Trimble Partners with Effectual to Achieve Nearly 40% Reduction in TCO through Infrastructure Modernization

Reduced Technical Debt, Modernized Infrastructure, and Reduced TCO

The Challenge

In 2018, Trimble Inc., an industrial technology company supporting transformative solutions for companies worldwide, announced that it had acquired e-Builder, a cloud-based construction program management solution for capital program owners and program management firms. The acquisition bolstered Trimble’s presence in the construction industry and accelerated value creation for both owners and contractors by combining e-Builder’s best practice solutions for owners with Trimble’s construction lifecycle solutions, access to contractors and global reach. 

Several years later, the e-Builder team sought to reduce some of the technical debt lingering from the acquisition and subsequent integration of e-Builder into the Trimble Constructions Organization. Additionally, e-Builder sought to improve performance of its cloud-based solutions by upgrading its SQL server instances from SQL Server 2014 to SQL Server 2019 and deploying them consistently to the same standard.

“This [SQL migration] was a pain point because of the [rapid] growth of the organization and the technical debt that had been left behind during expansion to new markets,” said Andrea Valenti, Director of Cloud Engineering and Infrastructure for Trimble’s PPM Division.

In fact, the e-Builder team experienced several false starts with other technology partners before kicking off its relationship with Effectual, which began via a referral from Trimble’s Transportation Division. 

The Solution

To Valenti, this engagement had auspicious beginnings. “After the discovery [phase], the trust with Effectual built; How well an organization that is coming from the outside is willing to understand the context [of a project] is a key factor in my confidence in the success of a project,” he said. “Many organizations come with the expertise, but don’t take the time to understand where [the pitfalls] might be.” 

Due diligence during discovery is an Effectual hallmark. The assessment phase includes requirements gathering and current state analysis based on discovery sessions with stakeholders, system owners, and internal subject matter experts (SMEs) as well as reviews of existing current state documentation.

Through discovery, documented inconsistencies in the environments led the team to decide to provision and configure new servers rather than simply upgrading. Starting with a ‘clean slate’ enabled e-Builder to shed any lingering instabilities and to also embark on this project mindful of internal goals regarding ‘automation wherever possible.’

Effectual also determined during discovery that e-Builder was using a number of non-fully utilized resources. Effectual advised that by modernizing its instance and volume usage, e-Builder could actually achieve the same throughput with far less infrastructure. Effectual further recommended optimizations to both disk storage and compute to better align with e-Builder’s database usage.

Once discovery and assessments were complete, the teams got to work – and the migrations were exemplary of a true partnership. The e-Builder team defined the environments to upgrade, the order, and the timeline, then provisioned machines and configured clusters; Effectual defined how to install and configure SQL, and was responsible for restoring database and configuring replication; e-Builder then certified that data was restored correctly and environments were properly configured. 

According to Robert Rehberg, DevOps Architect at e-Builder, “Effectual was a terrific partner in this process. Their professionalism and attention to detail was instrumental in [our] success.”

The teams partnered and adhered to their well-defined process for each migration – three development and five production environments in less than eight weeks. 

The Results

Immediately, Valenti knew the migrations were successful when “the phones weren’t ringing off the hook.” 

“With everything infrastructure,” he said, “the absence of calls is a major indicator of success.”

The quantitative results took a bit longer, but once they took shape, they were astounding. 

  • User response time has decreased by 10%
  • Yearly EC2 and storage costs have been reduced
  • Standardization in environments has improved quality
  • Security posture has been improved through streamlined user management
  • Automated provisioning has enabled enhanced troubleshooting and reduced downtime

According to Valenti, “The project exceeded expectations. It overdelivered in customer satisfaction as measured by user response time of the application, innovation in terms of infrastructure code and automation, and cost optimization, enabling e-Builder to realize a nearly 40% TCO savings.” 

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