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Improving Online Performance & Time-to-Market

LifeAssist provides innovative employee wellbeing and health risk management solutions to businesses across 13 African countries. Companies work with LifeAssist to provide their employees with health, counselling and support services for a broad range of personal and work-related challenges. The result is a healthier, happier workforce which positively impacts organisational performance. LifeAssist prides itself in having an insatiable appetite for change – challenging industry norms and finding new ways to make a difference to individuals, corporations and society.

Outdated IT Hampering the Business

More and more companies in Africa and across the world are investing in employee wellness programs, no longer considering mental health benefits as a nice-to-have but rather a necessity. With the current political climate, social unrest and the pandemic, the trend is accelerating, along with demand for LifeAssist’s services.

Like most modern, successful companies, LifeAssist’s business depends on digital technologies. Agents in its modern Contact Center – the important first point of contact for people needing LifeAssist’s support – rely on a range of digital contact methods (e.g. web chat, social media, text messages) to provide an engaging service to their customers. The network of affiliated service providers who deliver the expert counselling, medical and support services interact with LifeAssist through a dedicated web portal. LifeAssist employees rely on a sophisticated case management app, the software developer team works in a dedicated test and dev environment, and the company’s back office systems (HR, accounting etc.) are becoming increasingly automated and reliant on IT.

However, the outdated IT infrastructure supporting LifeAssist was struggling to keep pace with the company. The on-premise environment which hosted its apps was fragmented, complex and difficult to manage. Fixing bugs and solving issues was convoluted and time-intensive for the IT team, while implementing new services for its customers even more difficult. Additionally, interruptions to power supply and problems with LifeAssist’s Internet Service Provider disrupted services to customers and resulted in data loss.

Move to the Cloud Fast and Easy

LifeAssist turned to DotModus for help and quickly the teams mutually agreed that a full migration to Google Cloud Platform was the best solution. DotModus works closely with Digicloud Africa, Google’s enablement partner in Africa, ensuring it has the best resources to help its customers maximise the potential of cloud computing services from Google.

"Because of the complexity of our legacy IT system, we had been hesitant to move the cloud. It seemed like an overwhelming task. But working with DotModus made it easy and stress-free – they took care of the hard work for us. Our entire infrastructure was up-and running on Google Cloud Platform in a matter of weeks."

Russell Bath LifeAssist Clinical Operations Director

The DotModus team restructured LifeAssist’s data warehouse and migrated it to CloudSQL, a fully-managed database service for relational databases on Google Cloud Platform. It also dockerised and deployed LifeAssist’s five web applications to Cloud Run, a platform for containerized applications. The new system and database can handle 1, 507 unique services across a 5-level deep grouping of categories and subcategories compared to the previous system which only managed a maximum of 224 unique services across a mere 2-levels of categories and subcategories. The final Google environment leverages Cloud Run for the frontend apps, CloudSQL for MySQL for its databases, Compute Instances for ELK stack and CloudBuild to help the developers deliver software faster and more securely with CI/CD.

In summary, DotModus updated and migrated the apps and the databases, configured the workloads and updated licences, all while satisfying stringent regulatory data requirements. The transition to Google Cloud Platform was completed within a two-week period, and with no interruption to customers.

From IT Maintenance to Enhancing the Customer Experience

Since moving to Google Cloud Platform, LifeAssist’s IT team have much more time to focus on delivering customer value, rather than managing IT infrastructure. The team can rapidly deal with urgent features, fixes and bugs, often resolving issues within a day. Google’s end-to-end security model, which was built into Google Cloud from the ground up, ensures apps and customer data are highly secure. The Google platform is much more resilient, available, performant than the previous environment, protecting LifeAssist and its customers from disruption and downtime.

The company can now take full advantage of the creativity of its software developers. Google Cloud Platform has enabled LifeAssists’ developer team to deliver better quality software to production, faster, often reducing cycles from days/weeks to minutes. This results in new features and services for customers as well as enabling a higher level of customisation to build bespoke wellness programmes.

“The shift to Google Cloud is helping us remain a leading player in an increasingly competitive market,” says Bath. “The move has brought new capabilities, faster time to market, better online performance, easier upgrades, and the ability to give customers new, richer and better services. That means we can focus on what we do best – helping organisations improve the physical, mental and financial health of their employees.”