Combining expertise with innovation: How CLOUDWORK|PRO deployed custom real-time messaging in one month with Twilio
Time to read: 4 minutes
The CLOUDWORK|PRO platform is a two-sided marketplace powering the future of on-demand field services – from self-service dispatching to full-service turnkey project management. It consists of both a web and app-based interface, enabling simple sourcing, communication, and payment between clients and high-quality technicians. Clients publish work orders to the marketplace, and techs can use their app to view jobs, message with clients, and apply for specific jobs. When techs are selected, they continue the conversation with the client through job completion. The combination of a rigorous technical evaluation of IT workers with seamless connection and communication differentiates CLOUDWORK|PRO from the competition, allowing them to accelerate growth in their marketplace every day.
When Sean Ainsley, CTO of CLOUDWORK|PRO, and his team set out to build the on-demand, modern marketplace, they considered leveraging their expertise to build the messaging experience themselves. However, after careful review of the product requirements, they decided to partner with a vendor who could provide:
- A system of record for every message across multiple channels
- Reliable scalability and fast time to market
- Flexibility to focus on the entire user experience
A system of record for every message across multiple channels
CLOUDWORK|PRO’s marketplace has relied on real-time messaging between multiple participants from the start. “The ability for multiple participants to enter a conversation was key for us,” said Ainsley. ”With any interaction during sourcing, there could be multiple project managers and techs involved, and some may not be available on a given day. Using Twilio’s Conversations API, we make it easy for our users to add new participants and transfer conversations so important context is never missed.” This experience allows users on both sides of the marketplace to connect, get answers to important questions, schedule work, and complete the job with limited to no delays.
While the CLOUDWORK|PRO team initially focused on in-app and web chat messaging in their deployment, Ainsley wanted to ensure his team was set up to easily add popular channels – like SMS – as necessary. His team was drawn to an API where they could architect their backend system once, and simply add new channels over time to meet users’ needs and continue to differentiate from the competition. Now, as they continue to gather user feedback, they can prioritize adding channels that make it easy for users to have conversations where they prefer.
And, finally, Ainsley’s team needed the platform to keep a record of each of these conversations and participants in case of questions or disputes after the job is complete. In the IT field service industry, these situations can arise immediately after or six months down the road. With Twilio automatically archiving messages, the CLOUDWORK|PRO team has the ability to easily reference conversations to quickly resolve questions or issues.
Reliable scalability and fast time to market
Early in the evaluation process, Ainsley and his team had to make a decision between building themselves or using a buy plus build approach. They wanted the flexibility to control their roadmap but understood that building and maintaining the messaging infrastructure themselves would take significant time and resources. His team estimated that initial time to market would take three months, and ongoing maintenance to sustain high reliability would be about eight to 16 hours per week (1 – 2 business days). Scaling their systems to accommodate user growth, adding new channels, and implementing additional features over time would put a significant burden on his development team and take away from focusing on the user experience outside of the messaging component.
As his team looked to evaluate outside vendors, Twilio was included because most of the team had prior experience with Twilio’s APIs. After establishing that the Conversations API could support their use case and product requirements, Ainsley and CLOUDWORK|PRO’s Product team deployed and successfully tested a proof of concept within three days. Their tests validated they had the right solution and could start prioritizing the integration into their platform.
During the build phase, Ainsley’s team was excited about using Twilio’s SDKs because they allowed the developers to move much faster, be creative, and ensure their systems were set up as efficiently as possible. They used the documentation and sample code as a jumping-off point, and easily set up the SDK to create conversations at specific steps in the work order, delete and close conversations, and handle participants. They then used the ability to add custom attributes to any resource to differentiate their user experience. “We had the opportunity to get creative with the custom attributes,” said Ainsley. “We added profile pictures, the user’s full name, and other unique features to make the messaging experience more personalized. We created an experience that feels like you’re using a popular consumer application. And our users love it.”
Even with building out custom profiles around messaging, the CLOUDWORK|PRO team was able to go live with their solution in one month, which beat the projection of a do-it-yourself approach by at least three months.
Flexibility to focus on the entire user experience
Not only was the CLOUDWORK team able to get to market faster while building custom features within the platform, but partnering with Twilio has provided them the flexibility they need to focus on innovation across their entire platform. “One of our differentiators is our ability to move quickly and quickly implement new technologies,” said Ainsley. “With Twilio, we’re saving time and can focus on other features that improve the entire user experience rather than spending time on what the backend infrastructure for the messaging is doing.”
As a result, the team enjoys the environment they get to work in, spending their days building differentiated, innovative features. In the future, the CLOUDWORK|PRO team is looking to expand outside of messaging and tap Twilio’s Programmable Video API so technicians on site can open up a video stream with a client in real time. Techs already love the app, clients love the interface, and both sides of the marketplace can continue to expect user-centric innovation in the future.
“With Twilio, we’re saving time and can focus on other features that improve the entire user experience rather than spending time on what the backend infrastructure for the messaging is doing.”