2 page Case Study - Posted 8/29/2012
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Hosting Solution Provider Offers Cloud Computing Services to Customers
DATEV, one of the leading IT service providers for tax advisers, auditors, and attorneys in Germany, intended to deliver hosted cloud-based Microsoft solutions to its 39,000 customers. DATEV is now offering hosted Microsoft Office 2010 to replace
an earlier version of Microsoft Office software to 1,000 of its 39,000 customers that have already moved to the private cloud. DATEV is considering adding other hosted services, including Microsoft Lync 2010 and the Windows Azure cloud operating system.
Founded in 1966 and with more than 39,000 customers, DATEV is an IT services provider for tax advisers, accountants, attorneys, and their clients. As a cooperative owned by its customers, it offers hosted services—covering financial, human resources, and
office management, enterprise resource planning, and IT security—through its four data centers in Nuremberg. It also provides software and business consultancy, and has its own proprietary advanced accounting and office management software. Most DATEV customers
have up to 10 employees, but it also caters for larger clients.
DATEV consistently needs highly secure, end-to-end systems to ensure legal compliance. Dr. Philipp Willer, Team Leader—IT Management, DATEV, says: “It is imperative that our customers’ data is secure. A breach would have serious legal consequences because
DATEV is subject to a professional confidentiality law specified in the Tax Advisory Act.”
The majority of DATEV customers still use Microsoft Office 2003 for Excel and Word applications and hold on-premises licenses. They also have the DATEV application for completing standard presentations of company accounts for Germany using Microsoft SQL
Server 2008 data management software, as well as other customized tools installed on-premises. For these customers, DATEV stores data sent remotely to its Nuremberg data centers.
DATEV intended to move more customers to a hosted private cloud solution. Dr. Willer says: “We urgently needed to offer customers hosted solutions to remove the burden of IT administration. Tax advisers are not usually IT experts themselves, and, as small
businesses, they need to keep their overheads low.”
Microsoft Gold Independent Software Vendor (ISV) Partner DATEV is one of the largest Microsoft Services Provider License Agreement hosters of Microsoft Office software worldwide. The financial accounts of about 2.5 million companies are set up by tax advisers
or the companies themselves using DATEV software, which means the firm is constantly looking to improve manageability and simplify business processes.
To relieve the burden of IT administration from tax advisers, accountants, and attorneys, DATEV offers them a tailored and pay-as-you-go data-center service according to their needs. This includes application service provider (ASP) tiered services for the
hosting of software and IT infrastructures, and the secure distribution of data.
For example, a customer can only gain access to its data if it has been authenticated by a hardware component in conjunction with a user’s personal identification number. The connection to the data center is also protected by virtual private network tunneling,
which provides private connections to public networks such as the Internet.
Dr. Willer says: “Our current focus is to encourage customers and their clients to upgrade from on-premises Microsoft Office 2003 to hosted Microsoft Office 2010 and Microsoft Exchange Server 2010. Hosted Office and Exchange Server help us to push our own
ISV solutions as secure cloud services through our DATEV ASP offerings from our four data centers in Germany.”
DATEV already provides a full range of computer applications—such as online applications, data processing, and archiving in the data center—through cloud services. As part of its improvement strategy, DATEV is evaluating Hyper-V virtualization software for
the data center, which currently uses VMware, together with Windows Server 2012 and the Microsoft System Center 2012 suite of products for manageability.
Dr. Willer says: “We’re looking at potentially offering Microsoft Lync Server 2010 for internal and external users. The Windows Azure team is also regularly onsite at DATEV because we’re interested in the Windows Azure cloud operating system.”
DATEV is maintaining its reputation as one of the largest hosters for Microsoft Office worldwide by broadening its services offering. It’s expanding its revenue base in Germany by providing pay-as-you-go cloud-based services to its 39,000 customers, focusing
on moving them from on-premises Microsoft Office 2003 to hosted Microsoft Office 2010. With extended support for Office 2003 due to end in April 2014, around 1,000 DATEV customers have moved to the private cloud already.
Pay-as-you-go model minimizes upfront investment. DATEV can upgrade its customers from Office 2003 to Office 2010 on a pay-as-you-go basis, without any need for capital investment in physical servers or
new on-premises software licenses. Tax advisers like the flexibility of the Microsoft Services Provider License Agreement because they can use the latest technology without upfront investment in software assets.
Hosted Office 2010 offers full data protection and privacy compliance. Dr. Willer says: “All tax advisers in Germany have to be extremely sensitive because they need to comply with strict data protection and privacy laws. Our hosted Microsoft
Office services meet the highest standards of data protection and IT security.”
Roadmap includes new Microsoft solutions. DATEV is committed to maintaining its reputation for secure, innovative solutions for tax advisers by evaluating Hyper-V virtualization software for the data center. It is also interested in deploying
Windows Server 2012 and the Microsoft System Center 2012 suite of products for better manageability.
DATEV converts 1,000 customers to private cloud. With a full range of cloud-based applications—such as data processing and archiving in the data center—already available, DATEV has converted 1,000 customers to the private cloud. Smaller
customers save a lot of time by receiving all their cloud services through a single provider.
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