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The Power & Flexibility Of The Microsoft Cloud

Justin Kurtenbach, CTO of Stratiform, discusses how the Microsoft Cloud’s agility, scalability, functionality and Pay As You Go model helped them grow their business while expanding their clients’ reach and saving them time and money.

Getting The Most Out Of Microsoft Technologies

Many companies, large, medium and small, are driven by the potential of cloud computing.

When sitting down with new or existing clients to discuss their cloud strategy, Stratiform noticed how the Microsoft name helped them feel more comfortable with the new technology. “Microsoft has a trusted relationship with many of its clients already. That’s been key for us, as we look to grow our business, and deliver value,” says Kurtenbach.

Having datacenters on Canadian soil has helped to alleviate apprehension for clients with concerns around location and data residency, and created new opportunities.

Using Azure and the Microsoft Cloud, Stratiform has invested time and effort into creating unique, differentiated intellectual property (IP) as part of their service offerings, helping their clients save time and money. “For example,” explains Kurtenbach, “let’s say we’ve created a way to cut a 40-hour job into an 8-hour job. Our competitors will still be charging for 40 – that immediately provides us a simple point of differentiation.”

Stratiform also uses this IP to create efficiencies across their organization and consistencies across deployments and customer service.

“We have actually been able to reshape our business, and optimize our business by offering products and services we would never have been able to provide without the capability of the Azure Stack Technologies – and this drives innovation for our customers.”

Having a robust and versatile platform to host and create new technological products has become a big part of Stratiform’s business plan moving forward.

“What’s really exciting for me,” says Kurtenbach, “is being able to take advantage of data from the field, adjust it within the Microsoft Cloud and using analytics, create true business solutions for our clients.”

Growing Business. And Businesses.

Justin Kurtenbach, CTO of Stratiform

“Traditionally, Stratiform is a Microsoft Systems Integrator which means, among other offerings, we provide professional consulting services in relation to Microsoft Technologies.”

Significant growth in the last four years has grown Stratiform to 40 professionals – trained with the skills to help deploy and support technological solutions for clients across Canada.

Stratiform often engages directly with Microsoft, utilizing their combined expertise to offer clients unified recommendations that help drive innovation, agility and capability. Together, Stratiform and Microsoft are often able to help streamline offerings, free up resources and keep costs down – helping Canadian businesses become digital businesses.

Justin Kurtenbach, CTO of Stratiform

“We feel the Microsoft Cloud is a ‘True Cloud’ solution because it is a versatile service offering that can take advantage of consumption based economics, where our clients only pay for what they use, when they use it, while allowing them to focus on what they do best, whichever industry they may be in. That is a very attractive prospect.”

The Speed of Doing Business

Considering that cloud technologies are constantly evolving, scalability makes a lot of sense by keeping initial costs down. One of the reasons Stratiform recommends Azure and the Microsoft Cloud is that it can replace multiple, costly applications that don’t necessarily integrate naturally.

“For example, Hadoop Clusters*,” explains Kurtenbach. “Normally it would take 2 to 4 weeks to deploy that infrastructure in an on-premise deployment, investing time and money to do that. Whereas within the Microsoft Cloud environment we could help our clients build a Hadoop Cluster in 4 or 5 hours.”

*Hadoop Cluster = A cluster specifically designed for storing and analyzing huge amounts of unstructured data.

Bringing Alberta To The World, And The World To Alberta

Tourism is an $8 billion industry in Alberta that supports 19,000 tourism businesses and employs more than 127,000 people in the province. Since April, 2009, Travel Alberta has been responsible for marketing the tourism industry for the Government of Alberta, and bringing the world to Alberta.

When the Tourism Board of Alberta met with Stratiform to discuss digital and technical solutions to help market Alberta as the Canadian Tourist destination, they knew exactly what they wanted. Or thought they wanted.

“They were really focused on having a traditional, hosted solution they would manage themselves.” Kurtenbach explains, “only what they were really asking for is cloud-first strategy that would help lower their total costs across the organization, while increasing the reach of Alberta, as a destination, to the global tourism industry.”

Stratiform and Microsoft teamed up to help Alberta Tourism take advantage of technology to reach global markets and engage with their customers, current and new. “We helped them understand the framework they had to work with and how to bolt all these pieces together and support them on an on-going basis.”

When the project first began, there were many costly and insufficient legacy systems in place. Moving to Azure and the Microsoft Cloud made all the sense in the world. Or in this case, Alberta.

Leveraging a single intelligent cloud platform in Microsoft Azure, Stratiform was able to help Travel Alberta:

  • Auto-scale up and down during peak tourism and low seasons, with no need to maintain or patch any infrastructure.
  • Reach new global markets with their marketing assets by caching their large video/image files locally for faster response in global target markets outside of North America such as the UK, EU, Asia and Australia.
  • Improve customer engagement by transforming their products and services to provide real-time interaction with tourists through mobile application scenarios, and provisioning a modern marketing platform that tour operators, hotels and restaurants could leverage to increase their customer reach.

Justin Kurtenbach, CTO of Stratiform

“Through a single platform, Travel Alberta has been able to bring Alberta to the world, and the world to Alberta and in turn, have become a truly digital business. We’ve been able to leverage the Microsoft Cloud to grow our business, but more importantly, help our customer grow theirs. It doesn’t get any better!”

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