Servicio de Administración Tributaria (SAT), Mexico’s internal revenue agency, needed to develop a way to handle electronic invoices in response to a presidential mandate. The SAT turned to Microsoft Services and Microsoft Premier Support to
help plan, develop, deploy, and operate a solution using Windows Azure in just four months. The solution cost 30 times less than a comparable on-premises solution using other technology.
Servicio de Administración Tributaria (SAT) is in charge of all of Mexico’s tax-related transactions. In January 2011, the SAT undertook a nationwide transformation to embrace electronic invoices for companies and individuals whose incomes were greater
than 4 million pesos per year and for any invoices of 2,000 pesos or more. The SAT needed to be able to receive and validate electronic invoices and to make portals available to taxpayers to help them manage their electronic bills.
SAT had begun planning for the infrastructure that would be necessary to support electronic billing, but the project was projected to take a full year to deploy and cost US$1 million to implement. When Mexico’s president announced in September 2010 that
electronic invoicing requirements would go into effect and became mandatory on January 1, 2011, the SAT realized that it needed to change direction. “One of our main challenges was that we lacked the installed hardware and software capacity to be able to deliver
an adequate solution in such a short amount of time,” says Alejandro Villanueva, Chief Information Officer at SAT.
The SAT sought a new solution—one that could be built and deployed in just four months and that would be scalable enough to handle up to 30 terabytes of data annually. The solution also had to be cost-effective because it was ultimately being funded by taxpayers.
With so little time to pull together a long-term solution, the SAT sought help from trusted advisors who could offer guidance, technological expertise, and the willingness to work quickly to meet an aggressive timeline.
The SAT turned to Microsoft for help. “We asked three providers for proposals that met our business needs and deadline,” says Villanueva. “The only proposal that fulfilled all our time, cost, and performance requirements came from Microsoft.”
||The difference… was the speed with which the Microsoft Services consultants were able to implement the solution, the cost, the commitment, and their knowledge of our business.
| Alejandro Villanueva
Chief Information Officer, SAT
That proposal entailed using the Windows Azure cloud-computing environment as the basis for the electronic invoice repository and working with Microsoft Services consultants to put the plan into action. “We needed a partner who could deliver exceptional strategic
planning, demonstrate in-depth knowledge of our business, understand our day-to-day environment, and create a solution within the SAT,” says Villanueva. “We felt as though working with Microsoft Services would provide the level of support to make a real difference,
in part because of the years of experience and the fact that Microsoft provided an architect from Microsoft Enterprise Strategy who could offer specific insight.”
Knowing that it had a strong partner with cloud technology experience was especially important to the SAT. “Initially, we were concerned that cloud technology would not be mature enough for us to adopt because it had not been used in the Mexican government
before and we did not know how it would interact with our on-premises services,” explains Antonio Obregon, Architect at Servicio de Administración Tributaria. “But Windows Azure was the most mature, most comprehensive cloud technology out there, and we conducted
many vulnerability analyses and penetration tests to ensure that it had the levels of security and functionality to meet our requirements.”
Because cloud technology was so new to the organization, the SAT relied on Microsoft Services consultants not only for the design and implementation of the solution but also for helping in the definition of policies, standards, architectures, and guidelines
for cloud-based applications, to which SAT quickly adapted. At the end of four months and in time to meet its mandate, the SAT had a comprehensive electronic billing solution—complete with complex integration with on-premises services.
By working with Microsoft Services and implementing a solution based on Windows Azure, the SAT met its critical deadline while achieving its lofty scalability, availability, and affordability goals. “We were all working under a lot of pressure, with
many challenges ahead of us, but we worked together as one team with our Microsoft Services consultants and achieved our desired results,” says Villanueva. “It was a very satisfying experience.” Benefits include:
Unique capabilities and expertise. The SAT found that working with Microsoft Services provided the organization with an impressive level of expertise and dedication. “The difference between Microsoft and the rest of the competition was the
speed with which the Microsoft Services consultants were able to implement the solution, the cost, the commitment, and their knowledge of our business,” says Villanueva.
Strong collaboration. The organization believes that its close relationship with Microsoft Services will result in not just success for the electronic billing project but also for its long-term health. “We’ve been looking for a partner who
is as concerned as we are about delivering high-quality services to our taxpayers,” says Villanueva. “That is why we decided to team up with Microsoft Services, whose consultants make us confident that we can overcome future challenges.”
Reduced costs. The SAT saved money by choosing Windows Azure and by partnering with Microsoft Services. “Without a doubt, our Windows Azure solution is up to 30 times cheaper than what we’d originally planned,” says Obregon. “Plus, it worked
correctly the first time, due to help from Microsoft Services, and it’s cloud-based, so we only pay for what we use, rather than provisioning an entire data center.”
Flexibility and scalability. Because of its use of Windows Azure, the SAT now has a stable, supported service that can grow as the organization’s needs change over time. “We avoided implementing an enormous infrastructure, and now we can
just focus on managing our on-premises services because Microsoft handles everything else in the cloud,” says Yessica Mondragón, Project Manager Director at SAT.
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