Our work for: Qtech Applications
Local government grant application software
Qtech had an innovative idea for a software product to help local authorities manage their grant application process. The product would replace the customer’s existing one. It would make it simpler and faster for the applicant to apply for a grant, and significantly more efficient for the authority to manage the application process. The customer lacked the in-house technical resources to develop the project while at the same time supporting their existing products and maintaining their high levels of customer service. They were looking for a technical partner to transform their idea into a solution.
To create a flexible, easily tailorable application to assist the grant application process.
Local government, software
Qtech is the UK’s specialist in means-tested and disability benefits, tax credits and renovation grants.
They’ve been supplying software, training and services to local authorities, housing associations, charities and advice agencies in this field since 1992.
At an initial meeting we assessed the customer’s idea for the product as well as their specific technical and business constraints. The business requirements and certain usability issues were well defined, but the project needed a structured, prioritised set of user tasks to be defined so that we could identify the most suitable technical approach.
After identifying the user tasks, we prepared a proposal that outlined a series of technical solutions, their development processes, delivery phases, costs per phase, and the advantages of each. After further discussion we refined the options into a development plan.
The next stage was to construct a basic working prototype to prove the approach would work and to demonstrate it to the customer and potential users. After a period of discussion, redesign and testing we went ahead with the development of a production version.
The solution exceeded the customer’s original expectations. By abstracting the requirements from the specific details of the grant application process, we were able to propose and deliver a more generic and flexible, template-driven solution. It allows the customer to tailor the resulting forms and manage the changes to the grant process without needing any further development. It also allows them to construct a variety of forms for different application processes.
The phased, iterative delivery approach we took allowed the customer to incorporate changes throughout the project, responding to user feedback as well as changes in regulations and business requirements.
We continue to work with Qtech and aim to convert other existing systems into the product and to incorporate new systems. Due to its flexibility, the solution has therefore given the customer the potential to expand into new business markets, something they are actively exploring.
"I came to Purple Crane with a problem: a commitment to produce a complex, one-off system within a tight schedule and a small budget, and given my complete lack of technical knowledge no idea of how to achieve this.
They came up with 4 scenarios with varying cost and technical characteristics. Having chosen a course of action, they then worked through the details of the requirement to produce a specification.
Staged delivery enabled me to assess the effectiveness of individual components of the solution and to discuss these with the customer using a working model.
Purple Crane’s consummate professionalism has impressed me, notably:
- Their appreciation and rapid mastery of details in the application
- Their responses in terms of suggestions and clarifications
- Their clear project management, which kept the project within budget but presented costed options when the client’s requirements substantially exceeded the original specification
- Their commitment to delivering an excellent solution was like working with ideal colleagues
The crucial test is that the client expressed themselves as ‘delighted’ with the end result, a remarkable achievement. I have no reservations about recommending Purple Crane and I look forward to working with them again."
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