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Case Studies, Software Development

The Right People at The Right Time – Cider House ICT

It’s always great to come across a family-owned business that has evolved strong industry knowledge and expertise into a successfully long-term business that is an industry leader in their field. Cider House Information and Communication Technologies (Cider House ICT) is a perfect example. From the beginning, the Cider House team could see there was an unsatisfied niche in the market, and were sure they could fill it.

Starting with the first iteration of the CHSVET Veterinary Practice Management System (VPMS) more than 20 years ago, it was clear from the start that practices everywhere were crying out for a solution that would enable them to effectively manage their businesses through enabling them insight into their valuable data. CHSVET VPMS was developed after considerable assessment conducted of existing practice management software, as well as significant market feedback conducted among an extensive network of veterinary practice managers. Those initial providers remain consultants and users of CHSVET to this day. And, given that CHSVET combined this with features that could easily scale from SMEs to large scale veterinary groups while remaining a cost effective solution with superior service and support, it is no surprise that it was a success. So much so, that in 1999 Cider House ICT were the recipients of the prestigious Maroondah City Council Small Business Encouragement Award in recognition of their extended customer support.

It didn’t stop there, however, and Cider House ICT is now an established supplier of quality hardware, software and services in the education, veterinary and general CRM spaces, as well as providing specialised e-safety and security solutions to schools. The Cider House ICT stable currently includes CHSVET (which is now based on international standards and integrates PetCOIN crypto-currency making it truly cutting edge), PetBooqz (which adopts VetXML for interoperability and can work on or offline as connectivity demands) and Advance Notice (an On-line appointment, boarding and e-commerce platform with optimised connection for CHSVET, PetBooqz and the Your Local Vet mobile platform, together with open APIs and a data structure consistent with VetXML standards).

In addition to the broad range of products that Cider House ICT already provides, there was an emerging demand for a new product. A mobile platform was envisaged that would allow veterinary practitioners initially, and broader health professionals including doctors and dentists etc eventually, to combine client records with loyalty programs, live reminders, appointment booking ecommerce and more. Having already gained buy in from a major player, Doug Bail (Director at Cider House ICT) faced the challenge of delivering this application (Your Local Vet) to the high quality that they were famous for, and quickly. With the existing workload on his in-house team, Doug sought out Mitrais to supplement his team. “It was this last development that prompted us to seek outsourced support through Mitrais. Our clients required an iOS/Android development with some strategic custom development over short time-frames.”

As he says, “Utilising the services of Mitrais we were able to focus on the core features and development strategy while making sure the extra resources were available to meet both anticipated and unexpected demands without going through an extensive advertising/trialling/training regime which in itself soaks up valuable management resources.” Doug needed an extended team with the right skills in place and working with his in-house team as soon as possible – and Mitrais delivered. “Mitrais quickly had a team of people evaluated and filtered based on skills from which we could choose” he says. “It was a fast and effective means of adding the required people resources.”

With Cider House ICT’s history and corporate culture, though, Doug needed more than just an anonymous body-shop. It was very important that they select a development partner that reflected their values, and Doug was impressed here too. “We particularly liked the attention Mitrais pays to ensuring their staff are accorded decent pay and conditions. With sick leave, annual leave, training programs and more, we were able to add flexible and highly trained additional people resources while ensuring quality working conditions. We consider this crucial.”

While all of this gave Doug confidence in engaging with Mitrais, the real test of working with a software development is, of course, how it works on a day to day basis. For Doug, the results have been worthwhile. “The experience has been very successful, despite our clients not progressing projects as anticipated. We were able to leverage the additional resources to meet other custom developments, add resources to key developments and otherwise ensure best utilisation of local people assets”.

So, what is Doug’s advice to others thinking about working with a software development partner like Mitrais? “We have no hesitation in recommending Mitrais as an ethical, well-structured and very well managed group” he says. And, at Mitrais, we look forward to continuing to add value to Cider House ICT and contributing to their continued success well into the future.

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