Here’s what Francis Touazi, founder of Pré Salé, have to say about us. He turned to Pentalog’s MVP Factory (CTOs, freelancers, and help looking for funding) to help him create Strat’Lab. His goals? To find a solution that would fit with his desired time-to-market while also giving him comprehensive support for technical and organizational choices. Here’s all you need to know.
What did your Strat’Lab project involve?
Francis Touazi (FT): My plan was to digitize our strategy consulting offerings for operational divisions of companies.
I 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.
I decided to call this 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?
FT: I first connected with Mickaël Hiver from the Pentalog team: I explained to him our goals and requirements in terms of operational implementation of the solution. After that conversation, Mickaël recommended that I choose the “MVP Factory”.
What won you over?
FT: I was won over by the Pentalog MVP Factory’s “turnkey” approach:
- A CTO to help me structure the 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), I was 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 I had chosen to do development “from scratch.”
What solution was proposed?
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, I 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.
One CTO from Pentalog recommended that I rely on:
- WordPress for the 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 me and hosted on OVH: as such, we had to plan for transferring knowledge and skills so that I could stand on my own two feet once the solution was delivered.
How did it go?
FT: It was my first IT project and I had to learn new vocabulary words like “sandbox” and “kick-off”. Pentalog CTO and the team of freelancers offered by Pentalog were able to reassure me.
And it wasn’t all smooth sailing: during development, the CTO discovered a limitation regarding management of access rights in Google Sheets and I 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.
I also had some back-and-forth with the designer: those discussions were necessary and taught me a lot. Again, I had to make some compromises between speed of creation, price, and depth of function.
The team helped me create the first version of the product: in the end, we implemented some “lean” practices—and there’s another term I learned. Also, it took us two and a half months instead of the two months we initially planned to have the finished solution. Then, I had two weeks of training for the transfer of skills to allow me to operate independently with the solution.
Of course, I didn’t wait by passively: I did a lot of work on my 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?
FT: I am now doing demos with this solution: with the WordPress/LearnPress-based solution, I have multi-site implementation that gives me a demo space alongside client spaces.
Thanks to our success in Russia, I 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 Pentalog: the CTO 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.