Providing our solution via AWS, as opposed to on premises, saves our cloud customers around 90%. 
Peter Bollenbeck Cofounder

InVision was founded in 1995 in Germany by three software engineers. The company produces workforce management (WFM) software and online training for customer contact centers, including specialist outsourcing companies and in-house operations. Although it is based in Germany, InVision is an international company with offices and clients around the globe. Its 90 employees work in a “no management” structure, with teams having autonomy over decisions, leading to more agile working practices. This approach has won the firm recognition in the form of a Silver Stevie® Award for the Company of the Year category at the 2015 International Business Awards.

InVision’s product offering consists of three components: injixo, a fully cloud-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) workforce management package; InVision WFM, traditional workforce management software that customers can either order as a cloud solution or host on their own sites; and The Call Center School, a cloud-based e-learning program.

Until 2010, InVision provided all of its WFM software via a traditional license model. That is, customers paid for licenses for every employee. InVision would ship the software, and the customer would install it on its own infrastructure. But InVision realized that many smaller contact centers—those with fewer than 100 employees—couldn’t afford either the license costs or the infrastructure costs to host the solution. InVision estimated that these small companies represented 85 percent of the contact center market, and therefore represented a vast, untapped customer segment.

With a number of cloud providers emerging, InVision wanted to offer a new WFM product delivered via the cloud that would meet the needs of smaller contact center operators. In the cloud model, its customers would pay a monthly per-employee cost to use the software delivered as a service.  

InVision looked at the major cloud providers at the time—Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure—as well as some smaller local providers. Peter Bollenbeck, one of InVision’s founders, explains that the firm chose AWS because it was “the most mature of the native cloud offerings with the broadest feature set. The pricing was competitive and AWS offered a wide range of support within the development toolchain, with products like Chef and Puppet, which help manage and deploy the cloud and the software that sits on it.”

The InVision SaaS product, which became known as injixo, is a multi-tiered, multi-tenanted web application. To host it, InVision uses Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) for its web servers and application servers in the first two tiers. Elastic Load Balancing automatically distributes incoming application traffic across multiple Amazon EC2 instances in each layer. Underneath the application tier, customer data is stored on managed Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) instances, with performance boosted by Amazon ElastiCache for in-memory caching.

Since launching its SaaS offering, InVision has seen huge uptake from smaller contact centers wanting a managed WFM solution. Bollenbeck says, “Working in the cloud, we’ve been able to target smaller centers. In about four years, we’ve gone from having no cloud revenue to having 75 percent of our revenue come from cloud-based business. By the end of this year it will be around 85 percent.”

InVision’s cloud WFM customers also benefit from a much lower total cost of ownership (TCO). InVision calculates the five-year TCO of its on-premises solution at €250,000 (US$282,650), for a company with 50 employees. In contrast, the €9 per employee, per month charge for injixo works out to €27,000 (US$30,525). Bollenbeck says, “Providing our solution via AWS, as opposed to on premises, saves our cloud customers around 90 percent of the TCO.”

InVision is also able to roll out updates more frequently because it manages the injixo environment for customers. Bollenbeck says, “We used to burn our software to CDs and ship them to our customers to install the updates by themselves. They would update perhaps once a year. Now, we push between 30 and 40 updates a day into the cloud.”

Bollenbeck says, “The scalability of AWS is vital to our business.” With the injixo customer base growing all the time, InVision needs to be able to add customers to its multi-tenanted platform quickly. Bollenbeck says that they don’t have to add components to their AWS infrastructure in order to add a new client. Rather, they can fire up new servers or bigger instances if the overall load gets above a certain threshold. “We can bring customers onboard without a lot of manual work, consultancy, or cost,” Bollenbeck adds. “In short, we can serve more clients with the same number of people.”

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