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Alexander P., Beeline: Interview

Alexander P., Beeline, Chief Digital Officer
Please describe your organization.
Beeline is one of the biggest telecommunication providers in Russia. We provide services for the B2B [business-to-business] and B2C [business-to-consumer] segments.
What is your position?
I am the chief digital officer. I am in charge of online communication channels for customers.
What business challenge were you trying to address with Redmadrobot?
We have developed a self-service tool for all our customers, designed to be more convenient than calling or visiting our shops. It was designed with B2C capabilities in mind, which are much more advanced from the application side and in regard to what can be done within an account.
Please describe the scope of their involvement in detail.

Redmadrobot developed our support tool for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. We are a very old firm and, as such, have many legacy systems that were never designed to work online or to fulfill the needs of our customers through the web. Redmadrobot have done a good job of working around these limitations, and interfacing the systems with the app's API [application programming interface].

The mobile applications are the only tools that were not designed by our internal staff. Redmadrobot have much more knowledge in designing mobile applications than us. We are trying to move part of this process to our internal team but, right now, it's not feasible because of the high amount of knowledge required.

How did you come to work with Redmadrobot?
Our selection process usually starts by contacting the top development companies, giving them tests and providing our specifications and the scope of our work to each one. We will select those who show the best results and work for the least money. Redmadrobot have proven to be the right company for us during the course of our last three selections.
Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?
I cannot provide this information. The total effort for the app has amounted to thousands of hours of development time.
What is the status of this engagement?
The minimum viable product was launched in March 2014. Development took half a year. We're continuing to work with Redmadrobot on deploying new features for our customers, releasing updates every three weeks. The app will never step out of development mode.
Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

The application has been downloaded 16 million times so far, which is more significant given that only 35 percent of our customers use smartphones. At this moment, out of all the iPhones in our market, only 500,000 don't have the app installed. It is the most successful support tool of any telecommunications in Russia.

The app has a four-and-a-half star rating in the App Store, and four stars in Google Play. This is very high compared to our closest competitors, which are rated 3.8 stars. Any bad ratings are due to occasional problems with our IT [information technology] systems. They don't reflect faults of the applications themselves.

What distinguishes Redmadrobot from other providers?
Aside from development work, they're also helping us improve our internal resources. In other words, they're not only doing their job, but are also helping us do our jobs better. This makes Redmadrobot not only a developer, but also a real partner for us.
Is there anything Redmadrobot could have improved or done differently?
Testing initially took a long time because of their methodology of work. They've made huge improvements during the last year, building a QA [quality assurance] department for us in particular, which solved the issue.
We have five additional questions. For each of these, we ask that you rate Redmadrobot on a scale of one to five, with five being the best score. How would you rate them for the quality of their service and deliverables?
Four and a half.
How would you rate them for scheduling, as in meeting deadlines and compliance with a project timeline?
Four and a half.
How would you rate them for cost, as in value and conformance with project estimates?
How would you rate your overall experience collaborating with Redmadrobot?
How likely are you to recommend Redmadrobot to a friend or colleague, out of five?