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Portfolio+ : Accelerating the Pace of Innovation Through Cloud Transformation

Robin Percy, Chief Technology Officer, OpsGuru
Portfolio+ : Accelerating the Pace of Innovation Through Cloud Transformation

When you’re a company committed to the cloud transformation journey, one of the best ways to set yourself up for success is to find a strong partner.

Portfolio+ is a financial technology company offering a trusted core banking platform that includes applications for loans, mortgages, term deposits, investments, and retail banking, as well as an API for open banking integrations and the future of open finance.

Having provided financial services solutions to banks and financial institutions for over 30 years, Portfolio+ knew that in order to meet the rapidly changing needs of the industry, it needed to address critical technology quickly.

With its new CTO Steven Thomas on the hunt for a different solution and a new partner to help with the company’s digital transformation, OpsGuru rose to the challenge.

We sat down with Steven to discuss how the two companies are working together to drive results and the factors that have contributed to the strong partnership and achievements towards Portfolio+’s cloud transformation vision.

Portfolio+ Partners with OpsGuru for Cloud Transformation

Portfolio+ had received extensive feedback that it needed to move towards cloud transformation in order to help its customers prepare for the future of banking in Canada.

While Portfolio+ was working with a vendor to manage its previous cloud environments, gaps were becoming apparent. It had multiple environments in AWS; however, the organization didn't have direct visibility into those accounts.

Ultimately, the strategy of having third-party vendors wasn’t working. Portfolio+ wanted a solution that provided more oversight and increased control of the hosting platform. 

In addition, Portfolio+ was challenged with excessive lead times in provisioning new customer environments under its current vendor—something that impacted customer experience and stressed operations. The company knew that with disciplined engineering, these tasks could be largely automated to reduce timelines by orders of magnitude.

If Portfolio+ could find a better solution, it could also reduce some of the costs it was incurring with its previous vendor. As the engagement was with a managed environment reseller, costs were opaque and high despite the lean service delivery model.

Since the Portfolio+ team had previously discussed potential solutions with OpsGuru, the company decided to reach out to see how they could help.

A Journey of Incremental Improvements

With many providers offering the same type of tech solutions, Portfolio+ was also looking for what the people on the OpsGuru team could bring to the table.

Agility would be critical to the project's success, so Portfolio+ wanted to ensure a high level of engagement—which OpsGuru delivered in spades. Ultimately, Portfolio+ was confident it could trust OpsGuru to act as a true extension of its team.

Portfolio+ worked closely with the OpsGuru team to clearly define the statement of work and the vision of what Portfolio+ wanted to achieve, which included:

  • Gaining visibility into the cloud environment.

    Assuming ownership of the provisioning process.

    Leveraging automation to reduce lead time for provisioning customers.

    Modernizing core practices and infrastructure.

    Providing a self-service platform to developers to minimize toil for the operations team.

Additionally, Portfolio+ also expressed a strong preference for incremental improvements versus “big wins” with a focus on establishing a trusted partnership. The approach focused on exercising existing tools. This would allow them to figure out what was working and implement solutions addressing any gaps.

From there, the two organizations could work together to design and build a new automated system for rolling out infrastructure.

OpsGuru Empowers Portfolio+ with Iterative Transformation

Through its collaboration with OpsGuru, Portfolio+ has achieved several wins that have helped propel the organization toward its goals for digital transformation.

#1. Iterative Approach and Multifaceted Improvements

Portfolio+ embraced an iterative approach to its transformation journey, focusing on application automation, environment provisioning, and security. OpsGuru helped the company successfully modernize its existing SIEM tooling with Lacework, a risk and compliance tool. The iterative process addressed the company’s specific needs and helped optimize its operations.

#2. Self-Sufficiency and Continual Support

One of the project’s primary objectives was to achieve self-sufficiency. While OpsGuru provided invaluable expertise, the goal was to empower Portfolio+ to drive its operations.

OpsGuru's Customer Reliability Engineering (CRE) program was pivotal. The CRE program ensured continual support and proactive infrastructure monitoring, allowing Portfolio+ to focus on its core business without being burdened by operational complexities.

#3. IT Systems Migration and Modernization

OpsGuru and Portfolio+ embarked on a comprehensive migration of its IT systems. By leveraging OpsGuru's MAP assessment program, Portfolio+ gained valuable insights into the feasibility and costs of migrating its legacy infrastructure to the cloud.

This step allowed Portfolio+ to make informed decisions about system migration and modernization. While this aspect is still a work in progress, it represents a crucial step toward future optimization.

#4. Agile and Responsive Collaboration

OpsGuru demonstrated an agile and responsive collaboration model. The Engineering on Demand (EoD) approach and two-week sprints enabled quick pivots and adjustments to accommodate new priorities, such as onboarding a significant customer.

The ability to adapt swiftly to evolving circumstances ensured that Portfolio+ remained on track and responsive to market demands. 

#5. Enhanced Security and Compliance

Security and compliance are paramount in the financial industry, and Portfolio+ recognized the importance of maintaining a robust posture. The move to Lacework provided transparency into their security posture.

By promptly and proactively addressing compliance concerns, Portfolio+ gained peace of mind and enhanced its credibility with customers.

One achievement, in particular, came just months into the project. With all OpsGuru’s work to shore up the automation process, including rewriting much of the Infrastructure as Code (IaC), the first new customer could come on board.

While the two teams had worked together to create the new approach, they had anticipated some bugs would need to be worked out. However, trialing the new process enabled them to improve the provisioning process significantly.

In nine short months, Portfolio+ could not only sever ties with its previous vendor, but it could also pull everything back in-house.

With OpsGuru's assistance in cloud transformation, Portfolio+ can now rely on its expert team for ongoing cloud administration and architecture.

Achieving Cloud Transformation Through Partnership 

Portfolio+’s work with OpsGuru over the past year illustrates the importance of finding partners aligned with your vision and establishing a trusted relationship.

Partnerships like the one that Portfolio+ established with OpsGuru foster efficiency and enable both parties to overcome challenges together. Regularly evaluating the partnership's alignment with project goals is crucial, ensuring the roadmap and project charters remain in sync.

Also, AWS was a critical ally in this partnership. It plays an active role in holding partners accountable and facilitating new relationships. The financial support provided by AWS through its funding programs has been instrumental in driving the initiatives undertaken by Portfolio+ and OpsGuru.

Leveraging the resources and support offered by AWS actively contributes to the success of these types of transformational projects. 

These fundamental principles and lessons can guide organizations embarking on their cloud transformation journeys, empowering them to succeed and drive meaningful changes in their operations and customer experiences.

As Portfolio+ continues to work closely with OpsGuru, it is poised for further growth and success in cloud banking and the evolving landscape of IT operations.

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