Please share with the community what you think needs improvement with Zudy VINYL.
What are its weaknesses? What would you like to see changed in a future version?
There are some acknowledged technical limitations. I was looking to do some metadata manipulation, which is very atypical. Zudy said that they will work on building me a workaround. If there is a weakness, that would be it. However, they seem to acknowledge it and are finding a workaround for me. While it may not be in VINYL, they are doing an external program to shore up the weakness.
What additional features would I like to see is easy: drag and drop UI interface. That what you see is what you get. Right now it's very dependent on having an imagination to understand. If I put a control on a page, what it's going to look like at the end result. I would much rather have, I drag it in place and then I do the backend stuff. I would like to see it before I have to build it.
We've been relying on Zudy from a consultant basis to do all of our development, and it's been fairly positive. I'd like to see the next release of VINYL have more user interface solutions to it, so that it could be a more user-friendly product on the front end for the customers that are utilizing the tool. We didn't have a solution to help automate all of our reporting in the past which identified the need to make sure that we could tap into our data sources and automate all of our reporting, which is exactly why we needed the tool.
The features that I'd like to see in VINYL next would be the ability to have more control over or have a rule-based control over column headings and column labels. Depending on what we're trying to display to a user, we can put in rules to change things around, make it easier for that. The other thing would be a more sophisticated workflow engine. I'm an ex-Nintex user, and having a more graphical user interface to be able to build complex workflows would be really good.
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.
The ease of use for individuals to self-serve could be improved. The solution is no-code, but there is still a decent learning curve associated with the product and some app design principles necessary before people can self-serve.
They have business objects which are essentially queries or tables. To learn the structure of their software is a little tricky at first. You have tables and sitting on top of them you have data objects which are required in order to use your application which sits on top of them. To understand how those flow between each other, and the terminology that's used between them, can be difficult. It took about a month to get everything straight in my head. You could probably do it faster. What took so long was having not having an application to develop. If you don't have an application to develop and play with, you don't really know what you're playing with. If you had an app to make, that time could be cut to three weeks. Also, when you are trying to delete certain columns or delete or drop tables, sometimes it will throw an error and it will force you to hunt down every location where those things are being referenced. You have to delete them from the very end and work your way backward. That can get frustrating. It would be easier, when you're deleting that table, if it would concatenate all the way down. I know that's almost an industry standard when you're dealing with tables, but it could be better. At times, when you're in an application, and you use a "back" arrow, it's limited in what it can do. I know you can have certain pages sent back to other pages, but sometimes to set all that up is a little annoying. I'm not exactly sure how I would improve that, but you can get lost once you start clicking through tabs. You end up backing up through the same pages, back and forth, and it can be frustrating. There are a lot of almost "hidden" features captured in these Edge Case settings. That's an example of the terminology being a little bit tricky. In those settings might be exactly what you need, but the terminology that they use is not very clear. If you want a scroll bar at the bottom, instead of having it select rows to show, you have to select Disable Panel Location Service, which doesn't sound at all like what it's supposed to do. It's little things like that. Naming conventions could be changed a little bit.
One of the troubles we have sometimes is the amount of data we're processing within the applications. That can really add a lot of "laggy-ness." That's an ongoing struggle we're going to have while we use it. It doesn't happen for all our applications, only some of them that are heavy on the reporting. And where we can get a more contemporary client-facing output and PDF version, it's still somewhat limited as to what we can do with those templates.
Version 2.3 has a good UI but we want a more customizable UI.
On the development side, we would like to see continued improvement on the visibility of the subqueries, as we are building applications. E.g., I would like to have more visualization in the back-end of the data objects and how they are interrelated. The interface has had a lot of changes to it. It is better than it was before. However, with the subqueries in particular, this has been the most difficult part of the interface. I would like them to build out more tools for communication, particularly the ability to do a multinode panel via email.
I would love to have the home screen a little more customizable because, as we're building more and more reports, it would be nice to have more options in how they're organized on the screen. I'm not sure if this is something they could do, but if we had it more customizable for different departments - if sales saw it one way, whereas finance had something different than sales - that would be helpful. We also have a few companies within Elite Group that are using it so more customization could be nice.
In the beginning, we were working with it while it was still being tweaked. So sometimes things weren't working 100 percent, or they were working but, because they were being tested behind the scenes, some things were kind of funky. But, just a quick email to them saying, "Is this correct?" would usually have a really logical answer, and then it would be fixed.
This is just a pie in the sky wish list, but if they could add a machine-learning type of platform to go with it, or some artificial intelligence capabilities, so that as it’s collecting data it would also be turning some of that into insights, that would be something. That's a pretty ambitious request because I realize you will need different tools, but that would be a nice to have.
When we started with them the platform was brand new. There were - I don't want to say deficiencies - just things they didn't have yet. We worked a lot with them on security and some other things. And they've continually updated the platform to include new features and functionality. One of the things that was lacking for a while, although it continues to get better, is the user interface. It was built more "functionally." It was better for functionality than it was for being pretty, from the standpoint of the user. They've done a lot of work there, but I think there's probably a little more work to do, continually. Also, while some of the reporting functionality is adequate, reporting needs to continue to be worked on, given the fact that there are a lot of really good reporting tools out there. But, for a product of its age and life cycle position, they are super-responsive to what the clients need. And as they add more clients, certain clients will say, "Hey, I really need this feature functionality," and they'll build it into the suite. Then everybody has access to it, which is great.
Perhaps the UI could be improved.
We've been on a hold with one of the products that we started with, which was one of our processes. It just wasn't capable of doing it. It could extract it but it couldn't get the information back in internally, correctly. And that's just because our system is old.
The calendar has room for improvement, but that's what they're going to be working on next: making a Gantt chart.