Software Executive Magazine

December 2017

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Page 17 of 43

That couldn't be truer given the previously mentioned economics of on-premises ECM applications. Digitech knew there was no taking that kind of price tag into smaller markets. "We were selling into increasingly satu- rated large enterprises," explains Morris. "We asked our- selves who else we might add to our customer base if we rented the software, eliminated all of the client-side IT re- sources necessary to maintain it, removed the hardware and storage capital outlay, and eliminated the expense of a major on-premises refresh every three to five years." The answers to those questions seeded Digitech's Im- ageSilo cloud-based ECM offering. Morris says clients can assign unlimited users at a price point that's typ- ically within the auspices of departmental head deci- sion makers — clients pay merely for the storage they use on the system — and they get the full functionality of an on-premises ECM. Or, they can buy a license and host the system themselves, on their own servers. Christina Robbins, who leads marketing for Digi- tech and has been with the company since 2004, says the palpable shift to cloud began during the Great Re- cession. "Right away, almost overnight, everyone was feeling resource pressure. They were constrained by their budgets, there was suddenly little capital outlay, but they couldn't simply stop updating their content management technology." You can't stop systems and processes from going digital, she says, and when budgets were tight, the cloud became the CFO-friend- ly enabler. "That's when we started to see that real shift," she says. While Robbins adds that Digitech is more than happy to sell on-premises solutions, she confirms that the majority of the company's new sales opportunities are in the cloud. Of course, the virtues of cloud-based SaaS have been told at length. Getting to the point where Morris, Rob- bins, and their sales and marketing charges could deliv- er on those virtues wasn't so easy. Cloud-Specific Considerations Morris is quick to point out that established providers of software designed for on-premises execution don't just wake up one day and "park that software in the cloud." To get there, Digitech had some rewriting to do — which only exacerbated the risk of taking to the cloud in the first place. This is an important point given the surprising reality that SaaS has yet to eat the world. In fact, a late 2016 survey of 300 IT pros conducted by endpoint management and security solutions provid- er Adaptiva found that 70 percent of businesses used predominantly on-premises software deployments. Of course, SaaS is growing at a faster 20 percent annual clip — representing a whopping $46.3 billion market this year, according to Gartner — and even more com- pelling is Gartner's forecast for a nearly $76 million A BIG TRANSITION TO AWS In a recent letter to stakeholders (employees, resellers, and custom- ers), Digitech founder Scott Matthews laid out his rationale for the com- pany's transition to Amazon Web Services, and how the move supports his vision for the company. In that letter, Matthews explains that he had been watching AWS for more than a decade, "waiting for it to mature, and waiting for the on-demand market in general to mature." About three years ago, Matthews decided that time had come. Dig- itech set out to test AWS with its ImageSilo ECM offering, running ImageSilo in the Amazon Cloud in tandem with its own cloud offer- ing. Among the benefits Matthews extols are: ▶ AWS's storage (known as S3 and, as referenced in the accom- panying story, the base billable of Digitech's subscription mod- el), stores multiple copies of objects in multiple data centers simultaneously, resulting in 99.999999999 percent durability over a given year. "That means if you stored 10,000,000 ob- jects, you could expect to lose a single object every 10,000 years," explains Matthews, adding that the failure of entire data centers would be undetectable to customers. ▶ Unlimited storage scalability, which enables Digitech cus- tomers to expand to a global scale without the need to deal with the limitations of CIFS (common internet file systems) and NFS (network file system) storage filers. ▶ The ability to dynamically and automatically scale web, appli- cation, and automation servers as loads increase or decrease. ▶ SQL Server management and expandability. Digitech's use of Microsoft SQL Server on AWS allows the company to more quickly and efficiently scale to handle additional sys- tem loads and customers. ▶ Efficient upgrades and decommissioning. Rather than hav- ing to take servers out of production to upgrade them, says Matthews, the company can simply and automatically cre- ate new ones running newer versions of ImageSilo, deploy them, and then discard the old versions at will. ▶ The ability to provide ImageSilo locally in foreign markets to meet regulatory requirements and provide physical proxim- ity to improve performance for those customers. ▶ The ability to maintain completely redundant ImageSilo of- ferings in multiple regions. Making the wholesales switch isn't for the faint of heart. When Dig- itech engaged the long-term process of moving ImageSilo to AWS, it made significant investments in people and man hours to gain the operational, architectural, design, and development expertise along the way. Matthews says the company spent more than three years developing its engineering expertise, and Digitech software developers spent more than two years integrating support for object-based storage systems into ImageSilo in order to migrate away from file-based storage. EXCLUSIVE FEATURE SAAS By M. Pillar INSIDE SALES AT A SaaS PIONEER SOFTWAREEXECUTIVEMAG.COM DECEMBER 2017 18

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