141: Indivizo.com: Using Drupal to build your agile, SaaS product business

Drupal is the perfect tool for building SaaS and product businesses. A late night hotel room conversation about Drupal's agility, power, and flexibility above and beyond powering great websites with Bálint Kléri during Drupal DevDays 2014 in Szeged, Hungary.

Bálint is the technical lead of Indivizo, "The fastest way to the perfect candidate", an online HR tool built on Drupal for interviewing job applicants.

Bálint's favorite thing about Drupal

"My favorite thing about Drupal is that it enables me to build things that are important for people. It gives me joy to create those things," he explains it let's him build interesting, essential new functionality while Drupal, "and the rest of it is solved by Drupal core or contributed modules. I know how to configure those, so basically, I feel really empowered. I am capable of doing everything with Drupal."

Indivizo.com - Drupal-based, video hiring-interview platform

In a bit of modern-day workspace kismet, Bálint met his future business partners at a Budapest co-working space. They were already successful HR consultants and had just gone through an exhausting, year-long hiring process for a client, which gave rise to the idea for a platform to accelerate candidate selection: "'Is it possible to record videos in the browser?' ... Sure! ... 'Can you do it?' ... Yes, of course! They introduced their idea of a video interview solution in the HR recruitment process. Their vision was to use that as a pre-screening tool. You can really narrow down the number of candidates that you are willing to talk to in person," which is clearly a big time- and money-saver for all involved.

The process provides HR teams a way to set objective standards for assessing job candidates. For each job or hiring phase, an HR team has candidates each answer the same set of questions in a "one-way" interview on their own time, from where they are. The responses can then be rated in a standardized, comparable way.

Beyond websites - building agile, Drupal-powered products

How is Drupal enabling you to make a Software-as-a-Service-based product business? "I believe the biggest thing here is that I was able to create the prototypes in a very short time. We could validate our business idea, our whole startup idea, and iterate on top of that. Doing that is really efficient in Drupal because you can build things very quickly. You have great tools."

"My approach to product development is to build something very rough in the beginning and release it, show it to real customers, and then iterate on top of that. I had a session about that at Drupal DevDays. Drupal really allows me to do that."

"Imagine you have a new feature and basically, it's just a new View [here's a quick description of what a View is and their power in Drupal] of a certain type of users, and you build that View, but you don't theme it properly. Maybe later you want to use nice icons and other visual stuff that enhances the whole experience ... but first you just build a very plain looking View and you show it to real customers. They can say 'This is good, but can we have that [other] thing in that View?' Sure you can!

In the next iteration, we show them. Is this what you want? ... 'Yes, this is how we want it.' Then in the next iteration, we give it a really nice look, nice icons, everything. And that's how we do every new feature." Drupal as a functionality engine.

Regarding the classic problem with wireframes and mockups (the client gets preoccupied with the look rather than the functionality), "If we tell them that this is a development process and you are part of this, and you are in control right now, they don't care about that. They get the idea. They get really excited. 'Okay, so I get to tell you how to build the thing?' Yes, just show me what you want. Sometimes they get excited and throwing a lot of ideas around. Of course, we have to say no in a polite way ... Okay just focus on this one and if you really need the other thing, maybe next time we can talk about that."

"This works pretty well. Even when we have something that we think is finalized and they ask, 'Why isn't that showing up there?' And we say it's not there now, but in the next iteration we can add it. So we do this really agile thing and we explain it to our customers: If they buy a service from us, they are not buying what they see right now during our demonstration. They are buying the enhanced, the improved version if this because we are improving this all the time." I like this vision of the customer as partner.