Talentsoft uses Cloud to capture new markets
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To reduce the time needed to bring new customers online and to reach new global markets, Talentsoft moved its software from a traditional hosting model to the Windows Azure cloud platform.
The result is much faster time-to-market, a 50 percent reduction in hosting costs, and more ability to focus on innovating the company’s product suite.
Talentsoft is an independent software vendor specializing in talent management solutions for human resource (HR) organizations. Talentsoft products are delivered as modular components and combine performance management with competency planning to help employees and HR departments identify, evaluate, develop, and plan for specific skills.
The Talentsoft product suite has traditionally been offered to customers as a hosted solution to help them avoid the IT overhead involved with on-premises deployments. However, Talentsoft faced some challenges when working with the external vendor that provided its traditional hosting infrastructure. “We were using the vendor’s infrastructure as a service from a location in the south of France, but there were local compliance restrictions on using their service for our international deployments, which was a problem for our growth strategy,” says Jean-Stéphane Arcis, Chief Executive Officer of Talentsoft.
“There were technical difficulties as well,” Arcis continues. “The platform did not have the kind of elasticity we needed. It could take weeks to add enough capacity to properly serve existing customers when their needs expanded, or to bring on new customers, which could require adding thousands of company employees quickly for a new Talentsoft implementation.”
Talentsoft management decided to seek a better, more cost-effective hosting platform that could support rapid additions of new customers, deliver global reach, and scale up and down easily to accommodate fluctuating customer demands.
Talentsoft decided to move its products to the Windows Azure cloud-computing platform. The company worked with Logica , a UK technology development company, to do a feasibility study for the project and for help redesigning its code. Talentsoft also received assistance from Microsoft as a member of its BizSpark One program, which provides development tools and expertise to innovative software startups.
“Because our software is based on the Microsoft product stack, it did not take much to convince us to use the platform-as-a-service model provided by Windows Azure,” says Arcis. The Talentsoft and Logica teams took advantage of many built-in Windows Azure technologies. They also created some custom components, including reporting dashboards, by using the Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 development system.
Code migration began in September 2010. Talentsoft and Logica conducted extensive tests through December, and had its first customer implementations running on the Windows Azure platform in January 2011. In the early stages of its Windows Azure operation, Talentsoft is using Microsoft data centers in Europe, but it plans to activate instances of its software in the United States and Asia, as well, to extend its international reach.
Talentsoft began experiencing dramatic benefits almost immediately after migrating its software to the Windows Azure platform. The powerful scalability of cloud computing helps address spikes in customer demand in hours instead of weeks. The costs that Talentsoft incurred through its prior hosting provider have been cut in half. And the burden of managing many routine IT infrastructure tasks has been eliminated, enabling the company to focus on improving its products and expanding to new markets.
• Vastly Improved Scalability for Meeting Customer Demand
Talentsoft has dramatically increased its ability to adjust the computing power needed to address fluctuating customer usage. “With Windows Azure, it takes less than six hours to add or modify our computing capacity to meet our customers’ needs,” says Arcis. “That compares to six weeks when we were using the other hosting environment. This dramatic improvement helps us be far more responsive when adding new customers or helping existing customers add people to the Talentsoft user base.”
• Half the Hosting Costs
With the Windows Azure platform, Talentsoft is significantly lowering its expenses. “The subscription cost for running on the Windows Azure platform are about half of what it cost when we were using the more traditional hosting infrastructure,” Arcis says. “This, of course, is a huge improvement for our operations, and gives us more flexibility in our business model for working with new and existing customers.”
• Increased Ability to Focus on Core Products, New Markets
A key benefit of the Windows Azure platform is that Microsoft performs a large share of the routine IT infrastructure tasks required in a hosting environment. As a result, Talentsoft can increase its focus on its core products.
“We no longer have to worry about things like data backups, security fixes, load balancing, and operating system upgrades,” says Arcis. “Instead, we can keep our staff busy working on new features and bringing new customers online much faster than we did in the past. The global scope of Windows Azure also helps us move into new geographic regions while being in compliance with local HR data regulations, which improves our global reach and market share.”