software tools in the cloud

How a Successful Software Vendor Transformed their Product & Business Moving from On-prem to SaaS with CloudSigma

Customer Profile

BOC Group is an international leader in software and consultancy providing products and services for Business Process Management (BPM), Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM) and Governance, Risk and Compliance Management (GRC). BOC Group implements the management strategy of its clients and creates value for its business and IT. Headquartered in Vienna, BOC Group has subsidiaries in Germany, Spain, Ireland, Greece, Poland, Switzerland and France, and services a worldwide customer base.

In a nutshell, BOC Group has completed over 35.000 installations and has got 20 years of experience. All achieved with zero outsourcing and with 100% performance.

The partnership of BOC Group with CloudSigma enabled the company to offer an innovative software-as-a-service offering to its clients and to grow its business with high agility due to in time scalable infrastructure. The flexibility of CloudSigma allowed them to design a customer-orientated IT infrastructure setup. It corresponded to the exact needs of their application in a cost-efficient way. This impacted the whole scope of BOC group’s business by increasing customer satisfaction and winning new clients. BOC Group now plans to further grow their business by taking the opportunity to deploy their service in other CloudSigma locations around the world with the same ease.

“Designing and implementing our architecture on the CloudSigma platform serves our exact needs and allows us to grow our cloud service portfolio really fast and efficiently.”Stepan Seycek, Head of Cloud Services @ BOC Group

The Challenge

The core business of BOC Group is to provide its clients with software tools for globally recognized management approaches. They complement this business model by including consulting services based on their software tools.

Initially, the company offered its products as desktop applications. In order to capture opportunities in the highly dynamic and innovative software market, BOC took the decision to transition to web technologies. The development of the web-based stack architecture allowed BOC to explore a new business opportunity by providing its software as a cost-effective and dynamically scaling SaaS service. Additionally, if customers wanted to avoid costs and efforts in their own infrastructures BOC Group offered a hosting service that allowed tool usage immediately – deploying an instance of the software in BOC Groups’ in-house infrastructure which is accessible to the customers over the internet – in this way extending their business model.

At the same time, cloud offerings have emerged and developed and hence the company decided to create an innovative, highly competitive cloud-based product in order to market their new services and improve service quality and agility. This is how the ADONIS NP Starter Edition was born – a SaaS product based on the ADONIS software tool.

“Initially the hosting services for our software tools were only an add-on offering to our core license sales business. But with time it has developed and in order to be able to market our innovative service offering we introduced what we called ‘ADONIS:cloud’ at that time.”

Mi

To be able to provide ADONIS NP Starter Edition to new clients, BOC addressed the challenge to extend the product to incorporate multi-tenancy and they also had to solve the challenge of very dynamic infrastructure requirements due to the dynamic usage of the SaaS product line.

“We didn’t want to go with any proprietary solutions that you can get with vendors like Amazon or Azure. They introduced something like private networks, but then you have to configure their proprietary gateway services to connect these networks with each other. We really wanted to avoid this in order to stay portable and have platform independence.”Stepan Seycek, Head of Cloud Services @ BOC Group

“Before the introduction of ‘ADONIS:cloud’ we haven’t faced the challenge of providing multi-tenant systems. On the other hand, we had to think about how to deal with infrastructure, because the in-house provisioning was limited in terms of capacity and availability.”

The company took the strategic decision to externalize the infrastructure behind the ADONIS NP Starter Edition. And to move existing hosting customers to this external infrastructure. Initially, they were considering the option to do a private cloud with an infrastructure provider. But quickly after, they decided to go for an Infrastructure-as-a-Service partner to avoid maintaining hardware in an external data center. They mostly wanted to focus on their core business and value proposition.

The Solution

BOC Group used a decision making framework of MODAClouds to whittle twenty potential cloud providers down to just three. The criteria included many technical and non-technical considerations weighted by relative importance to BOC Group. After shortlisting three top providers the next step for BOC Group was to actually test them. This included both larger and relatively small cloud providers. It was part of BOC Group’s business continuity strategy to work with two different providers. One as a primary provider and an additional provider for disaster recovery purposes. Based on the best overall scoring, they chose CloudSigma as the primary site for their SaaS platform. They also picked a second laaS provider from Germany for their secondary site for disaster recovery.

There were several critical things for BOC Group that CloudSigma managed to provide. Mainly, it enabled them to build their desired tailor-made architecture. This allowed BOC Group to pass through their experience and expertise and preserve performance, cost-efficiency, and scalability. The architecture was as close to the same setup running on hardware as possible. With CloudSigma, the team managed to design an architecture with multiple private networks that sat behind a custom and portable firewall. Also to ensure their platform was vendor-independent – something that they couldn’t achieve with most of CloudSigma’s competitors.

The architecture allows their applications to scale horizontally while a couple of central services can scale vertically. This corresponds exactly to the way their application works and is therefore very efficient. The centralization of some servers allows for reducing efforts in maintaining the application and is cost-efficient by reducing the number of licenses that are measured on a per-core basis.

Mi

A key aspect that BOC Group appreciates is the flexibility and unbundling of resources within the CloudSigma platform:

“I would say that everybody interested in providing SaaS on IaaS should think about the degree of flexibility that they need, especially in allocating compute resources. With CloudSigma it’s totally flexible compared to other vendors like Azure or AWS. With these providers, you have machines categorized by size and different other criteria. And it can really get complicated if you look at their price lists.”

CloudSigma also managed to achieve the critical system performance needed for highly interactive business applications. This generates a lot of transactions on BOC Group’s database requiring a really high level of performance on storage and networking. CloudSigma could provide a high number of IOPS that the BOC system needs. Combined with a low latency and great CPU performance, this was ideal for optimal system performance.

Besides the outstanding technical performance, BOC Group values the high level of trust and the collaborative relationship they have with CloudSigma’s support and operations teams.

Since the main business and the customers that the BOC Group serves are based in Europe. Mainly Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and France – for the company it was important to choose a provider with good European locations. Especially for BOC Group’s hosted services, it turned out that Switzerland was a good overall location choice. Primarily since the majority of the company’s customers were willing to use a SaaS solution hosted there.

“Providing SaaS applications that allow clients to store personally identifiable information requires exact transparency and strong guarantees regarding how data is treated. For this reason, we strategically decided to choose a European company – another key point for CloudSigma.”

The Impact

“Support – that is something that is a really big plus of CloudSigma. You can reach out for somebody and you have a support engineer available in under a minute. Testing the support capabilities of IaaS providers will show you quite fast how you will be served in the future.”Stepan Seycek, Head of Cloud Services @ BOC Group

The deployment of their application on CloudSigma led to several business improvements for BOC Group. Firstly, they could achieve a higher availability of their hosting services. The performance was no longer a bottleneck and their clients immediately noticed the gain in service quality.

Secondly, the solution offered the scalability and agility they needed for their software-as-a-service offerings. The process of establishing an additional server that took one to two days and had to be arranged manually before they moved to CloudSigma could now be achieved in seconds in an automated way.

Mi

“One very important point, on which we get feedback from our internal ‘clients’, i.e. our colleagues, is the agility that is possible with this IaaS approach. It helps us to be really quick at providing accounts for our clients, which was not possible before.”

Overall, the transition to the cloud allowed BOC Group to accelerate its business grow to the point that now they even have a dedicated team operating their growing IaaS environment.

“Our SaaS business started growing when we started on IaaS. Before that, we had a stable base of customers on our internal hosting. Now we face a growing demand resulting from digitization initiatives and increased acceptance for cloud computing and the scalable model of our SaaS platform and CloudSigma’s IaaS platform lets us convert it to a growing business.”

“I really appreciate that CloudSigma tackles issues at the core and works on eliminating them at the core.”Stepan Seycek, Head of Cloud Services @ BOC Group

The Future

The cooperation of BOC Group with CloudSigma opens new doors for strategically growing their SaaS business. What started as ‘ADONIS:cloud’ became ADONIS NP Starter Edition in 2016. Along with the ADONIS NP Enterprise Edition for the fully customizable BPM solution, BOC Group’s BPM-SaaS offering covers a wide range of customer scenarios. BOC Group is now considering further deployments in other locations offered by CloudSigma.

Industrial clients with high-security standards can rely on the Swiss location. However, some clients, like those from public administration sectors in Germany, cannot pick a SaaS solution located outside their country. CloudSigma’s Frankfurt location and others offer to BOC Group a relatively painless way to better service new customers. For instance these without managing new physical infrastructure locations themselves. Another market that BOC Group approaches is the US where demands for a SaaS solution from their clients are growing. Although BOC Group currently serves some accounts in the US, they plan to take the opportunity and expand further in this market benefiting from the global deployment options that CloudSigma offers.

Download PDF

About Vanya Nikova

Vanya is leading the Global Customer Development Team at CloudSigma. Beside that, she is responsible for a number of big data and big science partners and projects at CloudSigma. She has a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Mannheim, Germany with 10 years of work experience in sales and consulting services.