A Decade Of BitTitan And Learnings
It's hard to believe that I started BitTitan a little over a decade ago. In addition to being ten years younger, I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, having left Microsoft on a quest to create the best place to work for myself—a place that would remind me of the dot-com days with dinner runs, evening Foosball games, and “startup mentality.”
20+ years of internet, www, cloud or whatever you want to call it
I remember back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s when I was dialing up on a modem to a bulletin board system (BBS) so that I could read and contribute to newsgroups. Remember those days?
In the early ‘90s, this evolved to connecting via PPTP to service providers. I would log in to the terminal and use Gopher or the Lynx browser to access information.
When I started at Microsoft in 1998, I was given the choice of working in two different product teams: Microsoft Exchange or NetDocs. I'm not sure if people know, but NetDocs was one of Microsoft's first forays into the cloud arena. Three years later, the project was terminated. Good thing I choose Microsoft Exchange!
Working on the Exchange team, I had the privilege of architecting the enterprise product into Microsoft’s first multi-tenant solution for hosting providers. Who could have guessed that it would become the foundation for Office 365 nearly two decades later?
When I left Microsoft in 2007, I started BitTitan to offer free cloud storage and tie cloud-based applications together for a seamless browser-based experience. After years of developing this platform, I discovered that it was way ahead of its time—I couldn't even give away free storage. However, after writing more than 250,000 lines of code for a wholly unique PaaS infrastructure, I had learned how to build scalable cloud solutions, where the market was, and where it was going.
By 2009, I'd burned through at least $100,000 of personal money and debt from mortgaging my home. That year, Microsoft launched its first public cloud productivity suite called Business Productivity Online Suite (also known as BPOS). I knew as businesses continued to adopt cloud, the fragmentation of applications and the need for data migration would become huge problems. It was at this point that I pivoted the company to solve more practical and immediate needs. I launched MigrationWiz.
Fast forward to today: BitTitan has evolved into a platform that helps IT professionals deliver more consistent services to assess, deploy, and manage their cloud infrastructure. We have a global staff of more than 200 employees helping tens of thousands of customers and more than 3 million end users a year in 140+ countries.
I never would have thought that this is what BitTitan would become. I hadn’t ever intended more than one or two friends to join me in building this company. Through many hard days, doubts, and disbelief, I continued to find the drive in me to move forward.
The next 20 years of cloud
I'm very grateful for the opportunities and experiences over the last 20 years. It has helped me to grow personally and professionally. Being part of the digital revolution, I have the opportunity to influence its direction.
The world as we know it is changing, and people are unable to keep up with the pace. Decreasing costs and the rapid availability of SaaS applications are allowing businesses to be more competitive while also delivering better customer experiences. Organizations will be leveraging dozens of SaaS applications to realize these ROIs. It's coming faster than we think. But with opportunities come challenges—especially to the IT professional industry.
IT professionals generally have a deep expertise in a specific technology. The problem is that businesses don't want to adopt point solution technologies anymore; they want to solve problems. IT professionals need to build business solutions with technology. To accomplish this, they must:
Identify and understand complimentary technologies and applications. Integrate these applications to create a seamless experience that solves the problem. Solving problems
With SaaS, there are going to be dozens of options for each line of business application; when you look at the possible combinations, this can get quite overwhelming. IT professionals will need to keep up by determining the best-of-breed applications that offer:
A great user experience
Customer support availability
Cost effectiveness (spend vs ROI)
Community support and following
That’s lot to keep up with in a constantly evolving world; multiply these things across all applications and you've got information overload.
IT professionals need to move from depth to breadth. The industry will need what I consider Cloud Architects: IT professionals who know all the pieces, offer the best combinations, and can bring them together to solve specific business problems.
Creating an experience
Integrating SaaS applications is done by either polling for changes or registering for event notifications using webhooks, the modern-day SaaS API.
Most IT professionals don't know how to “code.” They generally search the web for starting points, then for syntax-related changes. My definition of someone who knows how to “code” is a person who can create a program or script from scratch without starting from a sample.
Essentially, we need to become what I call “mini application developers.” When we look at the term “application developers,” these have typically been full stack developers. In the ‘90s and early 2000s, people used to create applications for their organization from scratch—such as expense reporting or time tracking applications. Today, SaaS offers almost any imaginable solution; what’s often needed is integration work.
How do we get there?
As the cloud has evolved, so has BitTitan. Six years ago, we conceived a vision that we continue to realize: Help IT professionals deliver more repeatable, scalable, and profitable services.
This year, we celebrate a decade spent enabling IT professionals in the cloud. I'm really excited to announce what’s next for us as a company and how we're going to get there together. On October 16th, we’re kicking off our first-ever annual BitTitan Elevate conference in Denver, Colorado for the modern IT professional. At this conference, you’ll:
Learn about the future state of cloud from industry-leading speakers, ranging from Microsoft and successful service providers to venture capitalists.
Receive the knowledge and tools to help you transform the way you deliver IT solutions through automation.
Network with other IT professionals and build long-lasting friendships.
Join me in defining our future together in these exciting times.