Interview With Dirk Anderson of BlakYaks

BlakYaks are a Microsoft Azure specialist speeding up enterprise container platform adoption. They speed up customers transitions to digital, cloud and cloud-native by building automated, cloud-hosted, container platforms that are compliant with good industry benchmarks, ready to run all workloads and business services. Employing strong security and compliance standards from the start BlakYaks work with customers to fine tune the configuration, striking the right balance between platform security and business agility.

TechRound recently interviewed Dirk Anderson, CEO of BlakYaks to find out more about the company and what they do.

What Problems do BlakYaks Solve in a Potentially Complex Industry?

Increasingly, most businesses in most sectors must compete digitally and online to remain successful and relevant in today’s market. Technology is a key enabler and in particular cloud and cloud-native technologies. Applications developers are turning to serverless and container technologies to move away from monolithic application stacks and building & modernising their applications and business services with  micro-service architectures.

Application developers use containers, serverless and PaaS technologies in the core design construct of micro-services architectures, and also understand those technologies are the most efficient way to deploy, upgrade, maintain and manage business applications throughout their life cycle. To maximise the benefits of these technologies, application development and infrastructure teams must come together to deliver solutions hosted on modern platforms that are secure, scalable, flexible, resilient and can be operated at scale. This fundamental industry change that is happening demands a new platform design approach and challenges traditional operating models.

BlakYaks provide specialist consultancy and technology engineering services, focused on helping customers navigate these platform and operating model changes. Our solutions, skills and experience focus on designing, building, and managing enterprise-grade, highly automated, cloud-hosted, containers and serverless technologies to help customers with their transition to cloud-native platforms. We provide deep industry know-how, operational frameworks, designs and engineering patterns to help customers shorten the time to transform to a modern technology platform architecture, in turn enabling cloud-native applications and driving business forward.

Who and What Inspired the Birth of BlakYaks?

Stuart Anderson and I are the original founders at BlakYaks, supported by external investors and seasoned non-executive director team. The leadership group have been providing cloud consultancy and engineering services to enterprise customers for a decade. The industry, as a whole, is making a shift towards container and serverless technologies and while the rate of adoption is now picking up pace, there is a desire across many businesses to move faster. This view is supported by the leading industry analysts, but we see it across the customers we have worked with in recent years.

Businesses will need expert partners, that have a deep focus on these key technology domains, to help support them through the transition to their technology architectures and operating models. Our leadership team all have a natural passion for these technologies and see the positive impact for our customers and ultimately their customers. We love working in a fast-moving technology sector and our strong preference for going deep and wide with technology is what inspired the team to start BlakYaks. The team have wide industry experience and skills but are also very clear about where we go deep and why that’s important.

Competing in the B2B Space, as With Any, Comes With Unique Challenges; What are the Main Challenges BlakYaks Faces?

The BlakYaks team members have been delivering cloud solutions to enterprise customers for almost a decade and collectively have a strong reputation for providing customers with quality outcomes. As a young but fast-growing business, BlakYaks needs to work hard to establish its business brand and reputation in the market. This will come organically through the work we do with all customers and our partners, but like all businesses operating in a competitive market, we need to ensure that we are active in the digital space to ensure potential customers understand our brand, our culture and what we stand for, and ultimately will see us as an organisation they want to work with.

All smaller businesses need larger businesses to be prepared to take a measured risk with them when transacting business. Smaller businesses, like BlakYaks, make a significant contribution to the UK’s economy and are collectively a major employer. BlakYaks are working with some great large customers that recognise the upside in working with a smaller, responsive, passionate business and see that the benefits can outweigh the perceived risks of working with businesses smaller than themselves.

There are several investments BlakYaks have made to help allay any customer concerns. From day one, we have retained the services of professional accounting, legal and HR teams. We have appropriate insurance cover with a leading provider and we have also become a Center for Internet Security member. We made a commitment to be compliant with numerous key ISO27001 policies and commissioned the creation of several policies accordingly. Our grown-up approach removes many of the barriers to transacting business with much larger customers.

What, In Your Opinion, Is So Important About The B2B Space In Engineering And Is There Room For A B2C Offering?

BlakYaks solutions are aimed squarely at mid to large businesses. This is the typical profile of organisations that will have significant initiatives to modernise their applications and infrastructure platforms by using more container, serverless and PaaS technologies at production scale. There is no direct B2C market for a business like BlakYaks. We can make a positive impact to consumer groups through the work we do with our customers, as its their customers that ultimately benefit from enhanced technology services.

We master in delivering enterprise-grade solutions around industry relevant key technologies such as Microsoft Azure, Kubernetes distributions, DevOps CI/CD toolchains, Hashicorp Terraform, SUSE Rancher, and Portworx (by Pure Storage). These and similar technologies are what our customers will transition to in the coming years and our job is to support and help accelerate a graceful transition for our customers.

With More People Than Ever Moving To The Cloud, How Are Blakyaks Competing In An Increasingly Crowded And Competitive Space?

BlakYaks compete and are differentiated through their expertise and clear focus on containers, serverless and automation technologies, in addition to an enviable skills base with traditional cloud technologies.

While there are lots of businesses moving to the cloud and lots of technology service providers queueing to help them, most of this work has been and still is, what we would regard as “traditional cloud work”, such as setting up cloud landing zones, migrating servers and services from on-premises data centres to cloud data centres, often using a ‘lift-and-shift’ approach. While we will support customers with standard cloud work that is still part of their transition, we also work with customers technology teams to modernise their architectures using emerging platform technologies and dovetailing this to the application modernisation initiatives that application development teams are embarking on with micro-services architectures. The combination of getting these two things right is critical to many business leaders’ digital ambitions.

We will compete by helping customers with their general cloud projects but add a lot of additional value with an intense focus on automation, containers, serverless so we are primed to support customers through their next strategic chapter.

What Are The Specific B2B Uses Of What You Do And Why Is It So Important?

Our customers engage BlakYaks in a variety of different ways but the most common are:

  1. Designing and building cloud-hosted, enterprise-class, highly automated, container solutions
  2. Utilising our proven patterns, frameworks, designs and know-how to help accelerate part of a program or initiative centred around the transition away from Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) to platforms as a service (PaaS), containers and serverless technologies
  3. Providing site-reliability-engineering (SRE) capabilities into customers’ own SRE teams to help automate many aspects of these platforms and removing routine “toil” from day-to-day platform operations

These are important services and capabilities for our customers. Application teams have been working extensively with these technologies in development, test and sandbox environments for years. There is now pent-up demand from these application groups for traditional infrastructure teams to modernise their platforms so they can enable and support these technologies in production and at scale.

Its vitally important to us that we remain in a strong position to partner with our customers own infrastructure and application teams to help overcome some of the challenges involved with establishing production-grade platforms, that can be operated efficiently at scale. We can help get these projects moving faster to deliver value back to business teams and sponsors.

How Can We Find You?

You can find us physically in Shoreditch High Street, London, UK.

Online, you can find us at our website ( and we are ever present on social across the following channels:

  • LinkedIn (blakyaks)
  • Twitter (@blak_yaks)
  • Instagram (blakyaks)
  • Youtube (BlakYaks)