Ellis Whittam - Azure Portal and DevOps

April 4th 2019

We built a secure cloud platform on Azure to create a new customer portal, and modernised and integrated legacy applications to work in this new environment.

Ellis Whittam Logo

Setting the Scene

“At Ellis Whittam we believe that, by having a dedicated qualified adviser who truly understands your business, we can give you the highest quality service. That means personal, pragmatic and practical support for a fair price, with no hidden costs or nasty surprises.” - Pete Jones, Chief Technology Officer - Ellis Whittam

A big part of Ellis Whittam’s ethos is using technology to bring their customers closer to their experts. They understand that building a close professional relationship with clients really helps them provide great service. One way that they achieve this, is through their online portal. Customers can access advice from the experts and access various tools to check compliance and upskill their knowledge on various subjects. Ellis Whittam had an existing portal, but they were spending a lot of time maintaining it. Trying to get new services to integrate in was a challenge and they were aware that they wanted to make the most of the integration, scalability and security features available on the Azure Cloud.

screenshot system at EW

The Project

Ellis Whittam got in contact after reading some of our case studies about work with other clients. They made it clear they were looking for someone who could really move quickly on this and integrate into their already skilled team as an extension of their resource. We had a chat about what they were looking for and it was clear our organisations shared a lot of values about how we like to do business. We like to be honest, transparent and hold everybody to account, and so do they. 


 “I was really impressed by how cloudThing conducted themselves while we were looking at the project together. The quotes were well documented, well thought out and reasonably priced. They weren’t the cheapest or the most expensive but everything they costed made sense and they were happy to talk through anything in more detail. Once I got speaking to the technical guys there like Fran and Piyush it was clear that they really knew their stuff and they were used to designing architecture for complicated cloud-based software projects.” 

Pete Jones, Chief Technology Officer- Ellis Whittam


The Solution

Ellis Whittam was really keen to upskill staff by having them work with cloudThing’s developers and architects to ensure everyone gained a good understanding of the technology. We work to an agile scrum-based methodology, meaning staff from Ellis Whittam and cloudThing were welcome to join any call they felt was relevant to them, even if it wasn’t their area of the project. So, what did we do? Was it just upgrade from their existing system? We did do an upgrade but we had to do a complete re-think of the whole platform as the organisation was clearing growing in size and so we needed to design something that could easily integrate and offer new third-party services to their customers. We wanted to do this in a way that was cost effective, intuitive and across multiple devices and so decided that Microsoft Azure was the best choice to host the software. The enterprise grade security and user-based access meant it integrated nicely with the technology that most businesses are used to using. This software has enabled Ellis Whittam to simplify their costs into one Azure subscription and works seamlessly with other parts of the Microsoft ecosystem, such as Office 365, for better document storage. This also offers great user-based access security for customers, suppliers and more, thanks to Azure Active Directory.  

Our Design and Dev teams worked with Ellis Whittam to re-imagine and re-design user journeys and make sure that any type of user finds it really simple to get what they need on any device. By developing this on Azure, it allowed us to be flexible in hosting many different services within the portal and it also gave us the ease of being able to test them all individually and quickly make adjustments until we were able to get the best possible version for our clients. So, services like completing documents online or managing your employees’ absence are secure and scaled up or down depending on the demand, thanks to being connected into one cloud service. This ability to scale up or down also means that your organisation will be more cost efficient as you will only pay for what you use/need in the cloud.  

EW screenshot case study functions

What are the benefits?

This portal was designed in line with our ‘Build Future’ ethos as a hub for an ever-growing host of services, including a legacy CRM system which was migrated to Azure, and various software-as-a-service offerings. We’ve made sure that Ellis Whittam have the ability to access new services as they become available through Azure, and this means that they will have something that will continue to evolve and offer more value for years to come. 


“The integration benefits are really clear. Not only does it mean we can react to market trends, and quickly offer new services that will benefit our customers, it also means that we can save a lot of money when procuring new services. When we have integrated a new software into the portal, it’s worked out significantly cheaper than a standard installation because we already have the capability to provide it to our users through the cloud.” – Pete Jones, Chief Technology Officer- Ellis Whittam 


We love to work in such a collaborative way with a customer. As a result of our co-sourced approach, we’ve been able to help Ellis Whittam with the day-to-day management of the service thanks to our DevOps team. The flexible way we work also means that Ellis Whittam can turn on and off the external Dev resource when they require any changes, meaning they have the peace of mind of a huge Dev resource ready to go, that they only pay for when it’s required. 

If you'd like to see the video on the work we did with Ellis Whittam and see what they really think, check it out on our YouTube channel, cloudThing. Here's the link- enjoy!


April 4th 2019



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