“We unburden our clients by combining the strengths of both Arxus and CloudFuel; that’s where our power lies”02.12
Companies are increasingly automating and digitalizing their business processes. Therefore, the true meaning of managed services is to outsource (all or part of) those processes, for example the management and maintenance of your IT infrastructure, to an external partner. CloudFuel pushes the brief and refers to it as a completely worry-free service. We had a chat with Kim Fertinel and Erlend Schenkels, the Managing Partners of CloudFuel and Arxus respectively, about the added value of their method.
You consciously mean to distance yourselves from the more traditional managed services. Can you elaborate?
Erlend Schenkels: (Managing Partner, Arxus): “In those more traditional approaches, managed services are placed almost entirely over an already existing environment. We absolutely do not want to go in that direction and uphold a status quo. We start by carrying out adjustments before we even begin the story of managed services. The use of tooling is completely different as well. We make the most of built-in functionalities of the platform instead of bringing in a complete arsenal of external tools. The involvement of our customers is also a crucial aspect of our vision. We want to unburden them without taking their applications away. It’s important that they can keep partial control of the procedures and data, thus gathering insights.”
Kim Fertinel (Managing Partner, CloudFuel): “In combining the strengths of both Arxus and CloudFuel, we offer a complementary portfolio of managed services. It’s true that CloudFuel’s way of working is more focused on the application part, but from a platform point of view, the foundation that Arxus brings to the table is essential to manage the application the right way. This means that we have a broad approach on things, things like governance, security, cost management, you name it. They’re all captured in our offering. That’s not the case in the traditional methods of managed services.”
Could we call it revolutionary?
Kim: “In a way, certainly. We’re talking about the symbiosis between application and platform. Monitoring applications, to us, implies that we involve the client to look at important triggers that need to be monitored.Furthermore, we check how alerting needs to be implemented. We go the extra mile and that’s where the strength in the collaboration between Arxus and CloudFuel lies. We spend quite some attention to platform administration. We manage the upholding of DevOps pipelines, the adjustments of deployment templates, and so on.”
What can people expect from your type of managed services?
Kim: “Our main focus remains the client. We won’t reach for external monitoring packs but rather offer a standard toolkit. That way, customers retain overview and receive a way to provide input. If we wouldn’t do it that way, things would get complicated and you’d create a kind of black box where the client has no clue what’s happening. In addition, it’s impossible for a development team to customize something they don’t know is going on, within an application. It’s as simple as that. In other words, we believe in co-creation and we make sure clients are always aware of possible roadblocks. We also provide high availability. That means that our engineers act and think proactively to anticipate potential problems and to get rid of those as soon as they arise.”
“CloudFuel delivers second-line support, both to internal partners and to external development teams. Our support includes application monitoring, alerting, and proactively spotting and resolving possible irregularities. That is how we relieve the customer’s development team, in order for them to be able to focus on their core business. We unburden our clients by combining the strengths of both Arxus and CloudFuel; that’s where our power lies. Problems with applications can be related to underlying issues of the platform itself. When problems present themselves on that level, it’s easy for us to reach Arxus and vice versa. That’s what a complementary collaboration, and portfolio if you will, is all about.”
You don’t only provide implementation but you also convey knowledge to the customer. Why is that?
Erlend: “If we’d take everything off the client’s hands, they’d have no insights in their own environment, whatsoever. That is why we strive for decent interaction and different levels of engagement with our customers. They tell us how involved they’d like to be and throughout the process we make sure all arrangements are properly made. There’s no room for miscommunication.”
Can you tell us a bit more about the tangible advantages of your strategy?
Kim: “Most of our clients find the management and maintenance of their current apps to be exhausting. Management stretches from architecture to support, maintenance and decent administration. Patches need to be executed, technological evolutions need to be applied, you name it. It happens too often that we must conclude that internal development teams are still doing those things while they should be concerning themselves with the deployment of new functionalities.”
“Let’s be honest, every function that doesn’t get developed, costs the organization money. Talking about missed opportunities! Such management should be outsourced to an external party, so your team is able to focus on their core responsibilities, which are to accomplish new developments.”
“Our proactive attitude also guarantees a minimized risk of failure. That’s how you create quick, sturdy and high-performing applications, which always translate to a competitive edge.”
Erlend: “We spend a lot of attention to aligning with pre-determined DevOps strategies. It’s important to try and stay within that framework or to at least make use of certain fixed standards.”
Do you consider yourselves part of the client’s organisation rather than being external partners?
Kim: “Like we said before, we truly believe in the concept of co-creation. We build something jointly with our clients, using standards but also considering the customer’s way of working. You could call us an external competence center, imbedded in their organization. We value such close contact because we don’t want to operate solely based on SLAs or KPIs. On the contrary, we like a more personal approach.”
“To summarize, we opt for a journey rather than a big bang story. We map the trajectory with our client and step by step we grow and travel together. It takes time; it’s a process of developing both applications and relationships.”
Did this interview inspire you? Are you curious to know what our managed services could do for your organisation? Don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll look into the possibilities together!