ReadyTech Accelerates Revenue Growth, Cuts Infrastructure Costs 5-10% with Ruby on Rails Upgrade

ReadyTech Accelerates Revenue Growth, Cuts Infrastructure Costs 5-10% with Ruby on Rails Upgrade

Based in Sydney, Australia, ReadyTech opens a new window combines technology with a people-centric approach to help organisations navigate complexity and deliver meaningful outcomes. With more than 500 employees globally, the publicly-traded company continues to grow rapidly and now serves 4,000+ customers across three vertical segments: Education & Work Pathways, Workforce Solutions, and Government & Justice.

Here was our challenge

Within the Education & Work Pathways business, ReadyTech builds mission-critical systems – some of which help vocational education training institutes manage student cohorts and deliver exceptional learning experiences, as well as technology that helps employment service providers to manage and support job seekers. The company has built most of its solutions using Ruby on Rails. But in the midst of responding to persistent customer demand for new solutions and features, ReadyTech’s Rails version was no longer fit-for-purpose.

“We were acutely aware of that problem, but it was difficult to decide between addressing the tech debt and developing new features,” said James Diamond, Chief Executive, Education & Work Pathways.

Since feature development is easier to tie to revenue generation - and often critical to signing a new customer - that’s where the engineering team focused its energy.

Over time, the existing Rails version began to pose some business challenges. It hampered engineering productivity, and prevented the company from using newer Ruby gems that could shortcut the process of developing new functionality. And with infrastructure expenses directly tied to AWS run time, it was proving costly to operate slower, inefficient versions of both Rails and Ruby.

ReadyTech saw great value in partnering with a Ruby on Rails specialist to tackle the tech debt.

“OmbuLabs (developers of the suite of productized services) has a lot of expertise in Rails and maps out exactly what needs to be done,” James said. “That made us confident we could outsource the upgrade and keep our team focused on feature development work that drives growth and requires our domain expertise.”

ReadyTech contracted with us in late 2021 to upgrade Rails for one application, then moved ahead with many more upgrades throughout a nearly two-year engagement. “Based on how well the initial test went, working with OmbuLabs was a no-brainer,” according to James.

Our client identified several vital goals for the project:

  • Accelerate revenue growth by fast-tracking product development using the newest Ruby gems
  • Reduce infrastructure costs by improving system performance by 5% or more
  • Increase the stability of mission-critical applications that support a huge number of students, apprentices, and job seekers
  • Improve talent acquisition, retention, and morale by equipping engineers with modern development tools

Here’s how we solved it

Using an efficient, staggered schedule, we completed smooth and non-disruptive upgrades for many applications throughout a complex, multi-year project involving a lot of code changes and pull requests. As the ReadyTech engineering team tested one upgrade and prepared it for production, we began work on the next upgrade. Strong communication, thorough documentation, and weekly meetings—always accommodating time zone differences—kept the effort on track and ensured everyone stayed informed.

The ReadyTech team was especially impressed with our structured approach to the engagement—from following proven processes, to mapping out an organized project journey, to setting standards and demonstrating best practices they can learn from and apply going forward.

“If we want to do an upgrade in-house in the future, we know that this is how the experts do it,” James said.

While training the team on an effective upgrade process wasn’t an initial project goal, he views it as a very beneficial outcome.

The ReadyTech engineering team also appreciated our openness and transparency throughout the journey.

“Whenever we had a management catch-up, they were always well prepared, detail-oriented, and willing to share their wisdom and ideas on how we could do things better,” James said.

See the results

Across every goal that ReadyTech sought to achieve, the upgrade project delivered.

“Now we’re more stable, we’re moving faster, our engineering morale is better, and our infrastructure costs are going down,” James said. “The business benefits we identified at the start of this project came to fruition.”

For a company that invests a significant chunk of budget on technology infrastructure, a 5% average reduction in infrastructure costs - with some applications even driving reductions of 10% - translates to significant savings.

The improved velocity of developing new functionality—aided by the ability to leverage the latest Ruby gems and libraries - is boosting ReadyTech’s efficacy, enabling the company to deliver value faster and help customers scale better.

“If we didn’t partner with OmbuLabs, we would have slowed our revenue growth because we would have slowed our product development. We’ve got more opportunities now because we’re developing our product roadmap faster, getting to market more quickly, and recognising revenue sooner.”

While the labor market constantly evolves as economic conditions change, James credits the Rails upgrade as a key factor in reducing costly staff churn. “Morale improved by virtue of being on a more current version, and it demonstrated that we were willing to invest in continuous improvements,” he said.

James cites our deep expertise, pace of work, and partnership approach as three keys to the project’s success.

“We were able to access expertise that would have been difficult for us to acquire,” he said.

The momentum achieved by having a team dedicated to the upgrade moved the process along much faster than ReadyTech could have on its own. And gaining a true upgrade partner gave the company assurance every step of the way. “OmbuLabs was always willing to share and collaborate and debate with us – they just felt like part of the team,” he concluded.

Project type

  • Ruby on Rails Upgrade

Who we are:

OmbuLabs is Philadelphia’s lean software boutique and creators of the opens a new window suite of productized services, including application upgrades to a secure, supported Rails version. Specializing in Ruby, JavaScript, minimum viable product development, and reducing technical debt, we help startups to Fortune 500 companies build and improve their digital products. Founded in 2011 and headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, our experienced and diverse team of developers is ready to do whatever it takes to help your business grow. To learn more, visit us at opens a new window .

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