We're proud to provide DevOps services.

Expand
Paid Family and Medical Leave for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Processes
  • Agile/Kanban
  • Agile/Scrum
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Kelly Albrecht
  • Senior Architect
    Rob Bayliss

Last Call Media joined the Commonwealth’s Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) to implement new technology for assuring the stability of PFML claims intake and administration in time for launch of the New Year’s Day deadline.  

Last Call’s focus was to facilitate communication, quality control, and confidence among the teams—establishing an “End to End” vision of the applicant journey that crossed multiple layers of technology. Last Call Media was one of several teams that came together with DFML to achieve the ultimate goal of the project: to create a system that made applying for and managing PFML claims as easy as possible and to achieve a required careful orchestration between the teams working on the discrete components.

Earlier in the year, Last Call Media worked with the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance on a project in which we implemented automated testing and other automation processes. Word of the successful outcomes traveled through departments. When it came time to enhance the DFML’s program with DevOps automation, they contacted LCM.

What the DFML had was a team of teams each optimized to their own workflows and working on individual pieces of one greater product. The component-based team model increases efficiency as the larger technical foundations of a product are built, yet the integrations between those components can become a blind spot needing special consideration: integration testing was a known need in the project strategy. Last Call Media was brought on to be the integration testing team, and we knew from experience that concentrating testing of all functionality to a separate group, and as a final “phase” all work must pass through, leads to surprise issues arising too late in the life of the project. This was important as the timeline was one of the most important factors of this project: constituents needed to be able to apply for PFML benefits on January 1, 2021, no matter what.

As we began to work with the existing teams, we saw exactly what we could bring to the table: a strong strategy, clear approach, and defined process for integrating all work across every team, and systematically testing that work, as early in the development process as possible, so that fully tested product releases could be done with confidence and ease.

There were four main aspects of this project that needed to be considered in order to achieve success:

  • The claimant portal, built using React, where constituents would be able to submit PFML claims and receive updates about the status of those claims,
  • The claim call center, where customer service representatives would take calls from claimants and enter their claim information into the claimant portal,
  • The claims processing system, the tool in which customer service representatives can process PFML claims via a task queue (and which is fed information from the portal, call center, and other third-party tools), and
  • The API that would bring all of these parts together to work seamlessly.

Then, of course, there’s the testing. LCM began our work by establishing three types of tests that all project work would need to pass in order to be considered complete:

  • End-to-End (E2E) testing: automated continuous verification of the functionality and integration of all 4 systems.
  • Load and Stress testing: verifying the E2E functionality and integration under substantial strain to see what the system can sustain, where it breaks, what breaks it, etc.
  • Business Simulation testing: verifying if the people behind the scenes who will be doing this work on a daily basis can effectively perform said work with the systems and functionality that have been put into place, and whether this work can be performed when there is a substantial amount of it.

As we worked to set up the proper tests for the product, we found many opportunities to gain alignment across all of the development teams with our overall testing philosophy: it should be a part of each team’s workflow instead of a final phase removed from the team(s) performing the work. We helped coach each team on delivering value incrementally, and their eventual ownership of where the E2E testing suite impacts their work. LCM brought testing to the program and enabled the teams to absorb it as their own.

I have been impressed with you and team from day 1.

Matthew Kristen, Executive Program Manager, State of Massachusetts

Last Call Media came to the PFML project not just to establish automated testing, but to ask timely, hard questions about how the program was managing dependencies, how the sequencing of each team’s deliverables was planned, and how completed work was being demonstrated; when something wasn’t previously considered or prioritized, LCM made sure to find out why. Through the understanding that our experience in DevOps and application readiness affords us, we sought to shine a light into the cracks of the program, making it possible to deliver, with certainty, a functional and effective product to the constituents of Massachusetts.

Last Call Media takes an immense amount of pride in the difficult work all of the teams performed, and their willingness to embrace the testing processes we implemented within their workflows. With the successful launch of the PFML program, LCM is happy to see further proof of the strength of enabling teams to own 100% of their work.

Expand
Seramount's Online Portal in WordPress

Processes
  • Agile/Kanban
  • Agile/Scrum
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Sean Eddings
  • Art Director
    Colin Panetta

We are proud of the work we did with Seramount.

As one of the more mature organizations in an increasingly competitive field, Seramount needed a multidisciplinary business, creative, and technology partner to help position them as a leader in the constantly changing diversity, equity, and inclusion space. 

Seramount is the result of a consolidation of three businesses: Diversity Best Practices, [email protected], and the events and research divisions of Working Mother Media. Since they also focus on research and consulting, they were looking for an improved membership experience with their gated content and membership portal. They also needed an improved search functionality and tagging system as well as improved ways to track site metrics. 

Our Approach

Seramount engaged Last Call Media to deliver a more focused and compelling narrative to tie the products, tools, and services from those three disparate lines of business together into an end-to-end solution for purpose-driven leaders and teams at Fortune 1000 organizations. 

Our work began with an assessment of the three lines of business through interviews with Seramount leadership and employees who support the delivery of Seramount’s products and services. We then completed a series of structured customer interviews to learn more about how Seramount meets the needs of its customers. We then used that data to build a product roadmap to gain alignment on the customer opportunity and product vision with Seramount leadership. 

We approached building the new Seramount iteratively. Once we had a working prototype, we met with customers again to show them work in progress, to test our vision and to refine it based on their feedback. 

Challenges

Some of the challenges addressed involved building an easy-to-use online portal for Seramount customers and employees to access and update gated content only available with a Seramount membership. We solved one of the major customer challenges by eliminating the need to use passwords to access gated content. On the new Seramount, customers enter their work email and if their employer is a customer, they get an email inviting them to login to Seramount. By requiring employees to use their own accounts, Seramount now has additional data to demonstrate the value of their membership to existing customers. 

 

The final deliverable is a B2B online learning and development platform built on WordPress.

Expand
A modern site home to the treasures of the world.

Processes
  • Agile/Scrum
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Sean Eddings
  • Senior Architect
    Tom Fleming
  • Senior Development
    Tom Fleming

Aligning an aging website with modern organizational goals.

The Center of the Material and Visual Cultures of Religion (MAVCOR) at Yale University sought the expertise of LCM to help bring their aging website in line with their strategic organizational goals. As an online archive of objects of religion, often accompanied by narratives or conversations, the academic source was to behave like an online museum: delivering the user to the content in the most unobstructed way so they can focus on it.

Much like a museum would, it’ll recommend related content for further exploration.

MAVCOR is a unique peer-reviewed publication and community that gathers visual culture and hosts multidisciplinary collaborations of scholars from around the globe. This necessitates a virtual space that is the only one of its kind. Previously confined to the Yale departmental design template, MAVCOR came to us to design and develop a Drupal 7 site to enhance the functionality of their user experience, robust asset management, and spotlight their obvious visual culture.

Different devices show MAVCOR's responsive homepage.

LCM partnered with the MAVCOR team to develop new and enhanced functionality to their Fellow’s Portal, Asset Management, Material Objects Archive, and Search in a visually-centric design honoring their unique and growing community.

The new MAVCOR is a literal and virtual center of publicly accessible collaborative scholarship.

Expand
Massive nightly sync.

Processes
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Sean Eddings
  • Senior Architect
    Rob Bayliss
  • Senior Development
    Rob Bayliss

Yale University Press has a massive collection of over 15,000 unique publications they’ve published over the past 100 years. The Press desired the ability to allow their users to browse, check inventory and purchase items directly from their Yale University Press Drupal site, which required relaunching their site on Drupal 7, integrating their collection management system and an e-commerce and fulfillment solution. After working with another vendor for over three years to get the critical nightly sync from their Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio database to Drupal sync running, Yale University Press was seeking a second opinion. 

Working with Yale ITS and the Press, we successfully implemented a nightly sync that queries their SQL Server for changes made in the last 24-hrs and updates the records in Drupal in under 15 minutes every night at midnight.

Expand
The new DocuWare.com on Drupal.

Processes
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Kelly Albrecht
  • Senior Architect
    Jeff Landfried
  • Senior Development
    Jeff Landfried

Originally built with many cumbersome integrations on an outdated proprietary .ASP CMS platform, DocuWare.com could no longer serve the company’s current and future needs. As the project lead, LCM collaborated with DocuWare’s team spread across four different global locations. With the Drupal panels module, a custom content creation workflow that imported content from multiple distinct systems and built a fully-functional online community was developed. LCM’s integrations with all vital external systems (CRM, document management, and software licensing), as well as the data tunnels established between the website and critical internal systems at DocuWare, allow tens of thousands of customers to share ideas and resources across DocuWare’s regional networks for the first time in the history of the company. The result is a seamless customer experience across all divisions, deployed in under six months.

DocuWare, in the midst of a rebranding effort and needing to refresh its online presence, contacted Last Call Media to update its content management system. Its massive website, with multiple integrations to external servers and an outdated proprietary .ASP CMS, could no longer serve the company’s needs and was not flexible enough for DocuWare’s expected growth trajectory. 

Last Call worked in cooperation with DocuWare’s web services teams in the US and Germany to manage collaboration efforts between four firms in different global locations. This project allowed Last Call Media to take the Drupal panels module to new limits—develop a custom content creation workflow, import content from multiple distinct systems, and build a fully-functional online community. Each firm contributed individual elements of the design, content strategy, and brand development, making this a truly exciting collaborative process.

Last Call’s maintenance of integration with all vital external systems (customer relations management, document management, and software licensing), as well as the data tunnels established between the website and critical internal systems at DocuWare allowed tens of thousands of customers to share ideas and resources across DocuWare’s regional networks for the first time in the history of the company. The result is a seamless customer experience across all divisions, deployed in under six months.

Expand
Continuous delivery to HIAS.

Processes
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Kelly Albrecht
  • Senior Development
    Tom Fleming
  • Art Director
    Colin Panetta

Last Call Media kicked off our relationship with HIAS, the oldest international migration and refugee resettlement agency in the U.S., with a Design and Development Audit. We’ve used our findings from that task to inform strategies and recommendations for both immediate goals and long term projects.

LCM has been assisting HIAS with site-wide User Experience and Design improvements, with services including card sorting exercises, site navigation strategy, and overall recommendations and prototyping.

Additionally, we’ve provided new feature development, such as adding Events listing and browsing capabilities.

We also provide ongoing support to maintain their existing Drupal, WordPress, and other PHP web systems.  

Expand
A Drupal 7 Multi-site Migration to Acquia

Processes
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Sean Eddings
  • Senior Architect
    Rob Bayliss
  • Senior Development
    Jeff Landfried

LCM had the deep level of expertise needed to assist USM with a complex migration to Acquia

In preparation for an upgrade from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7, USM was faced with the need to migrate four Drupal sites based on five codebases from an onsite installation to a hosted environment with Acquia. USM was seeking an experienced group of Drupal architects to work hand-in-hand with their iTech team to determine the necessary functional and configuration changes needed to accomplish the migration. USM had a particular interest in leveraging Acquia’s search capabilities.

The University reached out to Last Call Media to drive the high-level technical planning and heavy lifting of a migration to the Acquia Cloud. The University needed a team with platform migration experience to come in and bridge the gap between Acquia and the University’s internal iTech team to ensure that the launch went smoothly. 

Aside from our experience and planning skills, there were several mission critical pieces of the overall infrastructure that needed to be changed to fit within Acquia’s ecosystem. One of these was the site search. USM had previously used a combination of several open source tools to feed data from several different sources into the site’s search engine. While this solution worked well, it was being cut in favor of Acquia Search, powered by Apache Solr. The University brought us in to build a search platform that would be capable of indexing the content of all of the Drupal sites, and searching either independently (within each site’s own content silo), or across the board. Working closely with the iTech team, we planned and executed the search feature within the new infrastructure, including the configuration of environment specific search, so the University team could iterate and test the site search in the development and staging environments before rolling new features to production. 

The final piece of the puzzle was to bring the site’s performance and security up to Acquia’s standards. We worked hard to make the vast majority of the content cacheable by Acquia’s edge layer, and brought iTech and Acquia representatives together to find resolutions for all of the issues surfaced by Acquia’s Insight reporting. At the end of this process, we performed a successful load test across all 4 sites, effectively proving the sites were ready for launch.

As launch day grew closer, we began to focus on the final details. With iTech’s help, we formulated a simple and clear launch checklist that would keep everyone on the same page when it mattered the most. When the final cutover was finished, we had almost no post-launch issues to address.

The work was completed on a timeline that allowed USM to minimize risk by switching to the new site while the University was on break. USM achieved their goal of a smooth migration to Drupal 7 on the Acquia hosting platform with no down time. 

Expand
Implementing A Digital Media Strategy With Measurable Results

Processes
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Sean Eddings
  • Senior Architect
    Rob Bayliss
  • Senior Development
    Jeff Landfried

Challenged to increase enrollment and retention, the University of Southern Mississippi looked to their existing ongoing relationship with Last Call Media for ways to implement a digital media strategy with measurable results. Last Call Media focused on building a new digital platform for the University that focused on increasing engagement with the University’s primary audiences: prospective and current students by implementing fresh designs with improved pathways and navigation. 

We already knew that USM.edu was an aging Drupal 6 site that was slow and difficult to update under the hood, but furthermore, site admins had little to no visibility into the performance of the platform, coupled with limited functionality and almost no reporting tools. Beyond Drupal 6 quickly becoming end-of-life from a development standpoint, USM agreed that from the marketing ROI perspective, it was time to move to Drupal 8. 

Due to Last Call Media’s long-standing working relationship with the University of Southern Mississippi, we were able to break ground quickly. The marketing and IT teams on USM and LCM agreed to work iteratively by first focusing efforts on launching a pilot site on Drupal 8 and prioritizing additional departments and colleges after the initial launch. This allowed the LCM team to formulate a focused yet creative digital strategy that would get into the hands of the USM audiences faster and allow for user feedback to inform future, more complex, development and content needs. Additionally, USM was able to communicate directly with the Acquia Certified Drupal 8 developers and architecture consultants at LCM, to provide expertise on best practices and development techniques. This direct line of communication with our certified team gave USM confidence in their ability to develop the new Drupal 8 platform alongside us. Some Acquia technologies we used on USM.edu are Acquia Cloud, Acquia Cloud Shield, Acquia Cloud Edge, Acquia Search, and Acquia Ready. The Acquia platform allowed USM to maintain a homogenous interface to their new Drupal 8 product and the workflow tools have allowed internal and external developers to collaborate in building new features and has made the quality assurance and release process consistent and seamless.

Since the relaunch of USM.edu on Drupal 8, feedback on campus has been overwhelmingly positive. The community was engaged and involved along the way, so it was a huge moment on campus when the site went live. 

There have even been some tangible technical results that the school benefited from almost immediately. One of the key results the site achieved was a sub-second page load for the homepage, despite using a video in the hero region. To accomplish this, we worked with the USM development team to obsessively reduce and minify front end assets, prefer CSS over images for presentational styling, and to lazy-load large assets not required for the initial pageview. Throughout the process, we tested using a front-end performance benchmarking tool (Phantomas) to keep us on track and efficient.  

Though the LCM and USM teams were optimistic and bases were seemingly covered, the immediate success or failure of the site, however, rested on its ability to stay up during the initial launch. The University expected up to 85,000 visitors in a day due to our marketing efforts. To meet this goal, we developed and executed a load testing plan, giving the University the confidence and success they expected on launch day. Since its launch, the new USM.edu has been a huge victory and the University continues to see benefits from more in-depth reporting via Acquia, to site admin efficiency, all on a stable and supported Drupal 8 platform. 

Expand
Consulting and continuous delivery.

Processes
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Alex Noonan
  • Senior Architect
    Rob Bayliss
  • Senior Development
    Tom Fleming

Last Call Media pursues work that we feel good about. We engage institutions in the artistic, education, and nonprofit sectors because we believe in what they do. CreativeGround, a product of the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), was exactly the kind of partner LCM wanted to have, and they just happened to be in the market for a new partner when we met them.

CreativeGround is a free online directory of profiles for cultural nonprofits like libraries and theaters, creative businesses like recording studios and design agencies, and artists of all disciplines. They came to LCM looking to escape a pattern that many organizations find themselves in: the design, creation, hosting, and support of their website had been handed off multiple times between different agencies, and some things had been lost in a long game of telephone; they were in a support contract, but didn’t feel supported; they knew they needed to make some big changes to their site, but needed guidance on where to start. They needed a partner that would be both capable and transparent, and help them take their site to the next level.

Understandably, CreativeGround was wary of jumping into another agreement with yet another dev shop, so we started off slow. Through concise communication, thorough support, routine site updates, and honest recommendations over the course of several months, LCM was able to show CreativeGround that it’s possible to have an expert team of developers on their side, with all of their best interests in mind.   

LCM migrated the CreativeGround site from an internal host server— which caused a lot of troublesome deployments due to a complex workflow— to Pantheon. This move offers CreativeGround more control over their own site, increased transparency around the work performed on it, and greater ease when it comes to deploying work and performing site updates. Not to mention, it will save them time and money on all fronts!

Last Call Media has continued to assist CreativeGround with site maintenance and feature development since the switch. They remain one of our favorite partners to work with.

Last Call Media has been incredibly attentive to our unique needs as an arts nonprofit. They’ve gone out of their way to do more than just maintain our site. There’s heart to their work!

Nicholas Medvescek, Website Administrator, CreativeGround
Expand
Getting FITiST fit to startup.

Processes
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Kelly Albrecht
  • Senior Architect
    Rob Bayliss
  • Senior Development
    Rob Bayliss

FITiST is a fitness and lifestyle business that sells a single membership valid at all gyms in a city. The database needed to compile a schedule of all FiTiST-affiliated classes, provide tokens for customer registration, and charge a recurring fee for the membership.

We developed an eCommerce solution that compiles classes from from FITiST-connected gyms into a member-facing scheduling interface, as well as a recurring token payment system to handle class registration purchases.

FITiST became a success in NYC and soon expanded its operation to LA with plans for five more cities to follow.