Improving the efficiency of business processes—especially by digitizing paper-based, manual workflows—can deliver significant benefits. One McKinsey study notes that digitizing information-intensive processes can reduce associated costs by up to 90 percent.
While organizations invest millions in upgrading and maintaining equipment and training employees, employees often still spend too much time filling out and managing the same forms and spreadsheets repeatedly.
Weever Apps set out to solve that problem with a cloud-based solution that simplifies the business-process lifecycle, including creating forms, capturing data, managing tickets and workflow, and reporting on process status. With its three core products—Forms Manager, Training Manager, and Inspections Manager—the company has gained enterprise customers in industries as diverse as manufacturing, oil and gas, utilities, field service, healthcare, and consumer goods.
Weever Apps differentiated its products by striking a balance between customization and standardization. “Typical software-as-a-service products provide the same experience to every user,” says Steve McBride, CEO and cofounder of Weever Apps. “Alternatively, companies can use costly and complex enterprise software. We offer the best of both worlds: value and simplicity with the flexibility to suit unique requirements.”
Succeeding in this market space required Weever Apps to find the right cloud solution. “We’re software developers—we don’t make money managing infrastructure,” says McBride. “It was very important to work with a cloud provider that has stable infrastructure and a good partner network, so we can stay focused on what we do best.”
Weever Apps tried several cloud vendors before choosing Amazon Web Services (AWS). Initially, the solution was hosted on Microsoft Azure, but Weever Apps experienced issues with reliability and support. “Servers would go down for a full day or more and we would get no response,” McBride recounts. “It was a nightmare. As our business grew, we knew we couldn’t stay with them any longer.” Next, they tried Rackspace, but encountered similar support and reliability issues, and when the hosting company increased prices significantly, Weever Apps decided to find a different cloud provider.
The company conducted an intensive, two-month review of cloud providers, covering global support, multi-region deployment, Linux compatibility, and the availability of partners. AWS emerged the clear winner. “AWS blew other providers out of the water when it came to value—and at a savings of several thousand dollars per month,” says Garth Gutenberg, senior DevOps manager at Weever Apps. “With the managed services available through AWS, it was a no-brainer.”
Chief among these was Amazon Relational Database Services (Amazon RDS), which the company uses to run both MySQL and PostgreSQL. “With many of the other providers we evaluated, we would have had to build and manage our own SQL server infrastructure and software,” says Gutenberg. “With Amazon RDS, we just connect to an instance and we’re off to the races.”
The company also uses Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) to host applications in Docker containers, and Amazon ElastiCache and AWS CloudFormation for deployment.
Finding the right partner to manage DevOps on AWS was also critical to Weever Apps. The company chose base2Services, an Advanced Consulting Partner in the AWS Partner Network. “base2 has been our partner from day one,” McBride notes. “They turned AWS into a turnkey solution, so we can focus on creating innovative software.”
Adopting AWS made a big difference in Weever Apps’ ability to serve its growing customer base. The company can now quickly and easily roll out new innovations. “Because our solution is multi-tenant, if we build a feature for one of our customers that others would like, we can easily launch it to all of them,” says Gutenberg. “Or, we can turn it off for some customers as needed without wasting money on infrastructure.”
Another benefit of choosing AWS is the security assurance it provides Weever Apps’ clients. “Our clients have strict requirements around protecting their valuable data,” explains McBride. “We gladly put security in the hands of the best-known cloud-services provider in the world—AWS—so we can easily pass technical reviews and move the sales process forward.”
In addition, the company significantly improved reliability and performance. “We experienced service gaps and other issues with previous providers that were unacceptable for serving high-visibility enterprise customers that rely on our software 24/7,” says McBride. “Using AWS, we increased uptime from 98 percent to 99.9 percent and gained a much more robust, redundant, and secure environment. That ensures customers can enjoy real-time app access, anywhere and anytime.”
From his perspective overseeing the company’s DevOps, Gutenberg cites another reason the company is pleased with its choice of AWS. “From a development standpoint, AWS allows us to be more efficient, productive, and flexible. For example, we were able to shift our databases to PostgreSQL with minimal setup and configuration time.”
The company plans to continue building on its success using AWS. It is working on a version of its services that will comply with U.S. Food and Drug Administration data requirements, using Amazon CloudFront (Cloudfront) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) in environments logically isolated through Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC). It also plans to use CloudFront to support a more responsive user experience and deliver offline app capabilities.
“I can’t even imagine what would be involved if we had to set up servers, manage code updates, and all the other tasks that go into traditional IT approaches,” says Gutenberg. “With the AWS Cloud, we can move fast while giving our clients the simple yet powerful tools we are known for.”