Rebuild of a Legacy CMS

Successfully rebuilt the Content Management System (CMS) of an app network, without causing any downtime for users

Three mobile phones showing tourism apps for Whistler and other locations

Project Overview

After meeting with great success providing print services for the tourism industry, John Barber set out to build Apps Canada, a white-labeled app service that could provide a complimentary service to their clients.

Over the years, their app network had been worked on by a series of different developers, each of which had brought their own methods and approach to the system. As a result the product was fractured and burdensome to use, making it costly to maintain and difficult to work with.

We undertook a thorough audit of the system, identified where the most cost-effective improvements could be made, and provided a clear path to improving their product.

Tandem deployed a seamless upgrade to the system with any interruption in service.

System Highlights

  • Reduced operational costs by improving the navigation throughout the system and added new administrative functionality to reduce and eliminate repetitive tasks.

  • Set a new foundation for the next 10 years of development by making the system more accessible to 3rd party developers and enabling new features to be added.

  • Streamlined the design of the CMS, removing unnecessary functionality and components.

  • Unified the User Permission System, to allow for user management, membership content access and billing, and overall security improvements.

  • Restructure and Standardized the system, removing all black box components and migrating to Microsoft’s Identity framework.

A fantastic team! They handled all of the technical complexity so we could focus on growing the business and revenue.

John Barber, President of Apps Canada

About the Client

Apps Canada offers an affordable white-label app service for organizations that would not otherwise have access to the mobile market. Their client base is mostly made up of tourism destinations and municipalities that want to better engage with their visitors.

Apps Canada is a sister company to Barber Media, a print and display company that produces and distributes print media at 48 key locations along British Columbia’s Sea to Sky corridor.

After several successful years in business, they realized that tourism apps could provide a complimentary service to their existing customers, and started Apps Canada to pursue that opportunity.

Situation

Apps Canada came to us because they needed a development partner who could assess and overhaul their legacy system. Their management team was primarily experienced with operating in the print industry and had a limited understanding of the technical aspects of the project.

Because their software product had been built by multiple vendors over the course of a decade, their app network was made up of a patchwork of black-box code, inconsistent data formatting and inefficient systems that were costly to maintain and operate.

Business owner John Barber reached out to Tandem to determine what portions of the app network could be rebuilt on their budget, while also being mindful of causing any down-time for their product offering.

Project Requirements

Overhaul the Existing System

Apps Canada needed a team that could identify the core issues and perform an extensive reworking of their legacy system.

Work with a Limited Budget

Because the system was costly to maintain and operate, Apps Canada had a limited amount of resources they could devote to improvements, and needed a flexible payment plan to work with their revenue model.

Establish a new Foundation

Apps Canada had been unable to add new and competitive features to their product because of their technical debt. Tandem needed to build a solution that could handle modern integrations and allow the product to grow.

Discovery

After extensive review of the system, we identified that improving the CMS would have the greatest impact in reducing Apps Canada’s maintenance costs while also improving the client’s experience working with the product.

Managing Director James Ritchie worked with company founder John Barber to build confidence in the development process, regularly showcasing demos of updated components and explaining the decisions our team made at every stage.

As a result, Tandem was able to identify the biggest pain points the clients were experiencing. When implementing the new system, we included additional features and changes that wouldn’t have otherwise been accounted for.

This level of communication helped guide project development despite Apps Canada’s limited technical understanding, and enabled Tandem to build trust with management that their business needs were being understood. As a result, development proceeded smoothly and the project was delivered on budget and in a timely manner.

Deliverables

After 8 months of development, Apps Canada’s overhauled Content Management System was rolled out to their clients.

The new CMS was a web-based solution accessible through a rebuilt client login on the Apps Canada website. Client staff and their customers could now easily manage and update the 50 mobile apps more efficiently due to clearer navigation, better user experience (drag and drop functionality) and faster load times.

Apps Canada’s CMS provides their clients with a powerful and intuitive editor to better serve their customers.

Result / Impact

Apps Canada received an improvement to their core service offering that they could rely on.

They received an overwhelming response from their end clients, who were very satisfied with how much easier the system was to use, as well as how much faster the system was to work with overall.

More importantly, there were no complaints or issues with the updates, and the new system was rolled out with zero downtime.

Since the conclusion of the update, Tandem continues to add new features and automations at a fraction of the cost it would have taken before the rebuild. Additional team members have been introduced to the project and long-standing limitations continue to be removed.

Apps Canada has put in place a permanent maintenance contract with Tandem because we continue to improve their operational efficiency with every update.

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