Insights Supports Digital Transformation and Speeds Development Using AWS


Insights, a global leader in self-awareness and people development solutions, helps companies across the globe get the best from their employees by increasing their self-understanding. The company has offices in 18 countries and its solutions have been translated into 39 languages. Six million people have experienced Insights Discovery, Insights’ flagship people development solution.

Recently, Insights has been undergoing a significant digital transformation. “As part of this, we expect to rapidly grow our user base and customer engagement,” says Ross Esplin, customer and digital director for Insights. The company wanted to ensure it could keep pace with anticipated growth and wanted an alternative to its on-premises data center, which hosted the Insights Online application.

Marcus Corner, technology architect at Insights, says, “One of the limitations of the traditional data center was that we had to purchase new equipment every time we needed to scale the environment to support new users. It could take weeks for us to acquire and provision hardware, which wasn’t sustainable or scalable.” Insights also planned to expand its analytical services. “We needed to do more with data analytics, but we were limited in the data center environment,” says Corner.

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On AWS, we expect to scale our applications from six million existing users to millions of new users every month.”

Marcus Corner 
Technology Architect, Insights 

Migrating Insights Online to AWS

Insights chose to address its scalability challenges by migrating its applications to Amazon Web Services (AWS). “We felt AWS had the best overall service offering for our requirements and a great track record for delivering products that integrate successfully with each other,” says Corner. “Migrating to AWS would give us the capability to use serverless architecture.”

To migrate to AWS, Insights engaged Cloudsoft, an Advanced Consulting Partner in the AWS Partner Network (APN). Cloudsoft provided architectural guidance and migration assistance to help Insights move its SQL Server–based environment to Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) for SQL Server. “Cloudsoft was instrumental in the migration,” Corner says. “It did a lot of the heavy lifting, which made the project more manageable, reduced risk, and helped up-skill our team.” 

Insights also takes advantage of Amazon CloudFront as its content delivery network. In addition, it relies on AWS CloudFormation scripts to automate the provisioning of new application environments.

Scaling to Meet Customer Demand

By running on AWS, Insights can quickly scale the environment to support as many users as possible. “On AWS, we expect to scale our applications from six million existing users to millions of new users every month,” says Corner. “That creates huge potential for us in terms of meeting customer demand.”

Increasing Development Velocity to Deliver Features Faster

Insights is taking advantage of the agility of AWS to help its developers quickly stand up development and testing environments. “New application features could take some time to deploy because of the limitations of the on-premises data center,” says Corner. “By using AWS CloudFormation to automate provisioning, we can create new environments in a few minutes. Our infrastructure is now supporting increased innovation and development of services for our customers.”

Providing a Better User Experience

Additionally, Insights will be able to improve overall system performance, giving users a better and faster application experience. “By using Amazon CloudFront, we can distribute our web content to provide the best performance,” says Corner. “We are a global business, but latency could cause some issues. Now we can choose which edge locations we want to deploy in to be as close to users as possible. This will give them a much faster and better experience when they’re using our application.”

Insights also plans to use AWS to support new data analytics projects. “We want to take data from our backend systems, as well as our customer-facing experiences, and collect it all in a centralized AWS-based data repository,” says Corner. “We can use this to generate insight that provides better experiences for our customers.” 

About Insights

Founded almost 30 years ago in Dundee, Scotland, Insights is now a global leader in self-awareness and people development solutions. Insights’ solutions create more effective teams by helping people better understand themselves and others, communicate through the framework of a common language, and tackle business challenges.

Benefits of AWS

  • Creates new application environments in a few minutes
  • Scales to support millions of expected monthly users
  • Improves website performance for global users

AWS Services Used

Amazon RDS for SQL Server

Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud.

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Amazon CloudFront

Amazon CloudFront is a fast content delivery network (CDN) service that securely delivers data, videos, applications, and APIs to customers globally with low latency, high transfer speeds, all within a developer-friendly environment.

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AWS Cloud​Formation

AWS CloudFormation provides a common language for you to describe and provision all the infrastructure resources in your cloud environment.

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