Case study: iATS Brickwork builds custom Salesforce app

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By: Kirsten Kippen | 12.12.16

“One of the primary reason iATS chose to partner with Idealist Consulting [for application development] is that they know and understand the nonprofit Salesforce ecosystem,” -Tom Epplett, founder of iATS

 

iATS / Brickwork case study

Brickwork is a free, native Salesforce application for nonprofits that supports one-time and/or recurring payments. Brickwork allows nonprofits to process credit and direct debit payments from their website's online donation form or through a virtual terminal in Brickwork and store payment history and information in Salesforce.

Brickwork was first developed by iATS with s-controls and javascript as the framework. At the time, javascript and s-controls were the most advanced method for building Salesforce apps. Soon after this original version of Brickwork was released, Salesforce released Apex and Visualforce, their platforms for for writing and building code with Salesforce and the pages that connect with Salesforce. Salesforce began promoting app development through these channels and iATS realized it needed to update Brickwork according to the latest and greatest technology. At this point, iATS turned to Idealist Consulting for help.

 

“Nonstop development process since we started.”

iATS hired Idealist Consulting to take what they had already built and transfer it over to Apex and Visualforce. They also had a list of features they wanted to add. Since then, Idealist Consulting has handled every upgrade and versioning of the app (over 100 versions in the ten years since!). Bug fixes, new requests, and new features have made Brickwork an ever-evolving app. There are two or three major releases per year and smaller releases for bug fixes or feature adds between then.

Additionally, Idealist Consulting helped iATS develop their case management process and set up how to escalate cases or issues. While Idealist Consulting has since handed most of the customer support back to iATS, Idealist Consulting remains on deck if anything comes up that requires additional assistance. iATS’ product and customer managers notify Idealist Consulting with issues and then Idealist Consulting addresses it in the next release. The same goes for new features; Brickwork is also automatically updated for clients when the new versions are released.

Over 1,000 different organizations have implemented the app, which means that careful considerations have to be made when new features or bug fixes are released. It’s not as simple as customizing code for one client. The developers have to take many configurations and data models into consideration. This makes the process much more complex, detailed, and fragile.

Long-term relationship provides foundation for continued success

Idealist Consulting has been working with iATS since 2010. The relationship began at an NTEN conference at Atlanta, when Idealist Consulting CEO Rob Jordan approached iATS’ founder Tom Epplett with the idea of working on the Salesforce platform. Since that time, Salesforce has encountered considerate growth and iATS has been able to capitalize.

As Epplett explains,

"One of the primary reason iATS chose to partner with Idealist Consulting is that they know and understand the nonprofit Salesforce ecosystem because it’s their job to help nonprofits make the most of the Salesforce platform. Their development skills and their insider’s knowledge gained from dealing with the nonprofit sector on a daily basis was a great help in determining which features are important to add and enhance in a rapidly changing environment."

iATS could have gone offshore for technical support for Brickwork, but it was important to them to have someone that was directly involved with the customers and in-touch with the market. Idealist Consulting has been working in the Salesforce ecosystem for ten years, so they trusted that they would be able to help them adapt to the times.

Brickwork specs

Managed: iATS is actively releasing updates, bug fixes, and is available for users to contact

Published: On the Salesforce AppExchange for anyone to find, and available in search

Native: Built in Salesforce so all your work is contained within the database

You can learn more about Brickworks and download the app here.

If you are interested in talking with us about how we can build an app together, please reach out here.

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