Business challenge

Fitzsoft Applications wanted to help Zambian businesses meet growing demand for innovative web and mobile apps. The company needed a platform flexible enough to support a range of client needs.

Transformation

Fitzsoft chose IBM Cloud™ bare metal servers and IBM Cloud for VMware solutions to provide a versatile, reliable, high-performance infrastructure for a wide range of software-as-a-service applications.

Results

30 days

to migrate all Fitzsoft’s systems to IBM Cloud

80% faster

onboarding for new clients with rapid cloud provisioning

Flexible

platform combines bare metal configurability with easy-to-manage virtual servers

Business challenge story

Capitalizing on a growing market

As mobile adoption increases across Zambia, the country’s technology sector is growing rapidly. Mobile coverage is now expected to be available to 92 percent of the population, and smartphones and data packages are becoming much more affordable. This is driving demand for web and mobile applications to help businesses work more efficiently and offer consumers new services.

As opportunities to deliver these new applications emerge, technology companies like Fitzsoft Applications are keen to capitalize on the demand and grow their businesses. Fitzpatrick Mwila, Co-founder of Fitzsoft, explains:

“In the past, the software industry in Zambia was held back by a lack of technology adoption. There was a perception that if you wanted technology, you had to look to other countries. Today, that’s all changing. The rise of web and mobile apps has created significant demand for Zambian software developers, because we can be much more cost-effective and sensitive to local needs.”

Many Zambian businesses want to avoid the up-front investment and ongoing maintenance costs of hosting their own IT infrastructure, and see cloud solutions and software-as-a-service as a desirable delivery model. Fitzsoft realized that choosing the right cloud platform to support the applications it delivers to its clients could provide a key competitive advantage.

“The challenge was that most cloud platforms weren’t flexible enough for our needs,” says Mwila. “Most of the big vendors will only provide a one-size-fits-all virtual machine with all the networking pre-configured. The applications we build and deliver have very different workload profiles, so we need much more control over our environment to ensure that each system can perform optimally.”

The onboarding process is 80 percent faster with IBM Cloud. We can get our clients up and running in hours instead of days, which is a key differentiator for our business.

—Fitzpatrick Mwila, Co-founder, Fitzsoft Applications

Transformation story

Power and flexibility

After experimenting with pre-configured cloud platforms from various providers, Fitzsoft decided to engage with IBM and move its systems onto IBM Cloud bare metal servers. The bare metal strategy means that Fitzsoft can run its applications on its own dedicated hardware, enabling it to offer clients a high level of security, while tuning performance to the precise requirements of each workload.

“IBM Cloud bare metal servers give us the ability to set up our infrastructure in the most efficient way for each of our applications,” says Fitzpatrick Mwila. “The other vendors we considered just couldn’t offer the same level of flexibility.”

The company’s applications are now hosted on two bare metal servers at an IBM data center. The servers run VMware vSphere on IBM Cloud, which provides efficient virtual machines to support the wide range of applications that Fitzsoft offers to its clients—including a call center CRM solution, and back-end systems that support a variety of mobile and web applications.

To manage the infrastructure, the company also uses IBM Cloud Virtual Servers that run VMware vCenter Server on IBM Cloud, and a Vyatta gateway appliance that acts as a virtual firewall and VPN tunnel. The virtual server approach increases ease of management for auxiliary systems that don’t require the performance, security or high configurability that bare metal provides.

Fitzpatrick Mwila comments: “We have an excellent relationship with IBM, and they provided great support throughout the engagement. They helped us move our systems into the IBM Cloud, they are always available to help us resolve issues, and they have regular meetings with us to help us plan our roadmap for the future.”

At the time of the migration, Fitzsoft only had a limited number of systems in production, so migrating to the new cloud platform was relatively straightforward.

Fitzpatrick Mwila says: “Even so, it was impressive that we were able to switch our whole business over to the IBM Cloud in just 30 days. The support that IBM provided was very effective and helped us move forward quickly.”

It was impressive that we were able to switch our whole business over to the IBM Cloud in just 30 days. The support that IBM provided was very effective and helped us move forward quickly.

—Fitzpatrick Mwila, Co-founder, Fitzsoft Applications

Results story

Accelerating business growth

The IBM Cloud provides Fitzsoft Applications with the flexible, scalable platform it needs to capitalize on emerging opportunities in Zambia’s growing technology sector.

Fitzpatrick Mwila comments: “Our IBM Cloud platform gives us the best of both worlds. The bare metal servers provide the configurability we need to get the maximum performance for each of our applications, while keeping operational costs low for our clients. At the same time, virtualization with VMware makes the environment easy to manage and helps us support many clients on just two physical machines.”

Ease of management is particularly important when the company needs to bring new clients on board.

“The onboarding process is 80 percent faster with IBM Cloud than it was with our previous cloud provider,” says Fitzpatrick Mwila. “We can get our clients up and running in hours instead of days, which is a key differentiator for our business.

As demand for web and mobile applications continues to take off, Fitzsoft is in a strong position to help its clients develop new capabilities and offer innovative products and services to their customers.

“We’re helping Zambian businesses open up new possibilities for consumers across the country,” concludes Fitzpatrick Mwila. “The IBM Cloud plays a vital part in making this transformation happen.”

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About Fitzsoft Applications

Founded in 2007, Fitzsoft Applications is an independent software vendor based in Lusaka, Zambia, which provides specialized digital solutions and cloud services to medium-sized businesses and large enterprises. Since its inception, the company has been forging a reputation as a market leader in cloud computing and application development.

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