Pete is a VP of Technology at ThreeWill. Pete’s primary role is driving the overall technology strategy and roadmap for ThreeWill. Pete also serves as ThreeWill’s Hiring Manager and is constantly looking for new talent to join the ThreeWill family.
Hello everybody. My name’s Pete Skelly. I’m a principal consultant and Director of Technology here at ThreeWill and I’d like to thank y’all for joining me today. We’re going to do a quick presentation on the new business operating system what ThreeWill’s calling the new business operating system and discuss the combination of Microsoft 365, Microsoft’s Azure and on-premises products and how they can create value for your business.
So, let’s dive right in. We’ve done this presentation a couple of times and typically I start off and explain Why Live Event. So, in October of 2014, we published a white paper that really described what we call the new business operating system and why we believe that the new business operating system really provides some compelling opportunities for enterprise collaboration, increases in productivity, and innovation.
Second, we wanted to share how we see clients using the Cloud today. For most of our clients, hybrid is their reality. So, really explaining that the hybrid environments in Cloud on your terms is really what the Enterprise Cloud is going to be like for quite a while.
Then finally to discuss some benefits and success stories that ThreeWill’s learned over the course of about the last two years moving clients to the Cloud, working on some proofs and concepts, and also find out how some folks are using the Cloud offerings today from Microsoft and from other vendors and how that hybrid story is playing out.
First, the Cloud means a lot of things to a lot of people. There’s a lot of … some information about the Cloud that, frankly, can be cloudy. Pun intended. So, let’s define some terms. To start off, Cloud computing can be a really scary topic to a lot of folks. A lot of clients are very concerned about moving to the Cloud. They often have concerns about compliance or how do I move an existing app? What does it mean for Microsoft 365? What does it mean for my users? What does it mean for my investment and share points? So, let’s start with some terms and some models, some delivery models and then we’ll dive into a little bit about what the new business operating system actually is.
So, to start, the first delivery model is something that everyone’s familiar with. It’s the traditional IT Model where you own the entire stack of delivering and application. So, from the networking physical storage, the actual server hardware managing the OS all the way up through any data that you have to provide, disaster recovery solutions, the application itself and all the clients that would consume it. These can be on-premises, they can be private in a private Cloud like PC Mall or Rackspace, and they can also be in public Clouds like Microsoft Azure.
The second hosting model, or delivery model, is an infrastructure as a service and this is when you start to move to managing some of your infrastructure as a managed service. So you begin by virtualizing some hardware, some storage and a portion of the OS. These can be on-prem, these can be, again, in the Cloud with a private provider like PCM, Rackspace and also with Azure or another Cloud provider. The key here is moving up that stack so that you’re concerned with less of the physical hardware and less of the management of that infrastructure for servers and hardware even to the point of patching some of that OS. You may be responsible for some of it, but you’re moving up that stack.
The next delivery model is platform as a service and platform as a service, or PAS provides a solution as a service typically built on top of infrastructure as a service, or IAS. This can be provided, again, on-prem, private or public situations and here the focus pulls all the way up to the top of the stack to where you’re more concerned with your applications and your data. We’re less concerned with the OS, that’s even taken out of our hands, in most cases. We’re very concerned with how the data and the applications provide value to our business.
Then finally, there’s a business model which is software as a service and this is a full solution. So, SAS, or software as a service, is a business model where everything is delivered to you from networking storage, servers, data, the application itself. You’re consuming that service and you may have multiple clients, a desktop, a laptop, a phone, etc.. This is just one perspective. If we take a different look at how those delivery models are consumed, you begin to see a little bit of a different picture. So, in an IAS, or infrastructure as a service delivery model, we’re typically going to migrate to it. So the physical resources we may take those physical resources and actually package those physical resources up and put in a new, or an old Legacy system on a new virtual machine management system in the Cloud. So taking something like an old accounting application that has to run on Windows server 2003 or Windows XP and actually putting that up into the Cloud using infrastructure as a service, that’s one way of migrating to infrastructure as a service, or one of those delivery models.
The second, in a platform as a service, we’re typically going to build on it. So, in platform as a service, or PAS, we build the solution on top of the platform typically something like e-mail or storage. We’re going to interact with the compute cycles or we’re going to consume some of the data storage for image processing, for example. So, we typically build on top of an operating system. All the middleware may be provided to us. Some of the frameworks may be provided to us and this enables us to customize and build applications that are really providing our business value and not having to worry about some of those resources that are in the infrastructure data center physical resources.
Then finally, from a SAS, or a software as a service perspective, this is really the [consume 00:07:19] it model. So with a SAS solution, you’re consuming the entire app, UI, configuration, across multiple devices, etc. This is a different perspective and the reason I have the shading here will become a little more apparent in a different slide. So, remember how that shading appears.
There are also four compute patterns that are often associated with challenges that the Cloud delivery models address. The first computing pattern is On/Off. So this is typically used for development tasks, or prototyping, very intermittent compute needs. Think here of business intelligence processing, or nightly processing call center data for reports and this is all things that you would typically over provision hardware for. You’re just going to have something running for a short period of time and then it’s going to be off for quite a while and then run again in the future.
The second compute pattern is Growing Fast and this represents pattern of growth in which it’s unlikely that you can provision hardware fast enough to respond to increases in need for your application. Think of Facebook, or Twitter, probably Snapchat or any of the consumer apps that kind of take-off and grow extremely fast. They have zero deployment lifetime so they need hardware as quickly as possible and typically you can’t think of, “How am I going to deal with that?”
The third compute pattern is Unpredictable Bursting and this unexpected growth. So, my service or application may be going along perfectly and then I have this giant spike. Here you might think of something like when Ashton Kutcher tweets about he’s going to back your start-up and you get billions of hits to your website instantly. There’s no way you can predict that, but the Unpredictable Bursting model is something that you have to deal with.
The fourth compute model is predictable bursting. This is for things like seasonal, or predictable loads. Things that are cyclical, tax calculations, for example, seasonal staffing. If you’re a logistical company that needs to have an increase in staff or a retail industry that needs to increase staff and compute time for some of your retail operations. You know those things are coming so you can actually compute … you can deal with compute needs you’re going to have based on those cyclical needs.
We talked a little bit about Cloud delivery models and about the compute patterns that they can address. So, let’s dive a little bit deeper with what we mean by that operating systems analogy. First, the new business operating system really starts with that top layer, an application layer if you will. On a desktop operating system, we’re all familiar with using different applications: e-mail, word, word processor, any app that you can think of. With the new business operating system, this is now a transparent layer. You have to be able to consume applications from a browser from an android or IOS device, desktops, laptops. I can use all of them in this application layer, but I also have to have access to things like business apps, not just things like Microsoft 365, or Yammer, or my typical office productivity apps.
The second layer of the new business operating system is a security layer. With a traditional desktop operating system, I typically want to know who the user was for audit reasons, perhaps I wanted to have group policies that provisioned applications, might want to know what they were accessing, might want to be able to say which locations on this they could save files, etc. With the new business operating system, I need to know that as well, but I need a mechanism that is going to work in that transparent mobile world. I need something that will enable my identity and my user’s identity to be location transparent and more and more [O-Off 00:11:53], specifically [O-Off2 00:11:55], is being that security mechanism that providers are using to enable that transparent, or location transparent identity and still provide things like audit access, group management, etc.
The third layer is a services layer and in the traditional desktop world when you use something like Microsoft Word, or PowerPoint, or Excel and you click Save, I doubt that anybody really cared about how that document got saved, but there were services that are taking care of this. In the new business operating system is no different. In the new business operating system we just have those services at a higher level, things like e-mail, task, calendar, search, workflow and many others, but I’m not limited to just consuming Microsoft 365’s APIs. I can consume my custom business APIs or services and third party services. I can also consume other Cloud services from other providers as well.
Finally, the fourth layer of an operating system traditionally deals with things like storage, caching, memory management and a whole host of other things. For example, if I send you a five megabyte Word file and you click Save, you’re not thinking about thread management, or how that file’s going to get stored to disk, or any of that. In the new business operating system, we have that same series of needs for things like scheduling, caching, we have to have hardware that things physically run on, but in Azure … in the new business operating system, the combination of Azure, on-premises services and that operating system layer it manages memory, CPU usage, responds to application needs and it automatically can scale to meet those compute models we just talked about.
So, this is all great, but why is it important and why do we think this is going to help enterprises be more productive and potentially innovate? What problems does this kind of new business operating system really solve? We said that the Cloud, for the enterprise, is about hybrid. So, let’s kind of take a quick step back and look at what a view of your Cloud profile might look like when you’re dealing with moving to solving delivery model and compute pattern problems that we just described and how that new business operating system might help.
So, first there’s the on-premises world. This is that traditional IT, you own everything, on-premises situation. It’s familiar to everybody. Everything on-premises. We’re all happy of consuming maybe SharePoint data and Exchange, etc. and I’m in control of all of this. At some point, my CFO may come along and say, “I’ve heard about the cost savings from the Cloud and I want to start consuming that software as a service for things like commodity services like e-mail, calendaring and this is great. So now we’re starting to dip our toe into the world of the Cloud. I may see some opportunity to use infrastructure as a service for something like that accounting app that I mentioned, something that is a Legacy application that we could potentially package up and move to the Cloud as an infrastructure as a service capacity. This may or may not work perfectly. You may have some adjustments to make, but you can get that service off into the Cloud and maybe mitigate some risk of some old hardware that’s about to fail.
Then you might say, with new projects, we’re going to start to move to the Cloud by creating platform as a service applications, or PAS, solutions that you can develop using SQL storage, for example, or mobile notification features, anything that you can do to kind of pull those services up into that PAS environment and reduce your IT operations burden. At some point, you may have a sales person come to you and say, “You know this is great. I have marketing data that our sales people have put out in the public SharePoint environment and I have private information that is sales related, and sales figure related that I need to make sure that I’m pulling the data from both locations.” How can we deal with that? So, you’re probably going to end up with a hybrid Cloud search situation. So, in this case, you might want to search across SharePoint [and 00:16:52] the Cloud and SharePoint on-prem and actually have a unified search experience.
At some point, you may find another company needs to have services like a private Cloud. For example, I may need to host virtual machines and networkings, etc. outside of my own environment. So, I’m going to probably work with a private hosting company and try to get those IS Services, or infrastructure as a service, into a private Cloud. Maybe I have specific needs for more compliance, or I need more control, maybe we’re ready to go do the Cloud, but not totally ready to go to a public Cloud.
Once we have that private Cloud, we may find that we actually can manage this environment and we do have the need to actually get more benefit from those commodity type services. So we could, potentially, move to a dedicated [inaudible 00:17:49] Microsoft 365 and actually have dedicated services or an isolated environment for those commodity services.
Then we may find that that same sales person, or sales team, that was working with external customers for marketing and sales data now they have to have some integration with additional SAS services, or software as a service, that they’re consuming and their clients are consuming from the public Cloud. So, at this point I may need to integrate with a CRM system, for example in my on-prem or my IS Solutions may also need to save documents back to another public SAS service.
Finally, I may have infrastructure as a service on-prem and using virtual hardware etc. that I need to connect up to the public Cloud IS services for things that might be big data analysis, or I have a factory floor that has IOT devices that I want to update from on-prem to the Cloud, or I want the Cloud to process the data, but I want the reports built internally. So, based on this kind of diagram, or picture of how the Cloud really will operate for most enterprises, the reality is hybrid Clouds are in your future and that new business operating system that we just described helps you interact with this type of Cloud, manage your business processes, and your infrastructure, securely, transparently, and in a really scalable way.
So we talked about what the Cloud is and what the new business operating system. Let’s talk about some of the benefits that we think the new business operating system can provide to your business. The first is the new business operating system really helps you move to the Cloud on your terms. This is the most critical benefit. Since most enterprises are likely to require some sort of hybrid environment, that new business operating system is delivery model independent. You can combine public and private Clouds as we said. You can use e-mail, or storage, any of those commodity type services. You can then use infrastructure as a service to host some CRM application that you have to have that’s Legacy and it’ll take you a while to get off of that. You can combine all of these things on-premises, private, public, and hybrid scenarios, things like search, reporting, big data analysis.
A second way that this enables on your terms architectures is incremental adoption. You can incrementally adopt the Cloud. It’s not an all or nothing situation. You can slowly adopt the Cloud by using on-premises, or a private IS solutions and migrate slowly to the Cloud when you have the opportunity. You can gradually decrease your IS footprint and increase your PAS footprint, or platform as a service, over time as those applications need to be replaced.
Finally, you can consume those SAS services when they make financial and business sense. If you can do it, great. If not, you still have those other options. In the new business operating system enables you to move from on-premises to private and public Clouds transparently. So, I can have new business apps using the new app models, of today, on-premises and this enables me to kind of future proof my applications as I want to move those into the private or public Cloud. This also lets me manage virtual machines across Cloud boundaries with an easily managed, simplified, single control surface for all of my hardware, all of my virtualization needs, and all of my application needs.
The second benefit is it reduces the time you spend on routine maintenance. So, using commodity services like e-mail, SharePoint, link and more decreases your IT operations management service area. The [second 00:22:21] thing is by looking to reduce your IS management and increase your PAS solutions over time, you’re going to spend less time in routine maintenance. As you increase those platform as a service, or PAS, solutions in your environment, you’re also increasing IT’s ability to participate in adding or [inaudible 00:22:45] to the business. You’ve got tons of IT folks that are really smart people that aren’t necessarily wasting their time but spending time on low value tasks when they could spend time really impacting your business because they know a lot about your business.
As just a point of reference, in late 2013 80% of IT budgets were still tied up in routine maintenance. Just think about if you could unlock some of that potential and turn your IT folks loose on helping your business.
So, the third benefit is the new business operating system enables innovation together with Microsoft moving to what’s called the continuous delivery model, this is a really critical change in the way that they do business. So no more three-year product life cycles, no more waiting for SharePoint 2007 to 2010, or 2013 and 2016. If you’re using Microsoft 365 or Azure, futures are continuously and incrementally released monthly, weekly, even daily if needed if they have security fixes or critical bugs. This continuous delivery life cycle of products and services means that we have to change as well. So, how we, as consultants, or you, in your particular business, how you provide value has changed.
The second thing is the Cloud moves faster than Moore’s Law. Moore’s Law states that every 18 to 24 months processes will cost half as much to produce and be able to perform twice as many operations. I probably butchered that a little bit, but you get the gist. So, we use this plan to actually plan our business and IT strategies for years. So, according to your two to three year cycle, what did we use to do? License cost, we used to redo licensing agreements every two to three years. We would purchase hardware every two to three years. For servers, we might do a hardware refresh for phones or laptops for our end users, but we’re not constrained by that two to three year cycle anymore. The Cloud moves much faster than Moore’s Law.
Third, the new business operating system allows us to incrementally innovate. So, I can move more and more to those PAS solutions. Once I do that, I can find opportunity to innovate because now I’m not constrained to these two to three year cycles, I can innovate much more quickly and perhaps differentiate myself for my customer from my competitors. So all of these combine to make businesses more efficient, IT more productive and focused on ways to innovate.
The fourth benefit is that the new business operating system promotes process cohesion. If we look at a traditional full stack application, typically you’re required to create and deliver everything in that application. So, let’s take a look at kind of theoretical, hypothetical onboarding solution. So, if I were going to onboard a large amount of users I had to build the entire solutions provision hardware, patch the OS, I had to go through and make sure networking was set up correctly. As far as integration with other systems in that middle tier in that PAS layer that we would typically think of now, I had onboarding functions that were specific to my business value, security issues, but all the way up that stack, I was responsible for everything. This solution does not scale well. For those delivery models that we discussed earlier, those delivery models and compute patterns are limiting to me in this environment.
So, the new business operating system promotes a more cohesive process in application. If we were to build that onboarding process today, we might start with our business logic and really figure out how can I provide that as more of a service that can be consumed across multiple layers? Well, if I start with a service from my onboarding logic then I can start to consume other PAS services like storage. I can consume an e-mail service. I can start to integrate with other third party apps that they’re responsible for their own infrastructure as a service or PAS solutions.
Then we can start to think of [inaudible 00:27:28] as a consumer of our services versus something that we’re providing and tightly coupling ourselves to so we can provide SharePoint as an interface, Outlook, and even Word. So, if we’re building on the new application model from Microsoft, I actually have the ability to write even a single code base that can be consumed from those three environments.
This trend of cohesive business processes, things that are tightly defined and very small and composable compact services. It’s not new. It’s not kind of the nouveau thing, but it does hint at a larger trend. So, if everybody’s using the same SAS solutions, or consuming some of these PAS solutions how do you differentiate? Well, if you start to notice these little changes you can start to look at how are these things going to impact me, long term? What are the bigger changes that are coming? Increasing the number of PAS services that you have over time will increase your integration opportunities exponentially. So, this is really where innovation can start to occur.
The fifth benefit is this stack is technology agnostic. The new business operating system enables us to use the right tool for the job. So, if you are familiar with .Net, and ASP .Net, and C#, and SQL server, etc., then go ahead and use those tools in your tool bag. But, if you have a different tool bag and, you have a different skill set, or different business needs you might want to use the LAMP stack, you know using Linux and Apache and PHP may be what your developers internally know and you’re not constrained to that anymore. If these things make sense, use them. A frequently asked question is: why would I not use a relational database, or why wouldn’t I use a document store for this? Now, you can do those things when developing Office and SharePoint solutions.
As your business grows, you’re going to see new opportunities to innovate and those opportunities may require some new architectures or software designs. So this new business operating supports massive scale and all those compute models. There are a variety of services that you can consume from storage and mobile messaging and, all sorts of things. These are all possible so using high [through 00:30:12] put processing for IOT media services and more. Those things are not only going to be available to you, but you also have to think of, “If I take a dependency on another PAS service, how do I create a resilient design that can compensate for some of these failures that might occur?” Networks will go done. Services will have interruptions. There is no such thing as 100% uptime. So, you’re going to have to learn to look at some new opportunities for architecture and design.
Finally, the new business operating system gives you the freedom to choose the right technology based on your business scenario. So, if you look at SharePoint, Outlook, Custom Web, Web Axe, and Workflow for your departmental processing needs, you can also use the new business operating system for media integration, IOT, Power BI, and SharePoint, all those things. So, when you find something that is critical for your business to be successful, you can utilize the new business operating system to impact that change and you’re not driven by technology. You’re driven the solution … the problem you’re trying to solve, the right solution.
So, to recap the five benefits of the new business operating system really, if you look at the top benefit on your terms architectures, it’s really what this new business operating system is about and what ThreeWill’s really trying to kind of explain this to some of our customers and reduce some of this anxiety about moving to the Cloud. It’s not an all or nothing proposition. You can move to the Cloud on your terms and get all of these benefits out of moving to the Cloud.
So, some success stories. We created, about 18 months ago, a perfect concept application that was an Azure based sales enablement application called Popcorn. This was a contextual based search application that aggregated content across multiple SAS services. So, this really proves that kind of those cohesive services that once you start to combine them, you can get new powerful applications out of those different services. This not only has search but integration with other technologies like push technologies for mobile phones, dial technologies. So from a search result actually being able to dial my phone and start a conversation with someone.
We had a recent client that we completed a seasonal staffing application for so that onboarding application, that fictitious example isn’t so fictitious. It’s a real world example of an Microsoft 365 intranet and an Azure based public facing web application that eliminates a paper based, Excel based hiring and termination process. The internal processes for approval, routing, some of the process automation, all the status management, and internal HR review process, that’s all handled within Microsoft 365. The background checks and integration with termination process and hiring and payroll all those are done from the Azure side, but this is a great example of that predictable burst pattern. So consuming Microsoft 365 commodity services, the intranet, and the HR staff go about their business on a daily basis and just perform their job like normal. As their season starts, that cyclical need for compute power it’s automatic.
The third example is a hybrid search environment that we created for a client that needed to have search from on-premises and an Microsoft 365 environment actually deliver aggregated search results. They needed single sign on, they needed people that were external to an office be able to actually log-in, search o-premises data, and Microsoft 365 data but get an aggregated search results.
The fourth example is an IOS application proof of concept that we wrote that uses Microsoft 365 and Azure to access SharePoint documents and SharePoint document libraries using single sign-on from Microsoft 365 provide native capabilities of the IOS device like search, offline storage, sharing, texting, etc. This was an application that really kind of suits the need of, if I need to have an application that really has native functionality and pushes into that familiar experience that users have as consumers, it’s more than possible. I can integrate with all of Microsoft 365 and Azure from different devices today.
Finally, we’ve recently completed an infrastructure as a service based SharePoint 2013 portal for a law firm. This portal is an IS based for clients and matters which enable internal users to have that single sign-on experience, external users, their clients, to actually log-in and access resources all using infrastructure as a service to manage and house a complete SharePoint 2013 [form 00:36:08] because they needed some special features, they had some special code that needed to run and this enabled IT full control of that environment.
In summary, the new business operating system really lets you provide value to your business by consuming those Microsoft 365 commodity services like e-mail, and SharePoint, and link. It can also help reduce long term costs gradually by letting you reduce your on-premises IAS needs and increase those PAS solutions over time.
As hopefully, we’ve made a case for hybrid Cloud is probably in your future. It is the enterprise Cloud. Using the new business operating system can help flatten that control plain that IT, operations and your enterprise has to deal with in order to manage that hybrid environment.
Finally, ThreeWill can help define your business application profile and see how that new business operating system can help start moving you to the Cloud today. In probably a final note, the Cloud isn’t just about compute power and, the cost of storage. Many people say it’s a race to the bottom as far as storage costs, etc. To us, the decision about using hybrid Cloud is about creating new opportunities, finding new ways to use the data and provide value to your business by moving to these different compute models and finding ways that the new business operating system can add value to your business today and in the future.
Hopefully, the Cloud is a little less scary at this point. Thanks for everybody’s attention. Here’s some of my information. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail, or ask any questions. There are my social media handles, so if you want to talk to me on Twitter @pskelly, or @ThreeWillLabs, and thanks for your time.