Technology Firm Transforms Business with Scalable Cloud Solution

Icertis

Icertis is the leading provider of enterprise solutions in the Microsoft Cloud – Windows Azure environment. The company’s cloud native products and services address specific enterprise business needs by fully leveraging the cloud’s elasticity, ubiquity, and availability. Icertis’ product suite includes comprehensive ERP surround solutions for Contract Lifecycle Management and Partner Relationship Management. Flexible deployment models (on-cloud, on-premise, and hybrid) ensure that diverse requirements for cost, availability, and security are met. Icertis’ cloud native services help customers build innovative, secure, and easy-to-use device-cloud-on-premise applications, leveraging prefabricated frameworks and data integration IP. Icertis’ products and solutions are deployed in multiple Fortune 500 companies and have received great reviews from both users and analysts alike.

Situation

Icertis is a global technology company headquartered in Bellevue, USA, with its operations center in Pune, India. The company is a leader in providing enterprise solutions in the Microsoft cloud environment. It is one of the few global technology companies that builds and implements cloud native products and solutions that address specific business needs of enterprises.

Enterprise systems in operation at businesses do a good job of running defined processes. However, the evolving nature of business requires a lot of collaborative work to make the business more agile and efficient. To build agility into enterprise systems today is expensive and time consuming. Further, there is no elasticity in the architecture to adapt to business needs in real time. Also, the explosion of technology (mobile devices) and social media has meant that businesses need to reach out to consumers in a whole new way―a concept that is alien to current enterprise solutions. Many existing enterprise solutions suffer from:

• High costs of deployment

• Challenges in implementation and adoption; significant training and change management investment

• Long deployment cycles

• Limited capability to iterate solutions to adapt to changing business needs

• Difficulties in integrating with the external world; do not facilitate a collaborative environment

• Limited capability to support effective mobility solutions, a key requirement for an increasingly mobile workforce

As a cloud service provider, Icertis decided to develop systems that responded to these challenges. “To help our customers operate more efficiently, we wanted to offer solutions that would do away with the expense, long procurement and deployment times, and ongoing maintenance efforts for IT infrastructure. We knew that only a cloud-based platform would offer the combination of flexibility and cost-effectiveness we needed,” says Anand Veerkar, EVP, Icertis.
Solution

As a company that builds solutions on the cloud platform, Icertis was familiar with Windows Azure and considered it the development and deployment platform for its new offerings. “We chose Windows Azure, the Microsoft cloud services development, hosting, and management environment because it offered the best solution for maximizing global reach and scalability, and automating administrative tasks, while substantially shortening our product development cycle,” says Monish Darda, CTO, Icertis. “Simply put, Windows Azure gives us all the tools we need to be more agile. Plus, it incorporates a familiar development environment, so we can maximize productivity.”

In April 2012, the company launched the Icertis Contract Lifecycle Management (ICLM) product on Windows Azure to address the contract management challenges of its customers. ICLM is an end-to-end contract life cycle management system that helps organizations streamline and optimize their contracting processes. Monish Darda says, “The ICLM product is a breakthrough solution that delivers significantly improved efficiency in the contracting process at a lower cost, with increased compliance and lower risk.”

One of the largest banks in India with over U.S.$ 90 billion in assets and about U.S.$ 1 billion in profits is using the product efficiently for its operations.

ICLM provides tangible business benefits with:

• Applicability across diverse verticals like BFSI, logistics, manufacturing, retail, and media

• Significant reduction in contract administration costs

• Dramatic improvements in contract compliance

• Increased collaboration between all stakeholders

• Enhanced business agility through mobility solutions

• A unique metro inspired easy-to-use user interface to enterprise applications

In February 2010 Icertis also created the Icertis Partner Relationship Manager (IPRM) to address the dealer management issues faced by its customers. IPRM helps an enterprise manage its wide network of dealers and partners. It provides a deeper insight into ongoing deals and how to manage them.

IPRM helps enterprises to closely track, monitor, and report on all deals that are either in progress or have been completed. It also enables effective analysis of the current market trends and various metrics, which in turn helps customers to better manage and refine their marketing and sales strategies. It further provides inputs that help customers to improve production planning by ensuring that they have full visibility into leads, prospects, deal status, and associated bill of material.

Windows Azure has provided Icertis with an easy-to-use integration platform that brings enterprise users, customers, and partners together in unique collaborative ways. The company has a deployment platform that combines the flexibility of custom deployments without the downside of SaaS solutions.

Both the IPRM and ICLM products leverage the following Windows Azure’s rich platform services:

• Access Control Service (ACS) for identity management and authentication in the cloud

• Windows Azure BLOB storage for high volume scalable storage and retrieval of contract documents

• Windows Azure Table storage for inexpensive, high throughput storage for logging and auditing

• Workflow Foundation (WF4) for highly elastic and extensible business process workflows

• Windows Azure Queues for reliable messaging between loosely coupled system components

• Windows Azure Cache for reliable, fast access to often-used data

By using Icertis products, customers retain full control and exclusive use of their data and its security, privacy, and compliance processes. By powering its products with Windows Azure, Icertis customers get the elasticity, scalability, and agility, along with the cost benefits of cloud computing, all the while staying away from capital expenditure.
Benefits

By using the Windows Azure platform, Icertis is meeting growing customer demand for cloud computing. These competitive, cloud-based solutions ensure that the security and scalability needs of its customers are met cost- effectively and quickly. “Having removed hurdles that are associated with managing infrastructures, we are able to provide a much better service at a lower cost to our customers,” says Monish Darda. “The cost effective solution adapts to changing application loads and helps our customers move from capital expenditure (CapEx) to operating expenditure (OpEx) in a predictable way.”

Enhances Scalability

By using Windows Azure, Icertis can quickly scale up capacity as demand dictates, without the expense and guesswork involved in building and hosting its own infrastructure. “One huge reason for us to go with Windows Azure is its ability to dynamically scale the number of instances,” says Anand Veerkar. “For example, when we bring in new customers, we can quickly add the resources we need and scale up to meet the demand. Similarly, we can easily turn off the resources when the need is fulfilled. We don’t have to worry about over-provisioning or under-utilizing resources this way. This saves us money while removing practical constraints around capacity.”
Shifts Focus from Maintenance Tasks to Value-Added Tasks

A key component to the success of Icertis is the ability to stay focused on its core business and not on managing technology infrastructure. “As a fast-growing start-up company, we were very clear that we wanted to focus 100 percent on building our products and our business. Maintaining and managing an IT infrastructure was an unwanted distraction”, says Monish Darda. “Windows Azure has helped us delegate that management to the expert, Microsoft, and allowed us to focus fully on our core business.”
Reduces Time-to-Market

By using the Microsoft-hosted Windows Azure platform, Icertis was able to get its products to the market within aggressive time constraints. Quick time-to-market was also possible on various form factor devices like tablets and smartphones, apart from a superlative browser experience. “Windows Azure allows us to develop services we couldn’t have provided otherwise,” says Niranjan Umarane, Product Manager, Icertis. “The platform takes all the maintenance out of the picture, which drastically reduces our development time and helps us bring new features to the market at a quicker pace.”
Improves Compliance

The comprehensive governance framework enabled by highly scalable and extensible workflows running on Windows Azure significantly improves compliance with contracting policies and procedures. The real-time compliance dashboard built on SQL Azure allows senior management to monitor compliance and identify procedural bottlenecks, resulting in optimized and streamlined contracting processes.

Windows Azure Platform

The Windows Azure platform provides an excellent foundation for expanding online product and service offerings. The main components include:

• Windows Azure. Windows Azure is the development, service hosting, and service management environment for the Windows Azure platform. Windows Azure provides developers with on-demand compute and storage to host, scale, and manage Web applications on the Internet through Microsoft data centers.

• Microsoft SQL Azure. Microsoft SQL Azure offers the first cloud-based relational and self-managed database service built on Microsoft SQL Server 2008 technologies.

• Windows Azure platform AppFabric. With Windows Azure platform AppFabric, developers can build and manage applications more easily both on-premises and in the cloud.

‒ AppFabric Service Bus connects services and applications across network boundaries to help developers build distributed applications.

‒ AppFabric Access Control provides federated, claims-based access control for REST Web services.

• Microsoft Codename “Dallas.” Developers and information workers can use the new service code-named Dallas to easily discover, purchase, and manage premium data subscriptions in the Windows Azure platform.

To learn more about the Windows Azure platform, visit:www.windowsazure.com

For More Information

For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Center at (877) 568-2495. Customers who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234 in the United States or (905) 568-9641 in Canada. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:
www.microsoft.com

For more information about Icertis products and services, call +91 20 66277777 or visit the website at:www.icertis.com

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.

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