Rebura’s SaaS Competency Journey: Delivering an AI-Powered SaaS Solution for ai.io
By Gagan Madan, SaaS Partner Programs & GTM Lead – AWS
The AWS SaaS Competency helps software companies build, market, and grow software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions on Amazon Web Services (AWS) by connecting them with qualified, validated system integrator (SI) partners.
Through the AWS SaaS Competency Program, these SI organizations are certified to support customers’ entire SaaS journey—from initial build to go-to-market and continued growth.
We recently spoke with Ross Humphrey, Rebura’s Head of Software Development, about their journey to achieving the AWS SaaS Competency specialization by leveraging various programs such as SaaS Discovery and SaaS Competency On-Ramp.
We’ll also explore a SaaS on AWS customer story about sports technology company ai.io, dive deep on key lessons learned, and learn how other SIs can quickly build AWS SaaS capabilities to better serve customers.
Q&A with Rebura
AWS SaaS Factory: Before we dive into your SaaS Competency insights, can you give us an overview of Rebura and the services you provide?
Ross Humphrey: Rebura is regarded as a strategic partner of AWS in EMEA. In addition to signing a Strategic Collaboration Agreement with AWS in January 2023, we have also been awarded the 2021 Well-Architected Partner of the Year and 2020 Rising Star Partner of the Year awards.
AWS recognizes Rebura as having the expertise and experience to support customers of all sizes as they build, optimize, and secure their apps and workloads on AWS. We are positioned to deliver across a breadth of areas that enable startups and ISVs to accelerate their product roadmaps for SaaS products.
With a strong DevOps and Solutions Architecture team, we’re able to deliver complex CI/CD pipelines, accelerating production deployments alongside infrastructure redesigns. Our engineering team can then redesign software running on AWS to take advantage of the cloud, whether it’s through dynamic scaling, cost optimizations, or software changes. This cross-capability collaboration results in improvements to both the product and infrastructure.
AWS SaaS Factory: Which SaaS on AWS customer story will you be discussing today?
Ross Humphrey: ai.io is a sports technology company that develops solutions to generate and analyze amateur and professional sport data. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a core component of their technology, driving valuable insights for their SaaS product, aiScout, which is a talent analysis platform connecting teams, scouts, and players globally. It allows stakeholders to utilize the insights generated by ai.io’s award-winning AI technology.
A variety of technologies are used to achieve various workflows. There are core backend services written in .NET C# for web servers and task orchestration. Amazon Simplge Queue Service (SQS) with AWS Lambda and compute-optimized Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances are used for asynchronous, compute-intensive tasks, and many other workloads to make their platform work.
ai.io already services clubs, players, scouts, and organizations from across the world, including the UK, United States, and India but are planning expansion into many other regions, as enabling other exciting uses on the platform.
This expansion presents technical challenges in compute scaling, data modelling, and deployment across regions. Application architecture, automated CI/CD pipelines, and observability will be key drivers of their technical success, alongside leveraging services like AWS CloudFormation, AWS Security Hub, AWS Control Tower, and Amazon CloudWatch.
AWS SaaS Factory: What motivated Rebura to pursue the AWS SaaS Competency?
Ross Humphrey: In 2022, we began exploring ways to better assist SaaS product builders. The AWS SaaS Competency program aligned deliverables to best practices and the highest standards. We became aware of it while researching AWS Partner Network (APN) opportunities to increase our customer reach.
The SaaS Competency On-Ramp program and SaaS Discovery funding program helped expand our customer base significantly in 12 months, equipping us to become eligible and apply for a full-fledged AWS SaaS Competency specialization.
AWS SaaS Factory: What steps did you take to get ready for the competency application?
Ross Humphrey: We were very lucky to be in the SaaS Competency On-Ramp program, which extended several benefits and support from the AWS SaaS Factory team, increasing the number of opportunities with companies significantly. Through the engagements we have had with customers, we have been able to deliver cutting-edge solutions and improve customer SaaS platforms whilst building up a portfolio of work to continue working in the space.
Through these projects, we matched our deliverables to the standards set out on the great resources online, our Partner Development Manager (PDM), and the SaaS Factory team. This put us in a strong position to apply for the AWS SaaS Competency with great customer use cases behind us.
AWS SaaS Factory: What key benefits were derived from obtaining the SaaS Competency specialization?
Ross Humphrey: There are three core benefits:
- Larger organizations entrusting us with their SaaS products.
- Proof points to demonstrate our capabilities and earn more complex work.
- Access to a wider, more varied customer base.
AWS SaaS Factory: What is your vision for helping SaaS startups and ISVs?
Ross Humphrey: Our priority is advising them on creating a robust baseline to scale upon. Where startups neglect key areas, re-architecting later is costly. We aim to implement core features early, supporting growth while reducing operational costs for viability.
AWS SaaS Factory: Can you detail a successful SaaS implementation?
Ross Humphrey: Let’s look at our engagement with ai.io and dive deeper. ai.io’s target markets present considerable tenancy challenges, as they have potential for many types of tenants and users within their system. Being a global sports technology platform, ai.io accommodates the needs of players, teams, leagues, organizations, and scouts.
The sports industry presents differing league structures, ownership models (franchise, independent), and scouting schedules. This translates to technical challenges in compute scaling, data modelling, and the deployment in different geographies. aiScout is ai.io’s flagship technology platform uses a variety of AWS services to overcome these challenges.
Initially, two monolithic C#/.NET applications were hosted in AWS Elastic Beanstalk. These handle requests from client applications and the orchestration of compute-intensive tasks off the back of client requests. Tasks are sent to SQS queues as well as Intel Cloud for processing, depending on the task.
For this strategy, ai.io is able to maintain a consistent backend orchestration service which is shared between tenants, and implement sport- or team-specific services to handle data and analysis from players on-demand.
This decouples the compute resources for different workloads and leagues, while providing a uniform interface for data ingestion, analysis, and interaction with client applications. Put another way, tenant type-specific implementations are abstracted away from core services.
There are multiple user types of the aiScout platform, with unique roles, access, and experiences, and tailored mobile applications support these different users. The platform hosts player and scout applications and a recruitment control center for teams or other organizations. These applications restrict the use of specific APIs and backend services at the platform level.
Figure 1 – ai.io architecture on AWS Elastic Beanstalk
ai.io’s CI/CD processes enable it to operate efficiently across regions and workloads. A key enabler in these processes is infrastructure as code (IaC) and a strongly defined source-controlled IaC stack allows ai.io to deploy services in multiple regions in a controlled, repeatable way.
Further to replicating a core set of infrastructure across regions, these processes allow ai.io to deploy client-specific services into particular regions without deploying them into others, limiting redundant infrastructure in regions where it’s not needed.
Figure 2 – ai.io architecture for regional deployment.
AWS SaaS Factory: What are some typical challenges encountered in the world of SaaS?
Ross Humphrey: Authentication, permissions, logging, monitoring, observability, and multi-tenant database schema changes.
AWS SaaS Factory: What’s the best way to engage Rebura?
Ross Humphrey: Reach out for a discovery assessment to prioritize and accelerate your journey. Our experienced engineers will identify high-value items, solution design, and an execution plan. We can then integrate with your teams or work independently to deliver identified initiatives.
AWS SaaS Factory: Any final advice for new SI partners who are considering the AWS SaaS Competency?
Ross Humphrey: Build your own SaaS product or solution templates to learn firsthand. Focus expertise in key areas vs. trying to master everything. The support from the AWS SaaS Competency team and programs will accelerate your SaaS growth.
Jumpstart your SaaS journey with Rebura by exploring our SaaS on AWS offerings page.
Join the AWS SaaS Competency Program
Join the AWS SaaS Competency program to highlight your SaaS expertise and specialization to differentiate your business. Start by reviewing the validation checklist with AWS SaaS Competency requirements and submit your application online.
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About AWS SaaS Factory
AWS SaaS Factory helps organizations at any stage of the SaaS journey. Whether looking to build new products, migrate existing applications, or optimize SaaS solutions on AWS, we can help. Visit the AWS SaaS Factory Insights Hub to discover more technical and business content and best practices.
SaaS builders are encouraged to reach out to their account representative to inquire about engagement models and to work with the AWS SaaS Factory team.
Rebura – AWS Partner Spotlight
Rebura is a strategic AWS Partner with a strong DevOps and solutions architecture team that delivers complex CI/CD pipelines and SaaS transformation projects for ISVs at every stage of their AWS journey.