Top 10 Apps Used to Build Ours in About a Year

Since the launch of Delvantage®, friends, colleagues, contacts have been asking me how we went from zero to launch in about a year.  

Apart from the obvious - solving a real problem for real companies, there were a lot of tools that helped us along the way.  

Here are the top apps & technologies we used to get where we are today.  Organized into two categories:

  1. Apps we used to collaborate as a team
  2. Apps & technologies we used to accelerate our development

Collaboration Apps:

Delvantage® utilizes all aspects of Google Apps for Work.  Email, Drive, and all Google Docs.  As a team, we execute and iterate quickly, and adopting the collaborative nature of document sharing has proved to be a game changer in getting things done.  Gone are the days of complex version management.  A file is always in it’s latest version, keeping the entire team in sync.

We use Jira to prioritize and manage our product development activities and Bitbucket for code deployment.  Even with a small distributed team, the need to manage and deploy our resources appropriately are critical.  Leveraging the collaboration tools of both applications has allowed us to always be aligned as a team.
 

Hubspot is used by Delvantage® to track and apply resources on the right sales opportunities.  Regardless of team size, setting the right foundation to build scale needs to start in the beginning.  We analyzed several starter CRMs and landed on HubSpot.  Its entry level pricing (free) for the level of features (high) made it a no brainer selection.   The simple to use sales pipeline capabilities has allowed our small team to engage with prospects efficiently without stepping on each others toes.

Slack has become the primary method for communicating inside Delvantage.  We don’t just use it for chats with in channels… although that has literally replaced 90% of our internal email usage.  Slack has become the integrated glue for all our tools.  BitBucket code deployment is announced via a Slack channel.  An update to a Google document is pushed out via Slack.  Slack is what is keeps us all in sync on the critical items that influence the growth of our business.  

Delvantage® uses Speakeasy.co to manage meetings with its simple to use, yet powerful conference call and screen sharing tool.  There are many providers out in the market, but Speakeasy.co made managing meetings seem more simple - through an App, anywhere on any device.  I’ve managed meetings from my car (pulled over of course) via my iPhone.  We use Speakeasy.co to onboard our customers and run internal and external meetings.  I especially love the feature of being called to join a meeting.  We will never be late again scrambling to remember conference numbers and pins!

Development Acceleration:  Apps & Technologies
 

Delvantage® uses Intercom.io to interact with our clients.  At the beginning, our use-case was simple.  Get in-app feedback from Delvantage® users to validate and drive product evolvement.  Our product has grown in scope and scale, and so has our use of Intercom.   We now use Intercom to drive our customer success with rich conversations with our users at the right time, in the right context.  It consolidates all conversations with our users allowing the Delvantage® team to support them with a great experience.

 

We use Typeform to build the forms that allow the Delvantage® application to collect voice of the customer data.  We quickly realized that the traditional user experience of online forms was antiquated and did not live up to the UX vision of Delvantage®.  When we saw the user experience Typeform delivered, across all devices, combined with the fact that they provide forms as a service, we ran (did not walk) to put Typeform to the test with our early beta customers.  When success followed, we realized Typeform allowed us to focus on our core capabilities of data research and data modeling.  While leaving the form building and its UX to the pros at Typeform.

Meteor  is an open-source, real-time Javascript web application framework written using Node.js that Delvantage® uses to develop its application.  From the early concepts of Delvantage®, we knew our clients would demand an experience that is engaging and reactive.  When our strategic development partner, Verys (www.verys.com),  saw the unique things we wanted to do, in the time frame we wanted to do them, they recommended Meteor.  The ‘Wow’ factor for us, is that versions of our application came to life incredibly fast with the most amazing user experience.  We leveraged, and continue to leverage their collection of curated packages to accelerate our development.

Delvantage® uses Modulus to host its application.  They have created specific support for Meteor that has made it simple for use to deploy, scale, analyze and manage our application.  I’m no IT expert, but Modulus has made it so simple for us to manage things like security, and scaling, that I’m considering adding DevOps to my official role designation :).

We use Compose as our MongoDB Development Platform.  They take care of just about everything - multinode clusters, automatic failover, disaster recovery, and security.  A bunch of stuff you use to rely on a fully resourced IT and DataBase admin staff to perform.  Capabilities that cost huge sums of cash to do on your own at scale.  The best part for Delvantange® and other startups, is that Compose let’s you take advantage of their scale affordably.  We were able to get up and running quick, with the confidence that we can scale as Delvantage® grows.  

Sneaking in an 11th App.  Elevio is a support concierge for the Delvanage® application.  It’s a simple idea (the best ones usually are), that solves a need every application has.  It was a no brainer for us to deploy.  Delvantage® shares valuable blog content to it’s users, FAQs, How To’s, and Key Concepts to help our clients go to battle and grow share in markets they compete in.  Elevio allows us to share our rich content and support our customers, exactly where our users need it.  We were able to install Elevio in our app in minutes, and create an incredible experience for our users in the process.