Innovative Increases Profitability and Customer Satisfaction with Well-Architected Reviews
Innovative is an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner
Innovative increased revenue and profitability, boosted its Net Promoter Score at AWS to 89, achieved a 99.7 percent client retention rate, and added more than 100 customers to Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2020—all by joining the AWS Well-Architected Partner Program in 2019. The cloud solution provider integrated Well-Architected Reviews into its processes and required all 70 employees to earn at least one AWS Certification. As a result, the company improved in-house collaboration, reached a wider range of customers, and saw 95 percent of its customers initiate or expand their use of AWS services. Innovative also built Innovativewar.com, a scheduling application that reduced the time to perform a Well-Architected Review from 2 months to 3 weeks.
Partner Success Story – Innovative
Innovative, a New York–based cloud computing solutions company, has a passion for helping small to midsize businesses (SMBs). Its SMB customers are within industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, private equity, and supply chain or logistics as well as the nonprofit sector and professional services. “Our mission is to help every small business use the power of Amazon Web Services and the cloud,” says Innovative CEO Justin Copie. “We don’t make recommendations just for technology’s sake—we make recommendations that make business sense.” The company began migrating its applications to AWS in 2016 as part of an information technology strategy to migrate to the cloud. Quickly realizing the value it could deliver to customers with AWS, Innovative made a strategic business decision to go all in on AWS. In 2018, the company joined the AWS Partner Network (APN).
“Our mission is to help every small business use the power of Amazon Web Services and the cloud.”
– Justin Copie, CEO, Innovative
One year later, Innovative joined the AWS Well-Architected Partner Program to advance its AWS expertise and make full use of Well-Architected Reviews based on the AWS Well-Architected Framework. The framework helps cloud architects build secure, high-performing, resilient, and efficient infrastructure for their applications and workloads. Well-Architected Reviews not only enable Innovative to help customers optimize their cloud environments and identify future projects but also function as an entry point for lasting business relationships. The company vigorously integrated Well-Architected Reviews into its business model and required all employees to earn at least one AWS Certification. As a result, Innovative has seen a spike in new business for itself and AWS, increased profitability, and high customer satisfaction and retention.
Shifting Gears to AWS Certification and Well-Architected Reviews
Founded in 1989, Innovative now specializes in cloud architectures and migrations, cloud application development, cloud consulting, and managed services. In 2018, it was looking to get to market fast with cloud services. That year, Copie received a call from two Innovative engineers at an AWS conference in New York City. “AWS is leading,” Copie remembers them saying. “It’s following no one. AWS is the platform for the future, and it’s where we have to go.” From there, Innovative fast-tracked joining the APN in 2018 and became an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner by September 2019.
Then, in December 2019, Innovative joined the AWS Well-Architected Partner Program. By the year’s end, Innovative had “brought more than 50 customers that AWS didn’t even know existed to the cloud,” Copie says. “AWS has since told me it had never seen a partner accelerate as fast through the partnership program as we did or bring so many customers to the cloud in such a short window of time.” Innovative was able to quickly onboard new customers by using the Well-Architected Reviews, which shortened the sales cycle for subsequent workloads with customers to 15 days.
To fully embrace its strategic direction alongside AWS, Innovative made a bold move: it required that every one of its 70 employees attain at least one AWS Certification. “We needed to integrate the certification mentality into the culture of Innovative,” says Copie. “We kept the focus on getting certified to bring those skills to our customers purely as a mechanism for us to become more dangerous and versatile.” This strategy pushed Innovative to radically scale up its number of Well-Architected Reviews.
“We’ve added over 100 new customers to AWS in 2020. On average, we perform one Well-Architected Review for a new customer every single day.”
– Justin Copie, CEO, Innovative
Innovative performed its first Well-Architected Review in the fall of 2019 and quickly accelerated the quantity of its reviews, with a focus on greenfield customers—untapped SMBs and nonprofits without much existing information technology infrastructure. “We’ve already added over 100 new customers to AWS in 2020,” says Copie. “On average, we perform one Well-Architected Review for a new customer every single day.”
All Employees Becoming AWS Cloud Experts
Patrick Duffy, a cloud architect at Innovative, notes that the certification strategy has had a positive impact across the organization: “No matter what department I go to today,” he says, “I can talk about AWS, and everyone has high-level knowledge of every service, every way AWS operates. It’s made collaboration between our teams exponentially better.” Mike Krauklis, a DevOps expert who has been at Innovative for 2 years, found that his certification made him a more valuable employee: “When Innovative decided we were going to get AWS Certified, I jumped at the opportunity. I got my AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification, plus DevOps and Machine Learning specialty certifications. It lets us do things we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.”
Innovative’s commitment to AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification and Well-Architected Reviews has broadened the company’s perspective on how to do things in the cloud successfully. “We get as much out of these Well-Architected Reviews as our customers do,” says Duffy. “We’re able to learn so much by going through and reviewing customers’ environments; as a result, we figure out different ways to help optimize and educate on best practices.” Providing Well-Architected Reviews has also helped the company attract a wider range of customers at varying stages in their cloud journeys.
“We get as much out of these Well-Architected Reviews as our customers do. We’re able to learn so much by going through and reviewing customers’ environments; as a result, we figure out different ways to help optimize and educate on best practices”
— Patrick Duffy, Cloud Architect, Innovative
Innovative’s company-wide embrace and implementation of Well-Architected Reviews have also translated into happier customers and higher profitability. Copie notes that Innovative’s customer effort score—an internal metric that tracks how easy it is for a customer to gain access to its people, services, and products—has improved markedly. “I’ve always been a big believer that when you have happy customers, money becomes secondary,” says Copie.
True to its name, Innovative developed a scheduling application—Innovativewar.com—that reduced its average time to conduct a Well-Architected Review from 2 months to 3 weeks. The tool enables customers to book Well-Architected Reviews in less than 5 minutes: it captures their information, schedules a series of meetings based on each party’s availability, and explains the process so that customers understand the next steps. Innovative plans to put the tool in AWS Marketplace so that other AWS Well-Architected Partners can take advantage of it.
Using Well-Architected Reviews to Home In on Customers’ Problems and Solutions
Bringing value to its customers is the primary driver behind Innovative’s application of Well-Architected Reviews. Copie explains, “Our customers are either trying to increase revenue, decrease costs, get to market quicker, or produce a product or service faster. So, on every single Well-Architected Review we do, our engineers and business consultants are pairing up to work with that customer to make recommendations that are going to truly impact the customer’s business.” As a result, Innovative’s Net Promoter Score at AWS has jumped from 69 in 2018 to 89—54 points higher than the industry average—and that means each of its customers is optimizing its cloud computing experience. In addition, 95 percent of Innovative’s customers move beyond the Well-Architected Review to adopt a cloud management platform or purchase cloud managed services to optimize their AWS environment and scale according to their demand.
Performing Well-Architected Reviews enables Innovative to identify and remove high-risk issues for customers, deliver cost savings to them, remediate their security gaps, and establish clearer enterprise governance within their systems. In one example, Innovative helped Fieldtex, a medical hardware manufacturing company, migrate its applications from a relatively expensive offsite provider to AWS by using appropriately provisioned Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances in AWS Elastic Beanstalk environments. “In comparison to big companies, we can deliver as good if not better solutions to customers because of our nimbleness and our ability to move quickly and go all in on AWS,” says Copie.
Sharing an Obsession with Customer Experience
Innovative’s quick mastery of Well-Architected Reviews has enabled the company to help its SMB customers find the best solutions in the AWS Cloud, whether by migrating or more efficiently managing their systems. And its 99.7 percent client retention rate reflects its success. “We are maniacally focused on the customer experience,” says Copie. “What I love the most about our relationship with AWS is that it’s always about moving things forward. We share a core value of being customer obsessed.”
“When we bring our vision and AWS’s experiences together in the Well-Architected Review process, the sparks really start to fly, and you get some big innovation happening.”
— Patrick Duffy, Cloud Architect, Innovative
As an AWS Well-Architected Partner, Innovative has seen a rapid acceleration in its collaboration with AWS. “We’re bringing value to our customers because we’re so connected with AWS every day,” Duffy notes. “When we bring our vision and AWS’s experiences together in the Well-Architected Review process, the sparks really start to fly, and you get some big innovation happening.”
Partner Tier: Advanced
Partner Type: Consulting
Innovative Solutions helps small to midsize businesses use the power of the cloud by offering cloud consulting, cloud migrations, cloud-native development, and managed services, providing customized solutions based on each business’s unique needs.
APN Program Participation
Published September 2020