Bayleys is New Zealand?s largest full-service real estate company, no other real estate company can match Bayleys? breadth of coverage across all market sectors throughout New Zealand.
Bayleys approached us for a review of their systems and to provide road map to a cloud hosted solution. Utilising the latest techniques we were able to achieve the following for Bayleys:
Not only was the above achieved, but the outcome gained hosting and licencing savings of ~95% and a significantly reduced operating cost.
At present Bayleys is our only client, but now the large body of work required has been completed. Bayleys are now utilising our managed service package under an SLA agreement. We continue to develop business requirements, and enjoy working with them in the cloud space, but our capicity for new work has increased and we are actively looking for new clients.
When Bayleys approached us about their website they were having multiple issues:
The previous implementation of www.bayleys.co.nz was built on a closed CMS framework. The design and implementation of the licensed CMS was not the right fit for the Bayleys requirements. The advice from Arragro was to rebuild the site from the ground up and take advantage of a more modular and open architecture and to host in Microsoft's Azure. Not only were we able to resolve the issues, but we were able to provide a mobile first design offering, and hosting costs were reduced by ~95% and operating costs by 66%.
Comparing the site since October 2015, we can show there is an increase users by 303% and page views by 243%. As a result of the mobile first implementation, use on these devices increased 445%.
Bayleys wanted to create a new platform for the branches to advertise listings and other marketing material. The devices and tools available for this were expensive and did not allow for a centrally managed process. Arragro delivered a client application built in Electron, which utilises Typescript, React and Webpack for presenting in the client. The back end to this was created using a customised version of the ArragroCMS, which collated data with the Bayleys Web API.
The result was a highly available and scalable system that allowed anyone to manage the content being delivered to the devices in branches.
Central to the overall solution was the creation of a REST API making all Bayleys data avilable for other development projects. This gives Bayleys much more flexibility in bringing in 3rd parties to consume or update data to support new market oppertunities.
Core features like search functionality and reporting are managed within this API. Data is heavily cached and redundancy is built in so this service will run and provide data when other dependant services aren't available. All of this is managed via security keys at a granular level, which means sensitive data can be kept safe to internal application. The Bayleys website and Digital Signage product is powered by this highly available and performant API.
The original problem statement that Arragro received instruction on was the inconsistent transfer of data from their property listing Vendor systems, through to the presentation of the listing on the Bayleys website. There were multiple points of concern with the previous processing method. However, the primary goal was speed and almost real time updates to the website. We used Azure Webjobs and Queues to track the incoming files, deserialise the message payload, populate data into the SQL database, and update the Web API and finallly store the listing images into Azure Blob Storage.
Another feature request was to improve visibility to the processing engine results, which was only available by querying the database. This was achieved by using the extensive logging performed into Azure Table Storage, and by exposing the data via an ASP.NET MVC application with a Knockout front end. From here the staff where able to gather information for a given listing, or see issues with files received.
Bayleys had bespoke software guiding their on-boarding process which was intergrated into a legacy dotnetnuke service. This contributed to backend data and lookups to their public website. To allow the decoupling of intergrated systems, we created a new staff onboarding software solution using ASP.NET MVC. The solution provides quality validation forms with workflow control for shared process tasks across multiple departments. The automation of staff onboarding and offloading meant a higher accuracy of created accounts and increased security when staff were leaving by locking out accounts in a timely automated way. Both onboarding and offloading went from being a task that took days to minutes using this software.
Bayleys staff intranet was a Dotnetnuke self hosted site. The aging hardware needed to be decommissioned. Rather than performing a lift and shift of the server which would have been prohibitively expensive in the cloud, and also still using the aging framework, Arragro migrated the dotnetnuke site to a lean open source CMS. This could then be hosted on an Azure Webapp using ADFS for user authentication so users could continue to seemlessly access the site like an internal resource. As a result performance was dramatically improved, and other new features around document management were provided.
The Bayleys Commercial team utilised an in-house bespoke reporting tool to report on property listings. We rewrote the application to leverage the Bayleys API and deployed the application to an Azure Web App. The softwares usability was greatly improved as was the performance. PDF generation was offloaded to Azure Webjobs using Azure Storage for the queues and data, which allowed the system to remain responsive and usable. This also allowed Bayleys to decomission legacy operating systems.