System Solution Inc. (SSI) is a service provider that delivers enterprise-class cloud computing and hosted services (including applications, data and desktops as a service) to small and midsize enterprises via their MySecureCloud platforms. SSI provides on-demand, highly flexible and scalable cloud hosting services. Its subsidiary, Aquipt, provides a cloud e-discovery platform called MatterPoint and focuses primarily on hosted services for the legal market in the United States.
With the large variety of applications used by its broad SMB customer base, SSI looked for a cost-effective cloud orchestration platform to provide the ability to deliver both traditional enterprise and cloud-native applications. The company needed to address its storage-clustering solution to provide highly available environments without hurting the reliability and predictability of the environment as a whole. SSI also realized that it was becoming increasingly difficult to meter the usage of some offerings, such as storage, and began looking at products that could integrate with the company’s existing environment. To perform the billing itself would require a manual workaround that would prove labor intensive and could risk the accuracy of the metered data.
SSI realized it needed a comprehensive cloud orchestration layer on which it could sell its cloud services and also deliver applications, desktops and data as a service. The company also wanted the ability to run multiple applications so it could offer traditional applications such as Microsoft Office and SQL Server apps, but also web-based applications such as Salesforce.com. With Citrix CloudPortal Business Manager, the company is now able to integrate its billing, metering, chargeback and payment processing. Using Citrix CloudPortal Services Manager enables the company to reduce costs and increase service speed by empowering its help desk employees with the ability to add users and provision services without having to delve deep into the cloud environment. The clear benefit for SSI was getting the entire solution delivered from a single vendor, including its hypervisor with Citrix XenServer, enabling the company to build a comprehensive cloud solution for its business and its customers.
Delivering multi-tier web apps as well as traditional enterprise apps from the cloud is one of the tangible benefits for SSI’s customers’ end users. Rich Wein, chief executive officer of SSI, says, “The capability of Citrix CloudPlatform to deliver both cloud applications, three-tier web apps and the enterprise apps that we were traditionally delivering to our customers, was really appealing to us.” SSI is helping its customers see how delivering applications from the cloud enables easy access from any device. Wein says, “The fact that they can now access a broad array of apps from anywhere on any device is a huge difference for our customers, as it significantly improves the experience of their end users.”
Self-service provisioning with Citrix CloudPortal Business Manager, allows SSI to sell directly to IT organizations without the cloud being perceived as a threat by the Windows IT administrators. Allowing SSI customers to retain the traditional Windows IT administrators’ functions made them more open to the delivery of a broad array of applications and services from the cloud. This also put SSI in a different market where it could now sell infrastructure, platform or even software as a service (SaaS). CloudPortal Business Manager also allows the company to provide integrated metering, billing and payment processing for all supported applications and services.
SSI deployed CloudPortal Services Manager to deliver hosted apps and Microsoft Exchange. Internally, this helped SSI to remove IT complexity and empower its service desk staff with the ability to manage and provision cloud services, desktops and applications quickly. This also enabled SSI to be more responsive to customer requests for additional services or support. “We grew our cloud services last year more than 50 percent, in terms of our multi-recurring revenue, and we didn’t add any staff,” Wein says.
SSI is currently testing the CloudPortal Services Manager connector for CloudPortal Business Manager. When deployed, it will enhance the company’s ability to deliver hosted apps and desktops in addition to infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and allow it to integrate it with the metering and billing business functions. “We want to try to add value in our service offerings,” Wein says. Having CloudPortal Services Manager and CloudPortal Business Manager integration enables us to do that. The CloudPortal integration means we can now take our existing Exchange, SQL and XenApp environments and just plug in this connector as an easy add-on to give customers integrated metering and billing for those products.” SSI is also planning to add service offerings such as storage as a service. CloudPortal Business Manager and its connector ecosystem will play a big role in the implementation.
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