Ruby, Padrino, Node.js, AWS, Elastic Beanstalk
Bootstrapped SaaS for HR teams
For this story, we interviewed Devan Sabaratnam, the co-founder and CTO of HR Partner.
HR partner is a bootstrapped business that's founded in 2015. They are on a mission to help small and medium-sized businesses to manage, onboard, and train their employees. HR Partner is built by a distributed team of 7, with 3 people in the dev team.
Since the early days of using AppSignal, HR Partner has noticed quite a few improvements in their workflow.
HR Partner was built on a Ruby framework called Padrino. SaaS companies that provide services to Ruby developers rarely support anything outside of Rails, but AppSignal does. This is the main reason their development team moved to AppSignal from New Relic, alongside pricing, which they had found a challenge to navigate with NewRelic.
In New Relic, if you want more features, you have to upgrade to this plan, then move to that plan, and it was all based on server power units. AppSignal's pricing was easier to understand, and you get all the features for one price.
Since HR Partner runs on AWS, they also have access to AWS monitoring tools. AppSignal is by their side as another insight provider because AWS tools are focused on servers only. AppSignal provides HR Partner with key insights on the user experience side of things. Ensuring that their users are happy and performance is as expected is the key to success for HR Partner.
We're customer-oriented and we don't want our customers to suffer.
At first, HR Partner used AppSignal to spot and eradicate errors and pick up anomalies in their system. As their business grew and they started onboarding larger customers, their development team turned to AppSignal’s performance reporting.
Being able to drill down to the actual SQL query that's causing a bottleneck has been invaluable to HR Partner. They have gone from 14-second renders down to renders of less than 2 seconds and an average 1 second load time.
The key features of AppSignal for Devan are the dashboards that help him to pinpoint the source of a problem.
I love the fact that you have the "Okay, what happened here?" button on the dashboard I can click on. Then, you can sort of drill down into the next page and see all the queries. From there, you can figure out which transactions were happening and which one's taking a bit longer. The fact that I can just go bang, bang, bang, drill down three, four levels deep, right down to the database query, that is just superb.
AppSignal also helped HR Partner improve their post-rollout processes. After they roll out a major feature, developers really rely on the reporting and graphs from AppSignal, apart from just the day-to-day monitoring.
Devan and his co-founder Fiona run over financials and cut costs every now and then. AppSignal is one of the tools they use to identify whether they can cut down on some expenses, such as servers. HR Partner saved on the annual price of using AppSignal in just one month, by fixing performance issues that had caused their server expenses to spike up. To a bootstrapped business, finding ways to cut down on costs and invest in areas such as marketing or sales is very important.
HR Partner found they got enough data about their users just from their CloudFront and AppSignal logs. As a result, they were able to eliminate some more expensive tools that they had previously used to monitor their users. In turn, HR Partner not only saved money, but also improved the performance of their whole application.
The key result of using AppSignal is that Devan has confidence in the quality of the application and ensuring their customers’ happiness.
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