Posts

TechConnect IT Solutions_Data

Digital Transformation with Data

TechConnect IT Solutions_Data

Harnessing Data to drive effective digital transformation

The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear that businesses need to be prepared for flexible, remote working practices.

As lockdowns forced offices to close and people headed home to limit the potential spread of the virus, many organisations found they weren’t prepared to provision the necessary work from home (WFH) technology and processes for their staff to continue with business as usual.

As a result, businesses have been required to undertake (or accelerate) a significant digital transformation journey to get up to speed. As these transformation journeys roll out, the need to harness data effectively becomes more critical than ever for a successful, long term change. Here’s what you need to consider.

A strategic approach

Before beginning a digital transformation, it’s critical to have a strategy in place to explain how you will manage, store, secure and use your data. Yet, this is a step that’s often forgotten in the rush to transform and digitise processes.

A data strategy should be driven by the needs of your business. Your strategy will also define how to make decisions about the use of data, more capably manage data flow, and secure information effectively.

Any successful plan will identify realistic goals along with a road map for rolling it out. This ensures that you’re properly prepared for every step of the journey.

Beginning the journey

A digital transformation unshackles an organisation from the past. It empowers you to move into the future, free of outdated technology and slower manual processes.

For example, take mobile and cloud technology. While we were once restricted to an office environment for productive working, it’s now possible for geographically diverse teams to collaborate as efficiently as they would in a traditional office setting. Files, apps, and other resources can all be accessed remotely, and meetings held virtually, giving workplaces and workforces the ability to be truly flexible.

However, the reality of a digital transformation is that with staff spread across locations, there are a range of new infrastructure management issues to consider. Chief among these is data security.

Keeping data safe is vital as users access business networks and devices remotely, often without the protection provided by robust on-site architecture. It’s important to decide how you’ll service and secure company devices, and how to make sure users and the data they handle and generate will be protected, and implementing those systems early.

Harnessing the power of data

With a clear data strategy in place and your digital journey underway, you can start to take advantage of the power of your data and use it to drive improved decision-making internally and externally.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can be used to sort your unstructured data, learning as they go to uncover valuable insights. Once the data has been cleansed, you can enrich it by adding third-party data or public datasets to uncover more hidden insight.

The adoption of AI and ML also frees your people for bigger picture tasks. Instead of manually sorting through stacks of data, they can concentrate on delivering valuable and creative work powered by the insights you’ve identified – ultimately working towards the goals outlined in your data strategy.

Gathering data helps to deliver external benefits to your business too. It can improve customer service by identifying current pain points or uncover new customer segments for targeting – the possibilities are endless!

The lesson in the journey

Businesses shouldn’t underestimate the change that needs to be undertaken in digital transformation journeys. They require significant planning and thought before beginning. However, while the challenge is large, data can make the journey less difficult and more successful.

Accessible, accurate and relevant data enables businesses to make better informed decisions and deliver actionable insights. And by establishing a data strategy up front, you can better understand, apply and secure your data to meet the needs of your organisation.

If you’re asking yourself questions such as “Are we doing things the right way?” or “Can we do this better?” why not get in touch and let’s explore how TechConnect can deliver results for your business as you undertake a digital transformation.

AWS Lambda Specialty - Australia Partners

AWS Service Delivery Program for AWS Lambda

30 November 2016 – TechConnect IT Solutions, Making Your Cloud Journey a Success, announced today that it has achieved AWS Service Delivery Partner status for AWS Lambda.

The AWS Service Delivery Program is designed to highlight AWS Partner Network (APN) Partners who have a track record of delivering verified customer success for specific Amazon Web Services (AWS) products.

The AWS Service Delivery Program was recently launched to help AWS customers find qualified APN Partners that provide expertise in a specific service or skill area. To qualify, partners must pass service-specific verification of customer references and a technical review, meaning customers can be confident they are working with partners that provide recent and relevant experience.

AWS Lambda Partners provide services and tools that help customers build or migrate their solutions to a micro-services based serverless architecture, without the need to worry about provisioning or managing servers.

TechConnect, an Amazon Web Services Advanced Consulting Partner, is proud to participate in the AWS Service Delivery Program for AWS Lambda” said Mike Cunningham, CEO. “Our dynamic team assist organisations to deliver applications in the cloud using elastic serverless architectures. Applications built with no servers means a truly elastic and resilient architecture that grows with you.”

TechConnect build robust and secure serverless architectures with Amazon S3, Amazon Content Distribution Network, Amazon Route53, Amazon Certificate Manager, Amazon API Gateway, Amazon Lambda, Amazon RDS and\or Amazon DynamoDB.

DevOps in the Amazon Web Services Cloud

Are you game?

Gaming Solutions built on the Amazon Cloud

The time is now for Online Gaming

Not so long ago we spoke about the The Future of Cloud Services for Online Gaming and pointed out some of the fear uncertainty and doubt (“FUD”) surrounding online gaming software  providers and gaming operators deploying gaming solutions in the Amazon Web Services cloud.  Much of the concern came from ambiguous text surrounding illegal content and questionable activities.  Shown below as an excerpt from the previous version of the Amazon Acceptable Use Policy circa February this year.

“…

No Illegal, Harmful, or Offensive Use or Content

You may not use, or encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to use, the Services or AWS Site for any illegal, harmful or offensive use, or to transmit, store, display, distribute or otherwise make available content that is illegal, harmful, or offensive. Prohibited activities or content include:

  • Illegal Activities. Any illegal activities, including advertising, transmitting, or otherwise making available gambling sites or services or disseminating, promoting or facilitating child pornography.


…”

Today it is a very different matter due to the update on the 16th September 2016, note the omission of any statements with regards to gaming.

“…

You may not use, or encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to use, the Services or AWS Site for any illegal, harmful, fraudulent, infringing or offensive use, or to transmit, store, display, distribute or otherwise make available content that is illegal, harmful, fraudulent, infringing or offensive. Prohibited activities or content include:

  • Illegal, Harmful or Fraudulent Activities. Any activities that are illegal, that violate the rights of others, or that may be harmful to others, our operations or reputation, including disseminating, promoting or facilitating child pornography, offering or disseminating fraudulent goods, services, schemes, or promotions, make-money-fast schemes, ponzi and pyramid schemes, phishing, or pharming.
  • Infringing Content. Content that infringes or misappropriates the intellectual property or proprietary rights of others.
  • Offensive Content. Content that is defamatory, obscene, abusive, invasive of privacy, or otherwise objectionable, including content that constitutes child pornography, relates to bestiality, or depicts non-consensual sex acts.
  • Harmful Content. Content or other computer technology that may damage, interfere with, surreptitiously intercept, or expropriate any system, program, or data, including viruses, Trojan horses, worms, time bombs, or cancelbots.

…”

As far as we can tell, the FUD is now a thing of the past.  Embrace the future and the powerful elasticity of the cloud.

Gaming Solutons for AWS Cloud

Online Gaming in the Cloud

Gaming Solutions built on the Amazon Cloud

The Future of Cloud Services for Online Gaming

The Ultimate Marriage

Cloud Computing and Online Gambling is like the series How I Met Your Mother, you know the outcome but the journey to the end of the series is filled with failed relationships, trials, tribulations and the most beautiful moments! We all live for those moments and there is one on the horizon waiting for us.

Cloud and Online Gaming\Gambling are a match made in heaven! There are certain key aspects that align well to the industry these include:

  • Peak Load scalability, why buy hardware for a peak load that occurs once a year when you can scale on demand?
  • Distributed Denial of Service (“DDoS”) mitigation comes as part of the service.
  • Agility, move into new markets in days not weeks or months.
  • Test new markets: fail early, fail fast allows experiments to occur more often with minimal financial impact.
  • Perfect for disaster recovery solutions.
  • Access capability that your budget would typically never allow.
  • Your challenge here

“BUT UM”

In the words of Robin Sherbatsky, “BUT UM” is this legal and allowed?

The online gambling industry has always been at the front of the technical curve but when it comes to the adoption of cloud based technologies they have historically been constrained by the highly regulated environment that they operate in.

Traditional enterprises, faced with highly competitive economic forces, have not been constrained by the same and have adopted cloud technologies in pursuit of competitive advantage. They have effectively paved the way in formulating an approach that balances risk and reward as can clearly be seen in the graphic featured later in this post.

For the gambling industry, the first step into the cloud does not have to be the critical production workload, in fact there are a number of auxiliary workloads that are probably better suited. Examples of these types of workloads are Content, Data Feeds, Big Data Analytics, Development and Test Environments.

An excerpt below from the Amazon Web Services’ Acceptable Use Policy clearly addresses the issue of illegal activities. In today’s highly regulated markets and legal framework for online gambling operators, they are clearly operating in a LEGAL environment no matter what your personal bias may be.

“…

No Illegal, Harmful, or Offensive Use or Content

You may not use, or encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to use, the Services or AWS Site for any illegal, harmful or offensive use, or to transmit, store, display, distribute or otherwise make available content that is illegal, harmful, or offensive. Prohibited activities or content include:

 

  • Illegal Activities. Any illegal activities, including advertising, transmitting, or otherwise making available gambling sites or services or disseminating, promoting or facilitating child pornography.


…”

 

Let us move on then.

Help I’m in a Jurisdiction!

Through time we’ve seen regulators soften to the ideas of the modern computing architecture. We’ve progressed from dedicated systems to virtualisation, content distribution from outside the jurisdiction rather than inside, shared platforms for auxiliary systems and a much released grip on the back-office operations (IT specifically not the processes!).

It is only a matter of time before regulators warm to the idea of cloud infrastructures, granted through persistence from the smart licensees. Amazon Web Services now have enter ever changing number here data centres throughout the world, take a look at the existing and planned presence of the Amazon Web Services Global Infrastructure. There should be less and less reason why regulators must enforce in country or region jurisdictions, albeit job creation is a nice excuse.

A great recent example of jurisdictional risk is the Australian Lottoland crash, read at your leisure.

Carpe Diem

Your journey is yours to control.

Not having a strategy to deal with cloud computing will be a risk to your business.

Some applications are better suited to the cloud, are quicker to migrate, are of less value and of less risk to the business. Selecting the right applications to move is an important step in a successful cloud migration.

Why not start with something easy such as content distribution networks (Amazon CloudFront), archiving and cold storage (Amazon S3 and Glacier) or web services protected by DDoS mitigating services like Elastic Load Balancing and Amazon CloudFront? Content distribution, what a great way to start experimenting with cloud services as the gaming industry has been doing this for years already.

Amazon Web Services is not simply an alternative to servers or storage, it is a best-of-breed Infrastructure as a Service and Platform as a Service provider, well ahead of the rest. Independent reports show that Amazon is clearly the leader in the market.

Amazon Web Services Adoption Strategy

Enterprise Migration Path Example

Source Migrating Enterprise Applications to AWS: Best Practices & Techniques (ENT303) | AWS re:Invent 2013

Is it Secure?

Let’s be frank, Amazon Web Services wouldn’t have the rate of adoption it has without good security. Security is paramount and interwoven into every aspect of systems design, deployment and management. There are indeed operators that haven’t invested in advanced security because of the price and cost of ownership, cloud services greatly reduces the barriers to adoption of the best security tools and practices available. Just pay-as-you-go, it becomes really affordable and you will improve your security and availability if correctly planned. Satisfy yourself by visiting the Amazon Web Services Security page or take a look at the accreditations achieved.

The Future of Amazon Web Services for the Gaming Industry

I encourage you to read further as Amazon are investing heavily in architectures to support gaming, much of the same applies to gambling architectures:

Amazon Lumberyard

Amazon Lumberyard is a free, cross-platform, 3D game engine for you to create the highest-quality games, connect your games to the vast compute and storage of the AWS Cloud, and engage fans on Twitch.

By starting game projects with Lumberyard, you can spend more of your time creating great gameplay and building communities of fans, and less time on the undifferentiated heavy lifting of building a game engine and managing server infrastructure.

Amazon Gamelift

Amazon GameLift, a managed service for deploying, operating, and scaling session-based multiplayer games, reduces the time required to build a multiplayer backend from thousands of hours to just minutes. Available for developers using Amazon Lumberyard, Amazon GameLift is built on AWS’s highly available cloud infrastructure and allows you to quickly scale high-performance game servers up and down to meet player demand, without any additional engineering effort or upfront costs.

Gaming Case Studies

Amazon Web Services offers a comprehensive suite of products and services for video game developers across every major platform: mobile, console, PC and online. From AAA console and PC games, to educational and serious games, AWS provides the back end servers and hosting services for your game studio.

Build, deploy, distribute, analyze and monetize with AWS. Pay as you go, and only pay for what you use. Focus on your game, not your infrastructure.

GO EXPERIMENT and Barney Stinson says “BE LEGEN-wait-for-it-DARY!”

 

TechConnect will be happy to Make YOUR Cloud Journey a Success!

 

Portfolio Items