Effectual Wins Cloud Services Provider of the Year at US Channel Innovation Awards

Effectual Wins Cloud Services Provider of the Year at US Channel Innovation Awards

2021 Channel Partner Insight Award Recognizes Innovation, Growth

Jersey City, NJ – December 10th, 2021 – Effectual has won Cloud Services Provider of the Year at the CPI Channel Innovation Awards 2021. Selected as a winner above hundreds of entries by peers and competitors from across the continent, the company will be honored in an upcoming awards presentation broadcast from the Channel Partner Insight (CPI) studio. 

The annual awards by Channel Partner Insight are designed to recognize channel players and their vendors across the US who are at the forefront of growth, new technologies and thought leadership. Independently run, the awards shine a spotlight on new thinking, solutions, and success in the channel over the previous 12 months.

“Effectual drives results and positive outcomes by applying cloud services to solve complex business challenges. Earning the Cloud Services Provider of the Year award is a recognition of our success working with partners and executing cloud transformation projects on behalf of our customers.”

Robb Allen, CEO

According to CPI Editor Nima Sherpa Green, the awards are a testament to the creativity and hard work that many leaders in the tech sector have been able to drive forward during another unprecedented year. 

“These awards are about celebrating success in a fast-paced, highly competitive market. What we’ve seen over the last year has shown us that more than ever, being innovative is a real differentiator for customers and growth,” said Green. “We think it’s important to celebrate success and want to shine a spotlight on those companies who are leading from the front. On behalf of the whole of the Channel Partner Insight team, I wish a warm congratulations to all those solution providers, distributors and vendors who are truly galvanizing the channel to advance into new opportunities and technologies.”

About Effectual

Effectual is a modern, cloud first managed and professional services company that works with commercial enterprises and the public sector to enable digital transformation and full stack IT modernization. Effectual’s deeply experienced and passionate team of problem solvers apply proven methodologies to enable positive business outcomes with Amazon Web Services and VMware Cloud on AWS. Effectual is a member of the Cloud Security Alliance, and the PCI Security Standards Council.

Ryan Comingdeer, CTO: Problem Solving Through Continual Learning

Ryan Comingdeer, CTO: Problem Solving Through Continual Learning

My introduction to computer science was a 7th-grade programming class where I learned BASIC. The class opened up a new world to explore that had me immediately hooked. By the time I started high school I knew I was going to follow a career in technology. Some people have a more circuitous path to their vocation, but I was fortunate to discover mine early on and seize the opportunity to build a really fulfilling career doing what I love.

In my opinion, the most important skill in this field is the ability to solve problems through continual learning. Technology is always changing, and the pace of innovation demands constant attention in order to stay ahead of new tools, services, and solutions. That is why 40% of my job every single day is dedicated to learning-and why it is such a huge part of our company culture.

Technology is always changing, and the pace of innovation demands constant attention in order to stay ahead of new tools, services, and solutions.

Learning and curiosity are values that also extend to my role as a father to five daughters, age 8 to 14 years. By teaching them computer science, I am trying to give them the confidence to learn about technology and apply it to real world situations and challenges. This is one of the ways I stay involved with their personal lives and hopefully prepare them for the future. It also helps me stay relevant because I have to do my research to understand what their world is going to look like when they become adults.

Teaching my own kids about technology has led to other opportunities to inspire the next generation of innovators. To support students in the Bend community, I teach a 5th-grade technology-focused STEM program at my children’s school, host local Hour of Code events, and work with the Oregon Department of Education to integrate computer science into the K-12 curriculum. At work, I mentor recent computer science college grads starting their tech careers as part of the Apprenti internship program.

For myself, continual learning includes going after new AWS certifications, training in other cloud platforms, understanding the pros and cons of multiple stacks, testing new services, and keeping current on industry trends. However, the best opportunity for ongoing learning is working with our really talented developers on a broad portfolio of diverse projects.

Our Effectual professional services team typically has 40+ projects underway at any given time (IoT, mobile apps, web apps, big data, system integrations) that use 10-12 languages and multiple cloud providers. Even if I am not working directly on a project, I meet with my technical leadership team every week to review what we did, what worked, what did not, and to figure out what we can do better. This gives me a chance to learn alongside them and gather lessons learned as reference points for when I am talking to customers or recommending a new architecture.

For in-depth analysis, I like to pick a topic such as AI and do as much research as I can to understand what the top 5 vendors offer, the benefits of their solutions, the use cases, and the lessons learned thus far. I also follow a dozen blogs that cover new design patterns so I can compare technology stacks and spend at least an hour a night researching how to stay forward thinking on cloud native architecture.

If you want to deliver a relevant, valuable technology solution, you have to start by understanding the problem you are helping your customer solve.

Still, it is not enough to be a technical expert. As professional services providers, our job at Effectual is to enable business outcomes with measurable results. If you want to deliver a relevant, valuable technology solution, you have to start by understanding the problem you are helping your customer solve. This includes pain points, opportunities, target audiences, business requirements, the competitive landscape, and more. That is why our solutions architects and developers are skilled technologists as well as big picture thinkers interested in how businesses and market dynamics work. I encourage us to ask WHY we are building something as much as HOW.

After spending the last 15 years focused on professional services, I am excited to embark on the next chapter of my career. Working with Effectual’s Modernization EngineersTM is giving me a whole new understanding of the life cycle of a technology solution. I am gaining a more comprehensive view of how to properly manage and monitor the solutions we build in a cloud environment for the long term. The collaboration is making me a better architect and a better technologist, with more learning ahead.

Ryan Comingdeer is the Chief Technology Officer at Effectual, inc. 

A Rundown on re:Invent 2019 Pt 2

A Rundown on re:Invent 2019 Pt 2

Members of the engineering team had the opportunity to attend Amazon Web Services’ annual re:Invent conference in Las Vegas.

Every year, AWS announces dozens of customer-sought features at the event (and some leading up to the event in what the community has dubbed “pre:Invent”). In this blog – a second in a series of two (you can read the first here) on re:Invent – we’ll touch on new announcements from this 2019’s conference:

  1. Amazon excited data scientists with the announcement of Amazon SageMaker Studio which provides an easier experience for building, training, debugging, deploying and monitoring machine learning models with an integrated development environment (IDE).
  2. Amazon Athena federated queries turn almost any data source into a query-able data repository, opening opportunities to gather insights based on data from many different sources in different formats.
  3. Amazon Detective makes it easy to analyze, investigate, and quickly identify the root cause of potential security issues or suspicious activities by using machine learning, statistical analysis, and graph theory.
  4. Automate code reviews with Amazon CodeGuru, a machine learning service which helps development teams identify the most expensive lines of code in their applications and receive intelligent recommendations on how to fix or improve their code.
  5. Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) adds additional security measures and flexibility to share data with others by introducing Amazon S3 Access Points.

With all the new features coming out of re:Invent, it was difficult for us to pick our top picks, but our team is quickly becoming experts in all the new features and already utilizing them in delivering first-class cloud infrastructure to our clients.

A Rundown on re:Invent 2019 Pt 1

A Rundown on re:Invent 2019 Pt 1

Members of the engineering team had the opportunity to attend Amazon Web Services’ annual re:Invent conference in Las Vegas.

Every year, AWS announces dozens of customer-sought features at the event (and some leading up to the event in what the community has dubbed “pre:Invent”). This blog is the first in a two-part series related to re:Invent announcements from the 2019 conference:

  1. AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) Access Analyzer provides an easy way to check permissions across the many policies provided at the resource level, principal level, and across accounts.
  2. A feature requested by customers since Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) was announced last year, AWS Fargate support for Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service will revolutionize the way organizations use the popular Kubernetes container management tools in the cloud and radically reduce the maintenance required for running Kubernetes on AWS.
  3. A pre:Invent announcement that you might have missed if you blinked, CloudFormation Registry and third-party resource support adds the ability to manage virtually any third-party application resource using CloudFormation, an infrastructure as code tool helping organizations iterate faster with repeatable cloud resource definitions stored as code.
  4. Andy Jassy rocked the re:Invent stage in 2018 when he announced AWS Outposts, a new offering to take AWS’ computing capacity into your own data center. This service was made available in 2019, opening a wealth of potential for applications which need to stay local for regulatory or performance purposes.
  5. The Amazon Builder’s Library is a curated list of content written by Amazon’s own technical leaders to illustrate how Amazon builds world-class services and infrastructure.

With all the new features coming out of re:Invent, it was difficult for us to pick our top picks, but our team is quickly becoming experts in all the new features and already utilizing them in delivering first-class cloud infrastructure to our clients.

What I Saw at AWS re:Invent That You May Have Missed

What I Saw at AWS re:Invent That You May Have Missed

It was an interesting re:Invent for me – launching our new company, the constant feeds from AWS and several partners filled with litanies of new feature and product announcements, multiple multi-hour keynote speeches (yes, I did sit through all of them), working to discern hype from reality, fighting through the throngs of people, and trying to convince the 12-year-old child inside me that I don’t need a Deep Racer.

In the midst of all of this, there were a couple of interesting success stories that really validated my recent lines of thought regarding the business ramifications of cloud transformation.

Andy Jassy’s wide-ranging keynote included product and feature announcements related to Database, Storage, Machine Learning, Security, Blockchain, and who can forget Outposts (so you can run the cloud in your closet).

Revolutionizing the Insurance Industry

In his keynote, Andy Jassy introduces and turns the stage over to Dean Del Vecchio, EVP, CIO, and Head of Enterprise Shared Services for Guardian Insurance. Guardian is a great example of a legacy enterprise that has embraced the revolution despite being in a highly regulated industry. With the words, “I’m going to start in a place that may not be expected – I’m going to talk about our workplace Strategy”, Mr. Del Vecchio had my full attention. From there he went on to talk about Guardian’s multi-year transformation that needed to take place before they moved their first workload to the cloud. They changed their office environment, modernized project methodology, trained their staff on new technologies, and ultimately revolutionized their culture. This was not a tale of a headlong sprint to cloud, it was a thoughtful, self-aware, and measured approach.

Dean Del Vecchio, EVP, CIO and Head of Enterprise Shared Services for Guardian Insurance

Guardian is a great example of a legacy enterprise that has embraced the revolution despite being in a highly regulated industry.

Once cultural change had begun to take root, Guardian stood up AWS environments and ran Proof of Concept workloads for a full year before the first workload was moved. They identified gaps during this time and worked with vendors to develop solutions that enabled Guardian to be bold and confident in their migration. They documented their technological biases, the core being a Cloud First posture (rather than an All-In on cloud directive). Because of their approach and inherent understanding of the revolutionary nature of 21st-century technologies, they were able to take a Production First approach to moving to the cloud. There were undoubtedly significant pain points and localized failures throughout this journey, but having come through the bulk of it now, Guardian sees their adoption of cloud as a competitive advantage. They have revolutionized the way they interact with their customers and are excited to begin making use of forward-looking technologies like AI, AR, and VR in the cloud to further enhance client experience.

Guardian’s journey revolutionized a 158-year-old Fortune 250 enterprise, from top to bottom.

What was most interesting to me was what their journey was not. It was not exclusively an IT effort, a rapid lift and shift migration, or even primarily technical in nature. It was definitely not shortsighted in nature. It did revolutionize a 158-year-old Fortune 250 enterprise, from top to bottom, and they are now well-positioned for another 158 years of success.

Fender Guitars – re:Invented

In Werner Vogels’ keynote, he started off by talking about minimizing blast radius, one of my favorite topics, and he wrapped up by talking about Deep Racer, the toy that my inner 12-year-old seems to think I need. In between, amongst some explanations around high-level database software design principles, he introduced Ethan Kaplan, the Chief Product Officer, Fender Digital, from Fender Musical Instruments, one of the premier guitar manufacturers in the world. Mr. Kaplan shared some of the results from research Fender conducted around their client base.

Basically, it boils down to three key points:

  1. 90% of all first-time guitar buyers quit playing within 6 months of the purchase
  2. Those who don’t quit will purchase 8-10 guitars over their lifetime
  3. Guitar players spend roughly 4x the value of their first guitar on lessons

From this data, they realized that there is a significant market for guitar lessons, and if they can find a better way to improve on the traditional lesson model, they will likely sell many more guitars.

Fender Digital Took a Cloud First Approach for All New Application Development

Fender Digital Chief Product Officer, Ethan Kaplan, discussed the apps and teaching methodology created to help new guitarists see success. Now shooting 4K video 6 days a week, Fender worked alongside AWS in developing a full video processing pipeline architecture that brings terabytes of new content to their users every day.

This led them in two directions. They created a number of apps to help new players understand their new instrument, and they developed an app and teaching methodology that is more fun for the new player and helps them see musical success sooner. Combined, these convert a higher percentage of new players into lifetime players. The story I saw here is that the adoption of revolutionary 21stcentury IT technologies has enabled Fender to transform their business. They have always made great guitars and stringed instruments and will continue to do so, but now their business is more and more about teaching people how to play. Fender is shooting 4k videos on two soundstages six days a week to support this new mission, producing Terabytes of content per day. Working alongside AWS to create a video processing pipeline architecture, Fender can now automatically transcode down to cellphones and up to 4k televisions, simultaneously auto-populate their CDN and CMS, and archive raw video to glacier 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Before long the core of their business will be developing and delivering musical training curricula with the manufacture of instruments being a sideline.

Realizing 21stCentury IT

For the past couple of months, I’ve been writing about how cloud and cloud-related technologies are revolutionary in nature, and how your decision to adopt cloud should be viewed as a business effort rather than a strictly technical effort. These two stories from re:Invent keynotes are great examples of similar success that I have seen with clients who have recognized and acted on this principle.

If you are reading this and you’ve already begun a cloud effort that looks like a data center move, it’s not too late to change course. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that we’ll just Lift and Shift to the cloud now and transform later – this is a prime example of thinking of cloud as a technical rather than business solution. I’ve yet to see an enterprise be successful at following through on this approach. If you’re not looking at 21stcentury IT as a business change agent and competitive advantage, it won’t be long before one of your competitors is.