Customer Stories / Software & Internet / Global
Expanding Globally through a Serverless, Event-Driven Architecture on AWS with Playvox
Learn how Playvox, a software-as-a-service company, is supporting its global expansion with event-driven architecture on AWS.
A rapidly expanding global business needs solutions that can scale in lockstep to meet customer demand. Software company Playvox met that need by implementing event-driven architecture using Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Playvox began migrating its architecture to serverless AWS services in 2021. The company has used this approach to meet the growing demand for its services, speed up time to market, reduce costs, and fuel rapid global expansion.
Opportunity | Using AWS Lambda to Build an Event-Driven Architecture for Playvox
Playvox provides workforce engagement solutions for digital-first contact centers, which are infused with artificial intelligence (AI). As a remote-first company, employees are based throughout the globe with core engineering hubs in Australia and Colombia. The company has been using AWS services since 2012; its original architecture was container based and cloud native, built on AWS.
“In those early days of being a startup, you want to choose a cloud provider that your customers are familiar with,” says Cheyne Wagner, senior vice president of global engineering at Playvox. “If a customer asks what we run on, and we say AWS, it gives our customers the confidence and comfort that they need.”
In 2020, Playvox set its sights on creating serverless, event-driven architecture to support its journey. A variety of business drivers were behind this engineering strategy. The company was expanding rapidly, both through acquisitions and by entering new marketplaces, and its customer base was growing globally. Customer needs were changing rapidly, too, growing in volume and complexity. Playvox wanted to introduce new features quickly to meet those evolving needs.
“The problem we look to solve for the contact center is complexity and the need to deliver support across many channels,” says Alex Bullen, chief product officer at Playvox. “We use technology to create AI-driven solutions that understand the complexities of omnichannel, particularly digital channels that have been growing exponentially.”
The company opted for a serverless solution to meet these demands, using AWS Lambda, a serverless, event-driven compute service that can run code for virtually any kind of application without provisioning or managing servers.
“By going serverless, Playvox can automate its software environment so that developers do not need to spend time provisioning or managing servers,” says Wagner. “As a result, the engineering team for infrastructure can remain small and agile, and it can instead focus on delivering business value for customers rather than managing underlying systems and architecture.”
On AWS, our engineers can focus on getting new features into production to delight and transform the customer experience for the brands we serve."
Senior Vice President of Global Engineering, Playvox
Solution | Scaling Traffic Up to 300% by Going Serverless
Playvox dedicated 12–18 months to modernizing its workloads using AWS Lambda. By mid-2023, 80 percent of its workloads were running on serverless architecture. The company incorporated more serverless, event-driven products into the architecture, such as AWS Step Functions, a visual workflow service to build distributed applications, automate processes, orchestrate microservices, and create data and machine learning pipelines, and Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS), a fully managed message queuing service for microservices, distributed systems, and serverless applications.
“With this architecture, we can build near-real-time integration into different solutions, and then we can surface that information for our customers,” says Wagner. “We can use the technology to offer a real-time experience across our omnichannel solution.”
Playvox is already seeing various benefits from the solution. Developers, who earlier had to spend time managing infrastructure, can now focus on developing features and enhancing the product for their customers. The time and work saved by going serverless and having the functions and scaling managed are some of the best benefits Playvox has seen so far.
Using AWS, Playvox has increased its scalability and speed while reducing costs. The company scaled to meet a 300 percent increase in demand over 1 year without needing to change any architecture. Speed improvements come from Playvox using AWS Lambda with Amazon Kinesis, which can ingest, buffer, and process streaming data in near real time. The company’s invocation cost decreased by three to five times compared with the costs associated with its old architecture, which had siloed each customer and required more resources to run. The company used these benefits to scale rapidly and reclaim employee time that had previously been taken up by managing and maintaining the product infrastructure.
The event-driven aspect of AWS Lambda, which previously received events from integrated services like Amazon Connect, Zendesk, or Salesforce, comes with its own benefits as well. Playvox developers can now plug event-driven models directly into the architecture to add new features or experiments, meaning that teams can innovate directly without affecting or being dependent on other product teams. This speeds up deployment time for new features, reduces time to market, and builds resilience. It has also made Playvox more agile so that developers can use events from around the solution without needing extra integration. “Speed to market has been a driving force for us,” says Bullen, “and this architecture has supported us in that.”
Outcome | Migrating Toward AI and Beyond
As of the second quarter of 2023, Playvox’s migration to AWS Lambda is about 80 percent complete. The company, which needs to share data between its global teams, is exploring Amazon EventBridge, which can be used to build event-driven applications at scale across AWS, existing systems, or software-as-a-service applications. Playvox is also adding to its AI-driven solutions to deliver even more automation for its customers; the event-driven architecture simplifies the process of embedding new features on top of the existing services.
“The thing that excites us is the way that we’ve built this composable architecture so that, as we’re starting to add other AI-infused solutions, we can continue to use the event-driven architecture,” says Wagner. “On AWS, our engineers can focus on getting new features into production to delight and transform the customer experience for the brands we serve.”
Playvox provides workforce engagement solutions for digital-first contact centers. As a remote-first company, its employees are based around the globe with core engineering hubs in Australia and Colombia.
AWS Services Used
AWS Lambda is a serverless, event-driven compute service that lets you run code for virtually an type of application or backend service without provisioning or managing servers.
AWS Step Functions
AWS Step Functions is a visual workflow service that helps developers use AWS services to build distributed applications, automate processes, orchestrate microservices, and create data and machine learning (ML) pipelines.
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Amazon SQS lets you send, store, and receive messages between software components at any volume, without losing messages or requiring other services to be available.
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Amazon Kinesis cost-effectively processes and analyzes streaming data at any scale as a fully managed service. You can ingest real-time data, such as video, audio, application logs, website clickstream, and IoT telemetry data, for machine learning (ML) analytics, and other applications.
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