ACTO follows up success and quadruples their team backed by the simplicity and power of Buddy

ACTO team members

After their initial success back in 2018, the Toronto-based ACTO team knew they had to grow and evolve to stay on top of their game. They chose one powerful, yet easy-to-use ally on their journey - Buddy CI/CD

60 minutes – total time required to configure the entire team’s workflow.

Operating out of Toronto, Canada, ACTO believes that education can positively transform patient outcomes. With their AI-powered SaaS platform, they provide a consolidated system for life sciences companies to educate and engage stakeholders across the care continuum.

From sales representatives, to doctors, and patients, ACTO's solution ensures education is no longer underused but instead becomes a strategic lever to help pharma and medical device companies achieve the ultimate goal - a patient's wellbeing.

Knowing about the ambitious goal in their crosshairs, it’s hard to believe the company’s humble beginnings. With a team of fewer than ten developers back in 2018, ACTO created a very successful version of their platform, securing deals with large pharmaceutical and medical devices companies.

Logo of ACTO

Start simple, keep it simple

After their initial success, the team knew they had to scale up to maintain their position and reach new customers. And so in 2020 came the two important steps: the team grew to over 40 people within a year and released a new version of their platform.

It was at that point that they started using Buddy to handle the automation required to test, deploy, and maintain their PHP-driven website. Since the team has grown so significantly in such a short period of time, the ease of use and adoption was one of the key factors that made Buddy the perfect fit for ACTO.

“Keep it simple - that's usually what I’m trying to go with, and that's why I chose Buddy. I was comparing Buddy with CircleCI and AWS Pipelines and they seemed overly complicated.”

With the team building their CI/CD setup from scratch and experiencing rapid growth at the same time, there were no dedicated DevOps engineers available to handle this important task. With one year to redevelop and release a new version of the platform, there was also no time to spare investigating different tools.

The person that took the task on their shoulder was Adrian Paiva, ACTO's Lead Architect. As he pointed out,

“It's pretty much always been me who handled all of our architecture and stuff. I like Buddy because it’s easy for one person to set up everything we need. It turns out that you don’t have to have a whole dedicated team of people just to handle that. That simplicity is what made us go with Buddy back in the day.”

ACTO team

The weight of growth and how to lose it

The simplicity of Buddy helped the team significantly in completing the work on the new version of their platform. When hiring new team members, ACTO could focus on getting the people they needed - PHP and Lavarel developers - on board, instead of trying to find ones who have architecture-related DevOps experience. Every new member was onboarded, and given a Buddy account.

“We hired a whole bunch of people in a short amount of time. It was essential to get them in & have them following our standards ASAP. When you’re building a new platform in a short amount of time it’s crucial to make sure that no one’s going to break anything when they’re pushing changes.”

The growing team kept the pipelines busy almost constantly, but that wasn’t a problem for them. Since Buddy’s pricing model is based on set fees rather than a pay-per-use model, ACTO doesn’t have to compromise their automation in order to keep their costs in check - the quality of their product never suffers.

“I think that Buddy is pretty fairly priced. Personally, I like the fact that we’re not charged every time we need to run a pipeline. As we grow the team, we're going to be running pipelines a lot, especially if we're running our test cases. That's going to be about 20 times a day and that number is only going to grow. “

Screenshot of pipelines in Buddy

Pipelines in 60 minutes or less

The “keep it simple” approach translates over to the pipelines. Adrian set up a couple to deploy their code to different environments on Elastic Beanstalk, as well as a couple of automated pipelines that use the “On push” trigger mode and run whenever there are pull requests and new changes to them. All of that took about an hour in the early days, and still covers the majority of the team’s workflow.

“I definitely like that configuring it took probably about an hour. Everything just worked. It was not super complicated.”

That simplicity also reverberates in the team’s use of custom Docker images, which helps to fight the age-old “works on my machine” problem. With Docker, the custom environment in which the code runs is the same for the developers’ machines and the CI/CD pipelines.

The story of ACTO is one of simplicity that facilitates fast growth. As they continue making waves in the industry, they’re benefiting from the decision to partner up with Buddy that was made by Adrian many moons ago.

  • Adrian Paiva

    Lead Architect @ ACTO

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