Thanks to a growing list of international clients such as Chase Bank, OLX and Heineken, Ongair’s CEO Trevor Kimenye and his team have been overwhelmed by the demand for the service, and this limited their ability to work effectively.
In case you’re wondering, Ongair is a service that enables businesses to engage with their customers on instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp, Messenger, Telegram and WeChat.
They manage a large number of servers that are constantly pushing out messages for their clients. In order to handle the added demand from taking on new clients, the startup needed to increase capacity and look for ways to streamline its processes. They would have had to recruit a full-time developer, which would have taken time.
Enter iHub Consulting, an initiative by iHub to connect skilled freelancers with interesting tech projects in their areas of expertise. Ongair was their first client.
Ongair needed someone to handle two key tasks – automating server configuration and deployment for new clients, and working on the core WhatsApp module that the companies would use to coin order to reduce the amount of time it took to get a new client onboard.
The project was broken up into two phases. The first involved a deeper analysis of the challenges faced by Ongair, and the second involved implementing the solutions developed from the first phase.
James Mwai, a software and IT specialist at iHub Consulting, spent a day studying Ongair’s deployment infrastructure, and Kenneth Kinyanjui, a Django developer, took a week to analyse what needed to be done for the modules to work better.
Next came the implementation phase. After 55 hours, the developers had a script that completely automated the server setup and configuration process. The Whatsapp module needed more time, taking 20 days until completion.
The arrangement gives freelance devs a chance to get some work experience, while companies get the services of a competent full-time developer for as long as they need one.
iHub Consulting currently has a team of 16 developers who are competent in various languages. They can join teams for a short period in order to come up with a solution to a pressing problem, as was the case with Ongair. They can also help set up new teams who can then will coordinate the team to ensure the project is delivered well.