When’s the last time you or your operations team were able to deploy an entire, fully functional, enterprise-grade suite of applications for your organization to tryout within one day?*
* Sometimes actually less than an hour. AND you need zero technical knowledge, cost or commitment, but instead you can just kick back with a glass of whatever and watch your entire Kubernetes cluster spin up in front of your eyes within hours, AND there’s a cloud native container orchestration app that you can visually monitor the health of all your nodes with Grafana charts, and its completely free for any customer of any product in said suite? Yeah, me neither!
Not until I had the honor to spend the last year and a half working with the HCL Solutions Factory team here at HCL Software. What this team has done for our solution delivery capability is almost too difficult to draw a comparison to. It is truly a paradigm shift for cloud native software delivery. In this article, I will introduce you to what we have been cooking up for the last five years and how it will radically improve your competitive footing. Our incredibly talented team of modernization experts have gone all-in on cloud native tech to bring the world SoFy, the HCL Solutions Factory.
Think of SoFy as the Netflix of enterprise software. First and foremost, it is an incredibly friendly catalog of all the HCL Software titles – pre-containerized and ready to deploy to public cloud sandboxes in literal minutes. What once took weeks with expensive experts, can now be done by the most non-technical users on their phone while sitting in Starbucks. It’s seriously that easy.
If that was all SoFy was, it would still be a game-changer, but we didn’t stop there! The SoFy team has been working across the entire HCL Software portfolio of more than 20 products to build a huge collection of Solution Accelerators that are designed to jump start your journey with as many practical use cases as we can come up with! HCL Commerce alone has created six accelerators – one of which automatically deploys Commerce and HCL Digital Experience fully integrated to show you how you can take advantage of the new CMS and DAM capability inside of Commerce!
Did I mention that can be done from a phone in minutes?
SoFy Product Catalog
Let’s talk about the product catalog first. As soon as you log into SoFy you will be able to browse all of our most popular software titles – including some past versions and upcoming beta releases. We don’t limit you to launching a single product. You can select multiple products and add them to what we call a “solution” which will automatically find all dependencies and produce what’s called a “Helm Chart” (in cloud-native speak) behind the scenes and begin all of the container deployment orchestration in a free cloud sandbox for you while you go to lunch.
Once you come back from lunch, you will be shown a “solutions console” which is a web application we built that travels with your solution – either in our sandbox or wherever you deploy it. The solutions console puts everything you need to manage your solution at your fingertips. It has all the links and login information you need to access the business user tooling as well as providing visibility to all the underlying Kubernetes artifacts and other components like log files and resource utilization data that your operations team will appreciate. Business users can take advantage of the ease at which they can explore the latest features of software titles they are already entitled to, or they can kick the tires on other HCL Software applications for no cost! Developers can access the latest APIs and browse Swagger docs to start working on your next killer app, and DevOps teams can download the Helm Charts to deploy solutions into any Kubernetes-based environment of their choice. It really is fun for the whole family.
Now let’s talk Solution Accelerators. When we first rolled out Solution Accelerators, we called them “demo packs”, but we quickly realized that these are not just demos. We are doing something that possibly no enterprise software company has done before which is to provide pre-built solutions to real-world business problems which can be accessed within minutes and understood through flow diagrams, extensive documentation and walk-through videos that will provide value to business users, developers and operations gurus. We are now able to truly accelerate your journey to sell more, communicate better and engage your customers with unmatched ease and speed. Not only are each of the HCL Software product teams creating their own Solution Accelerators for just their product, but they are also combining products like Voltron to create super-applications to solve even bigger business problems. We’ve already rolled out over 30 Solution Accelerators and we have no plans to stop!
Deployment for Anyone
Finally, let’s come back to how this can radically improve your competitive footing. In my previous lives as the development and site operations director for several nationally known brands, we hosted our entire Commerce and Marketing stacks on-prem. When we wanted to upgrade to the latest version of our stack, we would ask our site administrator to access the software repository made available to us which only exposed only the software we had entitlement to. It usually required at least a few days and a couple round trips with interrupted downloads and a lot of head scratching just to get it downloaded.
Once it was downloaded, we would then have to clear the decks for at least one or two developers for about a week who would work with (aka fumble around with) our ops team to size a new test environment and ultimately stand up and configure the applications. Many times we would be forced to reach out to a trusted third party system integrator who would happily provide us with $150/hour resources that could temporarily augment our team and get the new stack up and running. We would then hand it over to our QA team who would make sure everything was functional enough to show the lines of business who had lost interest and gone onto other things. All of this could take weeks if not months and thousands if not tens of thousands of US dollars to make possible.
You can probably guess how many times we put ourselves through this ordeal and how much we all looked forward to it. The result was that we typically dragged our feet on application upgrades and our business got more and more stagnant using outdated software for years instead of staying current with all the innovations that competition was adopting.
Contrast that situation with SoFy. It is like a breath of fresh air and the answer so many have been looking for. If you don’t believe how easy it can be, try it yourself today! I promise you that if you don’t have a solution up and running by yourself in the same day, DM me on LinkedIn and I will do it for you for free.