple places. Our primary system, as well as just some worksheets that are out there, we were able to pull that all in and view statistics about different things from different places all in one nice view.
How has it helped my organization?
An excellent example of the way Zudy VINYL has improved our business is that we can now report on the actual cost of moving a load. We didn't have all that data because it was in too many different places so that we couldn't do a good report without a lot of manual effort. Now it's straightforward. We get a simple report, and this is how much it costs to move this load. And then from that, we can determine profitability. We can now report quickly on the cost of loads. Pulling in costs, for example, such as doing the cost to get a permit if it's an oversized load. We now can roll that in with the rest of the cost of paying the driver and the fuel and whatnot.
VINYL has improved our ability to deploy apps quickly. If you're talking about some of the things that used to take weeks to accomplish, we can now do them in days. The projects that would take months, now we're looking at weeks.
VINYL has spawned a whole new section of our IT business. It hasn't really focused it, but it's created new ones. Whereas we wouldn't have been attacking these problems before, we now are because we now have a tool we can use to fix things.
What is most valuable?
There are two most valuable features: one is the ability to pull data from a bunch of different places and put them together. The second is the speed at which you can get a new app developed. Instead of waiting months for this new app to come out, if you have an internal team putting it together, you can roll it out in weeks. I've even seen days. It's incredible how fast you can make changes.
What needs improvement?
Some new features I'd like to see is visibility into running jobs so that we can see what the status is, or that it's not stuck in its process and doing its thing, or how much longer it's going to take. I'd also like to see a native calendar function so we can put calendars into our apps with maybe even recurring tasks or appointments and that sort of thing. We'd also like to see multi-select lists. The users being able to pick multiple things to filter on and get a list and be able to export that list.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The solution's very stable. We haven't had any major hiccups, downtime or outages with it. We've thrown some things at it. If you get a circular job that's kind of stuck in itself you might have a problem, but that's more the fault of the developer as opposed to the platform.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We're about a year into using the solution. The scalability isn't something we've pushed. We're tipping our toe in the water right now but it's meeting our needs for sure. As much as we've needed to, it's scaled up to it. We can make the solution as big as we want to make it. We're not constrained by a per-user licensing cost or any of those other restrictions as I mentioned.
How are customer service and technical support?
Tech support has been great for this company. Any problems we've had, we've gotten prompt responses. Tech support for it is top notch. We got some help from Zudy regarding building our first app. They mostly built the first app, and it was rock solid. I guess that's the way they like to do it so we learned some things.
If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?
Before VINYL, we didn't have a solution to do these kinds of things, so we were just doing everything manually on paper and Excel.
The primary symptom that made us realize we needed something was that a lot of folks were doing their work in Excel, and we had data in all different places. One person had a spreadsheet here; another person was using a Google Doc. It was just all over the place. When the data's there, you can't get to it, and you can't report on it. It was pretty evident to us that we needed to do something and let's bring this data into one central place.
We chose VINYL because of the subscription model. It was easier to get into as opposed to a big purchase. The competing products didn't have as many features. They offered a complete software package that was already configured, and then you would customize it. Whereas with VINYL, you can take baby steps to get to where you want to go. Do a little piece at a time. Take one issue, take one problem, fix that, and then as it gradually grows into a full solution, rather than trying to fit this huge solution in all at once.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was not that complicated. It was basically no more complicated than setting up any web app would be. I wouldn't say it was any more or less than what you would expect.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
The licensing costs we pay are, around $5,000 a month. That's every quarter. We've been doing it for about a year now, and the prices have remained steady. We feel it's a reasonable cost for what we're getting because it's unlimited users. It's as big as you want to make it, you're not constrained by a per-user licensing cost or any of those other restrictions, so that's going to stifle your development.
What other advice do I have?
VINYL has increased user satisfaction. We're bringing the users and getting them involved in the development process. We're making fewer mistakes in the process, and we're also getting them excited about it because they can see what's happening and they have their input. It's the features they want, not what IT thinks they want. They get more excited about it.
Our iterations are faster. With VINYL you're talking days or weeks potentially.
Another piece of advice I would give to a colleague researching for a software solution is, if you're looking for something that doesn't require a specialized programming language and you want something that you can develop quickly in, and you want something that's going to pull data from a bunch of different places, I think VINYL's a good option.
I would rate VINYL a nine. Not a 10, because nobody's perfect, but it's going to be huge for us.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.