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by SoftServe Team

Unlocking AWS Potential: Case Study

Still questioning benefits of the cloud? Here is a real life business case showing how migrating your existing applications to the AWS Cloud might help your company achieve its business and technical goals, regardless of the market you operate in.

Based in Brea, CA, Avery Products Corporation is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of printable labels, name badges, business cards, binders, dividers and other pressure-sensitive adhesive products under a well-known Avery® brand, for organizing and making lives easier at home, work and school. The company offers various market-related solutions from design and customization (including free templates and designs through Avery Design & Print software), to printing projects online, offline and from your tablet.

Business Challenge

For many years, Avery’s customers were satisfied with built-in templates in their favorite word-processing applications. Migrating from desktop to web created a demand for more features. Avery needed to quickly react to the rapidly changing consumer needs by means of:

  • Providing an online solution with features rivaling desktop applications
  • Offering new and innovative products with advanced graphic design capabilities
  • Delivering direct-to-consumer professional printing and third-party services
  • Ensuring a simple yet robust application interface integrated into the Client’s corporate website

Avery’s environment was virtualized on hardware. With online demand growing more than 30% each year, this environment wasn’t qualified to provide the sustainability and performance needed.

Avery needed to deliver new products and services more rapidly with an expanding feature set across multiple devices, as well as ensure the platform’s growth to support new features and meet an ever-increasing demand. In order to address these challenges, Avery decided to move their application environment to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform.

Avery opted for SoftServe’s expertise for migration of the Design & Print Online application to the Amazon cloud, which involved the following challenges:

  • Identifying and removing system bottlenecks and single points of failure
  • Balancing resources and quickly expanding during high-peak periods
  • Automating deployment of new products, features and third-party integrations
  • Providing fast recovery of any service failures to guarantee 24/7 up time

Project Description

SoftServe already had a successful record partnering with Avery to develop an earlier version of its Design & Print Online software, so there was no hesitation in selecting SoftServe to develop the new print-for-you services with advanced functionality and pre-press capabilities integrated directly into the application.

Knowing the growing complexity of the software, the joint Avery and SoftServe team proactively analyzed many of the future product and services, and identified areas for improvement, before moving the existing environment infrastructure over to AWS.

The new products required new services, which in their turn required features to be turned on and off based on the needs of specific products. SoftServe developed configuration and flow parameters and this data-driven approach, along with bi-weekly builds, required flexible processes within a robust environment.

To streamline the development process, SoftServe utilized SCRUM methodology with two-week iterations and daily meetings to establish much needed transparency and let Avery provide requirements and priorities, while SoftServe was managing specifications and implementation.

To ensure an effective combination of software and environment, SoftServe carried out development operations to promote faster delivery of functionality within a well-catered infrastructure. This gained more time to develop new features rather than forcing updates to somehow fit post factum.

SoftServe relied on such AWS services as ELB, EC2, S3, ElasticIP, EBS, Route 53, Cloud Watch, SES, SNS, CloudFront, CloudFormation, RDS for PostgreSQL, IAM, CloudTrail, and VPC.

After releasing the current version (see below), SoftServe was selected to develop the next generation application utilizing new features, namely SVG & HTML5, found in today’s modern browsers. The new version is scheduled to be released in Q2 of 2016.

Value Delivered

In September 2015, Avery released its new print-for-you service. Revenues in the first year exceeded one million dollars with a second million in revenue only six months later. Combined with its many other products, the application serves over 100,000 daily visitors with 30 million “prints” each year.

Utilizing the vast potential of AWS, SoftServe was able to architect a solution to meet all Avery’s needs. Avery’s consumers can print directly from the website or have Avery print and deliver. Consumers can also save their designs online and then move their designs between a variety of Avery products and services.

This solution has significantly reinforced Avery’s market competitiveness by providing a more robust, yet simpler way for end users to create and print their designs compared to other solutions in the market.

In addition, it has allowed Avery to expand its services into market segments it could have never reached before, in particular professional product packaging, industrial labeling, bumper stickers and even election materials.

Avery values the role SoftServe played in delivering the Design & Print Online software. Their implementation of AWS services has resulted in many significant benefits including:

  • Rapid delivery of new online products and services allowing Avery to reach new markets
  • Resources shifted away from ongoing hardware maintenance and redundant operational tasks
  • Robust infrastructure leveraging many AWS services like Route 53, EC2, S3, RDS, IAM, etc.
  • Dramatic increase in overall system performance, resilience and reliability
  • A combining software/infrastructure architecture eliminating incompatibly and continued fixes
  • Automated scaling and load balancing to meet growing demand placed on Avery’s online services
  • Hot deployment procedures which require in little or no downtime guaranteeing 24/7 up-time
  • All of this while achieving more then a 60% reduction in our infrastructure cost

“SoftServe continues to be a valuable partner to Avery and has enabled us to bring much needed enhancements in rapid succession to our Design & Print Online application. Their methodologies and understanding of AWS services has allowed us to grow our online business and stay ahead of the competition,” said Phillip McGee, Senior Software Solutions Manager, Avery Products Corporation.