IT managers and other company leaders may assume that engaging a Microsoft Gold Partner involves consulting agreements, service contracts and outsourced delivery. For some companies, outsourcing of data and service migration to cloud services like Azure might well be the only option.
But what if you’re a software developer who has perfectly good and qualified technical people in-house? Read on to find out how TigerBay leveraged Office365 and Azure to support its growth plans.
With an in-depth understanding of the requirements of specialist tour operators and their customers, TigerBay has built a comprehensive platform that can support travel bookings from simple to complex, and from luxury to budget options. With a deep understanding of the business needs of specialist operators – from villas to camping, sailing to skiing, adventure to escorted tours – TigerBay works with each customer to ensure they have the technology solution to meet their specific needs.
TigerBay needed to have full control over its cloud platform and applications, to enable it to continue to provide a high level of service for its clients whilst enabling better collaboration within its team, and most importantly to allow it to respond to seasonal peaks in demand for its platform.
Microsoft Gold Partner selected to lead deployment
Even though TigerBay is a company full of development experts, they decided to look for an external CSP that understood its needs and challenges. Compete366, an Azure and Office 365 Gold Partner, was selected from a shortlist of Microsoft partners. As Richard Hodge, Technical Director from Tiger Bay explains:
“We were impressed from the outset by Compete366 as they were the only Microsoft Partner where during our initial engagement we spoke to an Azure technical consultant rather than a salesperson. They seemed like a good fit with our business and we got on well as a team. In addition, we got the impression that Compete366 were the right size to care about us and our needs.”
Choosing the Azure cloud platform
TigerBay had decided that it was important to take control of its hosting platform which was being managed internally as part of the bigger group (in several data-centres). Their growth goals would only be achieved by:
Being able to better respond to client demands in a fast timescale
Provide scalability for clients
TigerBay chose Azure over other options such as Google cloud or AWS because it works so well in their environment. As the entire TigerBay technology ecosystem is based on Microsoft and its tools, it means that all of the elements are seamless and pre-integrated.
When TigerBay first engaged with Compete366, they did a piece of work to review their Azure architecture from the perspectives of:
This resulted in Tiger Bay making a number of changes and improvements to their Azure architecture which they implemented before putting their first customer live in Azure.
The key benefit of the Azure platform for TigerBay is that it is scalable to grow immediately, and Azure consumption is tunable up and down based on demand. This is critically important in a seasonal business such as travel. Peak sales periods can vary amongst tour operators depending on their products – and TigerBay needs to be responsive to these. For example, many tour operators experience a huge surge in enquiries and bookings in the post-Christmas to early January timeframe. The Azure platform allows TigerBay to respond to these changes in demand and means that clients only pay for exactly what they use.
Migrating to Office365 collaboration suite
As well as the move to Azure for the client platform, TigerBay also decided to migrate to Office365 in parallel.
TigerBay had originally used the Google suite when it was founded, and then moved to Microsoft when it became part of The ATCORE Group. However, as part of a larger group, TigerBay had found some aspects of collaboration hard – for example resorting to sending documents via email, and accessing shared drives remotely. The time was right to establish a more seamless way of working that was effortless for the team and would allow them to scale and grow. Initially a small number of team members moved across to O365 for a trial and then as soon as that was successful, the rest of the team were migrated across. Micorsoft Teams is now the core communication tool for the business. Every day, there are short 15 minute catch-up calls which allow the company to work to their two week sprint development cycle. Once the platform migration is achieved for all clients, then the planned next steps included ambitions to migrate the in-house phone systems into O365 too.
So why did an ISV / Software Developer need to use Compete366?
It might seem strange that an organisation which develops software as its core business would need to call on the skills of Compete366.
But as Richard explains “We have a good team of developers who are very knowledgeable in our core software development areas. However, Azure is incredibly broad, and we had no-one internally with the networking knowledge required. We needed to move quickly and have ambitious goals to migrate our key customers to Azure by end mid 2020. So I felt that it was important that we had the right back up and advice to call on to make sure we were doing the right thing”.
Using the combined Microsoft solutions has given Tiger Bay a platform for growth, allowing the company to scale as required, in line with its ambitious growth plans. They can easily add on additional licences as they grow, knowing that the consumption-based model works well for a rapidly expanding, ambitious business.
Plans are also in place to move to the Azure SQL Database, and to evolve their architecture, delivering their platform as a service (PaaS) rather than just the Infrastructure (IaaS).
As Carl Morgan, MD of TigerBay explains “By using Compete366, our technical experts have been able to focus on the business of developing world-class platforms for our clients, safe in the knowledge that the cloud platform and collaboration tools that underpin our business are well thought through and fully supported by the certified experts at Compete366”.
Delivering real business benefits
Speed: Moving to an external CSP with certified experts means that TigerBay can respond to clients faster.
Value: Office 365’s bundled products and services have replaced numerous third-party applications delivering improved, connected services at better value.
Effectiveness: the MS Teams tool,along with the rest of the integrated O365 suite has been invaluable for enhanced collaboration and effectiveness.
TigerBay remains engaged with Compete366 through regular monthly calls. Compete366 keeps on top Office 365 developments for TigerBay and makes proactive recommendations as improvement opportunities arise.
If you’d like to find out how we can help you migrate your data to Azure, simply get in touch. We’ll be pleased to help.
Phone or email us to find out more – or book a free, no-obligation call with our technical consultants using the contact form.
“It’s great to work with the Compete366 team, the team members are really knowledgeable, helpful and responsive. No question is too difficult for them. They have really helped us to manage our Azure costs and ensure we have the right environment. When we bring a new customer on-board we can scale up immediately via the Azure portal and quickly make environments available to our customers.”
“We also find that there’s never a heavy sales pitch from them – they are technically focused and recommend what’s right for us.”
Paul Coyne, Rusada
“We had great support from the Compete366 AVD expert, who was really helpful, and guided me through options to tackle issues that arose.”
“The great thing about our AVD set up is that we have a custom set up for each project which Compete366 showed me how to do. And with the scalability and flexibility of AVD – we can meet clients’ expectations and get project users up and running more quickly.”
Amir Dangol, Senior IT Manager, Integrity
“We were immediately impressed with the advice that the Compete366 specialists in Azure Architecture were able to provide. This was all new to us and we really needed some external expertise that we could use to get our questions answered. The beauty of working with Compete366 is that we transferred our Azure consumption to them, and at the same time received all of their advice and guidance free of charge.”
Tim Entwistle, Head of Software Development, Herrco
“Working with Compete366 has been like extending our own team – they are extremely and easy to work with. Right from the outset, it was clear what was on offer – everything was presented to us in a straightforward and uncomplicated way. They also provided just the right level of challenge to our developers and saved us time and money by suggesting better ways to implement our infrastructure.”
Oliver Mackereth, Project Director, Hanse
“Compete366 were able to help us leverage some useful contacts in Microsoft. We really value the expert advice and guidance that they have offered us in setting up a highly scalable infrastructure. We are also setting in place a regular monthly meeting which will allow us to further refine our architecture and ensure we keep on track as our requirements grow and change.”
Matt Brocklehurst, Technical Director - AWOL Adventure
“I have been delighted with the migration, where my team worked very hard, supported by expert advice from Compete366, and achieved everything in the timescale we had set out. Compete 366 made sure that we didn’t make any expensive mistakes, and guided us through the process”