iBASEt Accelerates Time to Value for Its Customers by Launching SaaS MES Offering on AWS
AWS Partner iBASEt accelerated time to value for customers by offering a version of its manufacturing execution system (MES), powered by Solumina iSeries, using a software-as a-service (SaaS) model on AWS. iBASEt simplifies how complex products are built and maintained by offering software solutions for the manufacturing industry. Adoption of the cloud has been slow in highly regulated manufacturing markets, and implementing an MES on premises is time consuming. iBASEt’s MES solution, adapted to a SaaS model through the AWS SaaS Factory Program, is hosted on AWS GovCloud (US) and can be deployed in days, delivering service quickly while facilitating compliance with government regulations.
Partner Success Story – iBASEt
Manufacturing software company iBASEt has served the aerospace and defense and other highly engineered manufacturing industries for decades and understands well the challenges its customers face. It’s flagship manufacturing execution system (MES), powered by Solumina iSeries, streamlines production, quality, and sustainment manufacturing processes by providing real-time performance visibility, access to detailed data for analysis and decision support, and quality assurance throughout every step. iBASEt’s customers are in highly regulated industries, so its solutions need to help clients maintain the highest quality standards while complying with strict government regulations. To better meet customers’ needs for improved agility and operational resilience, iBASEt sought to innovate using Amazon Web Services (AWS). By offering a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model on AWS, iBASEt helps customers dramatically reduce the time, resource requirements, and complexity to implement an MES solution while facilitating necessary regulatory and security requirements.
Simplifying Complex Operations through Digital Transformation
Founded in Southern California in 1986, AWS Partner iBASEt simplifies how complex products are built and maintained, with a focus on serving manufacturers of highly engineered products. iBASEt focuses especially on aerospace and defense, serving customers such as Lockheed Martin, Airbus, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). To increase the agility of its MES and offer further value, in October 2020 iBASEt launched its iSeries—a new set of solutions based on a microservices architecture, simplifying updates through the use of Kubernetes to create new containers for deployment. This approach not only facilitates the quick delivery of improvements and updates but also introduces a new lower-cost option for manufacturers.
iBASEt’s decision to begin the migration to a microservices architecture in 2016 had provided a foundation for the company to offer a SaaS version of its MES solution. At the time, using the cloud was still a novel idea in the discrete manufacturing industry, and many of iBASEt’s customers had security concerns. The iBASEt leadership team saw the potential upside and had the vision to push forward with its product migration, looking to AWS for support and alignment. In 2019, iBASEt became an AWS Partner and adopted AWS Quick Starts, which help companies deploy popular technologies on AWS based on AWS best practices for security and high availability. By consulting the AWS Quick Starts team, iBASEt can help customers to deploy solutions in the cloud in a matter of hours, rather than the days or weeks it previously took with the company’s three-tier architecture and procurement process.
Offering a fully managed, more simplified version of its solution in the cloud was the next goal for iBASEt. “Managing hundreds of discrete applications is a costly overhead expense even for customers with large information technology departments,” says Sung Kim, Chief Technology Officer of iBASEt.
Transforming iBASEt for SaaS
In September 2019, iBASEt engaged the AWS SaaS Factory Program, which helps AWS Partners at any stage of the SaaS journey accelerate delivery of SaaS solutions on AWS. The company worked alongside the AWS SaaS Factory team for 15 months to develop and launch a cloud-native SaaS version of its flagship MES solution. “Being brand new to this, we relied on the AWS SaaS Factory team to let us know what we didn’t know so that we could build our business model and support structure,” says Kim.
The company worked alongside the AWS SaaS Factory team to build the right architecture and automate its software deployment. iBASEt uses Docker for container deployment and Kubernetes as a container management system, so it was a logical choice to add Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS), which can be used to start, run, and scale Kubernetes applications on AWS. iBASEt’s solutions rely heavily on databases, so it chose to use Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), which makes it simple to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud. Amazon RDS offers the option to deploy the service across multiple Availability Zones for enhanced availability and supports iBASEt’s use of Oracle Database and Microsoft SQL Server.
The transition to SaaS involved not only a technological change for iBASEt but also a business and organizational change, driven by an executive team led by iBASEt’s CEO and President, Naveen Poonian. “You can’t do this without executive sponsorship,” says Kim. “Our entire team and especially our CEO were behind this. It became a priority.” The company worked alongside the AWS SaaS Factory team to define a usage-based, tiered pricing strategy to provide the best value for customers across all segments while helping the company grow along with its customers. The leadership aligned its compensation and incentives model to encourage sales teams to offer services that are most valuable to the customer regardless of the deployment model.
“Usually, it takes around 4 months to complete a needs assessment before even considering signing a contract,” says Kim. “With the SaaS model, we can move much faster through the sales process, with decisions that can be made in days instead of months.”
- Sung Kim, CTO, iBASEt
Another key component to iBASEt’s transition to SaaS was offering AWS GovCloud (US) as a default option, giving government customers and their partners the flexibility to architect secure cloud solutions that comply with various US security policies, regulations, and compliance regimes. Customers in highly regulated domains such as aerospace and defense must comply with International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which stipulate that only US persons with the required security clearance can have access to certain defense-related data. Because only vetted US persons—US entities and root account holders who pass a screening process—can access AWS GovCloud (US), its security-related features facilitate full compliance with a wide range of government security and restricted-access regulations.
Following the launch of its MES as a fully managed service, iBASEt onboarded its first SaaS customer, AST & Science, in May 2021, within a record four months of the first customer meeting. This accomplishment demonstrated a remarkably short time to value for a full-fledged MES in an industry that often sees long implementation periods, typically over nine months. “Usually, it takes around 4 months to complete a needs assessment before even considering signing a contract,” says Kim. “With the SaaS model, we can move much faster through the sales process, with decisions that can be made in days instead of months.”
“We’ve just started our SaaS journey, and it’s not just a technological transformation. It’s a business and cultural transformation.”
- Sung Kim, CTO, iBASEt
Opening New Possibilities in Manufacturing
Within the manufacturing industry, more companies are opening up to the idea of migrating MES solutions to the cloud. Because the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed people to work remotely, more teams are realizing the value of hosting data in the cloud, and iBASEt is seeing more customers interested in its SaaS offering, with several in its sales pipeline for its MES solution. In the future, the company will continue identifying AWS services it can use to add more value for customers. “We’ve just started our SaaS journey, and it’s not just a technological transformation,” says Kim. “It’s a business and cultural transformation.”
Published September 2021