Published on 24-Jul-2012
Validated on 02 Jan 2014
"As a result of the project, we estimate that we are able to save between one and two hours uploading and preparing materials every time we run a presentation at a customer site. We believe this contributes to an overall efficiency improvement of 20 to 30 percent, enabling our employees to focus on higher-value tasks." - Tanveer Saifee, Director of Applications at SAPERION AG
Cloud Computing, Enabling Business Flexibility, SaaS, SmartCloud - Foundation, Smarter Computing
Berlin-based company SAPERION AG has been developing software for recording, storing, processing, and preparing corporate data for over 20 years. The company’s key product groups include enterprise content management (ECM), business process management (BPM), workflow and archiving. SAPERION’s mission is to bring together companies, people and processes so that they can respond faster and make informed decisions in today’s dynamic markets.
Software development company SAPERION needed to adapt its service delivery model in response to growing customer demand for flexibility and efficiency.
Adopted an IBM SmartCloud™ Enterprise environment to support demonstration and test environments and as the first step towards a Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery model.
Accelerated preparation for customer demonstrations, contributing to an overall efficiency improvement of 20-30 percent. Enabled the rapid provision of capacity to SAPERION’s customers on a pay-for-use, on-demand basis, translating into significant cost savings that lead to higher customer retention and uptake rates.
To read a German version of this case study, click here.
Berlin-based company SAPERION AG has been developing software for recording, storing, processing, and preparing corporate data for over 20 years. The company’s key product groups include enterprise content management (ECM), business process management (BPM), workflow and archiving. SAPERION’s mission is to bring together companies, people and processes so that they can respond faster and make informed decisions in today’s dynamic markets. SAPERION works with more than 1,950 companies from various industries worldwide to enhance their product quality and increase customer satisfaction, while reducing costs and boosting their clients’ competitive edge. SAPERION employs more than 150 people at offices throughout Germany in addition to sites in the United Kingdom, United States, Switzerland and Singapore.
Responding to change
SAPERION recognized a changing trend in the highly competitive industry in which it operates, with some customers moving away from the traditional model of simply buying software and installing it on their own servers. Instead, they saw a growing demand for more flexible and innovative service delivery models, with increasing numbers of customers looking for lower-touch implementations.
“We pride ourselves on being highly responsive to any shifts in our marketplace,” explains Bernhard Braun, Director of Software as a Service (SaaS) at SAPERION AG. “What we have seen recently is that, under pressure from increasing capital and labor costs, companies are looking for cost-effective alternatives to the established way of doing things. Adopting a SaaS solution is one approach that could yield real business benefits for our customers. The challenge for us was finding a platform to support such a service that combined high performance with low costs – no easy feat.”
Selecting a hosting partner
The company saw an opportunity to take the first steps towards a SaaS strategy by adopting a hosted solution for demonstrations, testing and development, and later using this to extend mobile applications to customers. Lacking the resources in-house to build and support a cloud environment, SAPERION considered outsourcing this to an IT services provider. The company’s ideal partner should offer the reliability and global resources to match the exceptional service levels it aimed to provide clients with.
“To guarantee the same high performance our customers are generally used to, we were looking for a partner with a proven track record of reliability and availability,” comments Tanveer Saifee, Director of Applications at SAPERION AG. “Also, with locations around the world, we needed to find a hosting provider that could meet varied local data governance standards.”
Enhancing business agility with Smarter Computing principles
SAPERION chose IBM SmartCloud Enterprise, a solution based on IBM System x® 3950 X5 servers running VMware vSphere hypervisor software hosted at IBM data centers around the world, offering a secure private cloud environment on an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) basis.
“One of the key reasons we chose to work with IBM Global Technology Services was their reputation for excellence,” says Braun. “To help retain our position at the forefront of software development we needed to partner with an organization that showed the same ability to leverage the latest technology to get the best possible results.”
As a starting point, SAPERION is using the IBM SmartCloud Enterprise solution to host demonstration and testing environments. Specifically, the company relies on the IBM solution to support iSAPERION, an application for Apple devices that customers can use to access their SAPERION ECM corporate repository to view, approve and comment on documents while on the move. Other applications in development within the IBM hosted environment include one designed to integrate e-procurement with e-invoicing, and another for property management. By hosting demonstration environments within the IBM SmartCloud, SAPERION employees save valuable time when presenting to customers, helping to boost productivity.
“For us, the main advantages of using the IBM SmartCloud Enterprise solution include dramatically cutting the cost and time taken for development,” explains Saifee. “Rather than procuring, configuring and maintaining hardware and software environments for development ourselves, we can rapidly access IT resources as and when we need. The process in incredibly transparent: with the easy-to-use wizard you can select the IBM data center and pre-prepared software image that suits you best and within just 10 to 20 minutes it is ready to go, providing us with unprecedented flexibility.
“As a result of the project, we estimate that we are able to save between one and two hours uploading and preparing materials every time we run a presentation at a customer site. We believe this contributes to an overall efficiency improvement of 20 to 30 percent, enabling our employees to focus on higher-value tasks.”
Transforming service to customers
Using IBM SmartCloud Enterprise, SAPERION will be able to quickly and efficiently provision capacity for customers to support delivery of services on a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) or SaaS basis. The IBM solution will also make it possible for SAPERION to offer customers on-demand services with consumption-based pricing, helping the company increase customer uptake and retention.
“Delivering SAPERION software hosted on the IBM SmartCloud Enterprise solution is a highly attractive offering for many of our customers,” says Braun. “By outsourcing all hassle and administrative workload associated with running business software, they can make significant savings. For example, one of our major customers is considering this approach for one of their business-critical SAPERION applications, and has calculated that doing so will enable them to save the equivalent of three full-time employees committed to managing the infrastructure within a division of 500 people. Also, because we no longer need to run testing at a customer site, implementation times are cut drastically – with customers able to start using our software almost immediately.”
Saifee continues: “The IBM solution will enable us to rapidly provision resources specifically tailored to best meet customers’ needs on demand. Using built-in reporting tools, we receive reports defining our usage that will make it possible for us to charge customers only for what they use. This highly flexible service delivery model is a very attractive offering to our customers, who are keeping a sharper eye on the bottom line than ever.”
Benefiting from global resources
With access to resources at IBM data centers around the world, SAPERION can ensure that local data governance laws are strictly adhered to. The vast online support community available ensures that the company can get the best out of IBM solutions.
“Partnering with a global organization such as IBM has generated significant benefits for SAPERION,” comments Braun. “With the choice from a huge number of IBM data centers around the world, we can select the most appropriate location based on each country’s data governance laws. Further, we have access to a huge online support community helping us to make the most of working with IBM and ensuring we can resolve any issues quickly.”
Saifee concludes: “So far, the IBM SmartCloud Enterprise solution has exceeded our expectations, with exceptional performance and flexibility. We look forward to developments such as automated provisioning, and are confident that IBM SmartCloud will form a key part of our service delivery model going forward.”
Smarter Computing: The IT Infrastructure of a Smarter Planet
By selecting IBM SmartCloud Enterprise, SAPERION AG has gained the ideal platform to support the transformation of its service delivery model to meet customer demands for greater flexibility and innovation, by moving towards offering innovative pay-for-use, on-demand services. Cloud technologies help improve service quality, speed of delivery and efficiency, making them ideally suited to the fast-moving marketplace SAPERION occupies, where business agility and responsiveness are everything. Integrated service delivery tools such as IBM Tivoli® Service Automation Manager provide adaptable and automated best practices for building and managing IT infrastructures. The solution is based on IBM System x3950 X5 technology, which is workload-optimized with customizable configurations for target workloads, ensuring maximum performance and exceptional reliability. Choosing IBM SmartCloud Enterprise provides SAPERION with the ability to provision IT resources in just 10-20 minutes, dramatically cutting the cost and time taken for software development. This is a considerable improvement on the previous days and sometimes weeks spent finding and allocating suitable server space and resources internally. Customers leveraging Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions from SAPERION can expect to make major savings; one company estimates it will save the equivalent of three full-time employees in a division of 500 people.
Products and services used
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