<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://dc.ads.linkedin.com/collect/?pid=58103&amp;fmt=gif">
Skip to content
All posts

Proforma Eliminates Configuration Headaches and Accelerates Deployments with Ansible

Proforma is a leading print and promotional products company with decades of experience serving businesses of all sizes. They have an expansive IT team of 80 people responsible for managing infrastructure and systems while also supporting digital transformation initiatives. They play a crucial role in the company's efforts to adopt new technologies for improved efficiency, customer experiences and competitiveness.



Proforma was burdened with manual, legacy processes for maintaining their hardware and virtual machine environments. As the business scaled, these inefficient processes could not keep pace with infrastructure growth without proportional increases in headcount.

Brian Carothers, CIO at Proforma recognized the reliance on time-consuming and error-prone manual processes was causing significant bottlenecks. “Provisioning new environments required hours of hands-on work by engineers. This manual configuration work not only slowed down environment delivery but also introduced risks of human errors and misconfiguration.”

Development, testing, and infrastructure teams were blocked from progressing while waiting on these manual processes. Stakeholders were anxious about the delays, worrying that slowed delivery could jeopardize new product launches. It was clear the inefficient legacy approaches were no longer sustainable and improvements were needed to speed up provisioning, reduce risks, and unblock teams.

As Brian explained, “Even small configuration issues required substantial troubleshooting and debugging effort. A single misconfigured server could take days of work to identify and correct. Multiply these small inefficiencies across hundreds of servers, and it became clear change was needed to keep up with the pace of the business.”

"Legacy processes were holding us back. We needed to improve efficiency to scale our business without increasing headcount. Shadow-Soft, a recognized leader in IT Automation, helped us implement best practices and state-of-the-art solutions." - Brian Carothers, CIO at Proforma


Shadow-Soft deployed Ansible, which included designing the core Ansible architecture, configuring and deploying the platform, and enabling role-based access control and Active Directory authentication to provide secure and centralized access.

Shadow-Soft then set out to create Ansible Playbooks. The team discussed use cases and designed Ansible Playbooks and Roles for configuration drift management of Redis servers, Solr servers, and IIS web servers. By adding the Playbooks and configuring recurring job intervals, Proforma now had consistent configuration and reduced drift. Shadow-Soft provided knowledge transfer to operations teams on effective Ansible Playbook and Role usage. 

Additionally, Shadow-Soft created Playbooks for SSH key rotation and removal.

“Server configuration problems used to be a major headache. But now, with the new Ansible solution, we can set it and forget it, knowing that our servers are configured correctly." - Brian Carothers, CIO at Proforma


The implementation of Ansible increased productivity and eliminated bottlenecks. Previously it would take up to six hours of manual effort to do server configuration. With the work Shadow-Soft did to implement robust automation, this now takes 30 minutes.

Shadow-Soft delivered effective code and demonstrated its efficacy. The accompanying documentation empowered Proforma’s teams to understand the code, extend it as needed, and avoid reliance on third parties. Proforma experienced a 90% reduction in the time required to build and maintain certain server types that had been pain points. By eliminating common misconfigurations, they avoided a major class of outages that had challenged them for years.

Brian shares that Shadow-Soft is the real deal. “They're not just contractors, they're consultants who partner with you to deliver on their promises. In the IT consulting space, that's rare indeed."

Overall, the results speak for themselves. By implementing robust automation with Ansible, Proforma has increased efficiency, resilience, and speed across the organization. Shadow-Soft exceeded expectations by providing not just technical solutions, but equipping the company’s teams with documentation and enablement for long-term success.

“Shadow-Soft's work helped us increase team productivity by reducing the amount of time we spend on configuration during critical product launches from 6 hours to 30 minutes” - Brian Carothers, CIO at Proforma