Amazon Web Services (AWS)
CustomerGauge, the leading provider of B2B Account Experience (AX) software and solutions, is built from the ground up to cater to the more complex B2B account environment. The CustomerGauge Account Experience(TM) solution collects Net Promoter feedback and customer churn signals at the account level and distributes this information, in real-time, to front-line employees so businesses can proactively retain and grow accounts faster.
Account Experience also takes the guesswork out of the experience ROI equation by linking all account metrics and sentiment directly to revenue so you can maximize buy-in from the C-Suite, ensuring long-term program success and cultural transformation.
The mission of CustomerGauge is to keep innovating in order to make other companies easier to love. Thus evolution and modernization is an inevitable part of its mission.
CustomerGauge was an early adopter of the AWS public cloud, and so its mission to ‘keep innovating’ included an urge to modernize its cloud architecture, as it was still using some services from the previous generation of cloud technology. Staying on this earlier technology would mean it would be challenging to: scale their business; stay abreast of modern security best practices and; achieve high levels of developer productivity. In addition, CustomerGauge had basically outsourced cloud operations, which meant it was a separate team from the software development department. This was something they also aimed to change. The goal was to have a self-sufficient, integrated, DevOps team.
Yet, at the time, CustomerGauge had limited knowledge and experience on how to bring their cloud architecture up to date. To overcome these IT, security, cost management and operational challenges, CustomerGauge turned to Xebia for help.
Building a Future-Focused AWS Solution
The collaboration started by Xebia helping to define the ‘to be’ state of the CustomerGauge AWS environment using the six pillars of the AWS Well-Architected Framework. The first step was to develop a multi-account strategy in order to facilitate a separation of concerns and a least privilege principle. The network security was also improved by moving resources from EC2 Classic into a new generation of Virtual Private Cloud and private network instances. Then, one by one, the CustomerGauge services have been re-engineered to run in containers on AWS ECS, rather than directly on virtual machines, initially without rewriting any of the business logic.
This is a specific example of the more general approach of switching to a consumption model wherever possible. This makes it simpler for CustomerGauge to secure the system, and to document and prove the security measures that are in place, as AWS handles a much greater proportion of the underlying server resources.
“We take a lot of pride in seeing CustomerGauge grow with AWS. Not only did they evolve through the modernization of their architecture, but also by absorbing the knowledge we presented. Antony and his team have become self-sufficient in scaling out their architecture, while relying on Xebia for 24/7 monitoring through Managed Services.” – Steyn Huizinga, CTO Xebia Cloud AWS.
The next step was to replace manual deployments with automated CI/CD pipelines in order to perform more reliable deployments and improve developer productivity. The final step was to re-develop or refactor existing services to use more modern programming languages and frameworks in order to make even greater use of services like AWS Lambda. The move to serverless is a step further in the direction of AWS managed services, in order to further increase the security and scalability of the CustomerGauge solution.
CustomerGauge went from using a first generation IaaS to the latest AWS PaaS offering. This shifted the balance of responsibility for scalability & security more towards AWS, so that CustomerGauge’s development department could focus on enhancing and increasing their platform’s business functionality. Xebia's initial vision and continual guidance was invaluable in helping them realize a cloud architecture that CustomerGauge is extremely proud of. It is scalable, secure, well audited and facilitates high developer productivity.
“Although we expected all these changes to increase our monthly cloud costs, we were pleasantly surprised to find that, with the help of Xebia’s Cloud Capacity tools and services, we were actually able to reduce costs! As an added bonus, this programme has been an amazing learning opportunity for everyone that took part.
It has solidified CustomerGauge’s reputation as being an attractive place to work, one that is open to using latest technologies, innovation and investing in people as a way to take the business to the next level.”