Hi, welcome to the latest blog posting. Today we’re launching a new series of blog postings and this is the first of the Cordys Customer Showcase blogs.
For the first of these Cordys Customer Showcases I’m writing this on a plane to Washington – the blog is in the clouds! (I can’t quite believe I’ve just written that). On the way to the airport in the car, I heard a radio advert on one of the UK’s sports radio stations. In between the gossip about who’s joining Manchester United and “10 reasons England will beat France in the upcoming European Championships” was an advert for cloud computing and its benefits. The advert was for Microsoft Office 365 and the cloud – it made me realize how much the cloud has reached into mainstream.
That got me thinking that I haven’t spoken much about Cordys and our relationship with Google, the company that actually shaped the market for office in the cloud. Cordys Process Factory is our lightweight, public cloud “Mashapp” platform. It allows end users to create enterprise composite applications made up of processes, lightweight integration and user interface elements. This lightweight Platform as a Service forms the backbone of how we work with Google.
Cordys are a Google Enterprise partner and in a nutshell, we allow users to create Mashapps on top of Google Enterprise (also known as Google Apps) and other services and SaaS out there in the cloud. Cordys Process Factory runs independent from Google, but together CPF and Google Enterprise form a way of putting all of your office apps in the cloud.
Our most notable example of this is Valeo in France. Valeo ranks among the world’s top automotive suppliers and are an independent industrial group fully focused on the design, production and sale of components, integrated systems and modules for the automotive industry.
Valeo had been using Lotus Notes for their office type applications more than 10 years with 32,000 users and more than 250 servers. They wanted to further improve their user collaboration and productivity on top of Google Apps with workflow oriented applications. These applications should be accessible anywhere, anytime from any device (including mobile and handheld devices).
At this point I have to admit that I did my final year dissertation at university on event driven architectures with Lotus Notes. I can’t understand what that never caught on
Anyway – back to Valeo. They have built over 6000 of these Lotus Notes applications and it was starting to become a bit of an issue in terms of application duplication, governance, the sheer number of Notes servers they had to use and getting those Notes applications to talk to their other systems. Valeo were looking for an innovative way to reduce the office infrastructure costs while simultaneously improving user collaboration and productivity.
They had decided on two things, they were going to move to Google Enterprise and put their office apps in the cloud and secondly, they were going to build an enterprise integration layer. What they were still missing was the capability to compose those applications that they needed as they had done with Lotus Notes. The applications needed to combine Google, other cloud services but also the data and systems exposed from their integration layer. They also needed to have processes at the heart of these applications for things such as incident management. They reviewed the market and after a very competitive POC, they chose Cordys Process Factory.
Just to recap, 32,000 users, 6000 Notes applications, no application governance, move to the public cloud and maintain access to on-premise systems. To play the English art of understatement – that isn’t trivial. Until recently, Valeo were Google’s biggest Enterprise customer so there were a lot of eyes watching how successful this implementation of Cordys and Google together was going to be.
So the headlines are that Valeo are decommissioning 250 servers, 32,000 users are now using applications built in CPF, the 6000 applications are being reduced to less than a thousand and that number continues to fall.
The implementation of Cordys helped Valeo to bridge the gap between Cloud Computing and on-premise IT for “office” applications. Business users can now assemble new applications faster using Google Apps, workflow, enterprise data and other information and services from the Cloud. All of this is done through their web browser
That last sentence raises a key point, how do they make sure that they don’t go and create 6000 applications like they did before? It comes back to that relatively boring but important idea of governance. Whilst Valeo did all those great things described above, they also put in place application governance. It is true that users can easily compose their new apps, but they also have to go through a governance procedure first. Questions like “does an application like this already exist?”, “why are you building this application?”, “who else can benefit from this application?” etc are all asked and built into their new application platform. The essence of what we are offering is a built-in app catalog and procedures to request a new app or modification.
There are some great headlines from Valeo and you can read the case study here. If you are looking for an alternative to Lotus Notes then it is worth reading the case study.
As I was writing the blog I was trying to find a good picture of car parts – there aren’t many interesting ones but I did find this pretty great piece of art made of recycled car parts.
You can find more here (Carhenge is pretty impressive):
I think that’s enough for this blog. As always, thanks for reading it – I think it is time to watch an in-flight movie now. As a footnote, this is the first blog post I’ve written in Evernote and it seems to work pretty well. I hope you like the revamp to the Cordys blog. Any feedback, as always, most welcome.
One last note – the new site for Cordial 2012 has just gone live. Cordial is our annual customer event. You can find the site here.