RAV built a reputation for expertise in business intelligence and performance management software. As demand grew for a more flexible IT deployment model, how could it continue to attract new clients?
RAV adopted cloud, helping it to create compelling sales propositions focused on problem-solving and business outcomes, and underpinned by an elastic payment model perfect for growing companies.
25%annual growth since tapping into cloud offerings
50% clientsopt for cloud deployments
Acceleratesmove from POC to production from months to weeks or sometimes just days
Business challenge story
Building on solid foundations
Over the last 15 years, RAV has established itself as a market-leading vendor and knowledge center for business intelligence and performance management solutions. Based in Oslo, the company helps enterprises across the Nordic region to deploy visualization and analytics tools, and to perform financial reporting and consolidations.
Lars-Roar Masdal, COO at RAV, begins: “We always aim to be ahead of the game with our offerings. At the start, we were focused on OLAP tools, before branching into data warehouse and data mart solutions to ensure our clients were ready for the challenges of Big Data.”
With the emergence of cloud, RAV quickly recognized that the market was starting to move in a new direction. According to research published by the European Union, the European market for cloud computing is growing at rapid rate, and by 2020 will be worth EUR 44.8 billion (~USD 53 billion).
“Previously, there was a battle in the Nordic region over who offered the best software or hardware platform. We saw that this would soon be a battle over who offered the best cloud services. To maintain our market-leading position and to attract new customers, we knew it was the right time to expand our range of services with a new delivery model.”
Creating true partnerships
As the latest milestone in its journey of innovation, RAV unveiled a range of cloud-based services. Underpinning the transformation to cloud is RAV’s long-standing partnership with IBM. RAV is delivering many IBM solutions via cloud, as well as building services from scratch using IBM Cloud offerings.
As cloud services are delivered on an elastic monthly payment model, RAV can create a more appealing sales proposition for potential customers.
Lars-Roar Masdal explains: “Utilizing cloud allows customers to scale services up or down whenever they need to, rather than having to commit to buying licenses or purchase server racks to run software. We have a fast-growing startup sector in Norway, and this approach is particularly attractive to young companies that are aiming to achieve rapid growth and want to avoid locking up resources with large CapEx investments.
“Cloud also allows us to focus the conversation with prospective buyers on business outcomes rather than getting caught up in the technology details. We do not have to discuss things like what type of CPU we will need, or how much disk space. Instead, we concentrate on how we can work together with the customer to solve specific problems and generate real business value.”
The cloud model also makes it easier for RAV to prepare a Proof of Concept (POC). When working on on-premise software deals, the company must divide the preparation equally between its main location and the customer’s site before it can run the POC. With cloud, sales teams can have 95 percent of the prototype ready before they even leave the building. Once the customer is ready to commit to purchase, RAV can quickly move the solution into production without having to worry about provisioning a server, accelerating the transition from months to weeks or sometimes even just a few days.
Cloud also allows RAV to help clients discover new business opportunities using a try-before-you-buy model. Working on the same cloud platform, RAV and the client develop solutions in an agile manner, helping clients to fail fast or succeed rapidly, before deciding on whether to purchase.
RAV is using cloud internally to run test and development cycles, and to keep its consultants up-to-speed on new service offerings.
Christoffer Andersen, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at RAV, adds: “IBM has been invaluable in the successful launch of our cloud services. We have taken advantage of large marketing events run by IBM in the Nordic region, such as the recent IBM Watson Summit in Oslo, which have enabled us to showcase our new cloud solutions and meet potential leads.
“We are also part of the IBM Champions for Growth program, allowing us to have an IBM employee working with us at RAV on a full-time basis for the past 18 months. This has given us access to real expertise when implementing our born-on-the-cloud solutions, and a bridge into IBM any time we have a question. It is an excellent scheme, and we will be looking into extending the contract when it expires.”
Tapping into new markets
Expanding its offerings to include cloud services is helping RAV branch out beyond its core markets, attracting new customers to fuel business growth. Since adopting cloud, RAV has achieved 25 percent annual growth and 50 percent of clients opt for cloud deployments.
Lars-Roar Masdal elaborates: “Since inception, we have focused on reporting and performance management tools. Adding cloud services is enabling us to plan exciting new projects for a wide range of clients. We’re now building bespoke solutions to transform data from many sources into deep business insight.”
In one project, which gained considerable attention at the IBM Watson Summit in Oslo, RAV used IBM Cloud tools to support a new self-service bagging-tagging solution for airport travelers. The solution, designed to be installed in airports, parking lots, train stations and hotels, allows travelers to scan their boarding passes and print luggage tags within ten seconds before they arrive, so they can skip the queues and reduce congestion in the terminal.
In another major win, RAV is developing a solution for a leading Scandinavian energy-grid supplier based on cloud-based IBM offerings. The solution, which will harness IBM BigInsights® utilizing IBM Streams in combination with Hortonworks, will enable the client to collect data from sensors positioned across the power network and transfer it into a big data lake. Among several visualization tools, IBM Data Science Experience will enable the client’s data scientists to monitor the millions of transactions and detect problems in the grid.
In a similar venture, RAV is planning to help a service provider monitor the condition of submarine fiber channel cables. The solution will take data from sensors located along the length of the cable to help identify and remedy faults, making it easier for the client to meet its SLAs.
“It is so easy to innovate and build new solutions using IBM Cloud,” says Lars-Roar Masdal. “We think of the platform as being like a Lego set: we pick and combine different pre-built micro-services such as machine-learning components, database resources, programming languages, and source connectors. In order to complete the Lego set, we provide a visual mapping tool to integrate and describe the dependencies between the Lego bricks, and the solution can be tested and deployed in minutes.
“When we hire new staff, we always look for the brightest programming talent fresh out of leading universities. They often have extensive experience working with the cloud offerings from some of the leading vendors on the market, and they tell us that the IBM Cloud compares very favorably—it provides all the development tools we need.”
He concludes: “Moving to cloud is helping to expand our horizons as a business, and we’re incentivizing our sales teams to focus on securing even more cloud deals in the future. Working with IBM, we’re seizing new opportunities and advancing our position as a technology leader in the Nordic region.”
Founded in 2002, RAV Norge AS is an IT consultancy that specializes in providing companies with business intelligence and analytics solutions to help them unlock the value of their data. Based in Oslo, Norway, RAV, offers tools for data visualization, profit and loss reporting, and what-if analysis, as well as a range of cloud services to companies in the Nordic region. The company has 50 employees and a total turnover of around USD 12.5 million.
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