Here’s what Caroline Anache and Francis Touazi, co-founders of Pré Salé, have to say about us. They turned to SkillValue’s MVP Factory (CTOs, freelancers, and help looking for funding) to help them create Strat’Lab. Their goals? To find a solution that would fit with their desired time-to-market while also giving them comprehensive support for technical and organizational choices. Here’s all you need to know.
What did your Strat’Lab project involve?
Caroline Anache, Francis Touazi (CA, FT): Our plan was to digitize our strategy consulting offerings for operational divisions of companies.
We now work with major companies like, for example, a major French retailer that specializes in construction, DIY, and gardening in Russia. We coach and support this company’s store managers as they implement their sales strategy.
We decided to call our digital solution Strat’Lab. It has two goals:
- Give store managers the independence in their everyday work to use the strategy tools designed by Pré Salé;
- Facilitate the scaling of Pré Salé’s e-consulting business, limiting the need for our consultants to travel.
How did you get connected with us?
CA, FT: We first connected with Mickaël Hiver from the Pentalog Software Factory team: we explained to him our goals and requirements in terms of operational implementation of the solution. After that conversation, Mickaël recommended that we choose the “MVP Factory” offering from SkillValue, part of the Pentalog platform.
What won you over?
CA, FT: We were won over by the SkillValue MVP Factory’s “turnkey” approach:
- A CTO to help us structure our solution and manage its creation,
- Two freelancers: A designer (based in Paris) and a developer (a French digital nomad working remotely from India),
- Support from their partner Finamatic in getting initial financing from France’s BPI investment bank.
In addition to the flexibility of the solution (no need to hire full-time teams or issue new shares), we were won over by the price, of course, but also, especially, by the time it would take for implementation: two months instead of five or six months if we had chosen to do development “from scratch.”
What solution was proposed?
CA, FT: Initially, when talking with Mickaël Hiver, we planned on doing development from scratch. However, that solution would have been more costly (though we did have the budget for it) and, more importantly, we needed a solution ready for deployment by the end of the first quarter of 2018. Going with development from scratch would have required us to do more work providing specifications and we would likely have had to wait until early September to implement the solution.
Benoit Fillon, our SkillValue CTO, recommended that we rely on:
- WordPress for our showcase website,
- LearnPress for publishing our educational content,
- Google Sheets for publishing our sales strategy tools,
- And integrating and personalizing these three components to offer our clients a consistent, rich experience.
Of course, all of that was to be independently administered and managed by us and hosted on OVH: as such, we had to plan for transferring knowledge and skills so that we could stand on our own two feet once the solution was delivered.
How did it go?
CA, FT: It was our first IT project and we had to learn new vocabulary words like “sandbox” and “kick-off”. Benoit Fillon and the team of freelancers offered by SkillValue were able to reassure us.
And it wasn’t all smooth sailing: during development, Benoit Fillon discovered a limitation regarding management of access rights in Google Sheets and we had to learn to make some compromises. That was a little frustrating to discover along the way, but I think we came to the right compromise.
We also had some back-and-forth with the designer: those discussions were necessary and taught us a lot. Again, we had to make some compromises between speed of creation, price, and depth of function.
The team helped us create our first version of our product: in the end, we implemented some “lean” practices—and there’s another term we learned. Also, it took us two and a half months instead of the two months we initially planned to have our finished solution. Then, we had two weeks of training for the transfer of skills to allow us to operate independently with the solution.
Of course, we didn’t wait by passively: we did a lot of work on our side and checked in with the team many times.
Finally, we took the time to celebrate the launch, as one should!
So, how’s it going now?
CA, FT: We are now doing demos with our solution: with the WordPress/LearnPress-based solution, we have multi-site implementation that gives us a demo space alongside client spaces.
Thanks to our success in Russia, we have convinced this major retailer to work with us through Strat’Lab. We are just starting to work with a store manager in France who we are going to coach with our solution.
We are still in regular contact with SkillValue: Benoit regularly answers our questions, whether they’re about what we’ve already done together or new opportunities we’re thinking of. For example, we’ve asked about support for search engine optimization. Also, we work with him occasionally to make improvements.