As published in IT-Online on 11 August 2022.
A couple of years ago, developing a whole new IT contracting business model, and getting it up and running in a few short months, would have been impossible. Not to the mention the labour and investment that would have been involved in constantly updating, expanding and refining the service, which would have been unthinkable.
But this is exactly what Blue Pearl did with its BLUEAPP platform, an intelligent exchange where consultants and organisations are matched and brought together for projects ranging from a couple of days to a number of months.
Saireshan Govender, founder and CEO of Blue Pearl, explains that BLUEAPP is an online platform that can be used by all businesses, from SMEs to JSE-listed companies. The platform allows any business to register an account and begin finding the most relevant people with the most appropriate skills to deliver on their ICT projects. Using the company’s enhanced matching engine, the platform links consultants to companies.
With the gig economy taking off, and in light of the new working paradigms brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, Blue Pearl recognised that the platform needed to be robust and automatically scalable.
The sensitive nature of the information involved meant that it also had to comply with the Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPIA), including the relevant security protocols and the need to have proper disaster recovery processes.
“Cloud was the obvious technology for this project, and Blue Pearl decided early on that the solution had to be fully cloud-based,” says Govender. “But the company needed to make sure the chosen partner could offer the correct cloud infrastructure and storage solution, plus a range of value-added services.”
Without the right technology partner, BLUEAPP wouldn’t be able to fulfil its developer’s ambitions to scale globally while growing its revenue and profit margins.
After exploring various services providers and comparing cost-benefits analyses, the obvious choice for BLUEAPP was AWS.
Today, BLUEAPP is a fully cloud-based platform, running on AWS with a matching engine enabled by a number of AWS Services.
The platform launched two years ago, on 1 June 2020, and has proved to be every bit as successful as envisaged. “Since launch, we have signed on 250 consultants and sold 33 575 hours to 21 clients, with client uploading 216 jobs,” says Govender.
The platform offers an impressive total of 515 skills, including SQL, AWS, IBM, Java, Android and more.
The development journey
Govender says the company was able to manage its infrastructure cost during development and deployment of the application through the cost-effective PAYU service.
“In addition, consumption credits have helped to increase cashflows, while the wealth of services and integrations available from AWS allowed for additional services to be developed in response to customer needs.
“And, because AWS has in-country data centres, information is locally-held and so BLUEAPP is PoPIA-compliant.”
BLUEAPP came in two months ahead of schedule, just four months after development began, which allowed Blue Pearl to generate additional revenues of R500 000.00.
Perhaps the most significant benefit of developing and hosting BLUEAPP on AWS, is the massive 70% reduction in monthly infrastructure cost that Blue Pearl was able to realise.
The AWS services
Blue Pearl uses a range of AWS services to develop, run and manage BLUEAPP.
They include the following:
- Management and governance: CloudFormation; CloudTrail; CloudWatch; Command Line Interface; and Organizations.
- Networking and content deliver: API Gateway; CloudFront; Elastic Load Balancing; Route 53; and VPC.
- Compute: EC2; Lambda; Elastic Beanstalk.
- Security, identity and compliance: Identity & Access Management (AIM); and Cognito.
- Storage: S3; and EBS.
- Cryptography and PKI: Certificate Manager; and Key Management Service.
- Databases: RDS.
- Developer tools: CodeCommit
- Mobile: Amplify.
- Application integration: SNS; and SQS.
- Customer enablement services: Training and Certification.
- Customer Engagement: Simple Email Service.
- Billing and cost management: Billing and Cost Management; and Savings Plan
- Additional resources: Marketplace.
Partnering with First Distribution
Value-added distributor First Distribution (FD) helped Blue Pearl to apply for and receive credits from AWS within just hours, developing the platform within months of conception.
FD also helped Blue Pearl to understand the AWS journey in getting to both software and consulting partner at advanced level.