AWS Smart Business Blog

My Cloud Migration Strategy Helped Me Prepare for the Future in Months, Not Years

From staffing shortages to supply chain bottlenecks, the telecom industry has experienced many of the same problems facing almost every business sector since the pandemic. But along with these challenges, telecom and broadband companies are also feeling a demand for innovation. The last two years have brought a fresh wave of investment to telecom, including USD $65 billion in federal spending to close the broadband gap. Economic pressures and a more rapid pace of expansion are forcing providers to evaluate their internal systems and operational efficiencies.

This push for innovation and efficiency is also extending out to Business Support Systems (BSS) and Operation Support Systems (OSS) companies that provide software solutions for service providers. As the CTO at Communications Data Group (CDG), a leading BSS/OSS solutions provider based in Champaign, Illinois, USA, one of the primary innovation transitions our team identified was a need to migrate away from legacy, on-premises systems to cloud technology powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS).

We started our cloud migration journey by opening a dialogue with AWS and Onica by Rackspace Technology™, an AWS Partner Network company specializing in cloud migration and management for small and medium businesses. We trusted their expertise because they hold 15 AWS competencies and more than 1,600 other certifications. The ultimate vision was for CDG’s BSS/OSS solutions to reach new classes of providers and bring more people online using AWS Cloud.

Scaling beyond on-premises data storage solutions

One of CDG’s core offerings, the Modularity Billing System (MBS), has a long history of providing operational management tools to tier 3 service providers to help them remain focused on delivering a wide range of telecommunications services. As an open platform, it facilitates integrating third-party accounting, mapping, payment processing, and other operational tools into a single system of record.

CDG is owned by a service provider so we are comfortable in the data center and connectivity environment and had previously felt that growing that environment was something we could build and manage ourselves.

Market conditions presented other factors. With top workforce talent still in high demand, building infrastructure on-premises would mean hiring entire teams to develop and manage it, and training any future employees on our proprietary systems.

If we landed a large customer and they’re going to scale out our system by a factor of 10 or 20, how do we grow quickly? In the world of on-premises infrastructure, that would mean adding processors and physical memory resources to handle these growing workloads. On the cloud, however, services like AWS Lambda and Amazon Aurora could help us scale up automatically to meet workloads as needed, and then back down again.

Growing the business to meet future needs

As we thought about it in more detail, we realized our on-premises solutions would not be able to accommodate the additional workloads associated with a dramatic scale up. We also began to realize what AWS could bring to the table, such as the AWS developer toolkits and serverless services that could modernize our application beyond our wildest dreams. We began to view the transition to AWS as an opportunity to make MBS more scalable and useful to larger telecom and broadband providers.

We were really excited about leveraging the strengths of AWS, so we could focus on our core strengths, designing and developing enterprise software solutions. It became obvious that to really modernize our environment—to be able to scale and sell upmarket—we needed a partner that could provide a platform on which to build our next-generation solution.

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Making cloud migration fast and painless with Onica and AWS

With AWS and trusted experts at Onica®, we developed a phased approach, identifying specific pain points and solutions. We are now transitioning to a suite of services to help us meet our needs, including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, AWS Transit Gateway, Amazon Aurora Serverless, and Amazon Simple Storage Service, as well as others.

We were initially set to bring on separate partners to assist with the database and front-end elements of the transition. Ultimately, working with a single partner like Onica helped us turn an 18-month project into one that took six months. It also facilitated better information exchange.

“The biggest benefit to CDG was accelerating the migration. Having all five data and engineering practices in our delivery group made it seamless for CDG to work with us on all phases of the digital transformation,” said Brittany Bond, our account executive at Onica.

Account team and customer meeting in an office

Attempting change management during the journey to AWS Cloud

The partnership also helped make for a more comfortable transition inside CDG, where team members initially came on board with a healthy dose of skepticism about moving away from legacy systems. Over the last month or two, we’ve started to see a culture shift. When you talk to somebody two or three times a week about a very complex project, you get to know the people and you can tell if they know what they’re talking about. I’ve seen just how confident our team is in the partners we have, and how knowledgeable they really are.

As of September 2022, the project is 75 percent complete, and we can confidently say we’re very comfortable with the decision we made to select AWS for cloud and Onica as our partner. After we complete the infrastructure migration project, we will continue our partnership on a long-term strategy to modernize our applications and expand our platform.

The transition has already made a difference when pitching prospects. It gives us a chance to provide nearly limitless scalability and serve providers in North America, from the largest to the smallest, on AWS through a single platform and common infrastructure. And providers who put a premium on data security, for example, are quick to trust platforms that are used by giants of every industry.

Next steps

Tony Stout at CDG is hopeful for what the future can bring due to its ever-evolving cloud migration strategy. He recognizes that it will keep them more agile to respond to market and customer conditions for years to come. If your small or medium business is considering a similar transition, we have resources to help you whether you’re new to cloud, more experienced, or want to see specific solutions. Want to start the journey today? Contact us now.

Disclaimer: The content and opinions in this post are those of the third-party author and AWS is not responsible for the content or accuracy of this post.

Tony Stout

Tony Stout

As Chief Technology Officer of Communications Data Group (CDG), Tony Stout brings over 26 years of service provider and IT experience to his role. He manages Software Development, R&D, IT Operations, and Product Support. Tony’s passion is to bring emerging technologies to underserved rural communities to facilitate economic growth in these often overlooked areas. Additionally, he strives to drive efficiency and operational excellence into the teams he manages with the ultimate goal being market leadership and an unsurpassed customer experience.