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If there’s one lesson that software companies have learned over the past few years, it’s that creating a cloud version of your solutions isn’t as straightforward as it might seem.
On the one hand, there are the technical challenges of taking responsibility for infrastructure and hosting, and providing a fast and reliable service around the clock. On the other hand, there are product design challenges: you need to standardize your solutions to make them maintainable, while minimizing the impact on clients who are relying on custom functionality.
HansaWorld provides enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions for 550,000 clients of various sizes in more than 110 countries around the world. We provide a wide range of solutions, from our Standard Accounts and Standard CRM packages for smaller businesses up to our enterprise-class Standard ERP offering.
Our clients’ requirements vary widely, so we must make our products and services as versatile as possible. When we recognized that many of our clients were interested in a cloud-hosted version of our ERP software, we knew we would have to find a cloud platform that was equally flexible.
It’s not just that HansaWorld offers different solutions in different sizes. We also need to support clients both directly and through our network of partners. We had to build a multi-tier cloud platform that could accommodate both clients and partners in a single, coherent landscape.
Most of the cloud providers we evaluated could only offer a one-size-fits-all approach, with commodity servers that are preconfigured to meet the needs of most generic workloads. We quickly realized that this just wouldn’t work for us. We needed a much more customizable approach. That’s why we turned to IBM Cloud.
Harnessing a versatile platform
Unlike other cloud solutions that HansaWorld tried in the past, IBM Cloud Virtual Servers provide a high degree of configurability, so we can tailor each server to the precise requirements of each application or even to the needs of a specific client.
Moreover, since IBM has data centers in more countries than almost any other cloud provider, we can keep our clients’ systems close to their users, which helps minimize latency and boost performance and responsiveness.
As we work on developing new AI and big data analytics services, the fast IBM Cloud internal network will also help us move large volumes of data seamlessly between servers and devices, unlocking the potential to deliver new types of business insight.
Enabling call center transformation
HansaWorld is also taking advantage of IBM Voice Agent with Watson to develop a powerful virtual assistant solution that integrates with our ERP solutions and enables a high degree of call center automation.
For larger enterprises, this can potentially replace expensive interactive voice response (IVR) systems and provide a much more user-friendly experience for clients. For smaller clients, it can reduce the need for employees to spend time answering calls and dealing with routine inquiries.
At HansaWorld, we’re already developing the virtual assistant internally to walk our clients through the process of checking their licensing status, invoices and payments. We’re confident that this will significantly reduce the amount of time our call center teams spend on handling these tasks.
The virtual assistant will also reduce call resolution times because it eliminates the need for clients to wait on hold until a human agent is available. It can handle thousands of calls simultaneously, so it can scale to meet any level of demand.
Strengthening the relationship
HansaWorld’s adoption of IBM Cloud and Watson technologies has strengthened the relationship between our two companies. We’re excited to be working more closely with IBM. Several HansaWorld products are already available in the IBM Marketplace, and we’re looking forward to collaborating to bring innovative cloud-based ERP solutions to clients around the globe.
Read the case study for more details.