Automated Logic’s Cloud-Managed Building Automation Solution Drives Innovation on AWS
Automated Logic, a leading provider of building-management solutions, knew its customers could benefit from a more flexible, scalable approach to building management. So it sought to develop a software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery model for its flagship product, the WebCTRL building automation system, which helps facility managers maintain occupant comfort and conserve energy.
Automated Logic used Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure and support, including the AWS SaaS Factory Program, which provides support at any stage of the SaaS journey. The program provides direct access to technical and business content, best practices, solutions architects, and experts to accelerate delivery of SaaS solutions. Using the AWS SaaS Factory Program, Automated Logic developed a staffing plan and adjusted its go-to-market model to better support its partners and serve its customers. It also developed a new service architecture using AWS services and consultation. The company plans to launch building automation as a service in November 2021, with the goals of increasing choice and scalability and reducing the support burden for customers.
We wanted to create flexibility for our customers, including giving them the choice of cloud-based options. Using AWS helped us navigate both the product architecture and the supporting business models.”
President, Automated Logic
Enhancing Customer Choice and Service Usability
Automated Logic was founded in 1977 and is now a part of Carrier Global Corporation, a leading global provider of sustainable, intelligent building and cold chain solutions. With a network of more than 230 authorized partners worldwide, Automated Logic partners with customers in various industries, including educational institutions, multisite retailers, data centers, commercial offices, high-rise office towers, and office parks. Using the WebCTRL system, building operators can connect, control, and manage systems for heating, air conditioning, lighting, fire safety, and security. “Our building automation system is appealing because it’s simple to use,” says Mead Rusert, president of Automated Logic. “People at all levels of the organization use the tool as part of their day-to-day work.”
The WebCTRL system software is typically installed on an on-premises server and requires that the customer maintain that onsite server. “Our customers are pushing for a more scalable solution that can integrate seamlessly with other building and information technology systems,” says Brad Croasdale, business development manager for cloud and digital solutions at Automated Logic. “They are also increasingly concerned about cybersecurity and are looking to us as a vendor and service provider to help them address their concerns.”
The new go-to-market model changes Automated Logic’s relationship with its authorized partners and requires a collaborative approach to working with stakeholders. “Automated Logic is undergoing a great transformation, but we recognize it’s not just a technology shift; it’s how we do business,” says Rusert. “We’ve been working with our authorized partners to make it a win-win for the customer. We are no longer merely a vendor to our partners but an integral part of delivering a strong customer experience—and we must work together differently to meet our customers’ goals and expectations.”
Automated Logic’s team had seen competitors with similar go-to-market strategies face challenges transitioning to a SaaS delivery model. With its parent company, Carrier, already using AWS services, Automated Logic looked to AWS to help it develop a viable business strategy, achieve a smooth rollout, and proactively avoid pitfalls. “Our hope is that over time, our service will shift more toward a recurring revenue model, but we’re aware that it’s not going to happen overnight,” says Rusert.
Powering a Business and Technical Transformation
Using support from the AWS SaaS Factory Program, Automated Logic kicked off the business transformation process in January 2020 with a planning workshop that helped staff and leadership better understand the changes needed beyond technology. “We wanted to create flexibility for our customers, including giving them the choice of cloud-based options,” says Rusert. “Using AWS helped us navigate both the product architecture and the supporting business models.”
The process produced a staffing plan that identified the skills required for the transition and made recommendations for new in-house roles, including cloud architect, site reliability engineer, and customer success and user experience team members. And although across the organization, hiring was limited, Automated Logic was able to lay out its growth plan and justify hiring. “This workshop success was one of the most tangible outcomes of using AWS,” says Chariti Young, software product manager for Automated Logic.
Automated Logic’s development and site reliability team received support from an AWS architect to develop a new cloud architecture. The bulk of the technical implementation work began in September 2020, and onboarding of pilot sites occurred in December 2020. The new architecture uses Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud, as its primary compute service. It also uses Amazon EC2 to support Automated Logic’s broader AWS environment, including the company’s use of Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), which makes it simple to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud. The architecture also provides a simple-to-use solution for integrating compute workloads in the cloud and supports the persistent storage and the analytical needs of WebCTRL.
Automated Logic runs Amazon EC2 using AWS Auto Scaling, which provides a simple, powerful user interface that lets customers build scaling plans for resources, including Amazon EC2 instances. This removes the operational overhead of scaling or managing uptime challenges.
Supporting Customers While Innovating
Automated Logic’s latest WebCTRL cloud offering will provide a reliable, secure service while offering predictable costs of ownership. “Using AWS, we’re able to deliver an outcome that will scale to connect more buildings centrally and increase connectivity between systems,” says Croasdale. “By taking full advantage of AWS services and support, we will reduce the customer’s information technology staff burden of supporting an on-premises system at a time when this is desired—resulting in great business outcomes.”
The solution also facilitates a move to a recurring revenue model with increased customer loyalty and the potential for greater industry innovation. “We hope that by removing the information technology infrastructure burden of the server product from our field, we can free our authorized partners to do more and larger projects,” says Young.
More broadly, the SaaS transition represents an ongoing strategic shift that supports customer service and business innovation. “In terms of change management, go-to-market strategy, business model, support infrastructure, and financial infrastructure, this is a complex and far-reaching transformation, far deeper than simply technology and products,” says Young.
About Automated Logic
For over 40 years, Automated Logic has provided intelligent building solutions to help customers operate their buildings more efficiently. Its WebCTRL building automation system helps facilities maintain occupant comfort and manage energy conservation measures. Automated Logic is a part of Carrier Global Corporation, a leading global provider of healthy, safe, and sustainable building and cold chain solutions.
Benefits of AWS
- Launched cloud-managed building automation for pilot sites
- Transformed go-to-market strategy for customers and partners
- Produced a staffing plan that justified additional hiring
- Expects to deliver reliable, secure, and scalable service with predictable cost of ownership
- Expects to reduce support burden on customers’ information technology staff
- Expects to shift to a recurring revenue model and increase customer loyalty
- Expects to improve industry innovation by removing support burden
AWS Services Used
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale cloud computing easier for developers.
Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud.
AWS Auto Scaling
AWS Auto Scaling monitors your applications and automatically adjusts capacity to maintain steady, predictable performance at the lowest possible cost.
Organizations of all sizes across all industries are transforming their businesses and delivering on their missions every day using AWS. Contact our experts and start your own AWS journey today.