Innovative Solutions brings security monitoring and response solutions, cloud migrations, and consulting services to organizations with semi-regulated workloads. To reduce time-consuming and error-prone customer onboarding, Innovative Solutions implemented MontyCloud’s Service Catalog as its customer enablement platform, resulting in significant time savings for customers who install one of their three suites of pre-packaged managed services. With MontyCloud’s latest solution using the AWS Built-in Competency, Innovative Solutions has reduced deployment time and churn even further by offering customers fully-configured, one-click deployments of their managed services as well as their generative AI solution called Tailwinds directly from the MontyCloud Service Catalog.
Time-Consuming Customer Onboarding and Service Deployments Cause Friction
Prior to collaborate with AWS Partner MontyCloud, customer onboarding at Innovative Solutions was chaotic and time-consuming. According to, Travis Rehl, senior vice president of product at Innovative Solutions, “As a growing company, we were signing new customers at a fast pace, but our internal teams had trouble keeping up due to the amount of time required to set up everything and install the required services.” As every new customer came on board, Travis’s team found themselves scrambling to assemble an installation team and get the customer’s environment ready for production. With so much time, effort, and on-the-fly preparation required for each customer installation, Innovative Solutions’ profit margin was suffering.
Because of Innovative Solutions’ focus on organizations with semi-regulated workloads, Travis’s team is required to perform a set of customized operations-focused tasks for each customer project, for example creating and assigning permissions and AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) roles, getting approvals, validating connections, and more. According to Travis, “A lot of back and forth between the first call and the initial deployment causes friction, and that can damage our relationships with customers. We needed to find ways to reduce churn in other areas of the engagement so we didn’t just exacerbate the problem.”
In the early days, Travis and team assumed the unnecessary friction was caused by a tooling problem. They first attempted to build their own homegrown solutions and even used other ISV products in the market, but they still faced the same challenges. With half of Innovative Solutions’ revenue coming from managed services, they knew they had to find a better way to make customer onboarding go more smoothly and efficiently if they wanted the company to continue maximizing profits.
“By the time the churn settles down and the customer is set up for production, sometimes weeks have passed,” said Travis. “You can’t blame customers for being somewhat grumpy after that whole process. It’s not a great first impression. Customers may be completely satisfied with the final outcome, but they definitely aren’t happy with the amount of time it took to get there.”
But the frustrations didn’t stop with getting customers prepared for installations. Prior to MontyCloud, Innovative Solutions had issues finding the best way to propagate their catalog of services to customer environments. “We tried using the AWS Service Catalog for many things, but we recognized that sometimes we don't have access to customer environments in such a way we could propagate that catalog across multiple environments, so that didn’t work for us. We looked at other ISVs, but they were too expensive. We tried pushing some of those expenses to our customers but realized it was just too heavy of a commitment for our customer base in the SMB market in particular. We tried so many things, but we just couldn’t find a viable solution.”
Manual Installation Processes and Inefficient Reporting Waste Time and Money
Innovative Solutions also had a scripting problem. For each new customer installation, someone from Travis’s team had to pull a script from a Git repository, load it into the customer environment, execute the script, secure the right permissions, complete the authentication requirements, and perform other manual tasks. According to Travis, “That whole process posed problems for us. Because everything was so manual, sometimes an employee would mistakenly deploy the wrong script, causing customers to get services they shouldn’t have. And sometimes they might inadvertently grab an older version of a script, which meant that customers might get a slightly different installation package than what they purchased.” Innovative Solutions was losing money from time spent managing scripts, performing manual processes, and cleaning up mistakes.
As a first step to help mitigate issues with installation scripts, Travis attempted more staff education. “That meant more training dollars to help our staff understand the scripts and all the specific problems they had to address to figure out the right buttons to hit to get the right things over to the end customer. All this increased our costs to the point where we were starting to think, if we want to maintain our margin profile for our business to function, we might just have to accept that we're going to need to raise our prices.”
Another frustration for Travis and team centered around reporting, especially for AWS Migration Acceleration Program (MAP) engagements. As an AWS Premier Tier Partner, Innovative Solutions performs hundreds of MAP engagements every year. They manage all the individual pieces of the process, including matching AWS Migration Program Engagement (MPE) numbers and making sure they’re tagged correctly in their system. “The process is very manual and error-prone,” says Travis. “If the numbers don’t match and everything else isn’t coded 100% perfectly in the system, it can be a tedious process to fix.”
To make things easier with reporting on MAP engagements, Travis and team tried a few different forms of resolution. First, they hired their own internal Business Intelligence (BI) team to handle the MAP details. Travis says, “These are employees we had to pay to deal with all these details instead of performing jobs that could actually earn revenue for the company.” Travis also recalls weekly leadership meetings where the team would painstakingly compare the MPE numbers, customer by customer, as a way to reduce reporting errors.
In addition to employing a BI team, Innovative Solutions also tried using third-party reporting tools. Unfortunately, none of those tools provided a viable solution. At one point, they considered building their own internal reporting tooling, but this type of project was too time consuming and resource heavy. They even tried exporting MAP data into their own data lake so they could more easily match MPE numbers to those at AWS. Travis says, “When none of these attempts fixed the problem, we hired our own dedicated MAP partner from AWS to just sit there and validate the numbers between our two systems.”
MontyCloud Provides the Gateway into Managed Service Installations
When Travis learned about MontyCloud through a former colleague, his first reaction was that it could be a good candidate for solving Innovative Solutions’ reporting frustrations. But as he looked further into the platform, especially MontyCloud’s Service Catalog feature, he soon realized that he could use it to solve their issues around customer onboarding and service deployments as well.
According to Travis, MontyCloud’s Service Catalog is a game changer for customer onboarding at Innovative Solutions because it eliminates the need to scramble together an onboarding team. “Using the Service Catalog, we give customers the ability to install and deploy any of our three tiers of managed services, whether it’s a self-monitored environment for handling alerts and issues or one that’s fully managed by our team here at Innovative Solutions. The Service Catalog is the access point or gateway to our entire suite of managed services.”
MontyCloud has also helped Innovative Solutions manage their installation scripts more efficiently. For a single Service Catalog item, Travis’s team can load a script along with some parameters to the catalog and then simply reuse that catalog item across multiple customers. “Now even junior members of my team can do customer installations. Because we’ve implemented fine-grained permissions into MontyCloud, they log in and see only the package that was purchased by the customer. All those mistakes made by grabbing the wrong script or installing an outdated one are a thing of the past.”
Another advantage of using MontyCloud is the ability to give Innovative Solutions’ customers direct access to the platform for viewing their “report card.” According to Travis, most customers are deeply concerned about overspending on AWS services, but they don’t have the time or resources to do a thorough investigation. He also explains that paying customers want to be able to get insights into their system and confirm that everything’s running smoothly. “We believe that giving customers a self-service way to gauge the overall health of their system and see where there’s opportunities for cost savings is good customer service. If they can go in and see green check marks down the list, that gives them peace of mind that we're providing a good service and that we're truthful to what we told them.”
But the benefits of MontyCloud don’t stop there. According to Travis, their built-in MAP features are the icing on the cake. He can simply input a customer’s MPE number into MontyCloud, run a report that shows which resources on that customer account still need to be tagged, and then click a button to automatically tag those resources directly from MontyCloud—all within about 30 minutes. “All those MAP-related tasks, especially matching those data points between AWS and us, used to be a lot of overhead on our project management teams and our alliances team in particular. Now we’ve shed all that and passed it over to MontyCloud.”
AWS Built-in Brings Massive Time Savings for Service Deployments
MontyCloud’s Service Catalog has solved many problems for Travis’s team at Innovative Solutions. Customers now have self-service access to their overall cloud health status and one-stop shopping for managed services. In addition, it virtually eliminated the need for Travis’s team to spend valuable time and money managing MAP engagement data through manual, error-prone processes.
These improvements are compelling as is, but now they’ve been propelled into a whole new realm, thanks to MontyCloud’s AWS Built-in solution. AWS Built-in is an AWS Specialization designed to install, configure, and integrate partner products with AWS foundational services across multiple domains using a single AWS CloudFormation template. AWS Built-in solutions deliver a fully deployable architecture that’s certified by the AWS Well-Architected Framework so organizations without AWS experts onsite don’t have to hire expensive consultants or book an appointment with AWS Professional Services (AWS ProServe)
MontyCloud’s Service Catalog has streamlined the way customers install Innovative Solutions’ tiered packages of managed services, but complicated customer environments still required Travis’s team to configure applications, make connections, and perform manual tasks. Now with MontyCloud’s AWS Built-in solution, they can install and deploy an entire service suite—all pre-configured according to AWS best practices—into a customer’s environment with a single click in just a few minutes. Travis said, “Prior to AWS Built-in, even for a medium-to-highly skilled engineer, installing a tier of services would have taken somewhere between two weeks to a month, depending on the size of the customer’s environment. Now, thanks to AWS Built-in and MontyCloud, we can do it very quickly. This is just huge for us!”
With such faster installation time, MontyCloud’s AWS Built-in solution has played a major role in helping reduce friction between customers and Travis’s team. According to Travis, “When someone in an organization is assigned to work with us, we have certain standards that we have to follow, and unfortunately that creates some back-and-forth cycles. We’re talking about assigning permissions and security roles, getting approvals, validating things—it’s a lot of passing things back and forth.” MontyCloud’s Service Catalog helped simplify that process by providing a gateway into Innovative Solutions’ service tiers, but now that they’ve added AWS Built-in to the mix, those simplifications have multiplied into massive customer benefits by offering fully configured, automated deployments.
According to Travis, MontyCloud’s AWS Built-in solution has benefits for Innovative Solutions that reach well beyond customer onboarding and managed service deployments, specifically around deploying Tailwinds, their signature generative AI feature. “In a single click, customers can deploy our entire generative AI solution—a pre-packaged architecture based on Amazon Bedrock and Anthropic technologies—into their cloud environment all in one motion, even when they don’t purchase it as part of onboarding or one of our tiered offerings of managed services. It was a huge lightbulb moment for us when we realized we could use AWS Built-in functionality as a simple vendor service, essentially a deployment tool, to help us increase our margin profile and time to market for customers.”
Innovative Solutions offers a fully deployable, pre-packaged version of Tailwinds that contains Amazon Bedrock, vector databases, and all the required components to run generative AI in their customer’s cloud environment. “When customers are ready to try Tailwinds, we simply point them to the Service Catalog,” says Travis. “Thanks to AWS Built-in, they can click a single button to deploy the entire solution, which puts them at about 80% of the way to be a fully generative AI-enabled business without being an expert on Bedrock or any of the other underlying technologies. It’s really a win-win situation for everyone.”
MontyCloud and AWS Built-in are the Game Changers for Innovative Solutions
Using MontyCloud, Innovative Solutions has reduced customer onboarding time from months to a week or two. And with MontyCloud’s AWS Built-in solution, one-click deployments have reduced that time to about 5-10 hours, which is roughly two business days.
“Customers really like how they have access to all our services in one place. They also like several of the pre-built services that come by default with MontyCloud,” says Travis. For example, one of his SMB customers was interested in performing load balancing on an application. This organization didn’t have on-site expertise to research options for load balancing software, and even if they did a good application, they didn’t have enough knowledge to configure it properly. Fortunately for them, MontyCloud offers a load balancing option as a Service Catalog item. “Now, they can click a button and deploy a preconfigured Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance with JMeter installed, make a few tweaks, and then they’re successfully using the service. No expertise or configuration required.”
According to Travis, customer satisfaction is also on the rise. “With MontyCloud and AWS Built-in, we’ve greatly reduced the friction for our customers. Because so much of the process is automated now, we’re seeing a lot less churn and mistakes around MAP engagements, passwords, access roles, and other details. The automated deployments from AWS Built-in have been particularly instrumental in closing those gaps.”
Going forward, Travis sees great things ahead for Innovative Solutions and its partnership with MontyCloud and AWS. “As a leading AWS Partner in the generative AI space, we are completely set up for success when it comes to bringing AI solutions to our customers. MontyCloud’s Service Catalog provides the access point to Tailwinds as well as our managed service packages. AWS Built-in was the missing piece that we needed to help our customers deploy those offerings quickly and efficiently, without the need to be AWS experts.”
Recognized as an AWS Premier Tier Services Partner, Innovative uses its cloud expertise and technology to help businesses migrate to and manage their IT infrastructure in the cloud. With an army of experts and the Innovative Cloud Runbook utilizing the leading platforms and technologies, Innovative gives businesses of every size the confidence to grow in the cloud.
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