We made BI, analytics, and data management even more powerful.
Information Builder’s solutions were available to its customers only for on-premises deployments, while they wanted cloud-based solutions.
They wanted to meet this customer need by making its platform available on AWS.
We helped them engage with AWS Managed Services (AMS) and find a much less costly and 66% faster path to the cloud.
About the Business
For 40 years, Information Builders has been helping customers like Ford Motor Company, U.S. Bank, Ace Hardware, Worldpay, and United Way make critical decisions based on data. The independent software vendor’s business intelligence (BI), data management, and data integrity solutions have open architectures that make it easy for customers of all sizes to integrate Information Builders products into their own systems, often as white-label components.
The Business Challenges
Information Builders solutions were originally available only for on-premises deployments in customers’ data centers. Recently, the company noticed an increasing appetite for cloud-based solutions, even among its largest customers and even for mission-critical systems.
Priding itself on a customer-centric approach, Information Builders wanted to meet this customer need by making its platform available on Amazon Web Services (AWS)—but how? The company had no cloud experience and quickly saw that making the move to AWS independently would take too long and incur substantial new personnel costs that might weaken its ability to respond to customer needs.
Instead, Information Builders engaged with AWS Managed Services (AMS) and found a much less costly and 66 percent faster path to the cloud. “Independently building and managing the kind of platform AMS helped us set up would have taken at least a year and could have resulted in as much as $1 million a year in new personnel costs,” says Dan Ortolani, the senior vice president for worldwide customer services at Information Builders. “Working with AMS, we were able to release cloud versions of our software platform on AWS less than four months after engaging and win more than 10 new cloud customers in the first two quarters. Instead of spending money on new teams, we can continue to focus on innovation, products, and customer value.”v
AWS Managed Services: The Fastest Path to the Cloud
AMS operates AWS infrastructure on behalf of enterprise customers and partners, accelerating their time-to-value in the cloud while enabling them to gain AWS skills and experience at their own pace. Month-to-month contracts and ongoing knowledge transfer keep customers in control and prepare them to shift operations responsibility in-house when ready.
Working with AMS and 2nd Watch, an AWS Partner Network (APN) Premier Consulting Partner that AMS helped Information Builders procure for systems integration services, the company released Information Builders Cloud on AWS. The new cloud offering combines the powerful BI, analytics, and data management solutions Information Builders is known for with the improved performance, lower upfront investment, and greater flexibility and scalability available on AWS. Information Builders Cloud integrates with AWS services like Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Athena, Amazon Redshift, and AWS Auto Scaling.
“2nd Watch assisted us in standing up Information Builders Cloud within AMS’s environment on time and on budget,” says Ortolani. “AMS, 2nd Watch, and our own team meshed seamlessly, and the whole engagement was a very positive experience.”
One of the most compelling parts of the Information Builders case for using AMS was the secure and compliant AWS Landing Zone that the service creates for each customer—usually within days of engaging. “Working on our own, it would have taken us a long time to be able to offer our customers the SLAs and compliance tools they need,” says Ortolani. “It’s very reassuring for us—and a strong selling point for our customers—that, by working with AMS, we inherit the extremely robust security and compliance capabilities AWS is known for and can rest easy knowing AMS is monitoring and taking proactive action in these areas.”
To move Information Builders solutions to the cloud quickly while avoiding post-migration pain, AMS and Information Builders performed minimum viable refactoring. Although Information Builders’ plans include further modernization of its applications and expanded use of native AWS services to unlock even more value in the cloud, the company is pleased with how much this relatively simple first phase accomplished.
“AMS’s minimum-viable-refactoring approach has already enabled us to offer one-stop shopping in the cloud for the full stack of our software offerings, and that is really resonating with existing and new customers alike,” says Melissa Treier, vice president of corporate sales at Information Builders. “We’re redefining our place in the marketplace with a new go-to-market strategy, including new bundles and pricing strategies, and really we’ve barely scratched the surface of what we can accomplish on AWS.”
Maintaining Customer Focus with AWS
Offloading commodity infrastructure tasks to AMS helps Information Builders focus even more intently on innovation, product development, and customer service. “By enabling us to avoid the cost of a new cloud infrastructure team, our AMS engagement frees up funds we can invest in areas that more directly advance our cloud goals,” says Ortolani. “For example, we are working on an Information Builders offering for the AWS Marketplace and exploring how to make best use of containerization in the cloud.”
With Information Builders Cloud on AWS, the company can be sure it is delivering the best possible customer experience. “In on-premises deployments, customers are running our software on disparate hardware and might not always be using the latest version, both of which can lead to problems and complicate support,” says Ortolani. “Customers who use Information Builders Cloud on AWS are always running the latest release on the optimal hardware, so we can be sure they are having the intended experience and are benefitting in real time from our innovations.”
Information Builders says its customers—both existing ones and new wins like Travel and Transport and the City of Brampton in Ontario, Canada—see value in both the company’s partnership with AMS and its use of AWS technologies.
“Our customers perceive greatly reduced risk and complexity in engaging with us specifically because of our AMS engagement and the fact that we are running Information Builders Cloud on AWS,” says Treier. “In addition to helping us get onto AWS so quickly, our partnership with AMS makes for a compelling value proposition that helps us differentiate against competitors based on the simplicity we are offering customers.”