DevOps, Automation, and Business Outcomes
Today many customers hear terms like Digital Transformation, Automation, and DevOps ad nauseam, and understandably so. These terms are being tossed around and overused in much the same way “cloud” was a few years back. If you filter out all the noise, what you will find is that there is a real positive impact that can be achieved by adopting these practices. Automation without having a positive impact to the business is not true Digital Transformation; It’s the outcomes that matter. There are some inherent properties of Automation that are quite valuable to a business especially when the focus is on the outcomes rather than the technology itself. A few outcome examples are: Speed, Agility, Accuracy, Reliability, and Consistency. All of these outcomes are the cornerstones to any good IT shop and help clients quickly recognize their benefit. The question then becomes how does this translate to business outcomes?
One or Presidio’s customers is a shipping and logistics company that has been in business 70+ years. The client recognized that their IT systems were in need of some updating and wanted to make sure they took advantage of technology to provide better service to their customers. Logistics are hard, and tracking deliveries is not an easy thing to do. There are many considerations such as – When was the package delivered? Who signed for it? Is the backend system up to date? When does finance generate an invoice? When does the customer get notified? The list goes on and on. These systems need to be completely aware of each other in as close to real-time as possible. The company recognized a huge opportunity to enhance their driver/carrier’s capabilities, which could also simultaneously press them forward with improved logistical visibility and better invoicing; all of which are key factor of their business.
Logistics Meets Cloud and Automation
Presidio worked with the client to deliver a new software stack at lightning speed through automated workflows leveraging AWS Code Pipeline, Code Deploy, and a slew of other services. Each time a new feature is checked into the code commit repository, AWS Code Deploy delivers it seamlessly into production via AWS Elastic Container Services (ECS). Deploying new software used to take months, but now it can be brought down to just a few minutes.
The client’s trucking services are often in areas where there is limited internet access, so the use of progressive web application (PWA) based technology allows for caching and offline use of their application. This in conjunction with AWS CloudFront CDN caching services allows for high-performance mobile applications even under difficult conditions. With this new technology in place, the client’s drivers are empowered to do their job with confidence and allow the central logistics and end customers to know when a package has been delivered successfully. This real-time visibility allows the client to report immediately on the status of all their deliveries giving valuable insights to the business. In the past, notifications and invoices used to take weeks and now are possible within an hour or two.