Customer Journey – Self-sufficiency

Achieving autonomy in technological integration is a common goal among businesses. However, the journey to self-sufficiency in managing and implementing integration solutions can be complex and daunting. In this discussion, we delve into the structured approach to empowering organizations to own their integration processes. From initial proof of concept to full-scale deployment and beyond, we outline the stages of collaboration, learning, and development that guide a business from reliance on external support to independent operation and innovation using Azure’s integration toolset. Join us as we explore the pathway to integration autonomy, highlighting key milestones, challenges, and strategies for success.

A common request from customers is that ultimately, they want to own their integration, but they need some help getting there. Today, I’m going to talk about what that journey might look like and how we help. So, typically, over time, you want to get from the point where you’re just starting to the point where your development team is actually going on their own, doing their own thing. We’re completely hands-off. Now, what we typically start with is, at the very start, we do some sort of proof of concept, and that’s generally because there are a number of proof points you might want to hit while you’re building your business case.

That might be the evaluation of technology. Does it do what we want? Can we operate it? Can we support it? Costs come in there as well.

Can we prove that the costs that were promised are actually the ones that are experienced? There are also the skills. What skills do we need? What tools do we need? So, this typically is a short project, maybe four or five weeks, where we take a particular business scenario or two and implement that using the integration toolset that we have in Azure.

Now, your team may at this point be shadowing because we want to start building up that knowledge; we want to start getting them involved, but at this point, they might not have enough skill to actually contribute, so they might just be shadowing, seeing what we do and just treating that as a learning experience from that point. Why we’ve got the dotted line here is that’s where your business case is at this point. It’s yes, we’re ready to go down this route. Now, what do we do? Well, the first thing you need is you need the cloud infrastructure in place, and so we then do another project to put your cloud infrastructure in that only needs to be done once, typically, although we can actually look after that on an ongoing basis as a managed service.

And that might take four to six weeks, depending on how complex the environment is that we need to connect to. Most of that is all around designing the network and security and how the Azure toolset is going to interact with the rest of your cloud and whether you’ve got other data centers, other clouds on-prem, all that kind of thing. And what we do then is, during that time, we can start upskilling your team. That might be a bit of classroom training, and then what we do is we then do an initial project to actually build some production-standard use cases on there. You might want to know, well, what is the gold standard for DevOps?

We can start building some of that out. How do we actually solve these particular business scenarios or implement particular patterns? So, we start doing that with us leading it, and your team might then be participants on the same team. We might have a combined team.

And so, you’re coming along on the project with us and learning and just generally just building up that level of skill, building up that level of knowledge. And what we do over time is we flip that around. So, actually, what happens eventually is that you’re leading it, and we’re shadowing and we’re mentoring and we’re providing advice, not necessarily being hands-on. So, ultimately, that will tail off; that mentoring can be quite intensive to start, and over time it tapers off. Maybe we come back now and again to see how you’re getting on.

But ultimately, what we want to do is we want to get you to that point where you are owning your integration, and we’re supporting you, and then you’re taking ownership of it. And that whole thing, depending on how, you know, depending on how fast you absorb the knowledge and how confident you are in what you do, you might be talking three to six months, typically. That’s the kind of length of time it goes from initially looking at it to you’re on your own and you’re doing well. So, a quick overview of what it’s like as a customer to become self-sufficient in integration.

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