Benchmark Estimating: New software needs cloud infrastructure

Parallo supports Benchmark with AWS platform management services. When the company needed infrastructure for its new cloud-based tool, it again asked us for help.


City Scape

Building infrastructure for Benchmark Estimating’s new software

Setting a new benchmark

In 1996, Robert MacDonald launched Benchmark Estimating, a cost estimating software company. At the time, similar systems were on the market, but they were all difficult to use. Benchmark Estimating was simple and quickly became popular across many infrastructure industries. Today, the software is used by 5,500+ users in more than 40 countries over 300 sites.

The company developed an app that automates planned preventative maintenance (PPM) tasks. But Benchmark needed somewhere to host the solution before it could go live.

New software needs cloud infrastructure

Parallo provides cloud platform management services, optimising and managing Benchmark’s cloud environment so that it can concentrate on its core business: meeting clients’ service-level agreements, troubleshooting issues and new R&D projects.

The company’s development team is based offshore, and while they’re specialists in developing software, Benchmark wanted to leverage the infrastructure expertise of a managed service provider.

The other big challenge was the timeline. The PPM software had already been implemented, and Benchmark had a new customer waiting. It needed a solution – fast. So, it called on Parallo.

“Parallo helped us build and design the solution to store the configuration and all that great stuff, but in a way that would allow us, after rollout to other clients, to manage things ourselves,” explains Marshall Cheneval, Development Programs Manager.

From design to full implementation in weeks

During the technical consultation with Benchmark, the Parallo team scoped out what the company needed to shift its new app to the cloud. The project involved the architecture, design and implementation of infrastructure, including servers, databases and authentication structures using services such as Route 53, EC2, Cognito, WAF, ALB, API Gateway and S3.

The goal was to provide Benchmark with low-cost cloud infrastructure that could be easily scaled, was cost-effective when changing capacity requirements, and offered the best customer experience.

To do that, Parallo utilised best-practice guidelines and tools to ensure the project was a success. In addition, the team worked closely with Benchmark’s technical staff through regularly scheduled meetings and two communication channels to ensure any issues were resolved quickly. Parallo also worked with its developers to test data and provided guidance, from planning and strategy to migration and governance, so Benchmark could quickly transition to the cloud.

“The Parallo team took the time to understand what our business needed and created a solution that worked for us,” says Marshall.

“They made sure we understood every step of the process and worked with other vendors to ensure our goals were aligned and technical requirements were met.”

Overall, from design to implementation, the project took 5-7 weeks – a fast turnaround for its scope.

Benchmark launches app in the UK

Once the project was complete, Benchmark successfully launched its PPM tool in the UK – and that’s just the beginning. The team is thrilled with the turnaround time and looks forward to deploying the app in other regions soon.

Marshall explains that meeting the agreed timelines was critical – and Parallo delivered.

“There wasn’t a lot of wiggle room. Without making those deliverables, we’d have to shift timelines for our other clients, which also pushes back payments, rollouts and implementations,” he says.

“Parallo’s support was key in ensuring the successful rollout for our client.”

It’s a big win for Benchmark. It can swiftly roll out its app – without facing too many roadblocks. Parallo’s Solutions Architect explains, “We built it generically so that it’s parameterised and can be reused for other customers with a few configurations.”

Moving forward: more projects on the horizon

From here, Benchmark will continue collaborating with the Parallo team to identify opportunities to improve its cloud environments. The company also sees Parallo as an ongoing and trusted partner in bringing some of its other projects to life, including migrating the rest of its existing solutions to the cloud.

“We’re working towards becoming a fully SaaS-based solution provider, and Parallo will be an essential partner in helping us design and build those environments,” says Marshall.

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