4-page Case Study
Posted: 4/23/2013
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WISEITECH World Windows Azure-Based BI Service Spreading Throughout The World

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* In times of economic uncertainty, most clients hesitate in making IT investments due to cost issues. But Windows Azure is an ideal choice both for the developer and the client in terms of stabilization of profitability and elimination of unnecessary initial investment costs each. *

Ahn Donghyeok
Director
WISEITECH

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WISEITECH, one of the representative enterprises in the domestic enterprise solution industry, is now concentrating on the cloud-based solutions, moving away from the business strategy focused on the package solutions. WISEITECH launched its BI solutions in time with the release of Windows Azure in 2011. WISEITECH's WISE Cloud BI features a data mart architecture based on relational databases (RDB) with Hadoop applied for the big data analysis and an in-memory data storage for quick analysis in real time. That is, WISEITECH designed a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) environment consisting of Windows Azure, SQL Azure, and Hadoop on Windows Azure, and then built a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) on this platform with functions for social analysis, On-Line Analytical Processing (OLAP), Executive Information System (EIS), and visualization. By implementing its core BI solution lineup on Windows Azure, WISEITECH has been able to attract various large clients, such as Webzen and other global manufacturing companies, starting with the successful supply of the WISE OLAP service to the online game provider NDOORS in 2011. As the pioneer in the cloud BI industry, WISEITECH is enjoying a renaissance by aggressively charting the way forward to the global cloud market.

Situation

Well-known as the pioneer of the BI business era by launching the RDB-DW expert consulting service in 1990s for the first time in Korea, WISEITECH is now equipped with a new growth engine called 'cloud' based on Windows Azure and is ready for new challenges. Having enjoyed a long and steady growth as a leader of the enterprise solution industry in Korea, WISEITECH chose cloud service as its future growth engine for a reason. After a long domination in the data processing segment of the market, WISEITECH was faced with a new challenge of 'big data' and 'cloud' around 2010. Instead of trembling in fear, the company decided to take this as a new business opportunity.

What WISEITECH saw was a huge opportunity to enter the global market by building a much more stable and profitable business method with cloud service. In the conventional solution business, revenue was generated at the project level. Of course, it can make a profit by renewing maintenance contracts on a yearly basis. However, solution developers have to focus their energy on sales workforce and resources in order to win more new deals than just keeping maintenance contracts. On the other hand, the cloud solutions business guarantees continuous revenue generation, positively contributing to profitability and financial soundness of the solution developer. WISEITECH was quick to understand this huge difference.

Also in terms of entering the global market, it has already become an accepted fact that localizing the solutions into English and opening branch offices in different countries was no longer effective. WISEITECH knew this very well. But as the company saw potential of cloud service, it began to change the course of its journey. WISEITECH intuitively noticed that there is a way to guarantee the same level of service quality wherever the clients are, and provide technical support directly from the head office. This meant entering the global market would be as easy as opening the front door rather than having to climb over the high barrier of establishing overseas branches.

Determined to seize the opportunity, WISEITECH prepared to enter the cloud business in 2011. The timing was right as Microsoft had just released Windows Azure. Within a few months of exploring cloud with test accounts, WISEITECH started providing a Windows Azure-based SaaS service to the clients. This was possible because there was very little for WISEITECH to care about. Ahn Donghyeok, the director of WISEITECH Laboratory, said, "I think the key success factor of Windows Azure was no tweaking required. If publishing installation-type solutions as PaaS required lots of modifications, Windows Azure could never be welcomed by developers." He continued, "In our experience of posting and running the service on Windows Azure, we learned that it was not too different from the earlier method that provides consulting and implements the system."

Solution

In the process of loading its solutions to Windows Azure one by one, WISEITECH began to resolve the concerns of actual clients using the cloud service from 2011 to 2012. During those two years, WISEITECH grasped three chances to assess possibility and potential of cloud service. Strictly speaking, these chances were results of the company's previous sales pipelines in consulting and solution supply.

WISEITECH's first client was NDOORS, a games developer. NDOORS wanted multidimensional analysis of game user access patterns, etc. at lower costs. Although NDOORS had its own data mart, it hesitated to build an OLAP analysis environment due to the high costs. Then, WISEITECH proposed Windows Azure as an alternative. WISEITECH's proposal included keeping the analysis data mart at NDOORS but using WISE OLAP on Windows Azure. After using WISE OLAP, one of WISE BI Cloud services, as SaaS, NDOORS was able to use analysis on game users in its day-to-day operations without constructing the BI system.

The second chance was given by Webzen. This project was a case that the entire suite of WISE BI cloud services put into action. It involved completion of the cloud service model that WISEITECH pursued by accommodating the requirements of Webzen. Webzen's requirements were not too different from those of NDOORS. Webzen needed to view a wide variety of information including daily analysis of companywide revenue and game usage statistics. However, since it had no BI infrastructure, obtaining of analysis information required making the individual requests to the IT department one by one. A bigger problem was the time and energy required for aggregating the data from all regions since the company was running global game services. At the same time, starting its own BI project did not seem feasible. After consulting with other game service providers who are already using BI, Webzen found the solutions too costly. It also learned that the information generated by the solutions was often below the level of expectation. Webzen could not either make an investment or to keep delaying its actions.

After nearly a year of watching the market, Webzen listened to WISEITECH's proposal and finally decided to use WISE BI cloud in 2012. Webzen decided to use all components of the WISE Cloud BI services: WISE OLAP, WISE EIS, and WISE Social Analytics. WISEITECH's WISE Cloud BI is a PaaS service running on Windows Azure. The architecture involved implementing WISEITECH's WISE OLAP, WISE EIS, and WISE Social Analytics solutions on Windows Azure's SQL Azure and Hadoop on Windows Azure. It processes big data on the cloud but there are no performance issues. This is because Hadoop is used for log data processing and in-memory method is used for quick analysis of mass data.

On the other hand, WISEITECH's service configuration is flexibly applied according to the client's requirements. If the client has its own in-house data mart as in the case of NDOORS, the OLAP tool service can be connected as SaaS to the client's internal system. If the client wants to store, extract, and analyze data on the cloud as in the case of Webzen, the IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS services can be connected and used flexibly. This flexibility in providing cloud-based services was completely unleashed in the case of the global manufacturing company A.

The company A had created the BI environment by saving the various logs for its home appliances sold all around the world on Windows Azure and analyzing the data on WISE OLAP in association with the company's internal revenue and service information. The environment created perfectly accommodated the client's requirements. Ahn said, "After 2 years of running projects, we realized that it was pointless for both the solution provider and the client to make distinctions between using IaaS only, PaaS only or SaaS only from the viewpoints of both the solution developer and the end user. The solution developer and the client do not need to care about how the infrastructure and the platform are working together. We only need to ensure quality of the services provided."

Benefits

High service availability without security worries

One of the most notable changes after the Beneficial for both Developer and Client

WISEITECH is convinced that cloud service benefits both the solution developer and the client. This is the confidence it have gained for the 2 years of providing services to clients. Ahn said, "In times of economic uncertainty, most clients hesitate in making IT investments due to cost issues. But Windows Azure is an ideal choice both for the developer and the client in terms of stabilization of profitability and elimination of unnecessary initial investment costs each."

Rewarding Clients with Even More Benefits

WISEITECH does not consider the cost as the biggest benefit of cloud service that the clients feels. It is obviously the single most important benefit that there is no need to make huge initial investment in building the hardware according to capacity calculation and securing the software licenses required. In addition to the cost benefit, or perhaps even greater than that, WISEITECH believes that the beauty of cloud service is in complete flexibility of changing the system architecture and in independence from any one particular service provider.

Ahn said, "Webzen initially wanted to use the public cloud service only. But after going back to the drawing board a several times, they finally decided to implement the cloud storage and in-memory processing area in a private cloud environment and implement WISE Cloud BI in public cloud service. Modification of architecture was not easy in the conventional method of building dedicated hardware and then installing and customizing solutions on it. But cloud service makes all this extremely easy and the clients are very happy about it." WISEITECH believes that this kind of flexibility actually benefits the client even more in the medium to longer term. No matter how well the plans are made and the architecture is designed, the ever-changing requirements of the industry makes any system outdated really quickly. But cloud solutions allow making changes at the same pace as the business itself.

WISEITECH emphasizes that the cloud solution client can enjoy this advantage of speedy adaptation apart without depending on a particular vendor. Ahn said, "While using a public cloud service, if the client becomes unhappy about it, they can go and look for an alternative any time. In the conventional setup, one would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy servers and install solutions, and then get stick to them whether they like it or not. The cloud service, however, allows high client mobility, freeing them from the dark side of vendor-dependency."

Improving Profitability of Solution Developer

While serving WISE Cloud BI to clients, WISEITECH experienced for itself managerial benefits of using cloud business platforms, such as Windows Azure. It learned that while winning the contract for big projects was still important, building all-purpose services and then providing them to many clients over a long period would actually result in long-term profitability of the company. Ahn said, "Although sales of solutions is more important for short-term performance, expanding a stable revenue base by securing more cloud users is more beneficial for management and growth of the company."

On the other hand, cloud service helps improve the work convenience of the solution developer. One common complaint from solution developers that sell licenses for each user is the client's illegal use of licenses. Even when a client runs a solution for 10 users just with a license for 5 users, a small-sized solution developer has no feasible means of restricting this usage. However, for the cloud service, this kind of problem is non-existent. Ahn said, "The WISE Cloud BI service running on Windows Azure does not require the individual license management which is required for the package solution. Since accounts are issued based on the number of actual users, the solution developer does not need to perform any special license management."

Dawn of Overseas Expansion

WISEITECH expects WISE Cloud BI to be the forerunner of its global market expansion. WISEITECH plans to use WISE Cloud BI to target companies in other countries as well as the domestic companies engaged in global business. Positive signs are already becoming visible in the market. WISEITECH reached a significant milestone for global market expansion in 2012. The first achievement was reached in China. WISEITECH showcased the WISE BI platform and the WISE Cloud BI services to the Chinese finance companies in Beijing in June 2012. Also, WISEITECH engaged with 10 potential clients including LinkedIn, NASA, Raytheon, and Aitec at the KTECH 2012 Silicon Valley Export Consultation Forum held in November. Ahn said, "Windows Azure eliminates the need for us to build a dedicated partner network for technical support separately. It opens the wide gate for solution developers to enter the global market."

Microsoft Windows Azure

For more information, see the Microsoft website.

www.windowsazure.com/en-us

For More Information

For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:

www.microsoft.com

For more information about WISEITECH visit the website at: www.wise.co.kr

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Solution Overview



Organization Size: 100 employees

Organization Profile

Founded in 1990, WISEITECH is an enterprise solution provider that supplies its BI, data management and CRM solutions to over 150 clients.


Business Situation

As "cloud" and "big data" are emerging keywords that shift the market paradigm, the company is entering a new era of new business strategies.


Solution

By posting its core solutions onto Windows Azure, WISEITECH is now able to provide high-quality service to not only domestic client but the overseas clients as well.


Benefits

Beneficial for both Developer and Client


Software and Services
  • Microsoft Online Services
  • Microsoft Azure Platform

Vertical Industries
Other Services

Country/Region
Korea

Business Need
Business Intelligence and Reporting

IT Issue
  • Data Warehousing
  • Cloud Services
  • Data Migrations

Languages
English

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