Agile Computing is a Perth company with a unique approach to delivering business data systems.
After many years successfully developing custom software for business and government agencies, Agile have created a suite of tools that allows them to reduce the amount of time it takes to create custom software but results in superior functions and usability. It is called “Instagile” – a play on words for its “instant” nature using agile development methods.
One client to take advantage of this new form of software development is MBD Consulting (MBD) who provide Independent Quality Auditing in the WA Education sector.
MBD have transformed their work method from a very time-consuming process reliant on manual collation and manipulation to a streamlined and highly efficient system. As well as providing exceptional time-saving, the new process allows MBD to take on more projects with less likelihood of human error.
Founded by Perth local, Michael Divine, MBD Consulting have a solid reputation for excellence within their field of education quality surveys and assessment.
Before Instagile, MBD relied on a cumbersome process of gathering data for analysis and reporting.
MBD Managing Director, Michelle Smith, explains, “We used an online system to create the appraisal questionnaires. The system generated a download of the questionnaires, however the data output from each questionnaire required manual collation and manipulation to allow analysis.
“The questionnaire rating responses were manually entered into an Excel spreadsheet and all of the questionnaire comment responses were manually entered into a Word document. We also manually created other Word documents from the questionnaire output to assist with our analysis.”
As a specialist service there was no off-the-shelf product that could do what MBD needed and yet trying to define what was required for a custom-made product was simply overwhelming. Three attempts to implement a new system caused frustration and each time the team reverted to their reliable but slow manual method because the alternative simply did not deliver excellence. Until Instagile.
Through the course of their work, MBD discovered Agile Computing and were particularly interested in what could be created for them, especially as Instagile is offered with an obligation-free trial so there would be no more wasted money on trial-and-error.
MBD provided a copy of their existing data to Agile Computing who used Instagile to develop a functional application for MBD to trial.
The new Microsoft-based application was loaded onto a stand-alone computer for the MBD team to use, test and note desired adjustments.
MBD liaised with Agile on an ad-hoc basis to request incremental changes which were incorporated into the trial version.
The development process kept paperwork to a minimum and did not interfere with existing business methods. The ability to make a change, tweak it and try again is a major advantage of Instagile.
The changeover process took about six months throughout 2019 with testing and fine-tuning to enable MBD to reach their goal of implementing the new system at the beginning of 2020.
“We achieved this comfortably. It has been a seamless process and we were able to begin using the Instagile online system at the beginning of Term 1, 2020.”
MBD were provided with a new user-interface through which clients submit their Questionnaires. Data extraction and collation was automated, as was the generation of Output Reports.
“Report Generation was previously a very time-consuming task. It now involves simply clicking a button to create reports detailing the data we need for analysis.” Smith says.
The Instagile application has improved the MBD business processes dramatically. The automated output saves hours of manual data entry time: approximately three hours per appraisal! Plus alleviates the ongoing pressure for speed when gathering data.
“We are now able to retrieve the data we require for analysis instantaneously which means that we are able to deliver multiple appraisals in similar timeframes, hence increasing our capacity to take on more projects per term.”
The ability to cater to more clients had a distinct benefit after Perth’s initial COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. As schools focussed on the transition to online learning, Quality Auditing jobs were put on the back-burner and rescheduled for Term 3 meaning that MBD had double the case-load usually experienced. However, with the new system in place MBD were more than capable of handling the substantial increase in numbers.
The final solution was set up on the Azure Cloud-Based service to give the MBD team universal access and ensure security and continuity even when working remotely.
Instagile is unlike anything MBD had come across before. It is a fast, affordable solution that was adjusted and tweaked to ensure MBD ended up with the best possible solution. It also offers the freedom to have any Microsoft developer evolve the solution in the future as their business needs change.
“We did not think that the new system would be able to produce the kind of data that replicated what we originally produced - and be achieved as cost-effectively as it was. We have been very impressed with the service and website that has been created for MBD.” Smith says.