2 page Case Study - Posted 1/4/2013
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Mobile Solutions Provider Cuts Deployment from Weeks to Hours, Increases Scalability
Quofore is the world’s leading developer of mobile sales force automation solutions for consumer goods manufacturers. The company wanted to increase the scalability of its primary mobile solution in order to keep up with new business growth.
Quofore developed a new version of the solution, based on Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and SQL Azure, to give customers more flexibility. As a result, the firm has cut deployment times from weeks to hours, and it can offer a more scalable solution. Also, both
Quofore and its customers are more competitive.
Quofore, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, develops mobile-software solutions for field representatives of consumer goods companies. Quofore customers use the company’s solutions to manage their field sales, merchandising, inventory, promotion, and delivery
One of the firm’s most popular applications is Mojo, which field representatives use to enter store inventory data, capture orders, access product information, and run numerous tasks on a range of mobile devices.
Because its business has been steadily growing over the past several years, Quofore wanted to create a next-generation solution that provided the scalability and reliability that its customers needed.
“We had been working with more large, global customers—some with more than 10,000 users—who wanted to scale the solution as they expanded into new regions,” says Michael Scott, Global Vice President of Solution Architecture, Quofore. “Because these customers
had new users coming on board at different times of day, we needed to be able to scale up or down rapidly to meet service demand.”
But Quofore lacked that flexibility because Mojo and other Quofore applications were hosted on a large footprint of physical servers, limiting the company’s ability to scale. “It was a very hardware-centric environment, and we needed it to be much more elastic,”
Quofore also wanted to speed up Mojo deployment times to meet customer growth. “Customer deployments typically took several weeks, because we had to add servers to make that happen,” says Scott.
To address its scalability and deployment issues, Quofore sought to implement a new, more flexible solution.
||With our new application, based on SQL Server 2012 and SQL Azure, we can reduce the time to deploy from several weeks to several minutes. That gives us a key competitive advantage.
| Shanker Krishnan
Executive Vice President
Product Engineering & Hosting Services, Quofore
Quofore decided to implement a new cloud-based solution built on Windows Azure, the Microsoft cloud services development and hosting environment. “We looked at many other solutions, but we have always been a Microsoft shop,” says Scott. “We chose Microsoft
once again because it gave us the right tools and technologies for our business.”
In May 2012, Quofore enhanced Mojo to be a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application running on Windows Azure. The organization also implemented an on-premises installation of Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Enterprise software to store some Mojo data.
Quofore also created new Virtual Machines in Windows Azure to ensure more flexibility in its installations of the Mojo application framework.
Additionally, Quofore is storing some customer data in Microsoft SQL Azure databases. SQL Azure is a cloud-based data-storage environment that stores multiple database copies.
The new Mojo, designed to run on multiple mobile devices and operating systems, includes more than 19 languages. The application gives field representatives access to the critical information they need, wherever they work. With the new flexible Quofore infrastructure,
Mojo customers can either perform reporting in the cloud or connect to a Quofore SQL Azure database and move that data into a local SQL Server 2012 database.
Quofore architected Mojo to be highly configurable, so customers do not have to spend as much time customizing software to meet their specific business needs. The application was launched in August 2012.
With its new cloud-based application, Quofore has greatly reduced customer deployment times and can provide a superior scalable solution to accommodate customer business needs. Also, the company and its customers can compete better globally.
Reduces Deployment Times from Weeks to Hours
With the flexibility and built-in configurability of Mojo, Quofore will greatly reduce the time it takes to implement the application. “With our new application, based on SQL Server 2012 and SQL Azure, we can reduce the time to deploy from several weeks
to several hours. That gives us a key competitive advantage,” says Shanker Krishnan, Executive Vice President, Product Engineering & Hosting Services, Quofore. “We don’t have to spend as much time making modifications for each customer, because it can be easily
and quickly configured to fit their needs.”
With significantly faster deployment times, Quofore also expects new business growth. “By offering this new solution that is easily and quickly implemented, we will be able to expand our global business faster,” says Krishnan.
Increases Scalability and Cuts Costs
With the enhanced Mojo application, Quofore can easily handle spikes in service demand from customers. “Now, with Windows Azure and SQL Azure, we can easily scale up or down as needed, and we no longer need to build out a new server and deploy the application
on internal hardware,” says Scott.
This flexible model also means Quofore and its customers will be able to cut costs. “We will save a lot of money because we are only paying for the resources we are using at any given time, which benefits our customers as well,” Scott says.
Ensures Flexible, Simple Application Implementation
Quofore has also added flexibility for Mojo deployments with its Windows Azure Virtual Machines. “Windows Azure Virtual Machines provide us with the ability to configure scalable, discrete, and elastic components of the application framework,” says Toby
Harman, Hosting Services Manager/Data Architect and DBA, Quofore. “This leads to cost control as well as rapid deployment of new instances and versions of the application, while retaining the ability to manage the resources as a traditional virtual machine
in a domain.”
Windows Azure Virtual Machines also give the company the opportunity for simpler, error-free Mojo installations. “When we need a new server to expand our capacity for a particular service, it can be deployed from prepackaged images using scripts,” says Harman.
“This gives us a highly repeatable process with few opportunities for mistakes to creep in.”
Makes Quofore and Its Customers More Competitive
The new solution will also help Quofore be more competitive. “We can compete better globally, because we can go to market a lot faster, and this solution is designed to scale and work efficiently no matter where our customers are located,” says Scott. “For
example, if a customer needs to implement a process to handle very complex regional tax structures, Mojo can be configured to handle that. Customers see that they can use the same set of tools to manage different business processes.”
The solution’s flexibility and configurable design also help Quofore customers compete better. “They can get it up and running fast, and because they can easily adapt the solution to fit changing business processes, customers can realize a return on investment
very quickly. Overall, it’s the best solution for Quofore and its customers going forward,” says Scott.
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