NetAsses – WORKING WITH A MODULAR METHOD
In 2013, we deployed a bespoke assessment system that our developers created especially for NetAssess. It’s been a gamechanger in the South African insurance industry and helped our client to stand out from the crowd. Since then, we have continued to build upon the software design and maintain a long-term relationship with NetAssess.
The key to building an all-inclusive system for a client is taking the modular approach. This allows our team to focus on getting each element right and fully operational before moving onto the next step. It also allows our client to get to grips with the full functionality of their custom software as each module is deployed. The solution can also evolve over time as customer needs change and new technology becomes available.
NetAssess is the largest independent assessing company in the motor vehicle insurance industry in South Africa. Their team performs inspections and assessments on vehicles that have been in an accident or damaged in some way, as well as providing quotes on repairs for the insurers. The company needs to be able to interact seamlessly with both individuals and the major insurers in the country.
The first step in creating the solution was developing a method of booking assessments with individuals once they had made a claim to their insurance provider. The feedback and quote then needed to be submitted to the insurer. Once we had this operational, we worked on enhancing and expanding what the system could do.
The solution now includes several modules that allow NetAssess to integrate with the systems that the insurers use. There are also sophisticated fraud detection modules, which are essential in the insurance industry. One of the most recent additions to the solution is a mobile app that connects to everything. The NetAssess assessors can now input information about the vehicle’s condition on the go, speeding up the entire process.
Building lasting relationships
Ease of use, constant access and transparency are all elements that are important to the way NetAssess does business. It was our job to ensure that the custom solution we developed provided exactly this. The ongoing maintenance and updating of the system over the years has also helped ensure that the solution stays this way.
“For the last eight years, Netgen has been an integral part of our team, developing our system from strength to strength. Netgen has become a part of the NetAssess family and we foresee many more years together with exciting future development.” – Lisa Frame, admin manager for NetAssess.
Debtsource – KEEPING THINGS ONLINE
One of the major lessons that we have learnt about developing custom software over the decades is that creating online solutions gives you long-term viability. Keeping the software online allows the client greater access and flexibility, as well as allowing our team to constantly monitor and maintain the system. A web-based portal was also the ideal solution for one of our oldest clients – Debtsource.
When it comes to managing a database, staying online is a strong, sensible choice. You are able to update information on the go and everyone will be working from the same data as things update in real time. For Debtsource, this is essential as the company is constantly managing credit information for their clients.
Secure access and operations
Of course, one of the biggest concerns when information and systems are kept online is security. The solution our team built for Debtsource included critical access control and is still being hosted on our secure servers – over a decade later.
During the planning phase of creating the solution, Debtsource asked for the ability to have tiered access control. They needed their team to be able to access the full system in order to keep up with their day-to-day operations. Additionally, they wanted clients to be able to access their own details to see how their finances were doing and to update their profiles when needed.
As the solution as evolved over the years, we have added features that allows Debtsource to stay on top of technological changes happening in the world. As their client needs have grown or changed, Debtsource was able to ask us for new options in terms of reporting and risk assessment.
A long-term relationship
“Finding a reliable development partner must be a key success factor for any business that is dependent on tailored IT solutions,” according to Debtsource CEO Frank Knight. Reliability is something that we pride ourselves on at Netgen, and it’s been highly gratifying to build such a lasting relationship with Debtsource.
Horizon Fruits – THE ROLE OF THE BUSINESS ANALYST IN SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT
A challenge that we constantly face in the custom development world is getting to grips with industry and company requirements when we take on new clients. Over the years, our team has come up with a development process that allows us to really discover what our clients need. This methodology was certainly tested and proved reliable when we started working with Horizon Fruits.
We have always focused on getting top-notch developers and testers to ensure that the software we create does what it needs to do. However, working out what that solution needs to do is just as important. This is why we have rounded out our team with business analysts and project managers. With Horizon Fruits, these team members were invaluable to the process.
Taking our time with planning and analysis
Horizon Fruits came to Netgen in need of an information system that could help manage and provide transparency through their entire business chain. This meant that our team needed to understand exactly what the company does and how each department within the company will interact with the system once it is deployed. The solution also needed to be compatible with systems used by suppliers, service providers and customers along their supply chain.
Looking back on the process, Horizon Fruits logistic manager, Johann Le Roux, commented “It has been a very challenging project because we do not have a dedicated IT department to focus on system development. All development work is done by personnel within the operations and documentation departments in addition to normal day-to-day responsibilities. Netgen has assisted us with the necessary guidance and patience to facilitate the development of the system in a timeframe that is considerably shorter than we originally anticipated.”
It is the role of the business analyst to sit with the client and ask the right questions to understand their needs fully. With Horizon Fruits, our analyst also sat with each department to get detailed, first-hand information about requirements at each stage of the supply process. Without this understanding, it would’ve been impossible for our developers to scope the project and build the software effectively.
A full-service solution
The result is a bespoke solution that truly provides what it needs to for Horizon Fruits to operate efficiently. The software was deployed in January 2019 and has been keeping up with the demands of the company ever since. Our team continues to provide support and maintain the software to ensure that it keeps on doing its job.
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RoloNext – BUILDING A ROBUST AND UNIQUE MOBILE APP
When a friend of Netgen came to us with this concept, we were very excited to help them create this mobile app. It had a unique spin that would likely make the app very popular. The initial conversation was around developing for iOS or Android first. This is when we decided to use React Native and build one app for both platforms.
With the litany of mobile apps available on the App Store and Google Play Store, it’s important to create something with a USP (unique selling point). This was something that intrigued us most about the concept for RoloNext. The creators wanted a mobile app for sharing business cards that allows users to exchange details by holding their phones next to each other and simply swiping their digital cards across. This is unique because all other similar apps required you to manually input a phone number or email address in order to send details to a recipient.
What they looked for in a developer
One of the creators, Olga Lakeman, commented “we had to find a developer who has experience in both, the app and a database. Further on, we also needed a partner who has experience in cloud computing because our application processes personal data and we have to ensure that all data is stored securely in the cloud.” This is certainly something that we have plenty of experience in at Netgen.
During the development process, the project hit a major stumbling point. Another company was working on the SDK (software development kit) for the app, which would allow users to share digital business cards the way the creators had planned. They were suddenly unable to supply the software, meaning RoloNext would lose its USP. Our team at Netgen took a closer look at what was required and was able to develop the SDK for less money than the original developers, and keep the project on track.
The end result is a unique mobile app with a robust, futureproof framework in React Native. Our team is also able to provide complete support and maintenance for the app as it was built entirely inhouse. RoloNext went live for both iOS and Android in 2020 and is going strong.
National Performance Register – SECURE ACCESS AND ON-THE-GO CONVENIENCE
Something that we love at Netgen is when we get a project that is more than just one thing. When eta College – a longstanding client – came to us with the concept for the NPR mobile app, we knew this would be an interesting project. The app would need to link up to the much larger database already hosted online, and access would need to be restricted or granted based on user profiles.
The National Performance Register (NPR) is a South African first and is powered by eta College. It’s a database for athletes that compares their performance stats to those of both local and international benchmarks for their sport and competitive level. Coaches and athletes use it to judge where they are in their training process for competitions.
What the NPR does
The NPR was already an existing online database when Brad Searle of eta College came to us with the idea for the mobile app. Searle said they wanted a way for coaches and athletes to view the benchmarks and the results of their own tests while in training sessions or while on the go.
Athletes are tested by NPR representatives on areas such as endurance, flexibility, strength and agility. These results are then put into the database under the athlete’s unique identifier and the stats are added to the benchmark equations. Each athlete tested is then given access to their own results and how they compare to the general stats. Athletes can nominate specific people – coaches, etc. – to also gain access to this information.
Security a priority
Our mobile app developers were tasked with creating a secure, mobile-friendly way to access this information. Users needed to be able to use their login credentials to access only the information that they were allowed to see. The stored data also needed to be tamper-proof to ensure the stats remained unchanged.
The initial phase NPR mobile app was rolled out in 2020 and we are looking forward to expanding on its capabilities in the future.