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Bytes leads Azure migration for maritime tech company

Standardization for smoother sailing

Ocean Technologies Group (OTG), an international leader in maritime technology, struggled to manage multiple IT systems for its different businesses. It turned to Bytes, a Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) partner, for a unified solution.

Steering toward a safe landing

Because CSP partners serve as trusted advisors, Bytes was able to guide OTG through a successful Azure migration and set it up for future success with the know-how to manage the new platform.

Course set for the future

With the centralized, scalable Azure environment that Bytes helped create, OTG is ready to make the most of opportunities for innovation and growth.

Bytes, a UK-based provider of world-class IT solutions, has helped hundreds of companies adapt and thrive in the changing technology landscape. Named Microsoft Partner of the Year for Operational Excellence in 2022, Bytes has earned five Solutions Partner designations and six specializations. One of these specializations is in Infra and Database Migration to Azure—a skillset that proved critical when working with a key maritime technology customer.

Historically, Bytes has been known for its licensing expertise. While it still maintains a thriving licensing practice—transacting over $1.2 billion of Microsoft revenue per year—today, the organization offers far more. As a Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) partner, Bytes packages their own services alongside Microsoft cloud services and manages the entire customer engagement cycle. With this full-service approach, Bytes has “transitioned away from a transactional partner to a trusted advisor,” said Richard Horowicz, Sales Director at Bytes.

Bytes Microsoft CSP partner

Bytes puts the customer first, creating personalized solutions and working closely with customers to take them to the next level of their digital journey. Customers don’t just get the technology; they get expert advice from an invested partner.

“It always starts with business outcomes. What is the customer trying to achieve? That is the most important thing.”

- Richard Horowicz, Sales Director at Bytes

Bytes employed this value-centric strategy in working with Ocean Technologies Group (OTG), a marine technology company with diverse operations across 15 countries. OTG grew to be an international leader in selling maritime software as a service (SaaS) to the shipping and nautical industry through a series of acquisitions and investments. However, the organizations within this collective worked with a variety of IT structures—an inefficient way of doing business that prevented the company from taking full advantage of growth opportunities. OTG leadership recognized that the company needed a central, shared IT system for all its businesses, and that Microsoft Azure could provide the perfect platform. However, while OTG’s goal—a wholesale migration to Azure—was clear, the company needed help making that happen.

That’s where Bytes came in. As a CSP partner and trusted advisor, Bytes had helped other companies standardize their IT environments, and the company’s experts set out to apply their learnings and Microsoft solutions to OTG.

Creating a personalized plan

First, Bytes dove in to learn about OTG’s unique situation.

“We did a number of discovery workshops with them to figure out the lay of the land, what they had at the time, what they needed as an organization, and what ‘good’ would look like, including elements like the network, active directory, and security posture,” said Chris Colledge, Azure Solutions Specialist at Bytes.

In the end, Bytes recommended a “greenfield” landing zone, which meant creating a brand-new environment built from the ground up to meet OTG’s needs, rather than trying to change the existing structures.

“We looked at their technology decisions, and it was evident that it would just be a lot easier to start fresh and build new,” Colledge said.

OTG agreed, and Bytes worked with the customer to deliver the landing zone, identify workloads, and create a migration plan, which involved moving to Azure in a series of waves. This was a great option for OTG, as it allowed the migration to happen organization by organization. Bytes also helped OTG manage costs, collaborating to define and configure storage lifecycles to come up with the most cost-effective storage solutions.

Partnering throughout the project

Rather than simply executing the migration and then handing the finished product back to the customer, Bytes worked with OTG throughout to make sure its staff built the knowledge and skills they would need to operate and manage their new IT environment. While Bytes did more heavy lifting in the beginning of the migration, OTG took on more responsibility as the project continued.

“We took a lot of the control early on to show them how to do it. As the project went on and more migration waves happened, we took our hands off the reins a little bit more and allowed them to steer,” Colledge said. “That’s what makes us different—involving our customers throughout the process.”

OTG completed the last parts of the migration on its own, and since then, Colledge said he’s seen the company “grow and grow in Microsoft” from the foundation provided by Bytes. The migration has fulfilled OTG’s goal of standardization with a centralized, scalable infrastructure that can support the company’s innovation and growth. And working in a properly governed Azure environment helps the company streamline management and reduce risk. "We can only see that as a successful project,” Colledge said.

Bytes often works with customers post-migration as well, helping them optimize their Azure environments from a technical as well as a cost perspective. The company specializes in using Quantum for Azure, a game-changing spend management tool, to help customers monitor and cut cloud spending.

From transactional to trusted

To evolve from merely making transactions to becoming a trusted partner, Bytes has focused on understanding who customers are and where they want to be—and how Bytes can help.

"We know customers expect more; the market is moving at a much quicker rate, and it's important that we adapt and change to that. That's why being the subject matter expert of your customer is so important. We need to move away from these tactical, transactional outcomes to more business drivers, business outcomes that deliver true value back to either the client itself or the client’s customers,” Horowicz said.

True partnership also means having the right technical expertise at hand—which Bytes has been working with Microsoft for 30 years.

Bytes CSP and Azure specialist at convention

“You have to offer a very complex portfolio of solutions for your customers to be able to compete and to be able to bring the whole lot together. We choose to sell Microsoft because it's good technology and because of the partnership,” said David Rawle, Bytes Group Chief Technology Officer.

Being a Cloud Solution Provider partner empowers Bytes to get closer to customers, delve deeper into their challenges and needs, and draw on vast experience and resources to create the right solutions.

“Microsoft’s at the heart of everything we do,” Horowicz added. “It’s at the center of all conversations that we have with our customers. We will continue to invest in Microsoft because we know it drives valuable business outcomes.”

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