amaysim is Australia’s fourth largest telecommunications company, founded by four Germans and one local Australian who set out to disrupt the industry. The aim was to create a telco that was easy to deal with and to challenge the data and calling price caps that were prevalent in the industry at the time. In less than seven years amaysim has grown to one million customers, competing against major Australian players like Vodafone and Optus. It has now expanded its model to provide fixed-line broadband plans and is going to offer energy shortly.

amaysim is an online-focused business and less call centre-centric than other telcos, and yet it prides itself on having the highest customer satisfaction in the industry. From the onset its aim was to encourage interactions online through simple plans, easy sign-up processes, and intuitive self-help and account tools. The company’s business model is now shifting from price-led products to a conscious focus on providing an even better customer experience, something larger competitors will find difficult to challenge. This means offering an online experience that’s second to none, while embracing a growing product range and expanding into industries it is new to.

Drivers for change

To achieve scalability—and to ensure each customer journey is flawless—amaysim has, from the beginning, always automated its customer support, onboarding and billing as much as possible. Manual processes are kept to a minimum. This approach means customer issues can be resolved quickly, and staff time can be focused on more productive development work rather than fixing operational issues. It also means the company operates a myriad of scripts and processes, for backend and frontend, written in a range of languages, from ColdFusion to Golang.

amaysim identified that the increased range of code created complexity that might make errors or outages difficult to isolate. It was also aware that its expansion plans would heighten the risks posed, without any end-to-end visibility.

The company needed to ensure its exacting standards were matched by the partners it worked with. There was a deliberate strategy that embraced working with partners, rather than rebuilding systems or code from scratch, but amaysim needed to ensure partners took responsibility and resolved issues as they occurred. That meant it needed full visibility of its own technology stack—from the network to applications, databases, and webpages—so it could isolate issues that were problems with partners rather than in its own internal operations.

Seeing more clearly with digital intelligence

As the company grew and the technology environment became more complex, it was clear amaysim needed to monitor the performance of its online ecosystem.

When investigating providers, New Relic was the obvious starting point. amaysim had been using a small implementation of New Relic on servers supporting its website. This was extended to a couple of other applications, where New Relic APM helped to isolate issues. The IT Operations department was so surprised by the range of information they received that they started implementing the full New Relic platform, which now tracks infrastructure performance, apps, and webpages, with dashboard tools providing immediate access to key reporting data.

Whilst it had considered alternative providers, New Relic had already proven its worth, and amaysim couldn’t see any similar products with the same range of features at a similar price point. As amaysim’s Head of IT Operations Peter James describes it, ‘The pricing model makes it easy to get started, and it quickly identifies a need that you perhaps didn’t realise you had. Once you have it, you wonder how you ever managed before.’

With New Relic in place, a backlog of issues was quickly resolved. For example, a regular mid-morning slowdown in processing speed was attributed to an overnight process that regularly ran beyond 9 a.m., when customer support processes were placing increased demands on the infrastructure. Thanks to New Relic the team was able to reschedule their processes and provide a better customer experience.

Today, New Relic is used across the entire IT team. Engineers use it to monitor infrastructure performance. Coders develop and test code to monitor its impact on the technology stack. Product managers use New Relic’s browser monitoring tool, New Relic Browser, to track impacts on sales and support, often gaining priority for tickets by being able to demonstrate the significance of the customer impact.

‘The pricing model makes it easy to get started, and it quickly identifies a need that you perhaps didn’t realise you had. Once you have it, you wonder how you ever managed before.’

Peter James Head of IT Operations, amaysim

Two key benefits

New Relic has provided two clear benefits at amaysim. Firstly, it saves time. Previously, technology issues demanded a SWAT team from numerous operational areas to resolve problems, tying up resources and delaying resolution. Today, most instances are solved by one or two people interrogating data in a New Relic dashboard.

The second important benefit has been the ability to manage the customer experience, something that’s critical for the business as it expands its range of products. The cultural shift of placing a higher emphasis on the online and mobile app experience—supported by the implementation of New Relic—has helped increase uptime by several percentage points.

Monitoring partner performance

By monitoring the time third-party services take to complete processes, amaysim has been able to highlight where fixes are needed, even if it is outside its own internal ecosystem, without installing anything in the partner’s environment. The team at amaysim regularly sends graphs and other dashboards to partners when they believe their delivery is falling below expected standards.

New Relic has meant that amaysim can continue to expand its approach to automation, without concerns that the reliance on systems compounds the risk should those systems fail. With optimal code, in a closely monitored environment, the team has the peace of mind that enables amaysim to focus on customer experience, growth, and diversification.

Where to now?

As the business expands, with more customers and a greater range of services, amaysim expects New Relic to remain a pivotal part of its focus on customer service. As Peter James puts it, ‘Our goal is always to pick up problems before customers do.’

He also believes more can be done with the historic data his team has collected through New Relic. It could be used not just for IT, but to look for efficiencies and opportunities across the business, from marketing and product to finance and strategy. As James says, ‘I’m convinced the more we dig into this data, the greater the understanding we’ll have of what’s influencing our business.’