Tourvast is a Software as a Service (SaaS) provider with a marketing platform that offers real estate photographers tools for creating property presentations and virtual tours that showcase their skills, leverage their art, and build their business. The platform also offers agents the opportunity to enhance their brand across social networks with high end, quality photography and video assets.
While the platform had been in existence for over a decade as licensed software, Tourvast executives wanted to evaluate the company’s intellectual property and consider options for writing their own application for greater usability. With new business requirements and a new go-to-market strategy, they contacted Effectual for help with their decision-making process and next steps. Our team provided insights and strategic advice and ultimately implemented a more scalable platform based on the secure, reliable infrastructure of the Well-Architected Framework.
Recalibrating the pricing model
In 2016, Effectual solutions architects began a discovery process that included wire-framing and architecture planning. This exposed one of Tourvast’s primary challenges, which was the inability to scale its pricing model. Due to the unpredictability of its customers’ large media files, the current architecture was not consistently covering costs.
- Conducted an in-depth revenue modeling analysis to identify average costs based on number of photos uploaded as well as the number of videos, pdfs, and other assets created.
- Designed new architecture for cost objectives with pay-for-use pricing to reduce capital expenses.
Improving performance, scaling for demand:
In addition, tenant activity was slowing performance and impacting overall customer satisfaction and retention.
The existing workflow began with a transaction outside of the platform between a real estate agent and photographer to secure photos for the creation of marketing deliverables. Photographers paid a subscription fee for a specific number of properties in advance and banked them like a credit system. After taking photos of the agent’s identified property, they uploaded their images on the website in order to organize them into deliverables such as slideshows, virtual tours, flyers, and more. Once complete, they provided their realtor customer links to those assets. Upon the agent’s approval of the copyrighted materials, they pay the photographer the invoiced amount through Tourvast to release the media for use.
The challenge was that each time a photographer uploaded their image files, the software would immediately resize them and create a slideshow. This process would take up the site up to 10 minutes while the photographer waited for it to complete. At the same time, it froze platform functionality for all customers on the site.
- Leveraged serverless architecture using S3 and AWS Lambda for media and multi-tenant loads, resulting in greater flexibility and stability.
- Implemented CloudFront for streaming videos to deliver content to end users with lower latency.
- Deployed a blue-green architecture on AWS creating a continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipeline, including up to 10 servers for burstable traffic.
- Code is now developed and deployed to an AWS Elastic Beanstalk environment, with two separate, but identical, environments (blue and green) to increase availability and reduce risk. This allows the application to continues to run seamlessly while new code is deployed without impacting the user experience.
- Implemented DevOps strategies and best practices with parallel development, testing, staging, and production environments.
- Ensured that no development takes place in production
- Created a testing environment for internal QA
- Enhanced reliability with a staging environment built for “friends and family” releases with a copy of production data scrubbed for security reasons (with scale of data to mimic what happens in production)