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2021 Blog, Blog, Feature Blog, Featured

The year 2020 undoubtedly brought in unprecedented challenges with COVID-19 that required countries, governments, business and people respond in a proactive manner with new normal approaches. Certain businesses managed to respond to the dynamic macro environment with a lot more agility, flexibility and scale. Cloud computing had a dominant effect in helping businesses stay connected and deliver critical solutions. Relevance Lab scaled up its partnership with AWS to align with the new focus areas resulting in a significant increase in coverage of products, specialized solutions and customer impacts in the past 12 months compared to what has been achieved in the past.

AWS launched a number of new global initiatives in 2020 and in response to the business challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The following picture describes those initiatives in a nutshell.


Relevance Lab’s Focus areas have been very well aligned
Given the macro environment challenges, Relevance Lab quickly aligned their focus on helping customers deal with the emerging challenges and those areas were very complementary to AWS’ global initiatives and responses listed above.

Relevance Lab’s aligned its AWS solutions & services across four dominant themes and by leveraging RL’s own IP based platforms and deep cloud competencies. The following picture highlights those key initiatives and the native AWS products and services leveraged in the process.


Relevance Lab also made major strides in improving Initiative to progress along AWS Partnership Maturity Levels for Specialized Consulting and Key Product offerings. The following picture highlights the major achievements in 2020 in a nutshell.



AWS Specializations & Spotlights
Relevance Lab is a specialist cloud managed services company with deep expertise in Devops, Service Automation and ITSM integrations. It also has an RLCatalyst Platform built to support Automation across AWS Cloud and ITSM platforms. RLCatalyst family of solutions help in Self-service Cloud portals, IT service monitoring and automation through BOTs. While maintaining multi-sector client base, we are also uniquely focused with existing solutions for Higher Education, Public Sector and Research sector clients.


Spotlight-1: AWS Cloud Portals Solution
Relevance Lab have developed a family of cloud portal solutions on top of our RLCatalyst platform. Cloud Portal solutions aim to simplify AWS consumption using self-service models with emphasis on 1-click provisioning / lifecycle management, dashboard views of budget / cost consumption and modeling personas, roles & responsibilities with a sector context.


A unique feature of the above solutions is that they promote a hybrid model of consumption wherein users can bring their own AWS accounts (consumption accounts) under the framework of our cloud portal solution and benefit from being able to consume AWS for their educational and research needs in an easy self-service model.

The solutions can be consumed as either an Enterprise or as a SaaS license. In addition, the solutions will be made available on AWS Marketplace soon.


Spotlight-2: AWS Security Governance at Scale Framework
The framework and deployment architecture uses AWS Control Tower as the foundational service and other closely aligned and native AWS products and services such as AWS Service Catalog, AWS Security Hub, AWS Budgets, etc. and addresses subject areas such as multi-account management, cost management, security, compliance & governance.

Relevance Lab can assess, design and deploy or migrate to a fully secure AWS environment that lends itself to governance at scale. To encourage clients to adopt this journey, we have launched a 10-10 Program for AWS Security Governance that provides clients with an upfront blueprint of the entire migration or deployment process and end-state architecture so that they can make an informed decision


Spotlight-3: Automated User Onboarding/Offboarding for Enterprises Use Case
Relevance Lab is a unique partner that possesses deep expertise on AWS and ITSM platforms such as ServiceNow, freshservice, JIRA Service Desk, etc. The intersection of these platforms lends itself to relevant use cases for the industry. Relevance Lab has come up with a solution for automated User onboarding & offboarding in an enterprise context. This solution brings together multiple systems in a workflow model to accomplish user onboarding and offboarding tasks for an enterprise. It includes integration across HR systems, AWS Service Catalog and other services, ITSM platforms such as ServiceNow and assisted by Relevance Lab’s RLCatalyst BOTs engine to perform an end-to-end user onboarding/offboarding orchestration in an unassisted manner.


Key Customer Use Cases and Success Stories in 2020
Relevance Lab helped customers across verticals with growing momentum on Cloud adoption in the post COVID-19 situation to rewrite their digital solutions in adopting the new touchless interactions, remote distributed workforces and strong security governance solutions for enabling frictionless business.


AWS Best Practices – Blogs, Campaigns, Technical Write-ups
The following is a collection of knowledge articles and best practices published throughout the year related to our AWS centered solutions & services.

AWS Service Management


AWS Practice Solution Campaigns

AWS Governance at Scale

AWS Workspaces

RLCatalyst Product Details

AWS Infrastructure Automation

AWS E-Learning & Research Workbench Solutions

Cloud Networking Best Practices


Summary
The momentum of Cloud adoption in 2020 is quite likely to continue and grow in the new year 2021. Relevance Lab is a trusted partner in your cloud adoption journey driven by focus on following key specializations:

  • Cloud First Approach for Workload Planning
  • Cloud Governance 360 for using AWS Cloud the Right-Way
  • Automation Led Service Delivery Management with Self Service ITSM and Cloud Portals
  • Driving Frictionless Business and AI-Driven outcomes for Digital Transformation and App Modernization

To learn more about our services and solutions listed above or engage us in consultative discussions for your AWS and other IT service needs, feel free to contact us at marketing@relevancelab.com



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2020 Blog, Blog, Feature Blog, Featured

While there is rapid momentum for every enterprise in the world in consuming more Cloud Assets and Services, there is still lack of maturity in adopting an “Automation-First” approach to establish Self-Service models for Cloud consumptions due to fear of uncontrolled costs, security & governance risks and lack of standardized Service Catalogs of pre-approved Assets & Service Requests from Central IT groups. Lack of delegation and self-service has a direct impact on speed of innovation and productivity with higher operations costs.

Working closely with AWS Partnership we have now created a flexible platform for driving faster adoption of Self-Service Cloud Portals. The primary needs for such a Self-Service Cloud Portal are the following.

  • Adherence to Enterprise IT Standards
    • Common architecture
    • Governance and Cost Management
    • Deployment and license management
    • Identity and access management
  • Common Integration Architecture with existing platforms on ITSM and Cloud
    • Support for ServiceNow, Jira, Freshservice and Standard Cloud platforms like AWS
  • Ability to add specific custom functionality in the context of Enterprise Business needs
    • The flexibility to add business specific functionality is key to unlocking the power of self-service models outside the standard interfaces already provided by ITSM and Cloud platforms

A common way of identifying the need for a Self-Service Cloud portal is based on following needs.

  • Does your enterprise already have any Self-Service Portals?
  • Do you have a large user base internally or with external users requiring access to Cloud resources?
  • Does your internal IT have the bandwidth and expertise to manage current workloads without impacting end user response time expectations?
  • Does your enterprise have a proper security governance model for Cloud management?
  • Are there significant productivity gains by empowering end users with Self-Service models?

Working with AWS partnership and with our existing customer we see a growing need for Self-Service Cloud Portals in 2020 predominantly centred around two models.

  • Enterprises with existing ITSM investments and need to leverage that for extending to Cloud Management
  • Enterprises extending needs outside enterprise users with custom Cloud Portals

The roadmap to Self-Service Cloud portals is specific to every enterprise needs and needs to leverage the existing adoption and maturity of Cloud and ITSM platforms as explained below. With Relevance Lab RLCatalyst products we help enterprises achieve the maturity in a cost effective and expedited manner.


Examples of Self-Service Cloud Portals



Standard Needs Platform Benefits
Look-n-Feel of Modern Self-Service Portals Professional and responsive UI Design with multiple themes available, customizations allowed
Standards based Architecture & Governance Tightly Built On AWS products and AWS Well Architected with pre-built Reference Architecture based Products
Pre-built Minimum Viable Product Needs 80-20 Model – Pre-built vs Customizations based on key components of core functionality
Proprietary vs Open Source? Open-source foundation with source code made available built on MEAN Stack
Access Control, Security and Governance Standard Options Pre-built, easy extensions (SAML Based). Deployed with enterprise grade security and compliances
Rich Standard Pre-Build Catalog of Assets and Services Comes pre-built with 100+ catalog items covering all standard Asset and Services needs catering to 50% of any enterprise infrastructure, applications and service delivery needs


Explained below is a sample AWS Self-Service Cloud for driving Scientific Research.



Getting started
To make is easier for enterprises for experiencing the power of Self-Service Cloud Portals we are offering two options based on enterprise needs.

  • Hosted SAAS offering of using our Multi-tenant Cloud Portal with ability to connect to your existing Cloud Accounts and Service Catalogs
  • Self-Hosted RLCatalyst Cloud Portal product with option to engage us for professional services on customizations, training, initial setup & onboarding needs

Pricing for the SAAS offering is based on user based monthly subscription while for self-hosting model an enterprise support model pricing is available for the open source solution that allows enterprises the flexibility to use this solution without proprietary lock-ins.

The typical steps to get started are very simple covering the following.

  • Setup an organization and business units or projects aligned with your Cloud Accounts for easy billing and access control tracking
  • Setup users and roles
  • Setup Budgets and controls
  • Setup standard catalog of items for users to order
  • With the above enterprises are up to speed to use Self-Service Cloud Portals in less than 1-Day with inbuilt controls for tracking and compliance

Summary
Cloud Portals for Self-Service is a growing need in 2020 and we see the momentum continuing for next year as well. Different market segments have different needs for Self-Service Cloud portals as explained in this Blog.


  • Scientific Research community is interested in a Research Gateway Solution
  • University IT looks for a University in a Box Self Service Cloud
  • Enterprises using ServiceNow want to extend the internal Self Service Portals
  • Enterprises are also developing Hybrid Cloud Orchestration Portals
  • Enterprises looking at building AIOps Portal needs monitoring, automation and service management
  • Enabling Virtual Training Labs with User and Workspace onboarding
  • Building an integrated Command Centre requires an Intelligent Monitoring portal
  • Enterprise Intelligent Automation Portal with ServiceNow Connector

We provide pre-build solutions for Self-Service Cloud Portals and a base platform that can be easily extended to add new functionality for customization and integration. A number of large enterprises and universities are leveraging our Self Service Cloud portal solutions using both existing ITSM tools (Servicenow, Jira, Freshservice) and RLCatalyst products.

To learn more about using AWS Cloud or ITSM solutions for Self-Service Cloud portals contact marketing@relevancelab.com



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2020 Blog, Blog, Feature Blog, Featured

Relevance Lab in partnership with AWS has launched a new solution to help self-service collaboration for Scientific Computing using AWS Cloud resources. Scientific Research is enabling new innovations and discoveries in multiple fields to make human life better. There are the large and complex programs funded by governments, public sector and private organizations. Every higher education institution and universities globally have specialized focus on Research Programs.

Some research institutions already use an existing ITSM Portal for self-service and our previous blog explains the solution integrated with such popular ITSM tools like ServiceNow – AWS Research Workbench. In this blog we cover the common scenario of research institutions for an open source based custom self-service platform that is needed to integrate a community within the institution and also with outside organizations in a federated manner.

Why do we need an RLCatalyst Research Gateway cloud solution?
Research is a specialized field with the community focussing on using “Science” to find common solutions to human problems in areas of Health and Medicine, Space, Earth etc. The need to drive frictionless research across geographies requires ability to focus on “Science” while addressing the specific needs of People-Programs-Resources interactions. The “RLCatalyst Research Gateway” acts as a bridge provisioning seamless and secure interactions, access to programs and budgets with ability to consume and manage lifecycle of research related computational and data resources.


PEOPLE Specialized group of Researchers collaborating across organizations, disciplines and countries with open collaboration needs.
PROGRAMS Specialized research programs, funding, grants, governance, reporting, publishing outcomes etc.
RESOURCES High Performance Computing resources, large data for studies, analytics models, data security and privacy considerations, sharing and collaboration, Common Federated Identity and Access Management etc.

The key requirements for Cloud based RLCatalyst Research Gateway are following.

  • Standard Research Needs
    • Roles, Workflows, Research Tools, Governance, Access and Security, Integration.
    • People-Programs-Resources Interactions.
    • Intramural and Extramural Research.
    • Infrastructure, Applications, Data, and Analytics.
  • Built on Cloud
    • Easy to deploy, consume, manage and extend – should align with existing infrastructure, applications, and cloud governance.
    • Leverage AWS Research products.
  • Leverage Open-Source with an enterprise support model
    • Supports both Self-hosting and Managed Hosting options.
    • Cost effective – pre-built IP and packaged service offerings.

The diagram below explains the RLCatalyst Research Gateway cloud solution. The solution provides researchers with one-click access to collaborative computing environments operating across teams, research institutions, and datasets while enabling internal IT stakeholders to provide standard computing resources based on a Service Catalog, manage, monitor, and control spending, apply security best practices, and comply with corporate governance.

Using the RLCatalyst Research Gateway cloud solution
The basic setup models a research institution or university with need to have support for different research departments, principal investigators, researchers, project catalogs and budgets. The diagram below explains a typical setup of the key stakeholders and different entities inside the RLCatalyst Research Gateway.

  • Research Organization/Institution.
  • Research Departments.
  • Principal Investigators.
  • Researchers.
  • Site Administrator.
  • Project Catalog of Cloud Products.
  • Budget for Project and Researcher.

RLCatalyst Research Gateway solution map
There are three key role based functionality built into the RLCatalyst Research Gateway solution related to following.

  • Researcher Workflows.
  • Principal Investigator Workflows.
  • Site Administrator Workflows.

The RLCatalyst Research Gateway solution components
A number of AWS components have been used to build the RLCatalyst Research Gateway solution to make it easier for the research community to focus on science and not the headaches of managing cloud infrastructure. At the same time existing investments of Research Institutions on AWS are leveraged and best practices integrated without need for custom or proprietary solutions. Following is a sample list of AWS products used in RLCatalyst Research Gateway and more products can be easily integrated.

  • AWS Service Catalog – Core products available for Research Consumption.
    • AWS SageMaker Notebook.
    • AWS EC2 Instances.
    • AWS S3 Buckets.
    • AWS Workspaces.
    • AWS RDS Data Store.
    • AWS HPC high performance computing.
    • AWS EMR.
  • AWS Cognito for Access and Control.
  • AWS Control Tower for Account management and governance.
  • AWS Cost Explorer and Billing for Project and Researcher budget tracking.
  • AWS SNS and AWS Eventbridge for Notification Services.
  • AWS Cloudformation for template designs.
  • AWS Lambda for Serverless computing.

The RLCatalyst Research Gateway solution created in partnership with AWS is available in an Open source model with Enterprise Support options. The solution can be deployed in Self-hosted Cloud or used in a Managed Hosting model with customizations options available as needed.

For a demo video please click here

For more details, please feel free to reach out to marketing@relevancelab.com



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