Integrationworx Launches Amazon QuickSight Objects Management Tool OverSight with Support from SaaS Factory
By Ujwal Bukka, Sr. Partner Solutions Architect – AWS
By Afza Wajid, Global Business Lead – AWS
By Glen Douglas, Chief Architect and Product Manager – Integrationworx
Integrationworx enables customers to address various business challenges by leveraging data. It offers a diverse range of services such as analytics, data integration, data management, training, and mentoring.
Integrationworx has worked with multiple customers who employ formal software development lifecycle (SDLC) processes to manage their Amazon QuickSight-based business intelligence (BI) solutions across segregated Amazon Web Services (AWS) accounts.
Throughout these engagements, Integrationworx witnessed, first-hand, the complexity and effort required to migrate Amazon QuickSight assets across operating environments. This led to the idea of providing a set of operations and management tools, as an add-on to QuickSight, that helps customers manage their QuickSight SDLC in a low-friction, reliable, and repeatable way.
With support from AWS SaaS Factory, Integrationworx built and launched its OverSight (OVS) solution on AWS. Oversight is a as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application designed to enable development and DevOps teams to migrate QuickSight objects across AWS accounts. It supports the creation and management of a structured and repeatable dashboard development lifecycle (DDLC).
“We had great confidence in our delivery team to architect and implement OverSight from the very beginning. Our partnership with AWS SaaS Factory immediately turbo-charged our team with guidance and best-practices that would have taken us much more time to discover on our own, accelerating our time to market two-fold.” ~ Glen Douglas, Chief Architect and Product Manager at Integrationworx
The AWS SaaS Factory team spoke with Glen Douglas, OverSight Chief Architect and Product Manager at Integrationworx, to learn more about OverSight, the value its new solution brings to customers, and the key lessons learned from the journey to SaaS on AWS.
Q&A with Integrationworx
AWS SaaS Factory: Can you tell us about yourself and role at Integrationworx?
Glen Douglas: I’ve been working in the information technology industry for over 30 years, beginning in application development and gradually moving into roles of solution and enterprise architecture over the past 20. I am one of the five founding partners at Integrationworx, and among other roles I am the visionary and chief architect for OverSight.
AWS SaaS Factory: Can you tell us a bit about the history of Integrationworx as a Systems Integrator?
Glen Douglas: Integrationworx helps people and companies solve business problems using data. This includes empowering and transforming the business, dealing with data from mergers and acquisitions, managing data/information as an asset, discovering efficiencies, and identifying new markets and opportunities.
Our service offerings include a wide range of data challenges, such as analytics, data integration, and data management. We pride ourselves in training and mentoring, and our relationship with AWS allows us to offer managed services if needed/desired. Integrationworx has covered all North America for over 18 years.
AWS SaaS Factory: Who are your customers?
Glen Douglas: OverSight is specifically targeted at AWS customers that use Amazon QuickSight to deliver business intelligence and analytics solutions:
- Within their own organization and departments.
- As part of product and/or solution offering to their customers.
- As service offerings to other customers.
Our customers look to OverSight to provide a simple, fast, and reliable service to manage and copy QuickSight objects across AWS accounts they manage, without the need to learn complex APIs and command line interface (CLI) commands.
This could be for a variety of use cases, including:
- Support of formal SDLC processes across segregated environments.
- Supporting QuickSight-based solution deployments.
- General migration or duplication of QuickSight assets across environments.
AWS SaaS Factory: How does OverSight work and what are some of the key customer benefits?
Glen Douglas: OverSight is a web application and set of integration services, which a customer can use to manage their QuickSight environments. The web application provides an easy-to-use interface and release management workflow for defining and managing groups of QuickSight assets called “Applications.”
Applications represent a logical container for managing, versioning, and distributing a set of QuickSight objects as a single unit of work. Once defined, OverSight users can create versioned “Releases” of their Applications representing a point-in-time snapshots of their assets, which in turn can be used as deployment packages and/or backups of their work. Once created, Releases can be “deployed” to another QuickSight account; all with the click of a button.
OverSight customers realize a number of key benefits including:
- Ready-to-use solution to quickly copy QuickSight objects across accounts.
- Turn-key release management tool to support their QuickSight SDLC.
- Version control, and backup and recovery of QuickSight objects.
- Zero investment of knowledge acquisition and retention of complicated QuickSight CLI and API.
- SaaS-based delivery of service for a monthly subscription.
AWS SaaS Factory: How can users get started using OverSight?
Glen Douglas: Users can sign-up for a free 21-day trial of OverSight via AWS Marketplace, and be operating in a matter of minutes. End users can use the OverSight web application to configure one or more of their QuickSight (AWS) accounts to work with the OverSight integration service. With the configuration in place, end users can start defining their Applications and creating releases and deployments to other QuickSight accounts they have configured.
AWS SaaS Factory: Can you walk us through the architecture? What are some of the AWS services you leveraged?
Glen Douglas: The OverSight architecture is an adaptation of the AWS Serverless SaaS reference architecture, introduced to us by the SaaS Factory team. OverSight is based entirely on AWS serverless technologies, which allows us to minimize our operational costs and provide an extremely cost-effective solution to our customers.
Some of the key services employed in the OverSight end-to-end architecture include:
- Amazon CloudFront: Provides content delivery of web application(s) representing frontend user interface (UI) to customers and internal back-office management.
- AWS AppSync: Hosts GraphQL APIs used between our presentation layer and microservices.
- AWS Lambda: Hosts microservice workloads for managing core application functionality and interfacing to QuickSight.
- Amazon DynamoDB: Provides application data persistence using fast, flexible NoSQL database service.
- AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM): Securely manage trusted-relationships between OverSight service and customer AWS accounts and access to other AWS services and resources.
- Amazon Cognito: Hosts user/tenant pools and application authentication, authorization, and user management.
AWS SaaS Factory: What were some of the technical challenges when moving to a SaaS delivery model?
Glen Douglas: Prior to engaging with AWS SaaS Factory, our first product release of OverSight was designed as a customer-hosted solution and employed a CLI-like interface implemented in AWS Step Functions. Moving from this customer-hosted architecture to a SaaS-based solution delivery required us to rethink the following:
- Design and implementation of our security model to allow OverSight to manipulate QuickSight objects within the customer’s AWS accounts.
- Supporting multi-tenancy within all layers of the solution (UI, services, security, and data persistence).
- Functional design and feature bundling to accommodate future usage and pricing models.
- Integration with AWS Marketplace.
AWS SaaS Factory: Can you share how AWS SaaS Factory helped you address these technical challenges?
Glen Douglas: The transition of OverSight to a SaaS-based delivery model was drastically accelerated with the help of the SaaS Factory team and guidance they provided. Initial workshops provided a forum for our team to review architecture goals and vision, and receive feedback and suggestions on best practices for SaaS delivery implementation.
A key factor in our success was the AWS SaaS Factory team’s introduction of the Serverless SaaS reference architecture and solution, which immediately addressed a number of backlog items in our solution architecture.
The reference architecture formed the basis for discussions on a variety of relevant design subjects, including support of multi-tenancy, cross-account security, and scalability. Regular touchpoint meetings with the SaaS Factory team provided a venue for deep-dive discussions on specific design patterns and reviews of our solution components as they evolved.
AWS SaaS Factory: Can you walk us through how the SaaS Factory team supported your business efforts?
Glen Douglas: The SaaS Factory team brought entirely different perspectives to both our approach to our go-to-market (GTM) strategy and solution architecture. Business workshops provided us with deep market research on the evolution of SaaS, as well as current trends and approaches to consider in our feature-based bundling and pricing.
AWS SaaS Factory: What advice would you share with other organizations as they navigate to a SaaS delivery model?
Glen Douglas: First, do your research to ensure your solution is suitable for a SaaS-based delivery model and be prepared to refactor or redesign aspects of your solution to leverage SaaS delivery capabilities. Take advantage of AWS best practices and leverage relationships with your AWS Partner Solution Architects to engage experts as needed.
Seek out an AWS SaaS Factory team subject matter expert (SME) as they can provide both technical and business guidance on your SaaS journey, without re-inventing the wheel. Finally, look for opportunities to employ serverless technologies within your architecture to reduce operational costs and simplify performance efficiency within your offering.
About AWS SaaS Factory
AWS SaaS Factory helps organizations at any stage of the SaaS journey. Whether looking to build new products, migrate existing applications, or optimize SaaS solutions on AWS, we can help. Visit the AWS SaaS Factory Insights Hub to discover more technical and business content and best practices.
SaaS builders are encouraged to reach out to their account representative to inquire about engagement models and to work with the AWS SaaS Factory team.
Sign up to stay informed about the latest SaaS on AWS news, resources, and events.
Integrationworx – AWS Partner Spotlight
Integrationworx offers services and solutions for business data including data integration, data management and analytics.