Applying Consulting Helps Innova Schools Facilitate Communication and Learning on AWS

Executive Summary

Applying Consulting helps Innova Schools strengthen ties between teachers, students, and parents through the Innova Family app built on AWS. Applying Consulting is an AWS Advanced Partner offering consulting services with customers in finance, education, and public sector services. The mobile app for Innova Schools runs in a microservices-based environment that uses AWS Fargate for orchestration, Amazon RDS for database services, and Amazon S3 for encrypted data storage.

Accelerating Cloud Adoption in Peru

Founded in 2010, Applying Consulting was the first Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner offering consulting services in Peru. Recognizing the growing number of AWS customers in the market, the company joined the AWS Partner Network to distinguish its skill sets from those of its competitors. What’s more, it wanted to achieve Advanced Partner offering consulting services status to highlight its capabilities even among other AWS Partners. Vladimir Vivar, Chief Executive Officer at Applying Consulting, says, “Competition among partners is increasing, and our Advanced Partner status demonstrates our high level of expertise and technical certifications. The partnership has been profitable, helping us win more than 50 new projects in the last 24 months.”

Providing Lessons with EdTech

Innova Schools, one of Applying Consulting’s education customers, provides an international standard of education at its schools across Peru and Mexico. Innova Schools is known for its use of blended learning, where technology is engaged inside and outside the classroom. Indeed, the organization has invested significantly in IT and connectivity across its campuses, providing students and teachers with devices and Wi-Fi connections to support learning processes. Given how deeply IT is embedded in Innova Schools, a logical step was to integrate a mobile app with the broader IT platform. Worldwide, mobile apps have proven to be an effective way to streamline communication between teachers, students, and parents. Not only are they used to support remote learning, but they also keep parents up to date with student progress and school events. Innova Schools had been using a third-party service to communicate with parents and support administrative functions. However, completely replacing the service with an app would give it greater developmental control. Angela Rios Haro, Head of Customer Experience and Service Design at Innova Schools, says, “Our plan was to use technology like apps to maximize the educational outcomes of our students and strengthen ties with our community of parents.”

“The advantage of AWS is that it’s both highly robust and flexible. We could add analytical services at a later date, providing data on app usage, which in turn can support school services development.”

- Vladimir Vivar, Chief Executive Officer, Applying Consulting

Harnessing Cloud Flexibility

Because Innova Schools already ran its IT on AWS with the help of Applying Consulting, the AWS Cloud also seemed like the right choice for the mobile app. Peak app usage would likely be between 4:00 PM and 10:00 PM, when approximately 60,000 students, teachers, and parents could use the app to send text messages and check on assignments and due dates. During that time, on-premises hardware would be idle. Vivar says, “The scalability of the cloud makes it the right choice in education because it avoids the need for overprovisioning for peaks.” 

Applying Consulting began creating a cloud platform on AWS for the app, called Innova Family. To maximize platform agility and simplify management, Applying Consulting built the platform using microservices. It integrated the serverless compute engine AWS Fargate to manage the containerized applications and automate scaling. The platform relies on Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) to provide easy-to-control, flexible databases for app functions such as scheduling activities and messaging. It also takes advantage of Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) to store data, which is kept highly secure through encryption and access management controls.

Increasing Rates of Satisfaction

Now that the mobile app is running, Innova Schools is virtually strengthening the sense of school community among teachers, students, and parents. For instance, parents can easily obtain information on their children’s progress, and they can communicate with teachers in a hassle-free manner. The plan is for Innova Schools to capture the impact of the app during its next net promoter score (NPS) survey, when parents will be asked how likely they are to recommend the school. “The Innova Family app is adding value to our education and has become the number one channel for parents to communicate with our schools,” Rios Haro says. “We believe this will be reflected in a higher NPS figure.”

Freeing Up Resources for IT Advancement

The cost-effectiveness of running Innova Family on AWS ensures the school can focus more funds on developing its IT. “Infrastructure management for the app is virtually zero,” says Vivar. “In addition, we can launch changes to the infrastructure and update services in minutes. With an on-premises platform, these kinds of changes would take a couple of days.” The AWS-based Innova Family mobile app is less costly than the third-party service Innova Schools previously used for messaging and other functions. Today, the monthly cost per student is just a few cents as opposed to the several dollars it cost to use the service—saving Innova Schools an important sum of money.

Providing Solutions at Times of Crisis

Aside from its cost-effectiveness, the mobile app has become a vital link as students and teachers have had to learn and work from home. It has helped teachers keep students engaged in their studies and allowed the school stay in communication with parents.

“We would also like to add a video conferencing capability to Innova Family in the future,” says Rios Haro, since people increasingly use the technology. Indeed, she sees lots of potential in the app, as does Vivar. He says, “The advantage of AWS is that it’s both highly robust and flexible. We could add analytical services at a later date, providing data on app usage, which in turn can support school services development.”

Innova Schools

About Innova Schools

Innova Schools operates a group of K–12 schools across Peru and Mexico. It was recognized as one of the 13 most innovative schools in the world by the Insider media company and ranks 33 on Fortune’s Change the World list. It strives to provide an international standard of education to students who wouldn’t normally have the resources for such a high level of schooling.

About Applying Consulting

Based in Lima, Peru, Applying Consulting provides cloud-native solutions and increases the value of cloud investments to businesses across industries including finance, healthcare, education, and fast-moving consumer goods. Besides development and migration services, Applying Consulting also has management, training, and big data and analytics offerings.

Published September 2021