Thanks to Freelo, Simplia is better and faster to realize large e-commerce projects

For Freelo asks Honza Kulda
For responses Aleš Pustelník

Simplia has been working for over 10 years - can you introduce your business a little bit?

We have created a solid service portfolio, stopped offering cheap rentals, and started hybrid e-shop projects. We combine bespoke approach and box elements (kernel) that are filed with our know-how.

How is Simplia unique compare to other e-shop platforms?

Integration - Our solution is not just a CMS system, it is also ERP and CRM together. In companies running our system, the customer calls you, the system automatically shows who is calling and his open orders (or other cases - complaints, service). The operator needs only one screen to answer the question about the status of goods, he can see if the goods are on the way from the supplier or whether it is on the way from another branch of the company, because the system also solves logistics and supply.

The call is registered and if the customer impatiently sends an e-mail without context, the other operator easily solves it. The system adds context to it, just because everything goes through one system. This is just one of many other examples.

Example of  e-shop by –

How many sites are you currently working from?

Primarily Prague, our offices are in Impact Hub, but we have one colleague in Slovakia.

Do you have external colleagues and co-workers?

Yes we do - UX, graphic designers, marketing analysts and external coders.

What is the biggest challenge or problem when managing the business, team, tasks?

When managing a company it is simple - find a new project manager and find qualified people in general). We have to refuse some projects because we are growing faster than we are able to catch up. At first we thought that we would train a junior but it didn't work (we had a couple of unsuccessful candidates). They missed an overview to build up an advanced ideas. Now we are trying a senior and hoping we get lucky.

When managing teams, I have to meekly say that we've built up a lot of processes and protective rules to help us deliver projects exactly as defined by client. Therefore, the current challenge is to maximize efficiency.

The most difficult is to get skilled people and create a good team. Today's technologies are so advanced that they allow a lot of things with fewer people.

What techniques do you use to collaborate on a project? Do you have regular meetings or brainstormings, do you create mind maps, give feedback to each other?

We are small team and sit all together, so the personal comunication is kept and problems discussed. Time to time we certainly help each other by using mentioned methods, but it is very individual. The most helpful is feedback (within the company and especially from our clients). However, personal communication is not enough so we primarily work virtualy (Slack, Freelo, internal IS, ticket system).

Time to time, even in a well-coordinated team, there are some complications when finishing tasks or projects. What did you deal with specifically and which procedures helped you to solve the problem?

One of the issues is cooperation. Our team does not involve only employees of Simplia. The team working on a project is made by three groups (Simplia, clients and external agencies) and cooperation of all of them is hard to influence. In order to keep the project deadline and budget, we need to influence all groups. We find writing of everything very helpful, including the priorities, deadlines, responsible person. Everything must be written in one place and the most up to date. If you notice that it is not working somewhere (the client is not responding), you have an evidence to refer and the problem can be escalated to superiors (manager, owner).

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What is the hardest in running a business of e-shop renting?

The most difficult is to find really skilled people and create a good team. Today's technologies are so advanced and allow many things with only few people, however they are complex so the capable colleagues are needed.

Could you tell me a good and bad thing about online shopping field in Czechia?

Bad in our e-shop environment are cheaters and fraud e-shops, which we can still come along.
Good is that there is couple of very good companies that provide good-quality IT fundamentals so you can do good a service and don't have to be the biggest e-shop in the Czech Republic.

Have you experienced a real “fuck up” or distress moment and what helped you to pull through?

It was not directly our fault and it is a long time ago. One of our clients under a massive DDoS attack and it affected all our clients. It was just around the Christmas. Apart of other it made us to update the IT infrastructure to avoid similar issues in a future.

What system did you use to manage  the team communication before Freelo?

Basecamp and  Google Drive.

Example of e-shop from – Hecht
In Freelo we do large projects. We use our own SW for small ones.

How has the workflow and efficiency changed after implementation of Freelo?

Primarily task fulfillment control got better, no more omission of priorities. Also the client and agency integration into  a project management.

Why did you choose Freelo and how did its implementation in your team go?

We were using Basecamp but  Freelo has more interesting features and it is also Czech, not all of our clients have a good level of English. It is friendly tool for them.

How many projects are you currently working on?

Always 2 to 3 larger projects at once and then a lot of small not counting that I don't count.

Example of upcoming e-shop from – K2moto in mobile version
Phases of the project, goals and timetable settings are very essential. Also the budget of course. It all comes out from a well-done assignment.

How do you divide your projects in Freelo?

We do bigger projects in Freelo. We use our own IS for smaller projects.

Do you have more short-term or long-term issues?

In average 3 months.

Do you track the productivity or the efficiency of your teams in detail? How do you know that everything works like a charm?

The most important are phases of the projects, goals and schedule setting. Everything is based on good assignment. If the assignment is tacky everything is disturbed. When the assignment is precise then we follow the efficiency within the fulfilled phases. There are only two reasons for unfulfilled goals - too ambitious plan or team inability.

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Do you have any specifics within the team cooperation that influences the success of projects or their severity?

I would say standard project management issues ;-) We do nothing fundamentally another way.

How do you handle customer support and what tools and channels do you use?

We have our own information system, which includes a ticket system. We use it for short-term projects (innovations, upgrades). The larger projects are transferred to Freelo and the client is also invited.

How do you solve the platform development and what tools do you use?

We like Czech company JetBrains, doing world-known IDE tools or tools fo team collaboration over the code, we use PhpStorm. Conversely, for some actions within the SQL database is handy Navicat by PremiumSoft. Self-evident are AWS, Docker or GIT etc. We make some very own tools for developement - for example the template administration is done in our own system.

Which other tools or apps do you use except Freelo and for what?

This will be a boring answer. Practically as from no good CV - "Word, Excel, PowerPoint ..", now... seriously ;). We like Slack for internal communication and as I mentioned, we also have our own support management tool that suits us. Our own information system also solves a complete CRM, all that company needs.

Example of e-shop from – Chyťapusť.cz
In my opinion the project templates are very useful. We have standardized tasks or checklists prepared there.

How do you teach new team members with Freelo and the entire workflow?

The tool isn't complicated, actually it's very intuitive. Our new team members are learning the  processes more when Freelo is part of the business.

Which Freelo's features are the most useful to you and why?

Maybe a small thing like project templates, where we have standardized tasks or checklists. Now we are going to experiment with Timetracking for some specific activities, so I can't give feedback yet.

Do you miss anything in Freelo?

Unfortunately, I cannot help, we don't miss anything now ;-)

When you say Freelo, which word do you think?

Relax :-)

Field IT company
Team e-Commerce platform
Business size 11-50
Get in Freelo and achieve goals with less effort
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