Case Study
Cloud Baselining
International software provider

THE TASK

Cloud Baselining for current initiatives and goals in the context of private/public cloud. Roadmap development including rough project planning and task identification in the areas of architecture, operating models, IT security and data protection. Strategic consulting for a new offering of cloud-based software products to end customers.

ABOUT THE COMPANY

For more than 30 years, the customer has been an internationally active provider of specialty software in the field of medication approval. Other special software products are also developed, so the company offers a diverse range of products to its end customers such as international small and medium-sized enterprises, large corporations and public administrations.

Due to the very high relevance of the approval of drugs to the end customer, the software is classified as critical and highly sensitive. It enables the end customer to quickly approve products and thus complete the sometimes very expensive development of drugs and market their products. Delays in approval are equivalent to considerable losses and delays in earnings.

4

month
duration

15

customer
employees

5

direkt gruppe
employees

10

business and
IT goals developed

10

cloud and non-cloud
roles identified

500

PDs internal cloud
resources restructured

THE CHALLENGE

The customer had assembled a cloud team some time ago and had gained initial experience in the private and public cloud sector. Due to the high potential of using the cloud, it is intended that it will be used more extensively in the company in the future. The developers wanted to integrate various services specifically from the provider AWS (Amazon Web Services) into their products within a medium-term perspective.

However, there were uncertainties regarding compliance, data protection and IT security fundamentals in the public cloud. Further questions arose regarding, among others, best practices for architectural and organizational adaptations and the areas of strategy and product marketing.

In addition, many questions arose amongst the company’s management that could not be answered adequately with the current state of knowledge:

  • What are the short-term and medium-term tasks when more and more people are starting to work with AWS? What efforts are required and for which roles?
  • How can the company develop and ensure a productive and scalable solution portfolio for the end customer?
  • What happens if the number of customers grows by a factor of ten? The goal is that the operating staff does not have to grow by a similar factor.
  • Conservative end customers will not want to work with a public cloud provider as an IT provider in the foreseeable future. How does Account Management deal with this?
  • What needs to be adapted in the areas of product marketing and offering?
  • What IT security and data protection adjustments must be made to meet the strict requirements of large corporations in particular?

During the project, several further questions were identified and sorted, grouped and incorporated into the solution portfolio together with the customer. All in all, there was a comprehensive list of individual questions and ideas from the client’s stakeholders.

In cooperation with AWS, direkt gruppe and the customer should work together to answer these questions through the experience of the direkt gruppe and jointly find a solution so that the customer’s valuable internal resources can be focused on concrete goals.

OUR PROPOSED SOLUTION

The initial situation shown here exists in many companies: There are already activities in the cloud environment, but no ordered structure and objectives or a clear strategic definition of management. Through a joint initial meeting, direkt gruppe helped the customer to sort out their questions and developed an offer to identify further steps through Cloud Baselining.

On the part of the customer, many and sometimes very good ideas already existed among the individual stakeholders. These important inputs from within the company were brought together and moderated during Cloud Baselining with the help of a series of up to six workshops.

A central aspect is that direct gruppe does not bring any objectives or solution ideas to the first appointment. These are developed together with the customer’s ideas and energies so that added value is created for the entire company and the individual areas and roles can work towards a common goal.

In this specific case, we held four workshops at the customer’s site, where prior discussions ensured that the right stakeholders were involved.

In the cloud baselining workshops, various artefacts were worked out with the client:

  • Common understanding of the public cloud and identification of potentials that can be leveraged in this specific case
  • Roadmap for the next 6-12 months
  • Cost estimate (external and internal)
  • 15 Action Packs from necessary Compliance and IT-Security tasks, corresponding definition of roles. For some Action Packs, a responsible person who would like to drive the topics forward was already found during the workshops
  • Pain points that management must take into account
  • Points to be clarified before the project can be started

After the final presentation to the management and the owner of the company, necessary tasks were discussed, and open internal customer topics were addressed. The joint decision was made in favour of the direkt gruppe proposal, so that we could accompany the customer on the way to the cloud.

AWS AS A CENTRAL PART OF THE SOLUTION

With its clear presentation of shared responsibility, AWS helped structure and communicate the necessary tasks to the customer. The customer’s responsibility can be fulfilled with provided AWS services. In the workshops on architecture and adaptation of the software product, various possibilities and corresponding advantages and disadvantages were discussed. The very good documentation of AWS was met with great interest by the customer, so that our architects and project managers could always refer to AWS sources for details.

We found very good support in accompanying the customer in his specific inquiries by those responsible at AWS.

In this project, three parties worked on one goal and successfully developed a solution.

REALISED RESULTS AND POTENTIALS

The structuring of needs, requirements and strategic ideas in the private / public cloud area is one of the key successes of the project. All of the client’s management levels and the implementing colleagues were involved and played a key role in finding the solution.

The project has achieved the following measurable successes:

  • Development of a roadmap for the next 6-12 months involving all relevant stakeholders, to be approved by internal management
  • Written pain points and risks for the path to the cloud and initial mitigation strategies as a proposal for management
  • Estimated effort distributed among approx. 8 roles (or role groups) for the implementation project
  • Identification, separation and appropriate grouping of tasks as well as enabling necessary decisions to focus scarce internal capacities on relevant and targeted tasks
  • Clarification of issues concerning compliance, data protection and IT security in the context of the public cloud and development of a plan for dealing with all issues in cooperation with internal colleagues

STATEMENT FROM THE DIREKT GRUPPE’S PROJECT MANAGER

In this project, we helped the client develop a cloud roadmap for the upcoming months and specified existing tasks and ideas. The effort of the project was relatively manageable, but there were some challenges – like long gaps (due to holidays and stakeholder availability) and the different stakeholder groups with different interests that resulted in a long duration of the project – which made the internal coordination of the project a challenge.

Overall, the project was highly successful, above all because it provided the customer with tangible added value after only a few days of workshops. In the end, management was very positive about the fact that a clear direction was finally apparent and that people were now aware of what needed to be done and who had to do what.

Once again, it has been shown that our concept of Cloud Baselining works excellently and its open structure leads to success even with highly individual customer requirements.

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