‘Ask Me Anything’ Partner Series Round Up

Louise Fenn 25th May 2021

Ever have a burning question and no matter what you type into Google, you can’t get the answer you’ve been looking for?

With the absence of in-person events and Q&A panels over the past 14+ months, ECS had an idea. Let’s bring the experts to you.

This idea evolved into a 2020 series of virtual ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions – delving into everything from CX, DevOps, AI and ML, to getting clued up on containers.

But we didn’t stop there.

Whilst it was great to cover the areas of digital transformation that excite our team, it would be wrong to talk about these areas without also talking about the innovation and engineering talents of our partner ecosystem. Partners who work tirelessly to improve CI/CD to optimise software delivery, deliver consistent workflows to provision, secure, connect, and run any infrastructure for any application and push the boundaries of cloud-native security.

This is why the past five Ask Me Anything sessions have shone a spotlight on our partners!

Partners are integral to what we do – so we’ve really enjoyed learning more about the solutions they offer, how they work with ECS to deliver enterprise-scale transformation programs and what’s next on the horizon for them. A huge thank you to Ali Hill, Delivery Consultant at ECS, for hosting all of our partner specials thus far!

So, who have we been talking with over the past few months? Let’s take a look…

 

CloudBees

Most recently, Ali was joined by CloudBees, a continuous delivery and integration specialist best known for its association with the open-source Jenkins Project. Chatting with our ECS team was Phil Cherry, Senior Solutions Architect and Martin Roxby, Director of Professional Services in EMEA for CloudBees, and Ritchie Moore, ECS Delivery Consultant.

The focus of this session was to look at CloudBees expanding their roots in the Jenkins Community and what’s on the horizon for automated, end-to-end software delivery platforms.

We also chatted a little about our partnership and the value it brings to clients…

“Not sure how long the partnership goes back, but probably one of the longest services partners, and ECS has done a great deal for us, picking up at work at scale which we can’t do as a software vendor …it’s great to have a partner who can fill in the gaps, proper experts in areas our clients need support on”. – Martin

 Ritchie spilt the beans on why he enjoys working with the CloudBees offerings…

“In terms of CloudBees CI, when I’m doing integrations from the open-source Jenkins to the CI platform, there is minimal if any disruption to the actual end user. They just notice a nice shiny new interface when they log in and they have all the extra benefits”.

And there was a shout out to the CloudBees tech support – additional value just a phone call away:

“Because no two customers are the same, eventually you do run into issues. Sometimes environments are super complex, but I know there is always an open dialogue with tech support, so CloudBees are in touch straight away and proposing solution with workarounds” – Ritchie 

“It’s not just about making progress, it’s the speed at which you can do it. Give people the software, they’ll probably work it out. Why spend 18months figuring it out when you can bring someone in who knows what they’re doing and get you there in a fraction of the time?” – Martin

What a session! If you want to learn more about CloudBees’ roadmap, client successes using the CI/CD tools, the engineers behind the support team and so much more, check out the Ask Me Anything CloudBees partner special on YouTube.

 

HashiCorp

During our HashiCorp special, John Boero, Channel Solution Engineer at HashiCorp, and Jeff Hemmen, ECS Delivery Consultant, chatted with our host Ali Hill. HashiCorp is a Cloud Infrastructure Specialist organisation, most well-known for tools such as Terraform, Vault and Nomad.

ECS partners solutions - HashiCorpThe panel walked through HashiCorp’s humble beginnings, its focus on self-service automation and DevOps practices and what’s on the horizon for its users. In fact, there was even a little reminiscing on how HashiCorp came to be – it all started with Mitchell Hashimoto and Armon Dadgar, a napkin and a coffee shop of all places! (I guess we have coffee to thank).

At ECS we love working with HashiCorp tools, and this was demonstrated by Jeff in our session…

“They solve actual problems in an actual secure, scalable and user-friendly manner. I can always achieve the actual workflow that is most beneficial to the customer at the core, you don’t have to compromise on how to use the technology in order to get an actual usable affect”.

John then went on to discuss how partnerships, just like that of ECS, are vital to ensure clients are getting the best out of HashiCorp tools…

“Shelf-wear is our biggest fear. We don’t want people to decide to go with the software and then come back later and find out that they’ve not taken full advantage of it. ECS has been a great partner in helping us out”.

Want to know more? Watch the whole Ask Me Anything HashiCorp partner special on YouTube.

 

Aqua Security

Joining Ali from Aqua Security was Benjy Portnoy, Senior Director of Solutions Architect and Andrea Zorzetto, DevSecOps Architect, and from the ECS side, Matthew Song, Delivery Consultant who signed in from Singapore! For those not in the know, Aqua Security is a Cloud Native Security Specialist, protecting applications from development to production, across VMs, containers, and serverless workloads, up and down the stack.

The conversation kicked off by remembering the good old non-Covid days when we were able to socialise together and “eat shawarma” – with the panel scheduling in their next meet up shortly after!

Shawarma aside, they also discussed why building an open-source engineering team is so important to Aqua and the value that Aqua tools bring into the cloud and DevOps space.

Benjy spoke about the importance of understanding and addressing “customers pain points” and highlighted why Aqua are so great at this…

“We’re not only giving you this platform that can do all of what you did before, but it gives you support and the resources for on-boarding the platform in the most comprehensive way”.

Ali also chatted with Andrea and Benji about why Aqua Security like working with ECS and the benefit to being a partner…

“Our partnership with ECS is essential in helping us go beyond just Aqua itself and making sure the platform is utilised fully and that the client is getting the best possible result”.

If you want to hear first-hand the Aqua Security session, jump over to YouTube to check out the Ask Me Anything Aqua Security partner special.

 

GitLab

For our Ask Me Anything session with GitLab, Ali was joined by Adrian Waters, Senior Solutions Architect and Kevin Franklin, Channel Manager from GitLab, and Emerson Hardisty, ECS Delivery Consultant. Used by around 100,000 organisations worldwide, GitLab is known widely for a single app for the entire DevOps lifecycle.

As a GitLab Certified Professional Services partner in the UK, we were also keen to explore what it was about partnerships that excites GitLab…The panel discussed what GitLab really mean when they promise ‘endless possibilities’ from its platform, issues of source code management, security and the need for CI/CD in organisations today, as well as the importance of GitOps in agile environments.

“When I started, we only had a handful of partners, and now we have over 100 in EMEA alone. What excites me about having partners like ECS is the ability to weave GitLab into your whole service portfolio and help customers get value.

Partners like ECS help GitLab to expand our reach in terms of re-selling and touching customers that we wouldn’t normally be able to as a company alone.

“We’re really excited to be working with you, some of the things you’re doing within highly regulated industries, enablement pods – a great way of customers being able to view GitLab’s value in the whole Digital Transformation process”. – Kevin

We also got the inside scoop of what the future is looking like for GitLab…

“The majority of customers would come to us for version control or CI, and then over time may broaden out to utilise additional functionality. What we’ve seen in the last year is that customers are now coming to us for security.

A key initiative for the coming year is to double down and focus on application security capabilities. We categorise our own maturity across different areas of our products from planning to minimal capabilities to completion and loveable. When you get to complete and loveable we are saying that is up there with any specialist vendors in that area in the market. So, there is some focus on security to move that maturity up to those top levels”. – Adrian Waters

Eager to know more about GitLab? Watch the whole Ask Me Anything GitLab partner special on YouTube.

 

Atlassian

Last but certainly not least, Ali was joined by Australian software company, Atlassian – well-known for those everyday tools that we know and love such as Confluence, Trello and Dura. With their mission being to ‘unleash the potential of every team’, the panel discussed the motivations behind focusing on tools that unleash the potential of teamwork and the impact of 100% remote working.

They spent time talking through the topic on everyone’s mind… the pandemic! and the positive outcomes for Atlassian…Ali had the pleasure of speaking with Janneke Coenen, Channel Manager, Giulio Iannazzo, Sales Engineer and Aisha McLean, ECS Delivery Consultant.

“With the pandemic, companies are beginning to realise that the solutions we offer are really strategic and important, and even more so for the cloud versions – from one day to the other, everyone was working remote and VPNs struggling…many changes that were already there, the pandemic helped to bring attention to those”.

Ali also asked Atlassian what the company vision is for DevOps?

Historically, Jira has been the number one tool for agile and software teams. As agile evolved, software became not just something you code, but the value is in the complete lifecycle and where it touches the customer.

 We see that the teams that are most effective (among other things) are those that can choose the tool that best fits what they need to do and use it the way they need to use it – from our point of view, there is no mission of providing a tool that can do everything. The idea is to provide a platform that sits at the heart of the DevOps lifecycle, providing info, providing visibility E2E, providing intelligence to make decisions to really produce value and give users space to use the best tools for them”.

Want to find out what’s next for Atlassian and their tools? Watch the Ask Me Anything Atlassian partner special on YouTube.

 

Thank you to our partners

Partners are essential to everything we do here at ECS. They supply us with the tools and knowledge to be able to deliver digital transformation to our clients, and we love working with each and every one of them – here’s to many more years!

A big thank you also to everyone for taking the time to get involved in our ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions – it’s been great to learn more about how we work together to bring value to our clients. Stay tuned for the next series.

 

Interested in becoming a partner?

Get in touch for more information on becoming a partner and let’s see how we can work together!

 

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More about the author

Hi I’m Louise Fenn and I’m from sunny Yorkshire! Up until now, I have spent my career working in healthcare – but I thought it was time for a change. I joined ECS in April 2021 as a Content Marketing Executive, with a keen interest in writing and design. I’m really enjoying my time at ECS and I’m excited to deepen my knowledge of the world of tech.

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