As part of the Real World Windows Azure series, we talked to Girish Kundlani, Program Manager at MAQ Software, about using the Windows Azure platform for the company's enterprise resource management applications. Here's what he had to say:
MSDN: Tell us about MAQ Software and the services you offer.
Kundlani: MAQ Software is a digital marketing, analytics, and technology solutions company that helps customers serve their markets effectively. We are a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and a Microsoft Preferred Vendor, so we use the latest Microsoft technologies for data analytics, cloud computing, and mobile platforms to help customers succeed.
MSDN: What were the biggest challenges that you faced prior to implementing the Windows Azure platform?
Kundlani: We experienced challenges maintaining our Employee Information Portal. The existing portal relied on manual processes, had outgrown its capacity, and lacked development flexibility. The portal was not scalable enough to be easily updated to meet changing business needs. Also, the system's infrastructure had grown obsolete, so it required frequent support and maintenance, which was costly. However, we didn't want to buy and build a new infrastructure that would require expensive hardware-we wanted a cost-effective way to develop a scalable portal.
MSDN: Can you describe the portal solution you built to address your need for cost-effective scalability?
Kundlani: Microsoft products and technologies are a natural choice for our company, so we chose to host our enterprise resource management applications on the Windows Azure platform. These applications include: a timesheet application to facilitate easy tracking, resource allocation, project estimates, and reporting; an Employee Leave Tracker to automate and record time-off requests and approval; and an online test tracker to measure employees' results from training exercises. We also host the public-facing corporate portal on Windows Azure, which our customers can use to reach us from any part of the world. In addition to Windows Azure for hosting, we use Microsoft SQL Azure for our relational database needs.
Supervisors across all engineering centers located in Redmond, Washington, and Mumbai and Hyderabad, India, can access the Employee Leave Tracker to approve and monitor employees' vacation requests.
MSDN: What makes MAQ Software unique?
Kundlani: Unlike other companies that typically depend on local setup for location-based intranet solutions, we deployed ours to the cloud and can ensure that one solution is available across all of our dispersed locations.
MSDN: What kinds of benefits are you realizing with the Windows Azure platform?
Kundlani: We now have solutions that aren't limited by a physical infrastructure and offer us the scalability that we need for continued growth. We don't have to buy servers to deploy; we can take advantage of Windows Azure and Microsoft data centers to add more computing resources for improved performance and more storage as our capacity needs increase-plus, with 99.99 percent up-time, we have the high availability we need. We have also reduced our hosting costs from up to U.S.$400 per application to only $66 per application each month and, at the same time, were able to bring our applications to market quickly.
To read more Windows Azure customer success stories, visit: www.windowsazure.com/evidence