Accelerating commerce at the speed of thought

By John Leslie, Sales Director EMEA In 1999, Bill Gates published an essay titled Business @ the speed of thought. The book discusses how business and technology are entwined and explores how digital infrastructures and information networks can help businesses get an edge over the competition. At the closing of his introduction he notes that “Business is […]

Another Hardworking Team Member is Recognized

Although our CEO can’t shake her hand in congratulations, her human-sized dog was second best!

Congratulations Alexandra Busenitz for attaining the CEO Award for Q3!  

Leading our global marketing efforts as the Marketing Manager, Alexandra is either tucked away head down with her earbuds in or high energy bouncing around a whiteboard with the team. Whether Alexandra is perfecting detailed content creation or helping develop strategic plans for the business, she does it with a creative perspective.

One of her colleagues says, “Alexandra works tirelessly to ensure our marketing and brand activities are impactful. Alexandra has a great team-first attitude and is always willing to go the extra mile for her fellow employees and our customers.” Over the past two years, Alexandra has really taken the reigns of our marketing efforts, straight from college.

Matt Hyland calls out Alexandra for displaying the characteristics that make him proud to lead the Ultra Commerce team – work ethic, commitment to the job, always willing to help and a can-do attitude. In particular, Matt has been impressed with the culture Alexandra brings that you may expect from a start-up, “We can move quickly. We can get things done and push things out. We can do all those things.” Alexandra fits right into the fast-paced, agile environment Ultra Commerce fosters.

What really energizes Alexandra is growth – personally, professionally and ultimately, a brand that she’s proud to represent.

Contact us to join our growing brand as a valued partner or team member.

One small step for brands: How to launch your eCommerce platform

The business of launching a rocket into space is an understandably complicated affair. Not only do you need to plan and design against the universal laws of physics, but you need to strategize against abstract factors, like the technological development timeline and the actions of competitors. 

The secret to a successful launch is in the timing. Not just the timing of the launch and the conditions on the day, but launching with the right technology to make the mission effective. 

Observations such as Moore’s Law show that technology is improving at an exponential rate. For our prospective rocketeers, this means there is a risk that your shiny rocket launched today could be overtaken by a faster, more advanced, maybe even cheaper, rocket that launches tomorrow. 

Getting a rocket into space is as big and expensive as a project can be. But this issue of timing vs technology vs cost is one that affects many areas of business too. 

In particular, we see this issue with retailers entering the eCommerce space. A brand will decide they want to enter the online marketplace, but by the time they have built, tested and gone to market with a site, their technology and/or product is already out of date. 

This is not only a huge resource drain, but it can directly impact the brand if the new site is underperforming against consumer expectations. Online shoppers require a certain level of convenience and the overall user experience. 

eCommerce can be a daunting opportunity to approach, but it has never been more important for brands to exist online to engage and transact with consumers. 

Online activity has exploded recently whilst social distancing measures mean that retailers can’t operate at full capacity. Research from Ipsos Mori shows that 18% of UK consumers are using online stores more frequently, while in countries currently more severely affected by the outbreak, like China and Italy, these figures have risen to 50% and 31% respectively. 

It all comes back to timing. Traditional retailers are now scrambling to get online – but they must avoid signing up for a costly, lengthy project. These types of projects will help them match today’s market conditions, but won’t be ready to go live for another year. Meanwhile, the world and consumers will likely have moved on. 

Simply put, the launch process is too long. Lift-off is tough and expensive. NASA’s Saturn V Rocket used about 3.4 million kilograms of fuel in its 2-minute launch – that’s around 20 tonnes of fuel per second. Getting an eCommerce platform live can feel similarly weighty. 

What they need is something that launches them into the online space with immediacy. This is impossible to achieve with a product built from the ground up – but as Virgin Galactic has shown – it is far easier to get into space from the clouds. 

This is what we offer at Ultra Commerce. Our cloud-based solution empowers retailers to get online and get to market with a reliable service quickly.

Brands and retailers can quickly adapt to rapidly changing market conditions, without having to gamble on a big, costly project that will likely be out-of-date by the time it gets to launch. 

Launching an eCommerce platform shouldn’t feel like launching a space program. Retailers looking to enter the online universe need to find the solution which best allows them to balance cost and the rate of technological development, with getting to market on time. For more information on how Ultra Commerce can help you launch, contact us at www.ultracommerce.co/contact.

Our People Set Us Apart, Thanks to Team Members Like Cam

Congratulations, Cameron Mitchell!

This quarter’s CEO award goes to Cameron Mitchel, L3 Systems Engineer in Chicago.

When Cam isn’t bouncing around the Chicago office helping his fellow engineers or on the ground with our customer, Royal Carribean, you’ll catch Cam head down with heavy rock in the background, successfully producing eCommerce outcomes.

Matt Hyland calls out Cam for representing us incredibly well. Our customers, partners, and peers rave about his ability to get things done, be available and provide overall great customer service.

Cam is known for his ability to master a new concept regardless of the technical complexity and work as a lead, owning every step of the process until the customer gets the result they want. One of his peers says “Cam sets an example for the Service Desk of what it means to be dedicated, focused and stick with any technical challenge big or small until the job is done the right way.”

Our people are what set us apart thanks to team members like Cam. Congrats, Cam!

UltraServe Recognizes Q1 CEO Award

Congratulations to Joseph Rutherford!

This quarter’s CEO Award goes to Joseph Rutherford, a Solutions Architect in the Chicago office.

It’s only natural that Joe was on a customer call when Matthew Hyland awarded him. Joe is dedicated to giving UltraServe customer’s the best solution possible. He has been instrumental to cut through on several key projects with his committed work ethic and deep technical knowledge in digital commerce.

Another undeniable attribute of Joe is his passion and high energy. As soon as Joe walks into a room or jumps on a call you experience his enthusiasm for the work he does.

One of his coworkers says, “Joe is an MVP. In a company that is extremely agile for its customers, Joe excels. He adapts quickly to change and does so with a can-do attitude. His friendly nature while attacking projects full force is refreshing and productive.”

Joe truly embodies a tech start-up energy while staying grounded in his extensive technical digital commerce knowledge. A big thank you for all your work, Joe!

UltraServe Awards Q4 Employee CEO Award

Congratulations to Ashley Lonnon!

Finishing the year strong in Q4, our CEO Matt Hyland recognized Ashley Lonnon a Principal Systems Engineer located at our Gosford, Australia office.

Ash was recognized for going beyond his “day job” working the extra mile on separate projects to move UltraServe forward while embodying the UltraServe spirit of taking ownership and delivering results. Ash has been involved in several key projects in the last quarter that have kept global UltraServe offices running securely as well as a huge rollout for an important customer Go-Live in Thailand.

Beyond Ash’s good work, Ash has a fearless attitude to step up when the going gets tough and pull the team through. Nothing is too difficult in Ash’s eyes, it’s just a matter of doing the hard yards and persevering since the customer is on the end of this task, relying on UltraServe to make it happen. To sum it up, Ash’s nickname says it all with his fellow engineers calling him Smasha.

Congratulations again to Smasha for your great work with UltraServe this quarter!

To join our team of digital commerce experts, visit our careers page for open positions.

Migrating digital commerce workloads to the AWS Cloud

Migrating digital commerce workloads to the AWS Cloud with AWS Database Migration Service and AWS Schema Conversion Tool

Author: Daniel Carraro, Solutions Architect at Ultra Commerce

As an organization focused on delivering digital commerce outcomes for our customers on Amazon Web Services (AWS), Ultra Commerce is often tasked with helping organizations to migrate their existing on-premises hosting deployments to the cloud on AWS.

For many organizations, the migration to AWS presents an opportunity to both modernize architecture and reduce licensing costs. With this in mind, the database technology underpinning digital commerce platforms is often a key area for consideration.

While maintaining support for numerous database technologies, Ultra Commerce leverage Amazon Aurora as the standard database of choice. Amazon Aurora, one of AWS’s fastest growing services, provides enterprises high performance and availability with the simplicity and cost-efficiency of an open source database.

Amazon Aurora is the clear choice for delivering digital commerce on AWS however migrating data between cloud providers or from on-premise databases can be complex, costly, and time-consuming.

AWS realized this and created two tools to make the migration process as seamless as possible, with AWS Database Migration Service (AWS DMS) and AWS Schema Conversion Tool (AWS SCT).

Today, AWS DMS and AWS SCT have become indispensable tools used in many digital commerce platforms, including Ultra Commerce when migrating customers from on-premise environments (and other cloud providers) to AWS cloud.

Even complex migrations are covered

In true AWS fashion, they’ve already thought about complex migration use-cases catering to customers who require more advanced migrations. For example, when data needs to reside in a different environment (e.g. from on-premises to AWS) and/or data needs to be stored using a different database engine (e.g. from Oracle to Amazon Aurora MySQL-compatible) due to licensing or business or technical requirements.

AWS SCT is crucial in this situation, supporting common conversions such as Oracle to Amazon Aurora, MSSQL to MySQL, MySQL or MariaDB to PostgreSQL and even Apache Cassandra to Amazon DynamoDB amongst others.

How the tools are used

When utilized correctly by AWS partners, AWS SCT and AWS DMS are straightforward and highly effective, especially for digital commerce organizations.

After organizations provide a source database endpoint and engine (e.g. an Oracle database hosted on-premises) and a destination database endpoint and engine (e.g. an Aurora MySQL-compatible database hosted on AWS), AWS SCT will analyze both databases and perform both the schema conversions.

AWS DMS is used in a similar fashion, with the exception that a DMS replication instance must be created, which will act as a middleman between the source and destination databases. This DMS replication instance is an Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon) EC2 instance with DMS-specific software that acts as a black box.

Customizable to fit every business case

Both AWS DMS and AWS SCT can be customized to include specific schemas to convert or migrate; in the case of AWS DMS, specific tables can be included or ignored. AWS DMS also features a transformational layer that allows operations such as the ability to add/replace/remove a prefix or suffix to a schema, table, or column (or rename it entirely); remove a column from a table, or convert to lowercase or uppercase.

AWS DMS can be configured to drop and recreate, or truncate tables before loading data if required, and also to load tables in parallel, supporting up to 49 tables to be loaded and migrated at once. However, any tuning will be dependent on the DMS Replication Instance selected to perform the job.

Ultra Commerce and AWS

Ultra Commerce has used AWS DMS for many migrations ranging from on-premise and other cloud providers to different AWS regions and in some cases, between two databases in the same virtual private cloud (VPC). Additionally, Ultra Commerce has leveraged AWS SCT to perform conversions between MSSQL and Amazon Aurora (MySQL-compatible) databases for clients moving off on-premise infrastructure into AWS cloud.

By taking advantage of AWS DMS and AWS SCT, Ultra Commerce are able to perform complex database migrations for clients at a fraction of the cost compared to other database migration tools and services. When migrating to Amazon Aurora specifically, Ultra Commerce clients have not only experienced performance gains within their digital commerce applications but have also managed to save on day-to-day infrastructure costs, and in some cases, on licenses.

Contact Ultra Commerce today for help on your migration to AWS.

UltraServe Awards Q3 Employee MVP

Congratulations to Bayden Allen!

This quarters UltraServe staff award goes to, Bayden Allen! There was no question for our CEO, Matt Hyland when deciding an employee to highlight this quarter. Described by his peers and superiors as tenacious, hard-working, motivated, technically sharp, and high energy, Bayden was a clear choice for this quarters employee spotlight.

With less than a year at UltraServe, Bayden has risen to be the Technical Team Lead for the Australia Service Desk from an entry-level Service Desk Engineer role. Matt Hyland says, “The best awards are when your team nominates you” and Bayden is considered the MVP by his Service Desk, Product, and Project teams.

One of his fellow Service Desk peers says, “Every time I communicate with him he has a new improvement or innovation to teach.” Bayden goes above and beyond to provide UltraServe customers with the best service while helping his fellow peers and superiors do the same.

Bayden is a model example of what a consistently positively energized, high performing, and dedicated employee looks like at UltraServe and we couldn’t be more ecstatic to recognize him and have him on our team!

To join our team of digital commerce experts, visit our careers page for open positions.

“This is what get’s me up in the morning” for CEO, Matt Hyland

CEO of Ultra Commerce, Matt Hyland, is frequently asked why he is so energised and excited about coming into work every day at Ultra Commerce. Today at our quarterly all staff briefing Matt gave his reason as to why.

Even though the day to day operations can become consuming and present really difficult challenges, Matt is pushed every day by witnessing our company vision coming true – to be the market leading digital commerce solution for enterprises globally. Matt says that is super important to remain focused on the big picture, connecting what appear to be seemingly small tasks that are actually active evidence of our company vision being fulfilled – “important to ensure that everything that we are doing is in some way moving the ball forward”.

Every day Matt sees employees oozing positive energy and excitement about what we do. Being surrounded by high-quality people who are passionate their product is really what motivates Matt and makes the long hours and extensive travel all worthwhile. “The work people do here is truly inspirational. We’re not a typical nine to five company where you fly under the radar, you can make a difference and have influence” says Matt Hyland.

Matt has a long background of managing high profile large teams of people but Matt says, “This has been my most difficult but most stimulating position yet”.

Full of passionate highly motivated and invested employees focused on being Digital Commerce solution experts providing thought leadership, Ultra Commerce benefits from radiated positive energy through the company which is stimulating new growth in our market. Starting with our CEO all the way to newly employed members of the team, this is what motivates Ultra Commerce.