Migrating SharePoint to Azure IaaS

SharePoint on Azure Helped Gain Agility and Reliability

Enjoying fast growth globally, our client, a leading provider of compliance solutions for the life sciences industry, wanted to deploy their cloud based product on to Microsoft Azure® platform to improve business agility and increase customer reassurance. Motifworks Cloud Strategists designed a robust architecture on Azure cloud and helped our client gain in agility, reliability and assured their customers would be compliant with strict industry standards overall increasing market competitiveness.

Overview

Our client, a leading provider of compliance and document management solutions for the life sciences industry, was enjoying terrific growth. However, their private datacenter in the US was a posing a barrier to future larger business acquisition and sustained customer confidence. Growth within their US prospect base, as well as an increase globally, was creating an urgency to improve business agility and increase customer reassurance.

By moving its product to the trusted and agile Microsoft Azure® platform, our client can now not only offer their product to customers seeking an alternative to on-site solutions, but it can also remove the headache associated with managing and maintenance, while also assisting them in meeting strict industry security and compliance requirements.

The Challenge

With the client growing at a fast rate, and significant amount of its new business increasing globally (over 40% of customers outside the US), managing product performance had become more challenging when using only their US based private cloud. This had begun to impede sales and the ability to confidently acquire bigger customers. These customers, by nature, are more concerned with data security, compliance assurance and agility issues, thus seeking even greater assurance.

The client knew they wanted Azure for multiple reasons:

  • Microsoft Azure provided a natural fit for their SharePoint, ASP.NET and SQL Server based application.
  • They had existing knowledge of same toolsets including Visual Studio, SQL Management Studio and System Center 2012.
  • They wanted to work with a cloud that was scalable but also very easy to set up.
  • The trust of the Microsoft brand would help to ease their existing and potentially clients growing concerns.

The client did not have sufficient talent or resources in-house to make the transition. It was important for them to move forward at the speed the market required to stay competitive. It became more evident that moving the product was not as simple as “lift, shift and run”. They did not have full understanding of the Azure platform, or the knowledge on how to best approach the project, nor familiarity with the nuances of working in cloud. This coupled with the fact that the industry they served required a fool proof, zero error and reliable solution, meant the company was at a competitive disadvantage and could not readily or quickly support the potential new business.

The Solution

The client’s proprietary software was built on top of SharePoint 2010, and in 2013, we worked in the compatibility mode. After Motifworks’ Cloud Strategists performed a thorough evaluation and project assessment, it was determined the first priority was to decide on the best design and optimal architecture of their application in Azure. The goal was to ensure it was 100% reliable, secure, and accessible; while also meeting performance needs and meeting their client requirements.

Our team provided the client with the following:

  • Designed the most effective and secure Cloud Architecture

    This led them to seek the expert advice and knowledge of Motifworks and its team of Cloud Strategists and Azure Specialists. Starting with the right architecture was key. Due to privacy and compliance requirements, and the nature of the highly regulated life sciences industry, the goal was to design a fully isolated single-tenant environment in Azure, and still make it simple for the client’s team to manage and monitor the different customer environments, while maintaining optimum security.

  • Maximized and incorporated flexibility and compliance of Global Data Centers

    The client wanted to use the Global data centers provided by Azure to facilitate hosting their global customers closest to where they were physically located, as well as improve the latency and help to meet regulatory requirements of some of European countries.

  • Created a robust and fool proof Disaster Recovery strategy

    The MW teams designed fool proof disaster recovery plans and protocols to meet the client’s needs. Various scenarios and cost analysis were delivered for SLA in one week, one day and one hour. The subsequent Disaster Recovery strategy and cost effective plan allowed the client to offer their customer optimum reassurance, minimize the impact of downtime or lost data, and present a more secure and robust product and service.

  • Provided Thorough Cost Analysis and Planning

    The client had a clear understanding of what this project would cost and the subsequent impact to its business. By providing thorough cost analysis and planning Motifworks helped the client determine total cost of ownership, as well as design pricing models/structure of their product in Azure to accommodate the different sizes of their customer base.

  • Improved Business Competiveness and New Sources of Revenue

    Working with the client, the Motifworks Azure Specialist reviewed a la carte menus. MW helped determine how Azure could best provide flexibility, provide a clear differentiator where needed, and develop a more robust suite of offerings to the client’s customers. This allowed the client to use Azure to offer their customer increased customer assurance, design different DR levels based on RTO and RPO, and to facilitate an upsell opportunity to their offering.

The Benefits of Working with Motifworks

In the critical Phase 1 of this two part project –The Motifworks team of Cloud Strategists and Azure Specialists played a key role in partnering with the client to successfully design and deploy their product on Azure. The client’s Azure offering has helped to significantly increase agility, assure solid disaster recovery and contingency planning, as well as assure overall business competitiveness and market leader positioning. This resulted in a dramatic positive impact in the client’s customer confidence and assurance wherever they may be operating worldwide.

The Challenges

  • Managing the products’ performance had become increasingly challenging using only their US based private cloud
  • Impeding sales and the ability to confidently acquire bigger customers
  • Lack of in-house talent with expertise in Azure
  • Moving their product on Azure was not as simple as “lift, shift and run”

The Results

  • Designed the most effective and secure Cloud Architecture
  • Created a robust and fool proof Disaster Recovery strategy
  • Clear and full understanding of total cost of ownership in cloud
  • Improved Business Competitiveness and new sources of Revenue