Enterprise Communications

MSP Brings SharePoint to AWS

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  September 06, 2016

Data Resolution is a global Microsoft (News - Alert) provider of managed technology solutions.  In fact, it has been named Microsoft Dynamics Hoster of The Year for three consecutive years. It supports businesses of all sizes, and it offers a wide range of services, including Microsoft ERP, CRM, unified communications, messaging, portals, and collaboration. Its solutions include software hosting (SaaS (News - Alert)), managed virtual environments, business continuity solutions, cloud computing, and advanced data center services. The company, which has five global SSAE16- Type 2 certified data centers, works with customers in an array of industries, including financial services, health care, manufacturing, professional services, and retail.

I recently interviewed Data Resolution CEO James Pathman about the company’s new AWS SharePoint solution, and the changes in the enterprise software arena.

Tell us about your AWS SharePoint solution.

SharePoint users can now easily make use of the full power of the platform without complex integration, and with really flexible licensing options. By placing SharePoint on AWS, we’ve given the end user, whether it’s a business person, an IT department, small company, or large corporation, the ability to get up and running on SharePoint Enterprise very swiftly, while giving them a whole new level of flexibility around licensing through our bring-your-own-licensing options, or AWS’ pay-as-you-go model. I should also add that SharePoint users within the AWS platform are fully supported. Data Resolution delivers full management and support to the end user.

How did the SharePoint/AWS integration take place?

The short answer is that we leveraged the AWS marketplace tools to bundle and provide a complete production environment through a custom provisioning method. We then underwent a multiple month process to tackle integration and licensing issues, plus modifying the user interface to be able to put the platform into production.

What customer pain points does this address?

Generally, marketplaces have been created for development tools that are not really fully baked production environments. We had to work within the marketplace environment to provide that fully-figured production environment.  This means we needed to allow the end user to set the configurations they required, provide integration with the directory and the existing domain, among other factors. This was done so they could deploy into production within their environment without a lot of extra work and support from their IT department. We solved the complex configuration challenges of AWS and SharePoint Enterprise, which now allows the solution to be used for both the internet and intranet.

What is the user experience like?

Typically, in order to do a full SharePoint Enterprise deployment, an end user or administrator would be required to have their IT department do all the installations and setup, which requires a lot of moving parts. Because of the work our Data Resolution team did in integrating SharePoint into the AWS marketplace, all of that work is eliminated for the end user.  It is now a very simple, step-through process to get the environment into production, which is a huge shift from how SharePoint was deployed before it was available through AWS. The other important piece of the experience is it eliminates the bottleneck from a departmental solution standpoint. The end user or administrator no longer has to be prioritized and serviced by the IT department or even the CFO to be able to get this up and use it. It allows someone to move much quicker through their needs analysis and SharePoint deployment. From the IT department’s perspective, because it is on AWS, they are saved from the burden of providing IT services and finding the resources to run it on. This offering turns a very complex computing environment into a storefront, click-to-production application.

Why did AWS make sense as a hosted platform for Microsoft’s SharePoint?

Our current customer base identified that this is something they wanted available to them in the AWS environment, and we heard that AWS customers wanted it, too. Many in our current customer base were already using AWS. They let us know that they’d like all of their computing on one invoice, from one bill, so they could more easily track and manage their computing expenses.

Edited by Alicia Young