Users of Magnetize’s heavy equipment and machinery job enablement web and mobile app drove a new product development phase led by software specialist Company-X.

Senior software architect Luke McGregor insisted on talking to six users of the old version of the Magnetize web and mobile app about their needs before redesigning and rebuilding the software.

McGregor wanted to hear about the problems the software was being built to solve first-hand.

“One of the things that I've learned over the years is getting information secondhand doesn't always work,” McGregor said. “So, we've had clients that we've been able to consult with.”

“The first thing that we did was went to Auckland and interviewed six different Magnetize customers and potential customers from quite different businesses.

“We talked through different issues that they were facing in their businesses, the software that they were using at the moment, the pain points that they had, and the ways that they talked and thought about the problems that they had.

“There's nothing like firsthand experience as a software person of the customers who will be using this in the end.”

Leading Auckland earthworks and excavation firm Dingo Groundworx particularly resonated with McGregor. As well as earthmoving and excavation, Dingo Groundworx supply diggers, named after the Marvel Avengers, Hulk and Thor, and is involved in landscaping and truck cartage.

“Dingo Groundworx does all sorts of things from digging a pool to foundations for houses,” McGregor said. “Their jobs are reasonably short. They started contracting out with a guy on a digger going and built their business from there. They also have a hydroseeding business where they plant lawns and spray grass seed on road verges,” McGregor said.

“We talked to them about the kinds of issues they were having.

“It was cool to hear the ways that they thought about their business, the kind of challenges that they had, the things that had become big issues, like health and safety, and how they had worked with existing software to try and achieve their goals.

“It was cool to talk to them in person and hear the kinds of issues they were raising around scheduling their diggers and knowing where the individual diggers were on a given day, so that they have the right equipment on site for the right jobs at the right time, and the right people to deal with them.”

Existing software focussed on smaller-scale operations did not meet Dingo Groundworx’s needs.

Magnetize chief executive Pau Lyons said: ”It's the first time I've been in a project in 30 years in business that's truly being driven by users. That’s quite a cool thing.”

“Company-X built a software development team that formed the foundation for a very successful project.”

Lyons said user experience and user interface designer Briana Christey and McGregor were instrumental in the project’s success.

“It has been a fantastic group of people. It has been great. It's been a very satisfying process. We communicated a lot. In general, it has been very good and everyone's worked as a team.”

Next Level Civil managing director Ryan Ruthe said Magnetize had transformed the way his business operated.

“We had looked at a number of job scheduling solutions, and the Magnetize team were a breath of fresh air,” he said.

“We were at a pinch point we were running off a bunch of apps, whiteboards and Excel spreadsheets. My administrator and I were overwhelmed with jobs flying in for quoting, projects underway, and scheduling was becoming an even tougher thing to manage. We wanted one system to manage our business. I was keen to find a solution that was not overwhelming and that my staff could easily use. Paperless, site specific and health and safety documents were an essential component of what we were looking for.”