How to find agility in the cloud

Thor Olavsrud

Crucially, Altisource CEO Bill Shepro was on board.

"Our CEO, Bill Shepro, was very much behind the notion that we need to be cloud native, not for its own sake but because it would drive toward process changes that would make our company more agile," Juneja says.

Searching in the cloud

With the support of the C-suite, Juneja's team surveyed multiple cloud providers, looking for credibility in providing highly secure, scalable environments in multiple locations. Juneja knew that Altisource needed a cloud provider with a highly secure solution, strong service-level agreements and a history of delivering solutions to financial institutions. Altisource also needed 24/7 monitoring, elasticity in computing storage within the private cloud and a roadmap that would allow it to combine private and public cloud elements.

"Going through the process of selecting a vendor, we were quite sure that we would not be a single cloud vendor play," Juneja says. "We would always have a multitude of vendors. But we wanted to make sure our core applications had a vendor identified and approved up front."

Ultimately, Altisource elected to make Verizon that vendor.

"The second that we engaged with Verizon, we were able to understand their roadmap -- not just today but two years down the road," Juneja says. "We have a longer-term plan that includes public clouds and hybrid clouds all working together. We want private cloud for core applications that are expanding and become more SaaS. We want public cloud for apps that are less sensitive to PII. We want to be able to move data and applications between these environments. It was important to understand the roadmap."

Even with ambitious plans, Juneja notes that Altisource is taking a 'crawl before you walk' and 'walk before you run' approach. It started earlier this year with some applications that have fewer customer compliance requirements and will deploy another two or three major applications this year. Then it will gauge whether there is enough data to validate a full migration.

Planning for the unknown

"You get into a lot of unknown unknowns," Juneja says. "You just can't plan for all of those. I think the most important thing I have learned is to bring into the team folks that have done such transformations at multiple levels -- at app dev, in infrastructure, in security. You might get stymied by a process designed for colo that doesn't fit a cloud environment and you'll wish you had a partner in that process stream. Or you get stymied by a gap in cloud infrastructure that you just didn't know about. It comes down to having enough seeds of change in people with experience in those pillars so they can adjust to the unknown unknowns."

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