When RedBalloon urgently needed to build version 2 of their existing recognition platform ‘REDII’, they wanted it to be built with best practices, using an established, reliable technology - Ruby on Rails. Lacking the in-house expertise, they turned to our team of experienced software developers to rapidly build the new system, with the knowledge that we would be able to support them long term.
Within 7 months, our team at reinteractive redesigned and optimally rebuilt ‘REDII’, the bespoke Ruby on Rails application for employee recognition, delivering the project on time and on budget; hosted on a scalable cloud infrastructure, delivering a further saving on running costs.
Australian gift and experiences website, RedBalloon, realised that their existing recognition platform needed to be streamlined, rebuilt and rebranded. Their target audiences were using it and were excited about the engagement and productivity gains they were getting, but there was a lot missing and requests to add features continued to come in.
‘RED’ (Recognise Every Day) was established as a separate brand to undertake a complete rewrite of the program and migrate key customers. It consists of three core products:
- The RED Online Platform: an online portal allowing employees to be recognised by peers or managers by being nominated for a company award, sent a simple thank-you, or rewarded with points. Points could then be cashed in for gifts
- The RED online Recognition Toolkit: to communicate appreciation and thanks
- Recognition Consulting Services: to help organisations identify company values and align employee behavior to those values.
Mike Dickinson, Product Owner at RED and Simon Farrell, CTO of RedBalloon managed the rebuild of the RED Online Platform project. Based on their experience, they opted to go for an external team as opposed to taking this mammoth project on internally and carefully selected Ruby on Rails (RoR) as the core framework. Both Simon and Mike had worked with RoR in the past and knew it was the best ﬁt for the project being an established, well supported, rapid development tool.
“By hiring an external team for our REDII project, we were able to save months associated with the ramp up - including the hiring, training and retention of staff. reinteractive gave us an instant team who worked really well together.”Mike Dickinson - Product Owner, RED
After a complete vendor analysis, they chose reinteractive as their web development partner, because of our excellent reputation in the market place and fantastic feedback from our clients. They felt assured that we would deliver top quality code for their project, meeting RedBalloon’s expectations and needs… and we did!
"Mikel Lindsaar, the CEO at reinteractive was very clear that the project would have a start and an end date” continued Mike. “He was very open about the fact that they would help us ﬁnd a team to take over once the project was done. There is no costly, ongoing maintenance retainer built in, which is how a lot of IT companies make their money. Mikel and the team were open about wanting the project to be a success for us. That was the main motivation" Mike continued.
RED had a thorough vision statement and an extensive list of requirements prepared, giving our team ample preparation to hit the ground running.
“The whole project kick-off happened much faster than we expected and the team performed fantastically well - they took the bull by the horns and had great, fully functional wireframes built in no time at all” said Mike.
Next, we began usability testing to get feedback on the designs and to gauge interaction with a test group of key clients. This was as important as it was imperative to know what worked and what didn’t, directly through observation and customer feedback.
“I wasn’t expecting the wireframes to be as great as they were; they were fully functional. For a user it was almost like they were a website themselves, which in the world of wireframes doesn’t happen often, especially to the level that reinteractive built them” Mr. Dickinson said.
“reinteractive is more expensive than some of the competition but ultimately this has paid off. We know we have great code and that is months and months of savings.”Simon Farrell - CTO, RedBalloon
The development and investment in REDII over the following 7 months enabled RED to start the ﬁrst users on it in May 2014. Things went so smoothly that they had their ﬁrst paying client on board shortly after and key clients were then migrated to the new platform allowing employees to access the system from multiple devices.
“We now have a new software platform! People don’t understand how long it actually takes to build software, but we didn’t have to ramp up a team and get them to gel, which can take months. The impact for us meant that we actually met our ﬁrst goal in our beta launch pretty much bang on! Which is pretty rare. We deﬁnitely got what we expected on time and within budget” says Mr. Farrell.
With 38 of it’s 75 clients already on the new platform within its first 9 months and the rest of them in the process of being migrated, RED’s target of being in the SMB space on a global scale looks to be on track!
“The difference with reinteractive is the talent pool - Mikel has captured the best talent in the country. The consultants are top resources; self motivated, passionate and upfront.”Simon Farrell - CTO, RedBalloon
“reinteractive's OpsCare service has been a fantastic investment for us, especially for the price. They really know what they're doing when it comes to Ruby on Rails operations support and we can leverage their knowledge.”David McPherson - Technical Lead, REDII