VNR Builds Cloud-Optimal Platform after AWS Training and Certification
German publishing house VNR AG (VNR) has a simple mission: to make expert knowledge accessible to everyone. Founded in 1976, the company has published more than 300 volumes in law, investment, health, and workplace environments. It provides customers with expert information, services, online communities, and portals, as well as training and conferences. As the company grew, groups within VNR served end customers through their own platforms and processes; in late 2018, VNR sought to consolidate and streamline operations with a self-service marketplace platform for omnichannel marketing and fulfillment services. The goal of this marketplace, dubbed Platform X, was to help small and midsize business owners scale through recurring customer relationships and subscription revenues using premium marketing automation and qualified marketing reach.
VNR knew that such a platform solution would require innovative technology for its big data and digital product development. Further, VNR knew it first had to provide its own staff with the knowledge to build a scalable platform in the cloud. So VNR turned to Amazon Web Services (AWS) for not only the technology but also the know-how, taking advantage of AWS Training and Certification to equip its team on how to effectively use AWS services to develop Platform X. Within 3 months of starting the first class, the VNR team had learned the skills it needed to get started on building a successful platform in the AWS Cloud and drive adaptation in marketing automation and fulfillment services.
The interactive format of AWS Training and Certification helped the people to come into all of these topics, go deeper, and see what was possible. By the end, everyone understood why we needed a scalable platform.”
Head of Data, VNR
Selecting AWS as the Ideal Cloud Provider for Platform X
In the early days of ideation for Platform X, VNR brought in data scientist Marc Müller as the new head of data. Müller and his team knew they wanted Platform X to be scalable, have high availability, and drive faster time to market for customers. Müller had used AWS while working with machine learning startups and was well acquainted with the cloud provider’s breadth of technologies. And he knew that if VNR wanted to build fast on AWS, it couldn’t just experiment or rely on self-education. “You only get professionalism through training and repeated practice on a daily basis,” says Müller.
In total, the company had about 30 developers across 4 teams (DevOps, data, digital products, and fulfillment services). Some had more experience on AWS than others, but VNR determined that essential training on AWS was critical for all team members to facilitate collaboration through a common skill level and vocabulary.
Preparing the team in advance with the expectations of the training was important, says Müller: “It really helped that we knew what we wanted from the training, the core interests of the participants.” Müller and other VNR team members attended an AWS Summit, talked to other companies in Germany about their experience, referenced product documentation, and connected with the business development team from AWS Training and Certification to put together a plan to get started on AWS.
Learning to Teach the AWS Cloud
Putting AWS Knowledge to Good Use
Equipped with expert knowledge on how to make the best use of AWS services, the Platform X team was free to innovate. “Now that the team is at a certain level on AWS, they can code, build, and test things,” says Müller. “People were so hooked on the technology that they started to do their own projects.” The company now has five new products deployed on AWS that are in production and earning revenue, as well as a highly scalable data platform, while the security best practices from the course helped to create state-of-the-art security services. This is especially important for respecting customers’ privacy and maintaining compliance with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.
VNR has also been able to automate processes in online marketing analytics, which has helped the company move two full-time employees—who previously manually collected and merged files—to more high-value work. And throughout the process, VNR has avoided reliability or scaling issues. “Performance bottlenecks, which were common before, simply don’t exist anymore,” says Müller.
Building a Future on AWS Training and Certification
About VNR AG and Platform X
VNR AG is a Germany-based specialty publishing house that has published more than 300 works on law, investment, health, and workplace environments. The company also provides expert information, services, online communities, and portals, as well as training, conferences, and qualification products. Platform X is a marketplace for information and services. It combines high reach for data-driven marketing with reliable fulfilment services, including customer care.
Benefits of AWS
- Trained a staff of 30 developers within 3 months
- Facilitated the deployment of 5 products, built on AWS, that generate revenue
- Developed a serverless and highly scalable data platform
- Empowered 2 full-time employees to focus on other high-value work
AWS Services Used
AWS Training and Certification
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