Real World Windows Azure: Interview with Dan Scarfe, Chief Executive Officer at Dot Net Solutions

As part of the Real World Windows Azure series, we talked to Dan Scarfe, Chief Executive Officer at Dot Net Solutions, about how the company is using Windows Azure to expand business opportunities, explore new revenue models, and help customers reduce costs. Here’s what he had to say:

MSDN: What does Dot Net Solutions do?

Scarfe: We’re a systems integrator and a software development house. We build tailored solutions for organizations where there are no off-the-shelf solutions available. We help organizations unlock the competitive advantage of their information systems.

MSDN: When did you start using Windows Azure?

Scarfe: We started developing for the cloud in September 2008, even before Microsoft released Windows Azure. We built one of the platform’s first applications, the Wikipedia Explorer, a tool for visualizing relationships between documents in Wikipedia. This process requires immense quantities of compute power for short periods of time—a classic cloud scenario. The application is still showcased as a demonstration of the power of Windows Azure.

MSDN: What opportunities do you see with cloud technologies?

Scarfe: By developing for Windows Azure, we can expand our offerings to deliver complete lifecycle management services. We can deliver hosting and automated management, where before we would have had to work with a separate hosting partner. As a business, we can provide a much more holistic service.

MSDN: What are your customers looking for in terms of Windows Azure solutions?

Scarfe: By using Windows Azure, our customers can launch new products or services with less risk. Some customers are looking to explore new business models quickly without the need for large, up-front investments. Other customers need a reliable platform that is highly scalable so that they can innovate. We also have customers who want to migrate to the cloud a stand-alone solution that has historically been delivered using an on-premises deployment model.

MSDN: Talk about how your business model has changed since you began developing solutions for Windows Azure?

Scarfe: We’re moving toward a business model in which we bundle all the stages of an IT project—including design, build, support, and hosting—and charge a monthly fee over the contract period. This is attractive to our customers and makes it much easier for us to tap into a predictable revenue stream. We’re beginning to see opportunities in vertical markets including games, retail, and media—areas where organizations can address their business problems by tapping into the Windows Azure global infrastructure. Our entire growth strategy over the next three to five years is pinned to Windows Azure.

MSDN: Describe some of the benefits of Windows Azure for Dot Net Solutions and its customers.

Scarfe: Our proven expertise with Windows Azure has put us in high demand and opened doors to customers we could have never worked with before. We work on projects that could not have gotten off the ground if it weren’t for Windows Azure, and customers save tens of thousands of pounds by avoiding investments in on-premises infrastructure. We have increased sales by 50 percent and forecast that we can grow 20 percent annually by developing solutions for Windows Azure.

Read the full story at: www.microsoft.com/casestudies/casestudy.aspx?casestudyid=4000011050

To read more Windows Azure customer success stories, visit: www.windowsazure.com/evidence