Please introduce your company and give a brief about your role within the company?
ITERON, a technology and consulting service provider, is an ideal partner for organizations seeking to deploy customized IT solutions that are powered by Process Automation, Cloud Services, AI, data science, and blockchain. Evidence of their digital prowess can be seen by the holistic engagement ITERON has with clients that are spread across the supply chain, retail, digital marketing, healthcare, and more. ITERON makes this possible for its clients by employing a team of experts that have decades of experience in successfully completing IT architecture restructuring projects. ITERON is also specialized in doing what they call “rescue projects” to restart and restructure the stopped projects due to resource issues or budget constraints and deliver them successfully with their robust process.
Joe Tellez, Director, ITERON US Inc, coming with a rich experience of 20+ years from various industries in the US. A Passionate innovator and a strong liaison between business members, management, and developers to help drive corporate-wide initiatives of achieving world-class, cutting-edge technology solutions to streamline an array of business processes.
How does your company differentiate itself from the competition?
ITERON addresses business challenges and provides consultations/solutions by implementing it in Agile Methodology without impacting the client business processes as well as cost budgets. Presuming that project job roles are full-time positions, companies try to on-board individuals not understanding the pattern in which the various experts are needed in a project. ITERON takes a Team versus One approach and does not talk to our Customers about FTEs or positions or developers. We talk about the value which we bring as a team by providing end to end services by deploying the right role in the right phase of the project.
For customers that outsource end-to-end IT Services, ITERON deploys a team of experts that can understand the culture and language of the client. These individuals acting as a single point of contact between ITERON and its customers are responsible for ensuring that the requirements, expectations, and concerns of the customers are addressed. As time is vital, ITERON liaises with the near-shore and offshore teams to meet delivery timelines and quality standards. In case a company has an internal IT team, ITERON appoints a delivery manager as an investment to oversee the performance and mitigate concerns or bottlenecks.
A premium feature at ITERON is the “Free Proof of Concept,” that it provides to customers. Often it is difficult for an individual to trust a third party solution provider without a distinct knowledge of their working model. To ensure that such decisions are not solely based on presentations or portfolios, ITERON offers a free 40 to 80 hours trial to clients without any contractual obligation. This risk-free approach, titled “Sprint ZERO”, allows stakeholders to get a proper understanding of the team, communication model, working model, and quality of deliverables. In the end, the client has all the parameters for evaluation before awarding the contract to ITERON.
What industries do you generally cater to? Are your customers repetitive? If yes, what ratio of clients has been repetitive to you?
ITERON provides custom-built applications for various industries, including Supply Chain Management, Pharmaceuticals, Education, Property Management, Marketing, and Ecommerce. The focus is on process automation enabling the Customers to reduce the lead time and to eliminate manual errors and interventions. Blockchain is an evolving technology, and ITERON’s primary focus is to bridge the gap between Industries and Technologies. We provide high-end consultation to show the industries on how and which parts of their business could be moved to the blockchain without impacting the IT landscape.
The customer attrition rate of ITERON is just 2%. We have a healthy growth with a 70:30 ratio. 70% are business from repetitive customers and 30% through new businesses. We appoint an Account Manager who liaises with the customer regularly to gauge the satisfaction levels and act swiftly. Operations Manager has weekly reviews with the Client Manager to show the status of Project or Support tasks and clearly highlight the bottlenecks. Management reviews with the CEO happen quarterly with a key focus on how ITERON can improve the IT Landscape of the Customer, solve challenges, and redundant costs.
Please share some of the services that you offer for which clients approach you the most for?
Our approach is as follows
- Identify a Suitable Use-case
- Identify the Most Suitable Consensus Mechanism
- Identify the Most Suitable Platform
- Designing the Nodes
- Design the blockchain Instance
- Building the APIs
- Design the Admin and User Interface
- Put in place controls and measures for monitoring.
We have provided solutions for the following industries
- Supply chain management
Which platform do you prefer to use when developing a blockchain application? Why?
Our approach is on a case to case basis based on client requirements. We use Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum for our developments and have a strong team to scale up to the needs. Below are the reasons to propose Hyperledger for our developments
- Easy of development due to the availability of modular architecture to create plug-in components and re-use them.
- Few of our clients, especially from the medical and supply chain industry, do not want their transactions and data to be viewed by unknown users. We use the permissioned framework concept of Hyperledger to allow only participants having an identity.
- Highly scalable and performance.
- Ease of queries offered by Hyperledger helps in quick integrations.
- Last but not least is the community support that the developers get is significant.
What tech stack and tools do your developers use?
The technology stack is decided based on client requirements. If the client has an internal IT team that will take over the support, we comply with the Tech Stack of the client. If the client is open with the Tech Stack, our CoE will study the roadmap of the application and decide on a suitable Tech Stack. Below is the tech stack which we follow in general but not limited to these technologies.
In a few instances, we have trained the client’s internal IT team on blockchain for them to scale the application without dependency on ITERON. We have a robust knowledge transfer process which enables the clients’ team to scale up in 4 to 6 weeks.
Are open-source, decentralized protocols going to be more significant than their web equivalent?
A decentralized application is a new evolution of web application that is highly secured. It has its own protocols, data encryption and data storage on a blockchain
Web applications are centralized that are stored on remote servers in hybrid or public or private cloud.
In our opinion, evolution will gradually move towards decentralized applications as the organizations get more and more matured and trust the concept. Based on our experience, we see that enterprise clients are reluctant to adapt to the blockchain. They would like to innovate but cautiously.
Based on our experience until now, we feel that the hybrid of decentralized apps and web apps will prevail for the following reasons
- It is not necessary to store all the data in blockchain when there are not peers involved. Only selective transactions need to be in decentralized servers for the peers to access and work on it. For example, the supply chain invoicing apps that we developed, except for the invoicing data, it was not necessary to store the data of masters, price lists, and so on in the decentralized apps.
- There is a cost associated with moving all data to decentralized apps like node, transaction volumes, consensus protocols, smart contract applications.
- Support costs of such applications from the organization viewpoint will also be predominantly seen with the growth of data.
What scalability and throughput challenges are there with blockchain? What solutions would you suggest?
Challenges based on our experience;
- As records continue to grow, block sizes increase, and this increases the processing time.
- Every transaction requires consensus protocols, peer-to-peer verifications for which throughput time can be a constraint-based on the number of blocks.
- Increased traffic with more transactions and nodes, the running costs will increase.
- The technology stack of the client’s application impacts performance. Basically, this is the component that sends transactions to the nodes. The choice of technologies in which the application is developed may influence the choice of Hyperledger Fabric software developer kits (SDK) like Go, Node.js, Java, Python, and others. Normally we use java, nodejs as they support multiple threads of execution.
- Hyperledger offers a LevelDB database that is well scalable and has better performance.
- Clearly demarcate the data that needs to be encrypted in the blockchain network. Unwanted data will create more blocks, thereby impacting the throughput directly. Our hybrid model of web apps with only important transaction nodes works efficiently and solves the business objective of using blockchain transactions.
Will the success rate of ICOs be better or worse than tech start-ups?
The trend of ICOs, raising money without any equity commitment, is picking up on a large scale. This trend will be better and better with time due to the following factors
- Get quick funding compared to the tech start-ups, which undergo a series of steps before the actual funding.
- A working product or track record is not necessary. Quick funds can be generated based on an attractive idea.
- No equity commitment and freedom to implement ideas without intervention.
Having said this, money along could not make a start-up idea a success. Investors’ loyalty, business guidance, connection to industry influencers, MVP are quite critical, which is totally void in ICOs.
What are the key factors that you consider before deciding the cost of a project?
The following are the key factors that decide the Project costs. This includes the direct services costs of blockchain as well as support applications
- Due diligence & Discovery phase of the solution landscape
- Functions and modules
- Integration with external apps / Interfaces
- Blockchain-related costs
- Dedicated node or shared node
- Transaction Volume
- Data to be stored in the blockchain
- Blockchain network
- Other Infrastructure – VPN
- Cloud or on-premises
- Consensus Protocol
- Number of channels
- Smart Contract application
- Quality Control and Assurance
- Warranty support period
- Maintenance Costs
- Training Costs (Knowledge Transfer to client IT team)
What kind of payment structure do you follow to bill your clients?
All blockchain-related infrastructure, Network costs, Cloud costs are charged at actual. These are managed directly by the client once the initial setup is done.
The client has a wide range of pricing models to choose from depending on the budget, requirements, project stage, and future roadmap. Sometimes, we also do a combination of one or more pricing models, which is mutually agreed with the client.
What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2018?
MVP/POCs $20,000 to $30,000.
Full blown Products $50,000 to $150,000.
Kindly share your feedback on how GoodFirms has been doing so far in increasing your visibility among potential clients.
After we registered with GoodFirms, we got increased visibility in the market, especially in the US and Australia. Many leads were expecting us to be in a certified portal for reference along with the testimonials, GoodFirms solved this for us and helped us with building the trust with the leads. The continuous support from GoodFirms team and regular updates on the platform enhancements helped us to widen our network and market our company to the new leads and forums.