AXON Soft Restructures a Real Estate Software Solution to Make it More Intuitive and Easier to Use

 

THE CLIENT

Our client is the biggest French real-estate software development network. It has over 100 employees in France and over 3,000 partner agencies. Its main product is a real estate software, tested for 4 years before its launch in order to make it the best product on the market in its category. More than just a real estate software, our client’s product is a set of solutions particularly suited for property management.

THE PROBLEM

When we started to collaborate, our client was already using a software solution since 2006 that had a very slow, and difficult to use interface.

THE CHALLENGES

–  The total makeover of the software solution that was already marketed by our client to completely separate the GUI from the functional logic;

–  The implementation of an easier and more intuitive GUI;
–  The optimization of the database response times.
–  Our client wanted to quickly launch the new software product on the market in order to benefit from the competitive advantage given by the use of the newest technologies.

OUR APPROACH

We first began our collaboration in 2007 with the development of the module for the management of owners associations, as part of the rental management solution. Due to our great cooperation, the customer decides to start restructuring its main software with our team in late 2009.

The main problems of the software solution already available on the market were represented by the slow and not at all intuitive interface.

Our client asked a specialized consulting company to develop a new concept for an ergonomic and original graphic interface. We created a mixed team with 3 developers, a project manager and a functionality specialist on our client’s side and three developers, of which one team leader from AXON Soft. The entire restructuring project was planned by the project manager, the tasks being shared between both teams. Together with our French colleagues, we decided to use Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) to rewrite the user interface and to maintain the client-server architecture, but to optimize the SQL queries in order to reduce the response time. Also, we have planned a future transition to an N-tier architecture.

We used Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2008 for source control tasks. The collaboration between teams was assured by permanent online communication (for urgent matters and specifications) through Skype and email, and weekly video meetings.

The biggest challenge imposed by our team was the client’s desire to quickly launch the new software on the market. As a result, the client has developed a plan and time estimation according to the expectations of the management but not realistic in terms of software development: 3 months to finish the software solution. The often exceeding of the initial estimations put pressure on both teams and imposed a plan revaluation. With our support, the client managed to define a new time estimation, more realistic and objective – 1 year – which was met with success.

The project was finished a year later, at the beginning of December 2010.

KEY-RESULTS

  • During one year we have managed to implement an ergonomic and original user interface. Even more, the software is the easiest to use real estate solution on the market;
  • Even though the ergonomics and the GUI have been developed by a consulting company, the AXON Soft team has actively participated with solutions to the design problems that were not addressed in the initial interface structuring phase;
  • The new software solution uses the latest Microsoft technologies (SQL Server,.Net development)
  • The results of a survey started by our client on 88 users showed superior results in ergonomics, functionalities, and evolution:

Ergonomics: 96% consider it “Good – Very Good or Excellent”

Functionalities: 99% consider it “Good – Very Good or Excellent”

Evolution: 99% consider it “Good – Very Good or- Excellent”