RMR is a US-based relocation management company that's spearheaded corporate relocation programs for major international names including Berkshire Hathaway, Goodman Global and more.
They gained serious ground in the '90s and early 2000s by being one of the first companies in their industry to realise the value of great tech. Unfortunately, tech moves ever onward and in 2017 RMR found itself with an ever increasing support burden for their in-house, custom CMS system; alongside an ageing public tech presence.
We began our engagement with RMR by performing a full audit of the existing system to build a formal proposal for the ongoing engagement that we'd need to revitalise their tech. We spent three of the first twelve months of the engagement in on-site visits pairing with their customer service staff to understand how the system was used and what could be improved.
Relocation is a complex industry with decades of legislation behind it. We knew from day one that the only way we could succeed was to respect the domain knowledge that their staff had and spent a great deal of time building prototypes and listening to feedback.
Infrastructure Issues permalink
The most significant issue we encountered was the burden of the on-site servers hosting legacy software platforms and the risk of partial data loss in the case of fire - a regular fear in Nevada. We agreed that a move to cloud hosting made more sense for them as a small company without dedicated system administrators and began work to migrate.
Unfortunately, RMR's system had been written around the premise that there would be an air-gap between the public internet and their internal systems. The move to public cloud infrastructure would be risky with the system we inherited and we made the decision to rewrite into a modern, secure solution.
During this rewrite we built out an automated regression test suite to catch any issues and even managed to catch a number of bugs that had lived for years before!
Today, RMR is hosted on Microsoft Azure with point-in-time geo-replicated database backups, resilience to any local infrastructure woes, and a VPN to allow employees to work from anywhere. When COVID-19 hit last year RMR delivered desktops and monitors from the office to employees and everyone was back online after a single day.
RMR's website and client dashboard had worked for a long time, but didn't live up to more current expectations of responsive design or aesthetic.
We worked closely with the operations and customer support staff at RMR to arrive at a client dashboard that they could be proud of.
Once their existing customers had an improved realtime view into their business with RMR, we turned out attention to the public website. RMR's existing website had been up and running for a long time when we arrived. It pre-dated the mobile first mindset that's common in web development today and didn't match up to modern aesthetic.
Collaborating with RMR, we build a modern digital business card. While the majority of their business remains driven through existing channels and organic recommendations, prospective customers can now feel reassured that they're engaging with a modern business.
We continue to work with RMR on incremental improvements and supporting the systems we've built. We regularly run ad-hoc queries for any data analysis that they don't have automated reporting for yet and have worked with them extensively throughout 2020 to help them with the shift to remote working during the pandemic.
We're excited to work with them further in the future to find out what a veteran of industry can do when empowered by first-class software.