Logistics Company Delivers On-Demand Scalability, Deploys Applications Faster with Cloud Model

WebXpress

WebXpress wanted to exploit growth opportunities and give its customers a less expensive and more scalable way to use its applications. The company turned to Windows Azure for cloud computing, a fully managed Platform as a Service (PaaS). Both WebXpress and its customers now benefit from a speedy time-to-market, reduced costs, highly scalable solution, as well as a sustainable business model.

Business Needs

WebXpress is a leading logistics service provider offering IT solutions specially designed for logistics and supply chain verticals. Its core solutions include transportation management, fleet management, warehouse management, and business intelligence. The company connects all stakeholders in the supply chain and provides visibility.

WebXpress has many customers, each with a choice of hardware and applications for its infrastructure. The company was offering both data center services and on-premises server infrastructures to manage these. However, it continually ran into issues at its traditional data center, which had approximately 5,000+servers. Not only had managing the environment become a laborious task, the flexibility to scale up or down instantly to meet demand was missing.

Apurva Mankad, CEO, WebXpress says, “We lacked the expertise to manage and maintain a large, complex computing infrastructure. At the same time, it was expensive and time consuming to plan for an expansion in our customer base.” The company was searching for a solution to achieve this while reducing the cost and time of deployment.
Solution

WebXpress decided to build a cloud computing environment and in November 2011, the company used Windows Azure, the Microsoft cloud service development, hosting, and management environment. With Windows Azure, WebXpress gets not only an infrastructure as a service but a complete, fully managed platform as a service. “With Windows Azure Microsoft has completely changed the economics of the cloud,” says Apurva Mankad. “The easy interoperability and Platform as a Service capability of the platform are just brilliant.”

One of Windows Azure’s key advantages was the pricing model. Customers were not interested in investing in expensive local IT infrastructure. Cloud computing services were attractive as they were charged on a per-user, per-month subscription basis, which meant that the cost to customers was based on their usage of the applications. This approach was more economical for them. Additionally, cloud deployment would reduce deployment costs for customers and provide faster and easier scalability than either an on-premises or hosted model could provide.

Darshan Hadkar, COO, WebXpress elaborates on the platform’s benefits, “In our warehousing application, it is now easy to change business logic in the control panel.”

The Windows Azure architecture helps customers avoid dedicated costs while also reducing the time and resources needed to manage an on-premises infrastructure. The ability to deliver and implement their applications faster to their clients has provided WebXpress with more opportunities for growth, which did not exist before. It is much easier and quicker now to get customers up and running, which proves to be a great time saver, not only for the company, but for its clients as well.

It took WebXpress three and a half months to migrate to the cloud platform. Today, it has a reliable and secure platform to drive business growth, while giving customers a more cost-effective solution.
Benefits

By using Windows Azure to deploy its applications, WebXpress can reduce its own and customers’ costs, offer improved availability and scalability, and relieve its staff of infrastructure worries.
Improves Scalability to Accommodate Growth

By using Windows Azure, WebXpress can meet a wider range of customer needs. It can quickly and easily scale up or down the number of Windows Azure virtual servers that each customer needs, which lets customers optimize deployment costs. “Earlier, with more than 1,000 users, scalability was a bottleneck,” says Apurva Mankad. “Now, the multi-tenant architecture of Windows Azure allows us to add customers easily. We can quickly scale up or down to accommodate growth.”
Increases Operating Efficiency

Compared to the traditional way of implementing a solution, Windows Azure provides a more efficient model for delivering a solution, which has helped the company reduce its monthly operating expenses. Before Windows Azure, small customers were provided dedicated data centers and large customers had an on-premises infrastructure. Both required huge capital expenses. Now, because of Windows Azure, WebXpress is able to keep its prices competitive and provide a regular and predictable cost structure.

Darshan Hadkar says, “Some of our customers in the logistics domain wanted to try the cloud computing model. As they were not inclined to make huge investments in infrastructure, our warehousing application was the best fit for their requirements. The Windows Azure model helped us eliminate barriers of limited budgets as customers now only pay a fraction of what they used to pay.”
Minimizes Time Needed for Maintenance

By using Windows Azure to develop, deploy, and manage applications, WebXpress avoids the need to update and maintain servers. The company’s developers save several hours earlier spent on administrative tasks. “Our teams do not have to take the trouble to manage the IT infrastructure themselves,” says Darshan Hadkar. “Moving the applications into the cloud has freed the company of the mundane tasks associated with set-up, maintenance, and support. Instead, it can focus on developing and delivering the functionality that its customers need.”

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

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