The company embarked on a major digital transformation three years ago to achieve its goal of delivering finance on demand.
In the first six months, we had to build the entire technology team from inside, reduce vendor dependency, build internal intellectual property, modernise our technology stack and embrace an agile execution culture. Fast-forward a few years, and we have seen great transformation results with the release of our broker and business customer platforms.”
“To get to finance on demand, we needed to make sure our platforms were fast and reliable. We needed to apply new ways to analyse data, and incorporate technology needed to allow us to make decisions within minutes, if not seconds.”
Central to Shift’s strategy was the modernisation and simplification of its data processing infrastructure which, at the time, was a combination of on-premises and cloud services. The company wanted to move to a cloud-only approach where it could build and deploy scalable platforms and microservices.
Allured by Azure
Shift’s technology team researched several cloud providers to see how they could support its business growth, and were impressed with Microsoft Azure’s capabilities.
Paul Novak, Head of Engineering at Shift, commented that he had experienced minimal interaction with Azure prior to the company’s assessment of cloud providers.
“We’d been primarily using other cloud providers but gravitated towards Azure,” says Novak. “When we looked into Microsoft’s platform and the maturity of what it offered, we were very surprised.
“During our research, we did POCs [proofs of concept] in a range of platforms to see if we could get our Kubernetes cluster established and set up in the cloud in the simplest and nicest way. We found the entry point for Azure was much lower than others. It was a lot easier to understand, it offered plenty of flexibility and it took half the time for us to set up.
“Azure gives us a strong capability for managing the software development lifecycle using the GitOps approach in combining a Kubernetes cluster and their continuous integration pipeline, ultimately bringing down the complexity of environment configuration and reducing deployment time from days to minutes.”
Shift is now 100 per cent in cloud, with four clusters, each with their set of microservices and portals that can be automatically scaled through Azure. It even gave some of its old physical servers to charity.
Novak notes that Microsoft provided great support during the set-up process.
“We have been assigned a dedicated Microsoft success team, which we leveraged through multiple video conferences, talking to cloud architects from Azure during the onboarding process,” he says.