We changed our name from IT Central Station: Here's why

Zudy VINYL OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Zudy VINYL is #4 ranked solution in top No-Code Development Platforms, #7 ranked solution in top Low-Code Development Platforms, and #8 ranked solution in top Rapid Application Development Software. PeerSpot users give Zudy VINYL an average rating of 10 out of 10. Zudy VINYL is most commonly compared to Microsoft PowerApps: Zudy VINYL vs Microsoft PowerApps. Zudy VINYL is popular among the small business segment, accounting for 65% of users researching this solution on PeerSpot. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 23% of all views.
What is Zudy VINYL?

Zudy is a visionary enterprise application development company with a breakthrough low-code no-code platform known as VINYL. VINYL’s patented technology-agnostic development environment turns mobile and web into one, enabling enterprises to build highly configurable applications in just days rather than months or years. Using VINYL, enterprises can dramatically increase the number of new applications they can build from an average of three per year to more than 50.

Zudy VINYL Buyer's Guide

Download the Zudy VINYL Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: January 2022

Zudy VINYL Customers

Brooks Brothers, Stericycle, DXL, Aetna, JCrew, Barstool Sports, iHeart Media, Cal-Maine Foods Inc, Collette Travel, Kraft Sports Group, Fresh Direct

Zudy VINYL Video

Zudy VINYL Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Zudy VINYL pricing:
  • "The pricing and the licensing of Zudy are reasonable. Pricing is always a tricky thing. It could be a little simpler, but they're doing well. I'm happy with it."
  • "We also pay for the managed services help that we get from them. But, to me, it is a very effective cost model. Licenses are relatively inexpensive, then you pay by the drink in terms of the managed services that you are going to need, which has been great. We figure out where we want to apply those services and try to be pretty diligent about managing the costs there."
  • "We haven't really had any issues with pricing. Like with any good partnership, you're paying a fair and good price for a good product. That's where great partnerships are developed, when one side doesn't feel like they won in a deal; when both sides feel like they won. That's where we are with Zudy VINYL."
  • "Pricing and licensing are on par with or better than what we were looking at and what we had. That was also one of the key factors for making the decision. We cut our costs in half by going over to the Zudy platform."
  • "The pricing and licensing of Zudy are fair."
  • "Compared to if I used traditional methods, such as hiring developers and setting up systems, VINYL is costing me less than half of what it would normally cost."
  • Zudy VINYL Reviews

    Filter by:
    Filter Reviews
    Industry
    Loading...
    Filter Unavailable
    Company Size
    Loading...
    Filter Unavailable
    Job Level
    Loading...
    Filter Unavailable
    Rating
    Loading...
    Filter Unavailable
    Considered
    Loading...
    Filter Unavailable
    Order by:
    Loading...
    • Date
    • Highest Rating
    • Lowest Rating
    • Review Length
    Search:
    Showingreviews based on the current filters. Reset all filters
    Nate Seiling
    Founder at Quote Kong LTD
    Video Review
    Real User
    Top 5
    This is the first time something has been able to pull off my dream, and have it up and running in a fraction of the time
    Pros and Cons
    • "When it comes to the speed of development of the applications with Zudy VINYL it has been the fastest and most powerful that I've been able to do. We've tried building things from scratch. It takes an enormous amount of time. We've cut that time by probably a fifth, with more power. I've been very happy with the speed of doing things in Zudy VINYL."
    • "Eventually, a nicer way to create certain features, like the way that we create PDFs, would help. Sometimes the way that it resizes when I have multiple windows up, could also be better. It's minor stuff though. It's edge-case stuff."

    What is our primary use case?

    We help residential general contractors take their quoting time from hours to just minutes. My use case for Zudy VINYL has been the full package for both my front-end, and my back-end systems. We're running all of our database information, all of our modeling, all of our calculations, as well as the front-end delivery for the customer, through Zudy .

    How has it helped my organization?

    The way Zudy has helped my organization function is that it's the first time that someone was able to actually pull off my dream, the vision that I've had. Even working with some of the guys, everybody looks at what Quote Kong does and they think that because it looks simple, therefore the programming must be simple. It's not. I've had far too many people assume that it is.

    Everybody wants to say they can do it. I've tried all kinds of different platforms and Zudy was the first one that not only could pull off the back-end data modeling and the backflips and the crazy things that I needed it to do, but it could also handle the front-end well enough. It's not a beautiful front-end, but it is good-looking. I'm happy with it. It looks good. There are some other solutions that I liked on the prettier end, but they couldn't handle any of the back-end data. I found other database back-ends that could handle some of the database stuff, but they didn't look pretty at all. This has been a great balance of a good-looking front-end and all the power and the complexity that I needed to handle on the back-end. It's been a dream for me. It's been so exciting to finally get Quote Kong out there for people to start working on.

    And when talking about time to market on new capabilities, it's absolutely sped me up. The last big charge that we made at trying to build out Quote Kong, we were three and a half years in development and we could not get it to function because of all the complexity. With VINYL, we were able to do that in eight months. And every single new thing that we're adding is going to be quicker, easier, more integrated. And I don't feel like I have to pull out another massive budget to try and add my next feature, because the next feature is going to be quite simple to be able to add, and I'm very excited about that.

    The best thing I can tell you is that what took me three years and never did get finished—we got it close, but I couldn't edit a lot of things and I couldn't import a lot of the things I needed to. It was still not working right on different systems and different devices. It would work here, here, and here, but over here, it wouldn't. And then of course, if they opened up this browser, then that wouldn't work. I don't have any of those problems. I went from thinking, "I don't know if that is ever going to get finished"—even if I had another two years, maybe we wouldn't have gotten finished—to eight months and it's ready. How do you beat that? How do you explain the speed of that? And even in the eight months, we have more features and more things that I wanted to include in the first iteration than what we had after three and a half years of building.

    VINYL allows me to be able to play with a lot of the back-end data and to link all of my databases and to understand where all my tables are sitting, much better than what I was ever able to do with any of the other platforms or the other services I was working with. I'm able to handle many-to-many database connections. Zudy explained a lot of that really well, if you take the time to do their course which was included with my subscription, although I don't know if they include it for everybody. The ability to understand everything that's out there in my system is critical because there are so many minutia and so many little micro details. I'm very excited that I get to go in and pull out all the details. Just last night, I was pulling out all the different database tables and all the connections so that I could see them separately and make sure that they were all where I want them to be. I'm very excited about that.

    The data integrations from Zudy that have been able to help me automate business processes and workflows have been very instrumental for building what I've wanted to build. That is the majority of what Quote Kong is. It's a ton of automations which used to be 50 or 60 hours worth of manual paperwork, and we're able to put it into processes that substantially streamline that to down to an hour's worth of work. The future things that I want to build, anytime I go looking at the documentation, and look at doing things, I'll say to myself, "I'll be able to do this," whereas with other platforms, and other things that I've tried, we were not able to do it. This has been exciting for us.

    The low-code functionality, and what I've been able to achieve with it, has been a massive amount—a magnitude of 10 times—easier than what it was previously. We tried to build this five other times, and failed. I'm talking about years of development and multiple attempts. The fact that the code is just there means that so many of the minutia are already all built out for me. I don't have to define the box, the line weight, and the size, and all the little details that I've had to do in the past. It's not that I don't have control over that. It's just that I don't have to think about it ahead of time. I also don't have to design for each iteration of iPhone, and iPad, and Android, and computer size. It just automatically adjusts. A lot of those features have been absolutely instrumental, and we've been able to add in integrations that we were not able to achieve on the other platforms. It's been wonderful.

    What is most valuable?

    The features in Zudy VINYL that I've found to be most valuable have been the fact that we have tried to build out several versions of Quote Kong, and the problem has been that every time we start off with a new version we always have to go through this huge rigmarole of setting up all of these tables, and all these logics, and writing everything from scratch. I don't have to do that with Zudy VINYL. There are so many of those micro, early-stage things that are just done for you.

    On top of that, it's unbelievably easy to have it work on any device. I have hardly had to do any tweaking from device to device. Whereas previously, it was very difficult. Those are the things that I like about Zudy VINYL.

    Also, when it comes to the speed of development of the applications with Zudy VINYL it has been the fastest and most powerful that I've been able to do. We've tried building things from scratch. It takes an enormous amount of time. We've cut that time by probably a fifth, with more power. I've been very happy with the speed of doing things in Zudy VINYL.

    The custom application we built with Zudy VINYL is Quote Kong, our entire process. We compress probably 60 hours' worth of manual paperwork, and we get it done for the contractor in about an hour. There are a lot of hoops that we have to go through to make that happen, and there were a lot of things that were not off-the-shelf that I needed. We actually attempted to build Quote Kong five other times with different platforms, and it failed. It did not work with other ones. We tried. We spent a lot of time, a lot of energy, and we could not make it come to completion. But with Zudy VINYL we were able to complete it.

    Zudy's data connectors and the API integrations have been great so far. We've definitely had to integrate some older data that we brought over, and it's worked really well. It also has a lot of external things such as Babel, and it also has Google integration, which has been easy. Integrations aren't easy in general, but I would say that I'm very happy with how it has been, integrating with Zudy so far.

    As for the ease of use for VINYL for non-developers, I like it. I do have some technical background, but I don't have the full-stack development abilities. Yet I'm able to go in and I love that I can make changes on-the-fly when a customer says to me, "Hey, this button in this place doesn't quite make sense." I can move it. I don't have to call up a developer. I don't have to try and find somebody to do it. I'm very excited about that. It's been amazing to have that control myself, and not have to try and explain to someone how I want to move the button; why I want to move the button; what that is supposed to look like. I've just been able to go in myself and do it, and I've found it to be relatively easy. It's a very complex thing that they're trying to accomplish, so it's not super-easy, but it's also not so difficult that a non-developer can't handle it. As long as you can follow some instructions, you should be able to do it yourself.

    Zudy also handles the data encryption and the user identities and the data migration and the databases, and all of those authentication things, very well. I have been very happy with it. When you're having to build things from scratch, you have to build all of that out manually, and that is a difficult thing to do. It takes a lot of time and a lot of effort, and I just didn't have [to go through] that with this one. I feel confident with what they have. My research has said they've been doing it well. Security is very hard to do. You can do 9,998 things right, but if you do one or two things wrong, the bad guys will find it. From what I've seen, that hasn't happened. Breaches are probably somewhat inevitable in some ways, but I think it's certainly a lot less likely because you didn't have to set up all of these things and know all these best practices because it was done well for you ahead of time. That's been a comfort to me because, of course, I have a lot of data and a lot of security things that I am worried about, and I've been glad to be able to rely on Zudy.

    What needs improvement?

    There are always micro things that could be improved. There are certain buttons that I want to have a certain feature. We can make it work, but it's a little tricky.

    Eventually, a nicer way to create certain features, like the way that we create PDFs, would help. Sometimes the way that it resizes when I have multiple windows up, could also be better. It's minor stuff though. It's edge-case stuff. 

    Some of them I've brought up to them and some of them I haven't even bothered because I know that what I'd be asking for is very specific to me. It's not that I won't ask. I will in the future, but it's not worth my time right now. 

    They're always looking for ways to change and improve. That's a big one, because no one is perfect. No one has all the answers. But are you willing to listen and are you willing to understand the customer side of things? I feel that they are.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We've been using Zudy Vinyl for about eight months.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    My impression of the stability of Zudy VINYL has been fantastic. I used to have hundreds of bug reports a week. I would find all these little micro things, and I would say, "Oh, goodness sakes, when I'm on this device and I do this, that crashes or that does." I'd get things back from my customers, but that has gone so far down. You don't notice pain when it's gone. You only notice pain when it's there. Until you asked me the question about stability, I'd forgotten how much pain I had, previously, trying to get all these systems and implementations deployed and how many problems it caused. This has been very stable and I've been very happy with it.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    In terms of the scalability of my Quote Kong platform on the Zudy platform, I don't see the limits. And trust me, I've looked. I have pushed and prodded and I've pulled, and I've tried all kinds of other solutions, and inevitably, I start finding some problem where when iterations get up into the high numbers, this is going to fail. I haven't been able to find that with Zudy, and I've been very happy with that. It will be able to handle the massive scales that I want to be able to add on eventually. I haven't done it, so I can't prove that, other than my anecdotal. But trust me, I am someone who digs and digs and digs, and I push and I prod and I pull and I do all kinds of things to break stuff, and I'm good at breaking things. And I have not been able to find a flaw yet that is catastrophic, or something that I'm really worried about in terms of long-term scaling.

    We're using Zudy VINYL almost exclusively for all of these functionalities that we're building out. I'm very excited about all of the future things that I want to do. It's great because every time I come up with some wacky list of things that I want to accomplish, we're always able to find solutions that will make it work. And they're not workarounds, which is fantastic. So many times with some of the other builds, it's all workarounds and that always scares me to death. The capabilities that we've had, the things that we've added—everything's being built in Zudy, with the exception of a couple of those outsourced things that I want. I don't need Zudy to handle a payment system. We've got good payment systems elsewhere. I don't need it to build Google Maps, but we hook into it and it works, so that's what matters. I've been very happy with it. We're very driven and dedicated to what we've built here and my customers are very excited about what we're presenting.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    My experience with Zudy's technical support has been good. They definitely take in the things that I'm saying. When there is a problem, they do try and find the problem and try and fix it. 

    With the launch of 3.0, there were some hiccups, there were some things that kind of got pushed off to the edge. There were some things that got pushed off to the edge that I had to remind them about and they were like, "Oh, right, sorry." They brought them back up to the forefront and they got them fixed.

    Nothing's going to be perfect, but I've been very happy with the way they've been responding and the way that they take in my information.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    Prior to Zudy, I actually built out the entire prototype in Microsoft Excel. And even Microsoft said, "Boy, that's a lot of stuff. We've seen Excel do some crazy things; yours is way up there for complexity. There's hardly any that are more complex than what you've just shown us." And that's Microsoft talking. So I thought I had a great template that I'd be able to have people build off of, because everything was working in there. And it wasn't the case, even though it was there and I had all the instructions. 

    We tried things like FileMaker Pro. We tried things like Airtable and Webflow and UXPin, and coding from scratch. We also tried Bubble and MacGyver. There have been a lot of things that we've tried, or at least that I've tested out; even just straight, from-scratch HTML and starting everything from there. We just couldn't make it go. We were excited to finally be able to get everything working.

    The way I came across Zudy for the first time was just a lot of internet searches. I'm someone who does a ton of research before I jump into anything. The one downfall is that they maybe weren't as public-facing, and they've admitted that. So I was hesitant to go with them at first, just because they didn't have a lot of information that I could really dig up. I think that's actually part of the reason why they're doing these videos, to be able to get the word out and get into the smaller and medium-sized businesses like mine. But it was a lot of research and it was a lot of checking and it was a lot of comparing. It wasn't until I talked to them and saw some of their demos that I really started to believe that maybe these guys could actually do it.

    How was the initial setup?

    I was starting off with an enormously complex ask. There were a lot of things that I was trying to accomplish, and with a deceptively simple front-end interface. They really understood what it was I needed. Even they underestimated its complexity a little bit, but they weren't so far off. Other people were way off. It was a complex thing that we were able to set up and I'm very happy that we were able to set that up. It had some complexity to it, but it was, overall, relatively simple, especially for the level of complexity that I was trying to build.

    In terms of the staff that was required for the deployment and the integration, we did hire their development team to do that. I was working with two guys, mostly. They were able to pull off stuff in much faster times than what I was able to do with my previous team, and with the team before that, and with the team before that. We've been able to accomplish a lot and I'm happy with that.

    I'm able to get in there and dig around and understand. I'm able to look at little micro things and say, "Oh, wait a second, that one particular column on that one particular table is not in the right spot. We have to move it because of some problem I'm going to have a year and a half down the road." The transparency has been great, and I've been able to do it on a minimal amount of staff.

    The number of people that are using Zudy VINYL, in a hands-on sense, from the back-end perspective, I've got four guys who are working on different things. From a customer perspective, we're still early days with the launches, but I'm at about 20 users that have been on it. They've been super-happy with it. The fun part is that I built something that used to need 20 years of construction experience to be able to do and my best beta-tester is my mother. I love her, but she is terrible when it comes to computers, and she has been able to use it as a customer, and that's always been my goal. If mom can use it, anybody can use it. It's been exciting to be able to get it to that ease of use and simplicity.

    What about the implementation team?

    I'm starting to work with third-parties now. I'll have things that I will want to do for sure that are going to be outside. But for now, I've been able to do everything in-house, so I haven't had a lot of experience with trying to integrate other things. We are working on one right now.

    Some of the outside sources that I'm trying to integrate it with, are things like Stripe for my payments. They do that pretty well. I'm trying to do something called LogRocket. That one is a little bit of an unknown. We've been able to integrate already with Google Maps and really unbelievably easily. In fact, I was demo-ing it for a client, and they [Zudy] had added it from the time that we talked about it the day before to when I was doing my presentation, and all of a sudden it was there, because I was showing them in my dev environment. So it was cool. 

    I've got lots of other plans. There are other measuring systems I want to integrate. But from what I understand of the API tools that we have, it should be relatively straightforward. Nothing's easy, but I think we'll be able to do that.

    What was our ROI?

    So far, all of my costs have been going into building things. I haven't been able to go live with a lot of the things. We're live now, but just in beta form. The return on investment is going to be hard to express other than the fact that there were three and a half years of not fully wasted development, but almost—I almost chucked out everything we did. After all of the false starts and all of the promises from other people, how do you put a value on that?

    I don't have the raw numbers right now because we haven't really started into sales, but all I can say is that it has taken us far less time to build this out than what it has with anything else. And the bigger part is that we actually crossed the finish line. How do you put a value on that?

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    The pricing and the licensing of Zudy are reasonable. Pricing is always a tricky thing. It could be a little simpler, but they're doing well. I'm happy with it. 

    There were a couple of miscommunications early on, minor things, but they keep working with me and they keep trying to fix it, so that's all I can ask for. I think I'll be able to scale up with this without any problems. When I did the math, everything looked good. I've been happy with it so far.

    Aside from their standard licensing fee, there are just little things. I'm using AWS, and they have a small rider on top of  whatever AWS is charging them, but that's fine. It saves me having to deal with it. I'm happy. I haven't really noticed any real "gotchas." There are little things, like if I want more speed I can pay for more, but I haven't needed that yet.

    What other advice do I have?

    The advice I'd give people who are looking to implement Zudy is, first of all, know what it is you're having to build. What is it you're really trying to accomplish? But outside of some very small applications or gaming things, if you're looking to build some sort of business-process-driven website, something that you need both to look pretty good on the front-end and where you need a lot of calculations and tables and you need to jump through some hoops, I can't imagine building it from scratch.

    I'd be happy to go with Zudy, again, by far. There really hasn't been anybody else I've been able to find that has been able to compare with what Zudy has been able to do for me. It's not to say they're not out there, but I wasn't able to find them, and I do a lot of research. Know what it is you're trying to accomplish, try to spell out as much as you possibly can, because the more you spell out, the easier it becomes to implement.

    Zudy's improvement of their own features has been good. I've been on the platform for eight months and I've read a lot of things on what was version 1, and 2, and 3. But I can certainly submit things that I need to be improved or I need fixed. It does happen. They do listen to it. Obviously, you don't get everything you want, because it's not fully customized. But they're always doing improvements. They're always asking for feedback. I really like that. They seem to take my feedback seriously and implement what they can. They've got good help documentation, and they're asking for feedback on that. I've been happy with their level of iterations and improvements.

    In terms of the updated UI and UX for version 3.0, I was on 2.3 when I first started and there was a pretty big leap between what they were doing on the UX side with that version versus 3.0. That always takes the user, myself, a little bit of time to learn some of the new tricks, but it's been nicer. The previous one was more technical and it wasn't as intuitive, whereas the 3.0 I'm finding a little more intuitive and it seems to be a little bit easier to use.

    As for learning the new 3.0, compared to learning the 2.3, it would be easier if you're stepping into it and the first thing you're seeing is 3.0. If you're migrating, of course you're used to a button being in a weird spot, and that's where you're going to go look for it. So when there's a change, it's always a little harder. Whereas, if you're coming in fresh, congratulations, you don't have to go through quite so much of the learning pains that some of us who have been around with the older versions have. But overall, it's been good. I've been happy with it.

    As for being more creative with VINYL 3.0, that hasn't been my focus right now. My focus is the Quote Kong logic. When I go back to my written documentation that I have it is thousands and thousands, probably close to 10,000, pages long now. The majority of what I've been doing is much more data modeling and logic rather than creativity. But, again, because I have access to being able to edit certain things, it's been wonderful that I can go in and edit it. I don't have to wait for somebody else to move it around and see what that looks like and then decide that I don't like it or make another change. So I've been able to do a lot of those little micro iterations myself, which has been very nice.

    My rating for Zudy VINYL overall would be an eight or a nine, pretty high. Nothing's perfect, but I've been happy with them. I'm happy that I'm able to work with them and they work with me and we always try and find a solution or we table it to later, which I'm fine to do sometimes.

    The biggest lesson I've learned from using Zudy VINYL is that there are many things that you have to try and set up when you're coding from scratch that I don't know that I'll ever want to code from scratch again. Not that I'm a coder. I'm not a full-stack developer. I know enough to be dangerous, but even the guys that I had were good guys. They were guys with a lot of experience and they worked really hard and they tried really hard, but we just couldn't get it done. It was just too complex of a problem, on top of all of the other little things that you have to do when you're trying to code from scratch. I liken it to the difference between drawing with paper versus using AutoCAD, or the difference between shingling a roof with a hammer and nails versus with an air gun. Why would I ever shingle a roof without an air gun, unless it's something really small? I've been happy.

    Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
    Larry Egan
    Vice President of IT at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc
    Video Review
    Real User
    Top 20
    Can connect to any data source so we don't need to replicate data into a data warehouse to do reporting analytics
    Pros and Cons
    • "There are a lot of low-code development tools out there, but VINYL has the ability to connect to just about any data source out there, if an API exists for it and can be leveraged. We have even partnered with them at times to work with third-party vendors to develop APIs on our own, if there wasn't an API that exists for it."
    • "Having been a customer of theirs for a long time, I think the UI needed improvements early on. But, they have done a remarkable job catching up in that regard."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use VINYL quite a bit across the organization, such as creating apps for equity trade requests that everybody in the entire company uses if they want to get approval. We built an app and VINYL routes the approval to the person's manager. We also use it on the commercial side for CRM-related activities.

    We augment our business process quite a lot with it.

    It's in a private AWS environment at the moment that Zudy is hosting for us. We are going to move it to our own AWS environment shortly.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We literally have used it at a very tactical level, maybe improving integrations. We have used it in the commercial arena for things, like roster management and even for sales forces that might not fit into a traditional CRM model. We would have build-time front-ends for small groups who have a unique way of doing things. We will write back to the back-end CRM database. Then, we have deployed it quite a bit on the finance side of things. There is really no limit to how we have been able to leverage it. 

    It's a great platform for business process improvement. The fact that you can connect to any data source really provides workflow approvals, etc., in a very timely way. This has really empowered us from an organizational perspective. We have incorporated hierarchy information so we can route things that need manager approval within the company. It has really facilitated a lot of business processes, where sometimes the core applications only get you about 80% of the way there.

    We have built a guided buying application that guides people through the requisition process, which is just an easier experience than a lot of other things. The fact that it can connect to just about any data source has been a huge benefit for us. 

    We helped our finance group with the management of POs, so people could get some visibility in terms of how much money was left on a PO, e.g., if they needed to close a particular PO or request another owner for a PO. The area of the procure-to-pay process was an opportunity for us. We used VINYL to develop a PO management app that has really helped facilitate and create transparency for people from a self-service perspective. With a click of a button, people can see the POs that they own, how much is left on them, and then take some action on them, whether it is closing the PO or requesting a different owner.

    We have used it on the IT side of things just to help facilitate integration. Where we didn't necessarily build an app, we would move data, leveraging VINYL, from one system to another if we were having trouble with the integration. The ability to connect to a lot of different data sources in an easy way has really been a benefit both for building applications, but also for our infrastructure team when they are building integrations from point to point.

    We use it for business process improvement things, like equity trade requests, where it is a one-off need but there isn't really a core application for it. Sometimes, a lot of those things prior to having an application in which to store everything, things could be stored in email and you have to go back and search for things. So, it can improve compliance and really just about any aspect of things. You don't need to do things out of the system. For a lot of the things that people do a lot of times in spreadsheets and organizations, VINYL is a great tool to eliminate a lot of that siloed data that ends up on somebody's hard drive that you can't find anymore. For us, it's really been invaluable. That is why I have used them for so long across both at my current organization and even at prior companies.

    We leverage everything through an SSO provider. Depending on people's rights, they will either have the application within the VINYL tile within our SSO provider or they won't. The data is encrypted. It's really a comforting experience, which is very important nowadays with all the security risks that are out there.

    It has just made us a more efficient company. It has even made us a more compliant company. We have been able to build business processes for things that could introduce compliance risk. Being able to do that quickly and efficiently without having to spend a lot of money on a custom solution, and the fact that it plugs into our infrastructure at this point and works across a variety of solutions, just works well for us. It has dramatically positioned our time to market.

    What is most valuable?

    Their ability to connect to just about any data source has been really invaluable. We leverage it in our finance area to help facilitate the processing of purchase requisitions, so it can connect to SAP and our contracting system.

    It really makes opportunities limitless because you can connect to just about any system and/or application. What is nice about VINYL is you can create an app and not even necessarily need to take the data out of the source system. If you are creating a business process improvement application that reads data from a variety of different data sources, you can create a front-end to it and write back to those authoritative sources or systems of record without even moving data around. You can facilitate the improved business process with VINYL's ability to connect to a lot of different things, not creating multiple copies of the data, which is also a real benefit of VINYL.

    I believe that we are on the latest version. I think it is awesome. Anytime you go into applications, especially low-code development applications, you can sometimes be restricted on how creative you can get with the UI. I think their new design really brings a lot more interest into the applications, where the sizzle is always important. When people are using applications, they like it to have a sleek look and feel. I think that the constant improvement in this area is always great.

    Most of the apps that we deploy on the VINYL platform, we try to make them as low-touch or low-training as possible. We try to make them intuitive from an end-user perspective. That is really the value proposition there. If you can build things quickly in a very intuitive interface that drives value for your customers, the value proposition tends to go up a lot. Between the UI and design principles that the Zudy BAs always bring to the table, they really make that not an issue at all.

    It really is a big deal, especially the fact that VINYL can connect to just about any data source. We don't need to necessarily replicate data into a data warehouse to do reporting analytics on things. We can leave the data where it sits. Whatever the authoritative system is of record, we can read from it, then write back to it, leveraging a pre-built front-end that we would put together with VINYL. It really creates a lot of flexibility in an organization where you wouldn't just get off-the-shelf software. Those things only get you so far. Because of the fact that VINYL can connect to a lot of different data sources, and just about any API, it gives you a great deal of flexibility. You are almost limited by your imagination, more than anything else.

    It is really the benefit of the low-code development frameworks. You don't really need to be a software developer. You can work in the app and do more configuring of the application. You don't need to be a heavy-duty developer. In fact, we don't really have a traditional development organization because of VINYL.

    What needs improvement?

    Having been a customer of theirs for a long time, I think the UI needed improvements early on. But, they have done a remarkable job catching up in that regard. They have always been great at connecting to a variety of data sources. They are a leader in that space. They do a great job, from a business analyst perspective, helping you shape what the ultimate system is going to look like. There really aren't a lot of areas that need improvement. The areas that they have, they are keenly aware of and have made great strides in recent releases.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have been using VINYL for about as long as I have been at my current organization. I've also used it at prior companies, but it's probably going on four years here.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It has been amazing. I don't know if it is how they manage and control their releases. This has become important, as you can imagine. With having very large communities of users and everybody in the company using the system, most systems have become mission-critical. We have had no outages that weren't unplanned. It doesn't mean you don't iterate on applications or work on improvements, but in terms of unplanned outages, it has been very small.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It is interesting because our challenge is managing. Because VINYL can be used across a variety of different use cases, just about any potential integration can be accommodated with VINYL and people are really only limited to their imagination. Sometimes, we have to manage the number of things that people want to create or build using VINYL. Sometimes, you don't want to just create things for the sake of creating it. Scalability-wise, we haven't had any issues. We have literally everybody in the company as a user of the application. There have been no issues in terms of simultaneous usage or any of those types of things.

    There hasn't been a use case that has been too big or too small. We have done everything from mini CRMs for very niche field-facing teams to facilitating our procure-to-pay.

    The usage has been organic. As more people become aware of its capabilities, with the capabilities of the VINYL platform and the capabilities of the Zudy business analysts, the growth has been organic. We haven't necessarily decided to scale up, but it is global for us. We are a global organization. We use it in other regions around the world as well. It is not like we are going to increase it by 50% or 60% each year. That is probably about what the increase has been, but it has been all organic based on demand and the value that people see.

    Everybody in the organization uses it, from equity trade requests to some general onboarding HR-type experience. So, we have a very broad user base with the VINYL applications. On the IT side of things, the more traditional side of things, we probably have two or three people who use it. One person more on the integration side of things uses it, then we have people who are business-facing who are interacting with business partners to drive and build a lot of the applications. It depends on how you define using VINYL. As consumers of the application, just about everybody in the company does use it in some capacity.

    How are customer service and support?

    They have been super helpful in just about every capacity. A lot of times, there will be challenges. We will go to them if we have an interesting challenge connecting to a particular vendor, but their support model has been great. Even more from an overall partnership, if there is anything that we need, we can certainly have the conversation with them. They are very open to facilitating and getting it done for us.

    They are a great team to partner with, depending on the need or if something is coming up. I remember an instance early on when we were first becoming a commercial company. We had a need to create an application that would send text messages to hundreds of people in the organization when we got approval on what the next steps were. That was literally a phone call that I made one evening. By the next day, these guys were able to put together an application for me where we could use it in a production setting. It is that type of relationship and flexibility that the Zudy team and VINYL developers have. If you have a critical need, they will definitely work with you on what it is. They don't ever throw SLAs back in your face. They are a true partner in terms of that type of development.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    I didn't use them before the company did. We had a strategy to help us augment limitations in our current cloud solutions. 

    Where certain cloud providers are not going to give you the ability to change the platform, or it might take several years if they listen to your feedback, there might be real limitations in terms of what they do. Most of the off-the-shelf type cloud providers or cloud applications will get you about 80% of the way there from a business process. We use the Zudy team and VINYL product to close the gap and get us the remaining 20%.

    Prior to using Zudy and the VINYL platform, I would be involved in a little bit more of your traditional development frameworks.

    How was the initial setup?

    For the initial standup, Zudy was great in that regard. From signing contracts to having environments that stood up was probably three weeks total. That was back and forth, coordinating calendars, and everything else.

    There are a couple aspects to it that work really well. Most low-code development platforms enable you to get something built relatively quickly, but when you couple that with the strong business analysts that Zudy provides, they tend to ask all the right questions when you are having those initial conversations. They quickly get to a minimal viable product that will allow the organization to react. Typically, it's like a week or two from initial conversation to having a minimal viable product, and then you can iterate on that. Just the fact that things are moving that quickly, I think it gives the organization a great deal of comfort. It is a dynamic that really improves customer satisfaction. It is not like a black hole, where you have a conversation, months go by before you see anything, and you are not given anything to react to.

    What about the implementation team?

    The Zudy team was great in terms of being able to stand up an environment, then helping you build on it right from there. Every aspect of working with Zudy and the VINYL product is relative to most other interactions with other companies. You get to shave 50% to 60% of what you would traditionally expect off of the time that it takes to do things.

    One of the things, we, as a company, rely quite a bit on managed service providers. Zudy, as a company, has really great business analysts who help in the development. When you couple that with a low-code development platform, the time to value is very quick and usually inexpensive, relative to many other applications.

    They were great. They even hosted it initially for us. They worked with us on upgrades and moving it from a hosted AWS environment that they support for us to our own internal AWS environment. Even on the infrastructure and more technical side of things, they are a very supportive partner. 

    We have people who interact internally with our business partners. However, the Zudy team provides the folks on the infrastructure side, if you want them to host it for you. If you're going to do it yourself, obviously you would need people to manage the environment, stand up the servers, and all the traditional things that you would think of just having to host an application internally. If you have the Zudy team do it, you really don't need any staff. They have a great managed services arm as well, where you can take advantage of their business analysts. They will help you and sit down with your customers to help build the applications. They ask questions about what it needs to integrate to. They also ask great business process questions.

    What was our ROI?

    ROI is always a hard thing to calculate. How do you put an ROI around being more compliant? It is just something that you have to do. If you don't, then you get in a lot of trouble potentially. Certainly, time to market is a huge value. However, doing things in a more compliant way is probably where you will see the value.

    We benefit from the managed services that Zudy offers. The fact that it is a low-code development platform really gets us value pretty quickly, which is great from an IT perspective. It really drives a lot of value with our business partners.

    The time to value with VINYL and Zudy business partners is probably 30% of what it would take with traditional applications. I think the low-code development platform really gets you to a minimal viable product very quickly, then you can iterate on that very quickly. Between that and having the business partners within Zudy to help drive a lot of these discussions and actually do the development for us, it has really been invaluable.

    You get to a high quality application in a very short timeframe and relatively low costs without any measurable incremental headcount. Certainly, you need people to interact with the business and probably people to help point them in the right direction in terms of what APIs or data to get to. We haven't added any real headcount because of bringing the VINYL application into our environment.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    It is great. We have been working with them on a model where you are not limited. You pay for the license, then you can use it as much as you want. For us, it has been very cost-effective. 

    We also pay for the managed services help that we get from them. But, to me, it is a very effective cost model. Licenses are relatively inexpensive, then you pay by the drink in terms of the managed services that you are going to need, which has been great. We figure out where we want to apply those services and try to be pretty diligent about managing the costs there.

    Literally, we have the license, which gives you unlimited use, and then we budget for anticipated services that we will leverage with them in terms of leveraging their managed services team to help build the apps and work with our business partners. Beyond that, there are zero hidden costs, which is great.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    It is a crowded space. The Zudy VINYL platform has led the way in this space. When I compare it to other solutions, there are probably two things that stand out in my mind about why I am always drawn back to the Zudy partnership. Their ability to connect to just about any data source is huge. If you have a platform that can't connect to things, it really limits the usage of that particular platform. The managed services that you can leverage from Zudy are huge as well. A lot of times when you're standing these things up, you need support, strong BAs, and other things. It takes awhile to get adoption, if you think your team is just going to pick up a new platform, leverage it, and be really good at it. A lot of times, the inability to deliver something quickly will tend to make people not use it the next time.

    The biggest benefit of the VINYL platform: There are a lot of low-code development tools out there, but VINYL has the ability to connect to just about any data source out there, if an API exists for it and can be leveraged. We have even partnered with them at times to work with third-party vendors to develop APIs on our own, if there wasn't an API that exists for it.

    It is huge. Between UI improvements, the ability to connect to other data sources, or the ability to deploy truly mobile apps, it is that type of functionality that continues to keep the product relevant, especially in a relatively crowded space. There are a lot of people who try to use low-code development platforms, but the VINYL platform is very robust. When you combine that with the managed services that they offer and their continued development of the platform, it really makes them stand out.

    It is probably close to 60% to 70% that you can deliver things quicker than you could with more traditional development frameworks or even low-code development frameworks, because there isn't really a limitation in terms of the number of tools or systems that VINYL can integrate with. You are not really limited. You don't need to find another solution or work out different integration capabilities when you're dealing with the VINYL platform. You are just limited more by your imagination than you are by any of the technical capabilities of the system.

    What other advice do I have?

    It is really a great platform for all the things that you don't quite get out of cloud-based solutions.

    They continue to iterate and improve the application. In one of the more recent releases, they came up with a mobile app in which you can build a VINYL application that you can deploy on mobile devices, just like you would from the App Store. 

    Generally speaking, people pick it up pretty quickly. We tend to leverage a lot of the managed services within the Zudy team specifically for that because we're pretty partner dependent. But, it works well because they are able to do things so quickly. Our ability to go from concept to minimal viable product is pretty short, thus relatively inexpensive.

    Having been a customer of the Zudy team for a really long time, it is always about adoption. Anytime you are introducing new technologies like this into an organization, people don't really quite understand what it is. You try and get your quick wins so people can see the value of it. Once you get past that, then you have the other lesson of how do you control growth, because you can connect to a lot of different things and people are very eager to find solutions to their problems. Sometimes, you have to manage what you are going to do and when you're going to do it, because no one has limitless resources. We, internally, establish a prioritization mechanism where we look at what is happening and where we should prioritize certain requests over others.

    It is two-fold. There are a lot of low-code development platforms out in the market today, and you are going to see that a lot of them have value. Certainly, the number of data sources that they can integrate with is a huge piece of the decision-making factor, but then it is also the model. I have tried implementing tools like this in other companies, and it's not always easy to get adoption, even to get internal people comfortable with it and use it. If you can have someone who will partner with you in that journey and get your internal teams comfortable, and more importantly, get the business comfortable with the applications that you are delivering, then the adoption and value proposition go way up. It is really about the whole partnership, selection, etc., as you go through the process.

    I wouldn't be with them this long if they weren't at least a strong nine (out of 10) for me. They are great. I wouldn't give anybody necessarily 10, but I would certainly give them a nine.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Private Cloud

    If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

    Amazon Web Services (AWS)
    Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
    Flag as inappropriate
    Learn what your peers think about Zudy VINYL. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: January 2022.
    566,121 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    Josh Pearlman
    Director of National Promotion at Entercom Communications
    Video Review
    Real User
    Top 5
    Improved our workflow and gives us the business intelligence we need to do small and large-scale modeling
    Pros and Cons
    • "Their integrations are terrific. We've had zero issues, a 100 percent success rate with integrations. In terms of Zudy's data source connectors and API integrations, we've been really pleased. We use some software that is very common in the media business, and then we also have some custom things that we built for a variety of different use cases within our company, and we've had zero integration issues, in terms of getting data into Zudy and getting data out of it. It's been great."
    • "I don't have a lot of negative things to say about the platform. One of the things we joke about, because it is very minor in detail, is that as with any platform, when you're hosting a live webinar on a GoToMeeting or a Zoom, everything slows down a little bit. So when you're doing a live demo internally with folks, the platform can go a step slower. That's not necessarily just a Zudy thing."

    What is our primary use case?

    We needed a custom solution for our events business. We had a bunch of software that we use for a variety of our financial planning and analysis tools. A lot of them, pieced together, were able to solve things for our business, but we needed a custom solution. After a national RFP that Zudy won, we were able to build a custom solution specifically for our events business.

    How has it helped my organization?

    One way that Zudy VINYL has improved the way our organization functions is a very simple, but just incredibly helpful aspect: workflow. It has given us the ability to have different stakeholders involved in different projects and to have visibility through the dashboard and have automated emails that they can mark "approved" or "not approved." That way, there is a log that everyone has signed off. And it gives us some very easy dashboard reporting. Instead of having to search for information, it gets delivered to you. That's been a really big game-changer for us. Efficiencies are higher, revenues are better. It's been really positive. There is not a single negative thing to say about it. It's stuff we've always wanted and we needed to find the right partner to make it happen. We're glad we did.

    It has also, absolutely, decreased our go-to-market time. It has increased our ability to get things to market faster, without a doubt. I'd be guessing, but I'd be fairly confident saying that it decreased go-to-market time by at least 25 percent, anecdotally. It's a significant amount. To get 25 percent of our business to market faster would be a significant change for us.

    The solution also allows us to run a variety of back office processes without coding. And that has very much to do with the integrations that we've built into place, that Zudy VINYL is able to handle. It's allowed us to make faster, smarter decisions, which is really important. Because systems didn't talk before, because they weren't integrated, just getting data was a bit of a challenge and it slowed the process down. That part is really important.

    It's also allowed us to re-examine our business during the pandemic. It's given us the business intelligence to really look at all of 2019 and then pivot to what our 2021 plans are, with what COVID has done to the events business. It really gave us a chance to step back and have time to look at the business, instead of just continuing to run event after event after event, just because it's what we do, it's how we generate revenue. It's given us a chance to really dive deep and model out what the future looks like for Entercom.

    Overall, Zudy VINYL has increased development speed. It's given us the data we need to make decisions quicker. It's given us the business intelligence we need to do some short- and larger-scale modeling. And it's also allowed us to look at using the Zudy VINYL platform in other departments that may have the same challenges.

    What is most valuable?

    Their integrations are terrific. We've had zero issues, a 100 percent success rate with integrations. In terms of Zudy's data source connectors and API integrations, we've been really pleased. We use some software that is very common in the media business, and then we also have some custom things that we built for a variety of different use cases within our company, and we've had zero integration issues, in terms of getting data into Zudy and getting data out of it. It's been great. I've been really pleased with the integrations from the simple to the more complex. We've done everything from financial planning and analysis to single sign-on. It's really been a great tool and it has really saved us a ton of time spent on things that were done manually.

    The workflow, and the ability to add business intelligence tools into our platform, to make us work smarter, not harder, has been a lifesaver for us.

    In terms of the speed of development of custom applications with Zudy, we've had no issues. I've been really happy with the speed. Whenever we've asked for something, they've been able to get it to us in a very reasonable timeframe, sometimes beating deadlines. Sometimes we're our own worst enemy in terms of some of the requests we make, but that's not a platform issue at all. They've been terrific, both their folks and the system itself, when we need something turned around really quickly. It has been able to solve for us.

    For example, we moved all of our event P&Ls into the Zudy VINYL platform. What was happening on a variety of spreadsheets—Google Docs, some other financial planning tools, but not necessarily at the detail we needed—we were able to build as a custom, P&L for our events. They highlighted the various different ways we look at events, from before the event happens, to while the event is on sale or in its promotional flight, to after the event, and all the analysis that comes with that. It also gives us the workflows and approvals for stakeholders who need to sign off on events throughout the process. That custom application was built earlier this year.

    Without using Zudy, I do not know how long it would have taken. It would not have been something I would have been able to do by myself. But we built it in about seven-and-a-half months.

    Zudy also continues to improve the solution's features, that's a thousand percent [true]. Every time there's a new rollout or new development in their solutions and the things that they've been able to launch since we've been working together, it has just enhanced our business quite a bit. I'm very happy with the new enhancements, their ability to roll them out, and the functionality that comes with those rollouts. We've had no issues. With their improved rollouts, we've expanded our business with Zudy. What started as an events platform has grown into some other areas of the business. We now have three live platforms, with several more that are potentially in development for 2021. As the system has worked for us, we've continued to grow with them.

    What needs improvement?

    I don't have a lot of negative things to say about the platform. One of the things we joke about, because it is very minor in detail, is that as with any platform, when you're hosting a live webinar on a GoToMeeting or a Zoom, everything slows down a little bit. So when you're doing a live demo internally with folks, the platform can go a step slower. That's not necessarily just a Zudy thing.

    But I don't really have a ton of things to say in terms of improvement. It's done everything we've asked it to do.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We started our initial build with Zudy VINYL about 18 months ago.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    In terms of stability, we've had no issues.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Scalability has been one of the great successes we've had and one of the main reasons that we're working with them. The system is very scalable. We've had zero issues in terms of scaling anything with Zudy VINYL.

    There's been one instance where we beta tested something, in one of our 47 markets, with the goal of then rolling it out to the other 46 and we're still in beta tests there. But it's working flawlessly and we've started the build for the remaining markets. The integration has been great. It's going to go flawlessly and I don't anticipate any issues with how the system has been set up.

    As part of our initial launch there were about 80 users. We have since grown and that number is closer to about 165 people across the company that are using Zudy VINYL, with plans to grow that number, possibly even double it, in the next six months. We started with one platform—events, that was our initial build for Zudy VINYL—and we've developed three to five, and potentially more, for other business units, to come in 2021. It's continuing to grow on an annual basis, so far.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    We've been able to utilize all the channels: a little bit of email, a little bit of Slack, a little bit a ticket system they have. The ticket system for me, personally, is the one that I find most valuable because it really tracks what's really important and time-sensitive, and what is a nice-to-have or are minor bugs. We use that quite a bit and it's been great.

    To their credit, some of our folks, myself included, are West Coast. A lot of the Zudy VINYL folks are more East Coast, but we've never had an issue in terms of time zones or availability. It has been 100 percent, perfect, in that respect.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    Previous to Zudy VINYL we were using a couple of very manual, non-cloud, solutions: a lot of Excel sheets, a lot of Google Docs, because that was the only way to get granular enough for the details that we needed. It's a huge improvement and we're glad to not be using those other very fine platforms. We're really happy that we were able to integrate everything and roll it into Zudy VINYL.

    We didn't have roll-up reporting and we didn't have workflow approvals. Those were the really two big ones. It was very hard, on a macro level, to see our business. And on a micro level, local stakeholders were tired of how many emails were floating around. Now, we just have a dashboard that shows where the to-do list is and the task list of who is responsible for what, in the order that we set up. It's been a game-changer. No one can cry that they never saw anything or never approved anything. Everybody has the business intelligence now to make those decisions and those approvals, right there on the spot. They don't have to go searching for it in a different platform.

    Ease of use was one of the main reasons that Zudy won our RFP. For someone like me, who knows enough to be dangerous—who can get in, and build, and experiment around, but by no means is software development my first expertise or my "day job"—it's been wonderful to not have incredibly sophisticated needs on the build side, but still be able to have incredibly sophisticated results. It's really been a blessing and I'm really happy with it.

    The fact that it's a no-code solution is another reason that we chose to work with them. It has allowed a lot more folks to get in and build some custom integrations on our side, people who may not have been able to do so with other pieces of software.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup of Zudy VINYL was straightforward. We certainly had some more senior IT folks in the room to help get us launched, but in terms of big-picture and the strategy for what we needed and how they were going to build it, it was very clear and very straightforward: the data they needed to build, the results and information we wanted to get out of it. We sat through a couple of workshops and it was very crystal clear and very productive and the end result was exactly what we talked about.

    Typically, with anything we do in our company, we do small-group rollout, small-group testing, and then large-group rollout. That's exactly what happened. We had a core team that was involved in the build. We had a slightly larger team that was involved in beta testing, using real life examples in our business. And then we had a more formal rollout that went out to all the applicable folks in our company.

    From start to launch of the Zudy platform, it took seven months. Our core build team that was involved included about six of us. For maintenance, typically it's our core team. For things we can't figure out on our own, the Zudy folks have been terrific in terms of customer support and helping us nip those issues and solve them in pretty rapid fashion. We've been really happy with Zudy's services.

    What was our ROI?

    We have seen ROI, absolutely. Our sponsorship business has seen some great growth, and part of that was just using the tool we built to identify our inventory in ways that folks may not have been looking at it and to scale some of those sponsorship deals in ways that were very manual before. That can be significantly more automated now, so that when a national partner wants to come into play, we can be much quicker and much nimbler, getting those deals finalized. It has increased our sponsorship revenue. We're happy about that.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    The pricing and licensing were within the range we were looking at in the RFP. It continues to be a great partnership and great value for us. We've been really happy with the pricing structure. We think it will continue to be a great partnership.

    We haven't really had any issues with pricing. Like with any good partnership, you're paying a fair and good price for a good product. That's where great partnerships are developed, when one side doesn't feel like they won in a deal; when both sides feel like they won. That's where we are with Zudy VINYL.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We had a national RFP, which Zudy VINYL won.

    The main differences between Zudy and the competition were really about customization, integration, and customer service. Those were the three boxes. We needed something specific to us. We do things differently than other companies. We needed something that could integrate with our other systems—some very big, popular ones that a lot of businesses use—and some that were custom-built just for Entercom. And we needed some strong customer support, since this was our first go-round in this particular platform. They delivered on all three. It was pretty obvious.

    What other advice do I have?

    Think long and hard about what you want and then be ready for them to come to the table with the solution, to get it to you. It will solve your challenges. You just have to put in the time on the front-end to build it. I fully believe that, based on what we've done together, it can do the same for other businesses too.

    I have looked into upgrading to VINYL 3.0. it is actually on the radar and will happen very soon. In terms of the updated UI and UX for Zudy VINYL, we've seen it and we're excited to integrate that in. It was our own issue and our own product launch deadlines that caused us to wait a little bit, but we're going to be up in the new version very soon.

    In terms of data access, user identities, and encryption, Zudy VINYL works with the vendor that we use for that. We have pretty seamless API and have had very few issues with that. It's been a really easy partnership to create.

    It's a big deal in the software world, but there have been no security issues, no hacking has gone on with respect to our partnerships with Zudy, so that has been terrific. I can't say enough good things. I know I'm not supposed to expound too much about the people involved, but the product can only do what the people tell it to do, and the people involved have been terrific. The people are just as important as the product. In terms of partnership with people and product, it's been a great win for us to be working with them.

    The biggest lesson I've learned from using Zudy VINYL is that while it takes time to build a custom solution, if you do it with the right partner, and have the right integrations, it can be the game-changer that everyone thinks it can be. When you're sitting around in a room and just writing on a board or dreaming up, "Hey, if we could have one solution that did all of these things, man, our life would be easier. Our bosses would be happier." And that's really what we found. Zudy VINYL has delivered all the things that we've dreamt up and asked. It's been a really awesome 18 months so far, and we're excited for the next 18 months and beyond for where we're going to go with our partnership with them.

    It's done everything we've asked it to do. We keep developing more with the platform because it does everything we ask it to do. We continue to grow our business with them because it's a price that we think is fair for the value we get out of the product. It's been a terrific product.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Private Cloud
    Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
    Shane Darrisaw
    National Administrator at mPact Pro Client Management Systems
    Video Review
    Real User
    Top 5
    Data integration streamlined things; items that were on other platforms are now automatically transferred in real time to our platform
    Pros and Cons
    • "Zudy has increased development speed. What would take us months to be able to complete, we're getting done in a matter of weeks. I have a number of projects that we were working on that I thought that we'd [only] be able to get completed by next year. We've already completed them and we're still in the year 2020."
    • "Upload time of documents that needed to be uploaded was a request that we were having an issue with. That issue got resolved in [near] real time, within probably 30 minutes."

    What is our primary use case?

    What we do is provide client management systems assistance to HUD-approved, non-profit housing counseling agencies across the country. The use case for Zudy is that we have HUD-approved, non-profit housing counseling agencies that have to report the work that they do, to HUD, in specific formats. In other words, the services that an individual in a community comes to a HUD-approved, housing counseling agency for, are reported out to HUD on a quarterly basis. That's [includes] everything from someone who needs assistance with purchasing a home, to rental services, to seeking shelter, mortgage modification, or homelessness assistance. All of that information is captured, per certain guidelines, and reported out to HUD. HUD takes that information and reports that to Congress on a regular basis. In return, Congress allocates funding to these HUD-approved agencies based on the information that they received from our client management system, mPact Pro.

    Our system is hosted on the cloud and supported on the backend with Zudy through Amazon Web Services

    How has it helped my organization?

    We're in a digital age now, so we're just taking advantage of that more frequently now, with respect to how information is captured. We have been able to take a lot of organizations that were using paper, to being paperless. We're just leveraging all of the abilities that we have found to be easier to do inside of Zudy.

    An example of a custom application we have developed with the solution are dashboards that we are working on where certain KPIs are going to be displayed, disseminated, and captured by the end-user at the touch of a button. When it comes to being able to report out the impact or the work that's being done, it's easier now for the end-user to get the information that they need, disseminate that information, and deliver that information to those that need it. If we didn't have Zudy, this development would have been doable, but it was easier [with Zudy]. It was easier to lay out the designing and planning because of their process.

    The data integration features streamlined things. I saved hours and manpower in getting things done. What we've been able to deliver, on behalf of the end-user, non-profit housing counseling agencies, actually replaces a person. It allows that person to be able to focus on other things, in terms of automation. At the push of a button now, or by clicking on a certain feature, items that were on an outside platform are now automatically transferred in real time into our platform by just answering a question "yes" or "no."

    The ease of use is an 8.5 or nine out of 10. It's "night and day" for our end-user, when we compare it with our old platform which was great, but clunky. Now, we have taken all the guesswork out of, "What am I supposed to do next?" You don't even have to ask a question. Where they had to follow instructions in the old platform, they basically click on the button that addresses the question that they have to ask to be able to perform a certain function in the system.

    Zudy does a great job of continuing to improve features and communicate those feature improvements throughout. There has not been a week that has gone by where I have not read about, or gotten an email about, or not been able to get access to one of the improvements. It's not only through the normal communications, but also just the dialogue I've had back and forth with the account managers and the design team that had been working on projects for us. We started out with one product build, an application, and we've added two more, with two more to come. It's extremely important to continue to improve the product because of what our current environment [is]. The shoreline has changed in terms of how anybody, any organization, is going to be doing work. They're going to need to take advantage of technology and using less paper but getting more data, because that data is what is going to deliver the results that are going to be needed to be able to continue to do this work.

    An example of an improvement that they've made to it recently is the ability to capture information of what, in the industry we call an "intake." A lot of organizations may still use paper, and I keep referring back to that, but now we've automated that process to the point where the end-user can deliver an access portal for the individual client to be able to get introduced to the agency, provide documentation, and for the aides to be able to follow up with the individual, based on information that they provided. That's now been streamlined. Before, this process may have taken days or weeks to get to the point of being able to deliver a solution to the clients that they serve. Now we can do it in a day.

    Another example of how they've improved the process for us is in the key performance measures or reporting modules that we've requested to be built. The individual agencies can pull the reports and data at their level without having to request it through us.

    Time to market definitely has [de]creased. For example, today we got off a call where we were going over some things that we needed to have delivered. By the time we wrapped up the call, they said, "We'll be able to deliver something to you. Because today we're approaching a holiday, on Monday we're going to be able to look at it, to be able to push it to market."

    Zudy has increased development speed. What would take us months to be able to complete, we're getting done in a matter of weeks. I have a number of projects that we were working on that I thought that we'd [only] be able to get completed by next year. We've already completed them and we're still in the year 2020.

    What is most valuable?

    All of Zudy's features are valuable. In terms of the user interface, we have come upon solutions that make workflow easier with efficiencies in making things, from a process standpoint, easier for the agencies to utilize. We've taken all the guesswork out of the process for them.

    In comparison to our previous platform, the speed of development of custom applications using Zudy is light years faster. We were able to deliver the first solution in less than three months. It would be a little bit less if you take out the unknowns, which I've found to be my best friend in terms of things occurring that we didn't know were happening. But even with that, it has been light years. By comparison, what took us a year-and-a-half to do on our previous platform, we did in three months with Zudy.

    The low-code level of work that we can do on our own, once things are handed off to us, and the interaction that we've had throughout, with the account managers and the architectural design individuals—they have made a process that should be automated [a] friendly [process].

    In terms of data migration and data connectors, they actually built a data transition table. I think it was through a platform called Magellan, that was customized for us to be able to take data out of the old platform, stage it into a staging area, and then move it into the new platform that was built on the Zudy VINYL platform. It was seamless from my standpoint, but I'm not the one who wrote the code or pushed the data in and out of the old platform into the new platform. But they made what was going to be what I called "Godzilla," in terms of it being a monumental monster of a project, easy, with the solution that they deliver.

    What needs improvement?

    Upload time of documents that needed to be uploaded was a request that we were having an issue with. That issue got resolved in [near] real time, within probably 30 minutes.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We got introduced to Zudy in March of this year, or about eight months ago.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It has been extremely stable; no issues whatsoever, thus far.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Zudy's scalability is one of the things that sold me. We wanted to make sure that we could deliver a product that could grow as we grew, and as the industry grows, and as changes occured. We have no issues whatsoever. 

    We do have plans for increasing the usage in the future. We're working on an additional product in a project that we want to be able to roll out in the next couple of months. We're feeling really good about that.

    We have over 100 organizations. Before we started with Zudy we had 65 and we're [at] 115 and counting right now. Because of what we've rolled out through Zudy, we have almost doubled in size.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    We've not had any issues with tech support. We've not had any challenges to go to tech support. But, as promised, if we did have issues, they would follow up.

    We get communication with the design group that we've been working with, daily, to give us a heads-up if we may encounter a problem with the process. But no issues whatsoever, thus far.

    A feature that we asked for was the ability to add a document upload feature and it was done in less than a day, actually within a couple of hours. Some reporting views needed to be changed. I gave that request verbally, via a phone call. While I was on the phone they asked me to refresh my screen and it was done.

    There are two-and-a-half people that we are in constant communication with. And that's mainly because of additional features and additional projects that we keep adding to the process.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    Our previous platform had a development team and an agreement along with that. To make any changes or enhancements, we had to go through that process. So there is nothing to compare [Zudy] to. That was part of why we wanted to look at other options and, fortunately, we found Zudy.

    How was the initial setup?

    The setup of the initial [deployment] was extremely straightforward. Everything that they said they did, they actually exceeded.

    Getting access to it, once we agreed and signed off on the dotted line, was within an hour. Then we started working on some training that we needed to do to get familiar with the platform. That was delivered that same day. We wanted to make sure on our end that we understood what we were getting ourselves into. As a team and staff we completed our training to get familiar with the Zudy platform. Within 48 or 72 hours we were done with what we needed and we started building out platforms and applications.

    I can't say the developers had an issue with any development challenges. 

    My staff is small. There were three of us involved in the deployment. We're a team of three but we act like a team of 30 now, because of what we have access to.

    What was our ROI?

    Our return on investment has been huge. Once we switched from the old platform over to Zudy, we had an increase of organizations to now [have] over 115. That's about 55 organizations that came to us as a result of the platform switch. And in terms of demo requests, we used to get about one or two demo requests a month. Now we're getting about two to four demo requests a week.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    Pricing and licensing are on par with or better than what we were looking at and what we had. That was also one of the key factors for making the decision. We cut our costs in half by going over to the Zudy platform.

    There are no additional costs in terms of their standard licensing fees, but we have asked for and signed up for support services. So [when there are] some questions that we can't answer until we get more and more knowledge about the system, we have a support structure there so that we can get questions asked and answered, or time to have things built or augmented.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We just did an internet search of some products that were on other platforms and what they came along with. What jumped out to us was we had the ability to own everything that we built, of course with the support and help from Zudy. 

    Without mentioning what those other platforms were, some of them are very prominent, that you hear about in the media every day. Although they were comparable, we found that we can do the same thing with the Zudy platform and the team, and they proved us right.

    What other advice do I have?

    My advice would be to do your research. Compare what development and the timeline looks like on the big players, the other platforms that are out there which are all great. And ask yourself if it's going to be comparable and can the Zudy platform actually speak to the same things that the big boys do.

    We've gotten no complaints about the functionality, given that it's a “no code” solution. We've gotten great feedback about how our new system looks and how much less stress [there has been] during our current environment—meaning everything that is going on with the pandemic and organizations being forced to work remotely. The timing was good for us to have run across Zudy, to help deliver what we believe the rest of the industry and probably most industries are going to be going to: offering a paperless solution to deliver or conduct your job.

    I wouldn't say it's the biggest lesson that I've learned from Zudy, but I really appreciate understanding known-unknowns and what the unknown-unknowns are. In other words: how we approach a problem now versus how we dealt with problems from the old platform. Now, if there's an issue, we know that there is a solution that can be delivered, in short order. In the past, it was hit and miss: We've got this problem; we don't know how long it's going to take to fix it. But we do know now that if we run into problems on this platform, there's a solution that's going to be delivered. In most cases, the end-user doesn't even know that it's an issue.

    The user interface and user experience are greatly improved. I haven't really heard any complaints from our end-users, but they are loving what they're seeing.

    I'm really pleased with all of the deliverables and the work so far. There's always room for improvement with any organization, but I like the communication. I like the follow up. I like the constant checking in with me, and the team, on if we're moving in the right direction or if we need to make pivots or changes. And the fact that I can send an email or pick up the phone or send a communication through Slack and get instant communication [means] there is no guesswork. I don't have a complaint. I'm satisfied with everything thus far.

    I would rate Zudy at nine out of 10 because of the ease of use, the customer service, making me feel like I'm a partner who is valued, and appreciating the feedback that we receive from them.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Public Cloud
    Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
    Eric Rubinson
    Sr. Director, Business Area Solutions at Intra-Cellular Therapies, Inc
    Video Review
    Real User
    Top 20
    Quickly puts together user interfaces that match business requirements and user expectations
    Pros and Cons
    • "The integration is a huge accelerator into enabling new business processes. As a small company, we have a few different systems that otherwise couldn't talk to each other. We recognize, from an IT perspective, the value that data and change in status of certain data in one area could influence the ability to take action in another. With these integration points, we are able to essentially create that communication from one system to another, letting system B know that something has been completed or is ready in system A. That allows our users to know that they are ready to complete a task. Without that, we would be relying on a lot of manual communication. We would be relying on individuals sending emails, saying, "Hey, by the way, this is ready in system A." Now, we have the system recognizing it and shooting that email off automatically, with all the instructions necessary."
    • "During the initial rollout, the text editor wasn't 100% what we were looking for, but we were able to get the job done. After some discussions and finding ways to use different plugins during the short term, Zudy actually came back a few months later and said that they have integrated a standard product into their text editing that checked all the boxes for us."

    What is our primary use case?

    Our first use case for Zudy VINYL was actually to implement and automate workflows for some complex tasks with a lot of handoffs. One example was, as we onboarded a great number of employees at the late end of 2019 and early 2020, we had about 100 people who needed to be onboarded in a short timeframe. There were a lot of handoffs, people involved, and steps which could go off the rails if we didn't have some clear structure for how the handoffs would work. Using the Zudy VINYL platform, we were able to automate that workflow and make sure that everybody was on task and on point. We started to expand additional workflows from there, then we started getting into more custom applications for niche solutions and individual business problems that people were bringing to IT to solve.

    How has it helped my organization?

    One of the applications that we developed, and was completely custom, with the Zudy VINYL platform, was an integrated hub and integrated portal for our sales force. So, we have about 300 people as customers. We have essentially built a single point of entry for information, various applications, and subapplications that are also built on VINYL. But, the entire sales force can go in and have customized information, specific to the sales force and sometimes specific to them, right at their interface. Some of the things that they can do is receive specific communications that are categorized across different areas of marketing. They have access to custom applications, such as a digital detailing aid, that we used when we were still trying to stand up our CRM in the wake of the COVID transition, where they could access materials and detailing aids that they would put in front of their customers. They are also able to update some of their employee information, which integrates with our ADP system, as well as access videos and presentations, which different areas of marketing put out for them.

    The integration is a huge accelerator into enabling new business processes. As a small company, we have a few different systems that otherwise couldn't talk to each other. We recognize, from an IT perspective, the value that data and change in status of certain data in one area could influence the ability to take action in another. With these integration points, we are able to essentially create that communication from one system to another, letting system B know that something has been completed or is ready in system A. That allows our users to know that they are ready to complete a task. Without that, we would be relying on a lot of manual communication. We would be relying on individuals sending emails, saying, "Hey, by the way, this is ready in system A." Now, we have the system recognizing it and shooting that email off automatically, with all the instructions necessary.

    I like to think that the Zudy VINYL product is the perfect middleware for the different applications that we have scattered around our infrastructure. What I like about it is that we know how to use it to get one system to talk to another or pull information from multiple systems into one view for dashboarding, metrics, or reporting. Its ability to integrate with those various systems, and fill the white space between those systems where business users have needs, is really what has made it a differentiator in our organization.

    We are using Zudy VINYL to fill white space between some of the existing business processes happening in systems that are already standing up. So, to say, "Is it running? Is it fully running back-end processes in the office?" We're not using it for that purpose, but the overall capability of the tool has certainly demonstrated it. Whereas, if we really wanted to jack up the amount we're putting in there, the sky is really the limit on what we could actually pull into VINYL and processes.

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuable feature within Zudy VINYL is just the ability to quickly, without having to worry about digging into code, put together user interfaces that match the business requirements and the user's expectation to do rapid deployment. A couple of the things that we really put to work in a lot of our applications are the use of structured communication and notification that is triggered by business events. So, when an activity is completed in the system, Zudy VINYL is able to integrate with our address book and Outlook to send the appropriate notices and deliverables to the people who need to use them next. Then, they can pick the task up without having to go back into the system to know that there is something on their plate.

    Zudy is really easy to use. I am a non-developer myself, and I'm able to hang out in the conversations with our technical folks and Zudy consultants who drive a lot of the work development for us. The no-code/low-code platform is extremely intuitive. Our users are able to visualize solutioning. When we are working through an app, they are able to picture a way something would work. They are familiar with the ways Zudy might help them engage in the information that they want to work with. It has been a very easy conversation and easy development process, both within IT and with business customers.

    The speed of development for custom applications has been incredibly rapid and really exceeded, not only IT's expectations, but the business users as well. Often, when we are bringing up or conceptualizing a new idea, two or three business days later, we have a conceptual prototype that we are able to put in front of our business users and start building from there. Many of our applications have only taken one to two weeks to stand up in a test environment and then have them deployed to production within about a week after that.

    Zudy VINYL integrates really well through APIs and other data integrators. We have worked with about four or five other different systems that we have tied Zudy to, including Viva, ADP, and Oracle. I have yet to bring up a system where we have an idea for an interface, or an exchange of information, where we haven't figured out some way to make that connection, either through a direct API or by using a creative-like FTP process where we drop files someplace and have another system pick them up.

    One of the features that they were able to add as part of a business need on the fly was the integration of DocuSign as well as an integration of an iPad touch signature pad. These were plugins that they were able to take, integrate with the tool as they built it, and we were able to create some cool stuff, like attestation forms or sign-off forms. Whereas, if we wanted to capture an official DocuSign signature, or just a scanned signature, we were able to take those tools, integrate them with a PDF presenter, and push electronic versions of forms out to people who they could then sign or acknowledge them right on their iPads. The system would save that as a final document that we could then archive. This wasn't an out-of-the-box feature that Zudy had, but by using the platform and pulling in other applications the way that we envisioned using them, we were able to create things that met our business needs.

    What needs improvement?

    During the initial rollout, the text editor wasn't 100% what we were looking for, but we were able to get the job done. After some discussions and finding ways to use different plugins during the short term, Zudy actually came back a few months later and said that they have integrated a standard product into their text editing that checked all the boxes for us. This has made it a lot easier to not only support the product, but to use it for new business ideas.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We've been using Zudy VINYL for a good two years. We started in the commercial space, but we have started to use Zudy VINYL across both our R&D and commercial business areas.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We have found the stability of the VINYL platform to be extremely reliable. We have had some point outages at times, where a plugin or something that interfaces with the VINYL platform went out on its own. Then, we experience that the employee portal or the app is down. After investigating, we found that the VINYL app was functioning perfectly. The challenges came into play when an integrated piece went out. So, I have no examples when the VINYL platform itself was out and causing business problems for us.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    What scalability has meant for the field is that when we were shut down after the COVID pandemic hit, for example, we had to pivot very quickly to give our sales force a way to engage HCPs virtually when they were initially anticipating being out in the field and live with them. So, we were able to stand up products which helped them achieve that objective. We had short-term fixes for some of the other business challenges, but the most mission-critical one was to get out there and start selling and meeting our HCPs. Once we delivered that core capability, we were able to circle back, look at some of the secondary requirements, and start to deliver those. 

    We actually built new features and built them right into the tools that the sales force was already used to accessing. They simply had either broader menus, more selections, or more options when they went in, but they never lost the core functionality. That was huge for us because we were able to get people out to the field quickly. Then, we took the things that were not critical paths and delivered them at the time that was right for them, instead of trying to wait until everything was ready, then deliver it as a single waterfall approach.

    We have implemented close to 40 applications that have ranged from a huge multi-user system to simple business accelerators that help a small team do something in a new or more effective way. I don't see a real end to that as we grow and continue to evolve our processes.

    How are customer service and support?

    Technical support has been great. I tend to work primarily with one or two consultants who are my interface to the team. Whenever we have issues that need to be investigated, they are interfacing on my behalf. We usually get answers within hours or within a business day or two.

    Zudy continuously looks for feedback and takes learnings from the development that we are putting in place to figure out how to make the product better. Over the course of the relationship, I have seen two releases to a new version as well as some hotfixes that have been put in place specifically because of things that we found while we were developing. One example of that is a text editing feature they have. So, we have taken a lot of folks out of email and Outlook for their communications, giving them an interface in Zudy's VINYL platform to actually do their authoring, formatting, and things like that. While those messages ultimately push back out to Outlook to reach some of the users, the users don't have to write it in one place, then port it over to another.

    There is nothing that I have really felt has been completely lacking from a Zudy perspective. Every time I have gone to the Zudy team and asked them for a read on being able to implement a certain feature or do something a certain way, there has always been a way to do it. That might be the limitation of our vision, but it seems to me that the tool and, in particular, the staff at Zudy, really understand how to use the tool creatively to address just about any business problem that I've had brought their way.

    How was the initial setup?

    It took about three months to stand up all the features that we wanted in the sales employee portal. The first few features were developed in a matter of weeks, but as we identified different business requirements that we realized we wanted to enable for the field to use, we were able to quickly identify the requirements, build on the module, and tack it into the delivery workflow. So, the overall delivery of the portal, while stretching out over a course of several weeks, was actually a stack of different, smaller rollouts that each only took three to five weeks to develop.

    What was our ROI?

    If I had to think about it across the 40 applications, I am not even sure that I can give an order of magnitude. There is not only time and effort savings, but the ability to do something where we simply just couldn't do it. With COVID throwing everyone for a curve ball last March, there were simply things we weren't able to do. We didn't know how to visualize them. We had to stand up a commercial solution to address our sales force's needs. It would have taken more time than we would have wished in order to get our sales force out and selling. So, in addition to the time savings, the ability to enable people with an effective solution where there was really no alternative. Doing this quickly and effectively has really been the key value-add for my company using Zudy.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    The Zudy VINYL platform is the primary solution that we evaluated for workflow automation. Once we brought the system and platform in-house, we found that we were able to use it for additional business needs where we might have otherwise gone out to market to look at commercial off-the-shelf systems for particular business needs that are not workflow oriented.

    I haven't gone out to the market to look at a lot of competitors, but I can't imagine that any of them are going to blow my expectations away the way that the VINYL platform has.

    What other advice do I have?

    The advice that I would give to someone whose thinking of implementing Zudy VINYL is, "Absolutely give it a really strong look. Speak to the Zudy staff about your particular business cases." I think that if you are using Excel spreadsheets or workflows that are primarily dependent on human manual communication, this solution will address so many of those needs. It is definitely a great application that we have brought in. I continue to find new uses for it on almost a daily basis.

    The most recent version of Zudy Vinyl certainly brought a bunch of new things to the table. I think one of them was the text editor. I think that the general interface for Zudy, when you first come into the product to look for the different apps you've developed, is a little bit more intuitive and organized. We bypassed a lot of that with our employee portal, but when we do have to go out to that interface, it is easy to navigate.

    On a scale of one to 10, I'm going to give them a 10 for what I need them to do. When I think about not just VINYL but Zudy as a service provider and partner, they are really checking all the boxes for us in terms of the human capital they bring to the table, the flexibility of the platform, and creativity. It is really doing everything for us that we would want it to do right now. 

    Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
    Flag as inappropriate
    Sean Harrop
    Director of Application Development at Collette
    Video Review
    Real User
    Top 5
    Gives us a great breadth of data integration abilities through data source connectors and APIs
    Pros and Cons
    • "The feature that I find most valuable with Zudy VINYL is how flexible it is. There are so many ways that you can connect data to it and there are so many features that are out-of-the-box that make the product very flexible and easy and easy to work with. It's got a great user interface which makes it a nice looking product that our employees are able to engage with quickly."
    • "It might help if they put out different types that would provide different ways to view the data. I'd like to see more on that."

    What is our primary use case?

    We have a ton of little applications that we run across the whole entire organization that help various departments get things done better. In some cases we might have been using things in spreadsheets or manually typing up emails, and we've been using a lot of VINYL applications to help eliminate those.

    We host it on-prem right now. It has the ability for us to access the databases that we need to access, so it has been a good solution for us on-prem.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We've had a great ability to get proofs of concepts up very quickly, within a couple of hours. From there, we just embellish and enhance them until they get to a more robust state. It's been nice and quick to get some proofs of concept out of the door, to get user feedback on them, and to keep iterating until we get something that's really useful for the team. One example would be a business travel tracker. We developed an application that lets our employees have the ability to put in a trip request and have the hotel, airfare, and trains all specified and figured out.

    The breadth of the solution’s data integration abilities through its data source connectors and API integrations has been really great. There are so many different plugins that they've created. We use SQL quite a bit, XML, JSON, and REST APIs. They keep adding different functionality and we keep taking advantage of it as we can. The more functionality that is available to us, the more we're able to be creative with our solutions. When Zudy announces a new feature, we usually keep an eye out to see if it will help spark the creative juices. There are so many problems for business that we already know about, and we're always looking for another solution to help us develop an application and get some great functionality to our customer, quicker.

    Overall, it's helped out tremendously with certain departments. We have been able to turn manual processes, where we were working with spreadsheets or working manually with emails, into workflows. We're saving a lot of hours by doing that. Although I haven't run any calculations on the hours saved, it's definitely in the hundreds.

    It allows us to have a ton of different interactions between the various data sources and databases, and it simplifies things for us tremendously.

    We're always trying to develop the functionality and get it to the customer as soon as possible. We have a process in place where we look at requirements of the application, and then we say, "Right, this is going to be a good fit for Zudy," and we'll jump in and start coding. In those instances, we know that it's going to be the quicker product and the way to get things turned around faster.

    What is most valuable?

    The feature that I find most valuable with Zudy VINYL is how flexible it is. There are so many ways that you can connect data to it and there are so many features that are out-of-the-box that make the product very flexible and easy and easy to work with.

    It's got a great user interface which makes it a nice looking product that our employees are able to engage with quickly.

    What needs improvement?

    It's a pretty robust product. I'm always impressed when they come out with new functionality. But it might help if they put out different types that would provide different ways to view the data. I'd like to see more on that.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We've been using Zudy VINYL for about four years at Collette.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    I haven't noticed any issues with it. It seems to be a very solid product. I don't see it going down ever. I don't hear complaints of that from anybody. It's been a very stable product for us.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We haven't had issues with the scalability. It's scalable when we need it. Everything is done behind the scenes in the database. If you have multiple servers, they talk to them and it just works.

    We have approximately 200 people using it across our organization. Employees across the organization using it have various roles and have access to certain applications. We have a business travel tracker, for example, that lets employees submit travel requests. We have tour managers, have product developers, product buyers, transportation coordinators. There are a whole bunch of different roles out there that are using the product.

    It's fairly embedded into our culture right now. I would put it up there with a couple of our main systems. We have our own ERP, a CRM system and in addition to that we have a whole bunch of applications that are hosted in VINYL. Those are the primary application pools that we use.

    There are so many Zudy features out there that I haven't had a chance to explore. I'm really excited to try out the new form builders and the mobile functionality. Those are at the top of my list.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Zudy technical support has always been great. They are very quick to get back to us when we have questions, whether it's answering questions, helping out and assisting, or jumping on a session if we need to. They've always been great with us.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We did not have a previous no-code solution.

    We came to the realization that we needed a solution like Zudy because I was on a call and someone was proposing Zudy for something completely different. My ears perked up. I said, "I can use this for a lot of other places within the company, not just the one particular application that you guys are looking at it for. We ended up having a phone call with a few key members over at Zudy and were able to bang out a proof of concept for something I thought would be pretty hard to implement through our own coding practices. They knocked it out of the park.

    How was the initial setup?

    We didn't really have to do a setup. The vendor came in and they did the install for us. It probably took about an hour. It wasn't very complicated. We just had to provide them with a Windows Server.

    We really didn't need an implementation strategy. We set up a development server and then a production server, which was pretty close to a mirror of the development server. That way there is a way to take applications that you develop on the development server and promote them to the production environment. Once we had that path set, nice and clear, that was all it really took.

    On our end it involved one or two members from the network operations team.

    There really hasn't been too much maintenance going on with it. It's more like a set-it-and-forget-it. The Zudy team pretty much takes care of the maintenance for us when it's time for maintenance, but the application never crashes. It's up and running when we need it.

    What about the implementation team?

    We used two different vendors. Zudy itself has their own Professional Services and we use another company called Zen. They have some developers who are familiar with the product, and they're very comfortable in using it as well.

    What was our ROI?

    We are able to turn around some applications very quickly.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    The pricing and licensing of Zudy are fair. We have an annual subscription that we pay. The subscription gets us the maintenance that we need and the support that we need. They've always been great with us.

    There is an additional cost if you use their Professional Services.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We looked at a couple of no-code-only options. The big one that we looked at was the Microsoft offering called Microsoft Flow.

    One of the things we really enjoy about the VINYL offering is that it's on-prem. That really works with the way our company is architected.

    What other advice do I have?

    I would definitely recommend you check it out. It's been a game changer at Collette. It's been really great to work with, and we're very happy with it.

    The biggest lesson I've learned from using Zudy VINYL is that anything that you throw at it, anything that you dream up, they can probably work with it and get some kind of application going out there. They've got so many ties and tie-ins, so many different plugins, and a really knowledgeable technical support staff.

    To develop an application within Zudy, it's a pretty quick process. We usually tend to design what the data fields are going to look like, what it's going to look like at the database level, and then design forms around that. That's the general process. We figure out what the functionality is going to be behind the scenes, or perhaps when you're interacting with it what the form will look like. We usually have some data that will trigger a grid and that can select other things. There's also the ability to send emails out from there and trigger workflows.

    In terms of the ease of use of the solution for non-developers, I can't say that we have business users coming in and creating applications. That's typically not how we work. But we do have other people within IT who are not developers who have made applications. They've had pretty good success with it. Business units will sometimes say they need to look at data in a certain way, and they can build their own application. It's something that's pretty easy to pick up on once you get an understanding of how the framework works.

    Interestingly enough, I don't really consider the code, or in this case that it's no-code, when I'm picking a solution. I'm more focused on delivering functionality for my team as soon as possible. In a lot of cases, VINYL has been able to help out with that particular functionality. And when the product is complete, it always gives us a professional looking and intuitive interface.

    We're currently on VINYL 2.7 and we're looking forward to upgrading to version 3.0. The updated UI and UX in 3.0 looks nice and clean. It looks like it's really easy to use. There are definitely some differences in it, but it doesn't look like there is anything that would be too difficult to to learn.

    I watched a demo of 3.0 and it looked like it was really simple to get things going with creating new forms. They've got a brand new form builder. Some process that might have taken a few hours can be done in a few minutes now. That's going to be really important when we're trying to make a quick proof of concept.

    Also, Zudy continues to improve the solution's features. I love and look forward to their product updates. There's always some type of functionality that I can take advantage of. One of the things I'm really looking forward to implementing in version 3.0 is the mobile functionality. We have a mobile workforce and they would appreciate it if we could get some responsive sites into applications. The constant improvement and development speaks of the company and the product very well. I love the fact that they're constantly investing into their product and making it better. They're going to continue to grow their users and continue to grow offerings. That is going to be good for everybody. It's nice to see a company that is continuing to make their products better.

    For authentication purposes, we reach out to Azure ID. We authenticate out there on Microsoft's cloud. It comes back and then we handle the permissions within a VINYL-based security system.

    Overall, I would give Zudy VINYL a solid 10 out of 10. The application has been really great. The team itself has been really great, and we're able to get stuff out for our customers very quickly.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
    Don Mitchell
    Founder/CTO at NG911 Services
    Consultant
    Top 5
    The product is super fast at getting things done
    Pros and Cons
    • "The product is super fast at getting things done."
    • "There are some acknowledged technical limitations. I was looking to do some metadata manipulation, which is very atypical. Zudy said that they will work on building me a workaround. If there is a weakness, that would be it."

    What is our primary use case?

    We started out doing prototyping and moved that to a demonstration application. Now, we are moving into a trial version that we hope will convert over into our running application.

    It works well online and on my mobile. It is storing data in our Cloud Datastore, as well as theirs.

    We are on the most current VINYL release.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We are a startup, and this product will not be for internal consumption. This is going to be a product for sale that we're building. It solves an industry problem today where there is no management of data, and it's just spreadsheets emailed around. So far, people in the industry who have seen what we are doing like what they see.

    What is most valuable?

    The team is its most valuable feature. The people I work with are great. They can get the stuff done that I want done usually faster than I expect.

    The product is super fast at getting things done. 

    I had expected a portal that can be secure and handle data ingestion and visualization. It hits all those points and that is what it's doing.

    What needs improvement?

    There are some acknowledged technical limitations. I was looking to do some metadata manipulation, which is very atypical. Zudy said that they will work on building me a workaround. If there is a weakness, that would be it. However, they seem to acknowledge it and are finding a workaround for me. While it may not be in VINYL, they are doing an external program to shore up the weakness.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We started using it the week before Thanksgiving 2019. So, we have been using it for about four months.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    I have been given concrete examples of how the solution scales, but I'm not really worried about it right now.

    We don't have any users at the moment. We have people preparing to become trial users.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    I have never had to grab technical support outside of the developers

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    I did not previously use another solution.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was very straightforward. They keep me aware of anything complex, but I do not have to expend any energy to deal with it.

    They got a good demonstration application done for me in two months. This allowed me to get funding so I could survive as a business. The application was good enough to get customers interested. I like to say, "I would be working at Walmart if they hadn't been successful."

    Today, everything is in the Zudy space. We will then migrate it over into our cloud space, which they are capable of doing. We will keep them as our prototype vendor; whenever we are working on new things, they will do that for us. Some of the actual running systems, we will probably keep it on VINYL until we run into something that we can't do.

    What about the implementation team?

    I'm not doing the programming (or no-coding), but I'm managing the features with their architects. All the development is being done by the Zudy team. I am working on getting some developers who can augment that team, but we haven't added that yet.

    What was our ROI?

    I have seen ROI. The biggest benefits are:

    • The speed
    • The team's ability to budget
    • The team's ability to stay within budget and get things done.
    • We are able to experiment, and usually you can't afford to experiment much.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    Compared to if I used traditional methods, such as hiring developers and setting up systems, VINYL is costing me less than half of what it would normally cost.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I did look at all of the rapid development options, like Zoho. I liked my interface with the business team at Zudy well enough that I didn't look at anybody else because they seem to know what they are doing.

    What other advice do I have?

    This is a platform which should be considered seriously for rapid prototyping. If you want to build it yourself, at least use them to do the early testing. I would also recommend to consider them for your long-term production platform use. For data management and data visualization, this product is hard to beat. Feature-wise, I haven't run into anything that we just can't do. It accesses our external systems and processes, using them very well.

    For what they have given me, the product is a 10 (out of 10).

    Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.