Signature South Consulting provides electronic invoicing and other solutions to companies across Latin America. When management had an
idea for a cloud-based, business-to-business networking solution that could provide services and a communications platform for business customers, they turned to Windows Azure.
The result was cost-effective, highly scalable solution, including a mobile component that was built in one week. The company expects to have several million new business customers using the solution by 2014.
Signature South Consulting
is an independent software vendor specializing in solutions for the financial services industry. Based in Santiago, Chile, the company has been operating
since 2001, building a large client base throughout Latin America. The company’s solutions are used by more than 2,500 corporate customers across many industries, including financial services, pharmaceuticals, insurance, retail, telecommunications, and mining.
The company’s flagship product is
, a hosted electronic invoicing solution launched in 2003. Businesses use it to streamline their invoicing processes by eliminating paper documents and account validations, which traditional invoicing scenarios are resource-intensive
activities. Today the solution handles more than 3 million electronic invoices monthly.
Around 2010, senior management began to see a business opportunity in the data underlying Signature e-INVOICING activities. “There was an immense amount of information that could be leveraged by our customers, including data revealing their relationships and
connections with consumers and other businesses,” says Mario Fernández, Chief Executive Officer of Signature South Consulting.
The company decided to create a business-to-business (B2B) networking platform for its customers to interact and share information. Signature South Consulting would provide Signature e-INVOICING and other services, but also wanted the platform to be open to
third-party solutions and add-ons. Such a solution, however, could pose scalability issues and development complexity. “We were looking at adding literally millions of small-business customers to the network, so it had to handle large volumes of information
easily,” says Fernández. “We also wanted to keep our development time and costs to a minimum.”
Signature South Consulting turned to
Windows Azure to create
Gosocket, a B2B networking platform with a mobile component that provides services and a means for companies to interact with each other and streamline information sharing. Signature South Consulting provides an application programming interface (API) for
Gosocket so enterprise users and third-party vendors can offer additional solutions and capabilities to augment the platform, such as accounting, inventory, and collaborative solutions.
||Deploying Gosocket on Windows Azure saved us about 60 percent in hosting costs. That is a huge benefit for our company’s future profitability and can help fund further expansion
Chief Executive Officer
Signature South Consulting
Gosocket went live in December 2011 and runs entirely on Windows Azure. Because so many of its customers use mobile devices in their businesses, the company also created Gosocket Mobile, a mobile application forWindows
that was created in one week. The company is adding support for other mobile platforms, including Android, iOS, and Blackberry devices.
Mariano Beeche, Technical Development Manager, credits the Windows Azure development environment for the fast creation of the mobile component. “We used the Windows Azure Toolkit
for Windows Phone
, the Windows Azure migration tool for an existing
Microsoft SQL Server
database, and tutorials that helped us find best practices for integrating the different components of the platform,” says Beeche.
Signature South Consulting found Windows Azure to be a powerful, cost-effective platform for quickly creating and deploying a solution that can reach a large, multi-national customer base, including mobile users. The development team credits rich tools and
development support with getting the solution built and deployed quickly. It is counting on the scalability of Windows Azure to help manage growth spurts and traffic spikes. Creating the solution on Windows Azure also led to substantial cost savings.
One Week to Develop Innovative Solution
The range of development tools and assistance available with Windows Azure was key in helping the company quickly build and deploy Gosocket. “Windows Azure is an amazing environment for rapidly developing new solutions, as our one-week development of Gosocket
Mobile proved. There’s a great software development kit and tutorials, as well as tools that simplify the migration of data to Windows Azure. We got the production database going in less than one day,” says Beeche. “Other cloud platforms, including Amazon,
cannot compete with Windows Azure in terms of expediting development of a new solution.”
Scalability to Support Anticipated Growth
The ability to rapidly modify Windows Azure infrastructure components such as CPU and storage in an hour or two is critical to the company’s business plan. “Scalability is critical for our growth,” says Fernández. He notes that the solution is currently
available in Chile, Brazil, Mexico, and Costa Rica, and is being used by customers such as Aramark, DHL, and Essbio, a large utility company in Chile. The solution will be available in other countries as well. “Within three years we expect to have literally
millions of customers, including small businesses, accessing their Gosocket information every day,” he says. “Without that scalability, it would be difficult or impossible to follow this business plan.”
60 Percent Cost Savings
Fernández notes a big difference in costs between its previous hosting provider and the Windows Azure environment. “We have been using a traditional hosting provider for Signature e-INVOICING for nearly 10 years, so we know about hosting costs,” he says.
“Deploying Gosocket on Windows Azure saved us about 60 percent in hosting costs. That is a huge benefit for our company’s future profitability and can help fund further expansion.”
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