What does it take to grow a successful startup in an older industry? A good idea is a start. A handful of customers helps. Hiring the right people is essential. But most of all, every disruptive startup needs speed. Good ideas can be copied. Customers can be fickle. Staffers might leave if they don't start to see results.
At OnSource, speed is at the heart of everything they do. The startup's core products include a suite of web and smartphone apps that speed up the process of collecting photo inspections for insurance claims. OnSource also manages a network of more than 15,000 freelance inspectors available to provide photo inspections nationwide. These services enable major insurance companies — OnSource's customers — to process claims faster and make customers happier.
That focus on speed is also extended to OnSource's growth strategy. While OnSource had a technology advantage to speed photo inspections, the company would need to build a flexible operational infrastructure quickly to support its ambitious growth plans. A traditional IT approach would be too slow to deliver, so OnSource founders focused on finding a solution that would shorten the distance between the idea and execution.
“As a start-up business, our IT budget was limited,” says Tim Schneider, co-founder of OnSource. “We needed a way to empower our non-technical business users to set up processes and workflows quickly and be able to share and report off that information right away.”
When it came time to find the right technology to empower citizen developers to create fast, flexible apps and workflows, OnSource selected QuickBase. Schneider had previous experience with QuickBase and knew how flexible the platform was for building custom apps without any programming. He used QuickBase to build out a suite of business process management (BPM) apps to automate operations and workflows.
In the four years since deploying QuickBase, almost all the business processes that support OnSource are automated with apps built on the QuickBase platform. This has drastically reduced the cost of scaling OnSource from a two-person startup to a 42-employee company that operates across the entire United States and supports a network of 15,000 contractors.
Because all app development and management is managed by business users, OnSource was able to operate for more than two years with a small IT staff, which Schneider estimates saved millions of dollars in development costs. QuickBase's built in governance features allow OnSource to manage access based on granular roles and permissions.
“We’ve automated a lot of what we used to do manually with QuickBase,” says Schneider. “We’re able to let our non-technical users do very technical things, because QuickBase makes it easy. We would have needed a small army of programmers to create all the stuff we’ve created in QuickBase.”