AWS is How: Iconic Australian Business ‘Jim’s Group’ Modernised its Processes - and its People

Migrating to the AWS cloud, and developing a solution capable of handling a rapidly growing user base and modern technologies, helped Jim's Group future proof themselves for ongoing success.

Founded in 1989, Jim’s Group has grown from a lawn mowing business to Australia’s largest franchise, with more than 4,650 franchisees offering a range of services to customers nationwide as well as in New Zealand, United Kingdom and Canada. Over the past two years, Jim’s Group has had its biggest growth period due to a rapidly increasing volume of work and more people wanting to start their own business.

Jim’s Group currently serves over 500,000 customers annually, via the web and phone enquiries for various services, which are then allocated to the relevant franchisee in their area. For over 20 years, all business operations and data storage ran on an internal monolithic server stack within the organisation – which often led to issues with reliability and regular downtime. For a 24/7 customer-focused business, this could be extremely costly.

To allocate jobs to the franchisees, Jim’s Group had to relay data from its website or call centre to the centralised database, then sent to “Jim’s Jobs”—a vital new franchisee app—which allows franchisees to respond by allocating a time and date for the customer to have the job assessed. This was time consuming and, when the servers were unreliable, could result in extended wait times for customers and lost revenue for the franchisees.
Jim's Group also wanted to ensure its customer data was highly secure but accessible when required, while reducing cost and effort to the business. Having grown rapidly, the organisation realised it would be unable to continue to scale with its current technology. To compete globally and develop smarter, more innovative solutions that would result in greater profitability for franchisees, Jim’s Group began its migration to the cloud, with Amazon Web Services (AWS).
A key initial priority was to ensure that the migration wasn't merely a complete DevOps transformation, but that it would help upskill and uplift the incumbent team and provide growth opportunities internally. To help Jim’s Group accomplish this, AWS partnered with Cevo, an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, for the migration.
Cevo’s cloud experts worked closely with the existing internal team to help transfer knowledge throughout the transformation, while co-developing tooling, processes and practices. At the same time, key members of the Jim’s team began a structured education plan, giving them the full depth and breadth of understanding of the AWS platform, ensuring a handover at completion was seamless and stress-free.
The complete modernisation journey took just six months from initial contact to completion, with no interruption to customers and a newly empowered team who were even more motivated by the new business potential. The migration and training process unlocked newly scoped authority for the team, allowing everyone to manage the resources that they needed to, in a shared model, which ultimately freed up time, delivered a more predictable and consistent cost model, and enabled clearer accountability.

Innovating to deliver greater efficiencies and profitable solutions for franchisees has always been at the heart of Jim’s Group. Around 60 percent of employees within the business are in IT-related roles. The migration has allowed Jim's team to explore new ways to better support franchisees via the Jim’s Jobs app. These include better route optimisation for shorter travel times between jobs, customer-implemented site visit times, real-time access to customer information, and on-selling of opportunities from one franchisee to another in a nearby location. 

Ultimately, any improvements to the business makes life better and more profitable for franchisees, which in turn helps Jim’s Group attract more franchisees and provide better, more reliable customer service to a rapidly growing market. 

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