Architecting a Blueprint for Application Innovation
What if...we created a more agile and unified workforce by centralizing all core manufacturing systems in the cloud?
Builders FirstSource, Inc. is a Fortune 500 manufacturer and supplier of building materials and is the largest supplier of building products, prefabricated components, and value-added services in the United States.
A Key Application Lacked Consistency and Efficiency
Builders FirstSource (BFS) struggled with legacy systems and platforms that hindered its ability to serve its customer base of builders throughout North America.
Specifically, a key building "truss manager" designer platform - operating on premises with Excel add-ins - lacked enterprise scaling, sharing, and standardization capabilities. The platform's core function is to allow designers to import design files from 3D CAD software and overlay them to determine the truss-related estimates for any new build - such as the number of trusses, cost, timelines, and equipment needs.
The existing platform was unable to produce on-site estimates with customers. And with no version control, associates across the globe were using out-of-date spreadsheets, which led to inconsistent and invalid quotes. The platform's inability to capture analytics and KPIs further hindered functionality.
With most systems and apps on premises, it was time for BFS to future-proof its need to support an aggressive acquisition growth strategy. To boost value from existing Microsoft investments, BFS felt pivoting focus and expansion to Microsoft Azure would provide the financial incentive, stability, and extensibility the company needed.
A cornerstone of BFS's modernization journey was to replace the existing truss manager designer platform and the company needed a strategic partner to build a roadmap to change.
Framing a New Future in the Cloud
Before developing the replacement solution - a new enterprise software application called Fusion - we conducted an app modernization discovery assessment to understand BFS's current application environment.
We discovered that BFS had no enterprise landing zone, which is essential for large-scale application migration, modernization, and innovation in Azure. We swiftly pivoted to engage our Azure foundations team to address this gap.
This foundation in Azure is a unified platform designed to scale for all future applications that BFS may inherit as part of its acquisition strategy. We built a comprehensive roadmap to set the stage for modernization of the Fusion application as well as future apps in BFS's cloud transformation journey.
A Blueprint for Success
The first phase of the modernization roadmap entailed assessment, application design, and landing zone implementation.
Following Microsoft Azure policies and aligning with the Azure Well-Architected Framework ensures any future modernization will be safeguarded with security best practices and standardization. We also scoped use cases and built a robust design for the new Fusion application with a feature backlog for building a minimum viable product (MVP).
In the next phase, we followed a scaled agile approach to develop the Fusion MVP and roll it out to multiple sites. The new app extracts the business logic and enterprise capabilities from the legacy truss application and infuses them within a cloud-based platform to enhance ordering and quoting workflows.
In place of the legacy Excel tool, we built a net-new cloud-native app using Microsoft's new .NET Maui framework and microservices with Microsoft Azure Container Apps.
Future work will iterate on the MVP, taking feedback from pilot users to bring the vision and scope of the tool to life with new innovative features and integrations with other BFS enterprise applications.
Empowering the Cloud Team as a Trusted Advisor
To ensure frame-to-finish success, we created a cloud training plan and role-appropriate guides for Microsoft certifications. Upskilling existing BFS team members and quickly ramping-up new ones is essential to growing the cloud program and making sure cloud environments are managed properly and consistently.
We were looking for a partner who was less transactional; one who had our long-term interest in mind. We needed someone who really understood our business and where we wanted to go and was willing to stand alongside us, and we found that in Perficient.Vice President Enterprise Architecture, Builders FirstSource
Hammering-Out Success, One App at a Time
Builders FirstSource has a unified cloud platform that's powered by business process consistencies, scalability for acquisition growth, and full integration across all operating plants.
The new cloud-based Fusion app enhances and standardizes ordering and quoting workflows. The business logic we built allows the app to connect to different types of devices, which will allow BFS reps to take mobile devices and tablets in the field to access systems, produce accurate estimates on-site, and accelerate turnaround times for customer deliverables.
Our work with BFS exemplifies the repeatable industry solutions we routinely develop on the Microsoft cloud. Our commitment to BFS and other clients makes us the trusted partner to imagine and execute holistic visions for Microsoft Azure cloud services.