Mark Davenport, IT director at hair restoration provider Bosley Medical Institute Inc., had a lot on his agenda in 2009: consolidate applications, reduce maintenance costs, centralize data for business intelligence and implement disaster recovery capabilities. The answer: Software as a Service (SaaS).
The company outsourced five different applications to five different SaaS vendors: Its scheduling system was outsourced to TimeTrade Corporation Inc.; an address verification application to Stalworth Inc. (now Acme Data); a direct marketing application to Silverpop Systems Inc.; the inbound call center system to inContact Inc.; and the outbound call center dialer to Five9 Inc.
Bosley is saving 20% to 30% in maintenance fees a year by retiring these five core applications and replacing them with SaaS applications -- one of the systems had a $20,000-a-year contract tied to it that was eliminated, he said.
The IT team built adapters from the SaaS vendors' data centers to its own data center to integrate and aggregate information from the various SaaS applications into a central Siebel CRM system. This addressed the company's need for centralized business intelligence.
In the last two years we had power outages that disrupted inbound and outbound dialing. With those systems now in the cloud, we can still take calls by logging on from anywhere.
Mark Davenport, director of IT, Bosley Medical Institute Inc.
The information is then replicated in the company's SQL Server 2008 database, which has a homegrown reporting system built on top. Davenport said he's looking to replace the homegrown business intelligence reporting system with SQL Server Reporting Services in the future.
And although Davenport doesn't have figures to measure disaster recovery improvements, application uptime has improved quite a bit.
"In the last two years we had power outages here all the time that disrupted inbound and outbound dialing," Davenport said. "With those systems now in the cloud, we can still take calls by logging on from anywhere we are."
There will be bumps in the road when applications are decommissioned and consolidated, he cautioned.
"Invariably, you find out that someone needs [a decommissioned application], so you need to have a plan for how to maintain at least the piece of functionality that person needs before moving forward," Davenport said. "Once a system is shut down, information could be lost and you will find yourself scrambling."
Let us know what you think about the story; email: Christina Torode, Senior News Writer