“The current economic climate is seeing many more people working from home,” says Axel Minck, CEO of Opigno, a Swiss-based learning management system. “Consequently, we’re seeing a spike in demand from companies who want to make sure their newly remote workforce continues to be properly trained.”
Opigno started as a digital agency selling web development to clients. But in 2012, foreseeing the growing need for employee training services, they decided to focus on e-learning. They transformed to a service-based software vendor providing an open-source Drupal-based learning management system (LMS) distribution.
Customers happily paid for enhancement work, maintenance, and support services. Then in 2015, at the request of some of their larger customers, Opigno began hosting the LMS as well. “But self-managed hosting is complicated to look after and troublesome when it doesn’t work properly,” says Minck. “And it all requires more people to look after it and higher levels of service to pay for.”
Minck decided that the company’s ultimate goal should be to make it as easy as possible to deploy the LMS platform so that customers could accelerate business with training and better deal with uncertain environments. To do this they now offer clients not only an open-source version of the LMS platform that they can manage themselves (or with Opigno support) on their own server infrastructure, but also a managed hosting service.
Minck knew it would be important to offer a managed hosting service, perfectly tuned for Opigno, that would allow clients to easily get started and then gradually get bigger, scaling up to larger infrastructure only when they needed to. International clients would also need a service that could accommodate staff in many different locations around the world and provide them equally fast response times wherever they were.
Building the cloud capability needed to offer their own managed service option would have been very expensive for Opigno, requiring new engineers, security, and support specialists. Allowing customers to incrementally scale up their application usage is a complicated architecture to get right. What Opigno needed was a less complicated solution that would be easy for customers to switch to. “One with everything automated, nothing for us to do, data centres all around the world, and CDN included,” says Minck.
Once he knew what he needed, Minck knew who to get it from. He reached out to Platform.sh, who had impressed the CEO with their expertise when they ran a SaaS cloud business workshop for Opigno. Platform.sh assured Minck that setting up the Opigno application for cloud deployments would be easy. The application itself would remain exactly where it was in Git and would receive only minor adjustments plus an App YAML file with some hosting definitions.
“As a first step we implemented an auto-deploy integration through the Platform.sh API, so that users can one-click subscribe from the Opigno Cloud page” said James Aparicio, Opigno Development Manager. “For the time being, clients will pay Platform.sh directly for the hosting plan on a credit card, with larger enterprise clients being dealt with separately. The next step is to implement some user management and billing before taking the larger cloud service subscriptions direct.”
New subscribers would be instantly provisioned locally into one of Platform.sh’s 25 grid regions around the world, giving faster access times and an optimal Opigno experience.
Opigno’s new cloud service capabilities now include the ability to manage more of their subscriber base directly, making feature changes and security fixes faster and safer for clients subscribing to the Opigno maintenance plan. Those clients are able to benefit from a number of compliance certifications Platform.sh has, as well as to receive global 24x7 support services for infrastructure issues. They can also subscribe directly with the Opigno team for software support.
Minck estimated their market share in 2019 at less than 5%. “Now,” he says, “we are ready to double that and then double it again. Why not!”
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