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Case Study March 26, 2019

Connectria Gives Tensoft Confidence in the Cloud

Challenge
Tensoft’s prior cloud hosting partner didn’t have the depth of expertise or the level of responsiveness needed to support the growing software vendor’s business strategy.

Selection Criteria
• Broad technology expertise
• Responsive
• Able to accommodate rapid growth
• Independently audited
• Security & Compliance: SSAE 18 SOC 2, HIPPA and PCI regulatory expertise

Solution/Platform
• Private hosted cloud
• Managed AWS

Results
Tensoft now has the freedom to focus on what they do best while Connectria manages their cloud environments. Partnering with Connectria has also helped Tensoft strengthen their go-to market offering for their SaaS applications.

When the company was founded in 1996, Tensoft’s initial focus was on the custom development of web-based applications for technology companies in Silicon Valley. By 2000, Tensoft’s business leaders decided that developing commercial business applications would better serve their customers long-term. Today, Tensoft remains focused on serving the specialized needs of midmarket technology companies with innovative, end-to-end business management solutions for the semiconductor, high tech, and software/SaaS industries.

The Challenge
Tensoft first began offering their web-based business management solutions with Microsoft Dynamics via SaaS in 2006. At that time, they built out and managed their own hosting environment. “We purchased all the servers, all the networking equipment, security solutions, backup equipment…everything,” said William White, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Tensoft. “But managing a data center wasn’t our core competency – it was a distraction that we knew was only going to get more challenging.”

Unfortunately, Tensoft’ first experience with a hosting provider was disappointing. According to White, the vendor oversold their expertise and underdelivered their services. “When we asked them if they had any experience with this technology or that technology, they assured us they did. In the end, it turned out to be one guy somewhere on the East Coast who supported everything. With so many technologies, his knowledge level wasn’t deep. And, with so many customers, response time to our questions wasn’t great either.”

This led Tensoft to a second provider, focused exclusively on hosting Microsoft Dynamics. While this proved to be a more successful partnership, Tensoft’s business strategy required them to seek a more ERP-agnostic solution. They needed a hosting provider with broad expertise across an array of technologies; one who was responsive to their needs and could accommodate their customer service goals.

This time, in 2017, White and his team went into their selection process with substantial experience and knowledge. As White explained, “Our first provider was a real learning experience. We learned what it takes to build out an infrastructure that can handle the kind of capacity and breadth of technology we needed and the kind of problems that crop up when you’re trying to work with a provider who overpromises and underdelivers. I went into our new selection process thinking: ‘I know exactly what questions I’m going to ask the next guy.’

The Solution
Connectria’s depth of expertise was one of the first things that stood out. During their evaluation process, Tensoft spoke with several Connectria support engineers. “They didn’t just have one support engineer who was an expert on twelve different things,” said White. “We talked with engineers who are very focused on their specialty, but they work closely with other experts in other areas to address any problems we have. It doesn’t matter what time of day or night it is, either. There’s always someone on the clock who can help us out.”

These interviews helped convince Tensoft’s team that Connectria had the depth and breadth of technical expertise they were looking for. But it was Connectria’s security and compliance capabilities that really tipped the scale in the organization’s favor.

Today, Tensoft uses the TRiA Cloud Management platform to monitor Security Compliance and AWS vulnerabilities. This provides visibility, insight, and access to information that other service providers simply could not provide. The ERP solutions that Tensoft applications integrate to often handle credit card processing, so a PCI compliance is a must. More broadly, many of Tensoft’s customers are publicly held companies, and SOC Type 2 compliance is critical. These requirements are well met since Connectria’s data centers are independently audited using the most rigorous standards by a third-party auditor.

The Results
White and his team have been very happy with Connectria’s services so far. “We know we have a partner with deep expertise in doing what they do best. They know all about VPNs, networking, security, databases hosting, Windows Server…everything we need. This lets us focus on what we do best,” said White.

While technical expertise and responsiveness were at the top of Tensoft’s selection criteria, one of elements of the partnership that’s been most appreciated comes from Connectria’s security and compliance capabilities. “This solved a huge headache for us,” said White. “When our publicly held customers have their annual audits, and the auditor requests the SOC 2 audit report, we can get the current one right from Connectria. It’s important to choose a provider who can provide an absolutely clean audit report because, if there are deficiencies that show up in that report, it creates a lot of nonbillable work for us and reduces overall customer satisfaction. We have to do things like coordinate meetings with people from the hosting provider and our customer’s IT staff and CFO. This usually requires several meetings, and it’s a lot of overhead for all parties.”

“With Connectria, annual audits have been so much easier. They have such solid practices and processes in place, and their third-party audit reports are so clean that we can give our customers the sense of confidence they’re looking for.”

Finally, anyone who’s ever planned a cloud deployment knows how hard it is to predict capacity requirements. For software vendors offering solutions in a SaaS environment, that challenge is multiplied by the number of customers they have. They need a managed cloud partner that can respond quickly to changes in requirements.

“From a company standpoint, partnering with Connectria allows us to move faster and be more responsive to our customers, which increases our customer’s satisfaction,” said White. “With our previous provider, if we wanted to add more capacity to our infrastructure, it might take a week to get a response from them and then another four weeks to get a new server in place.

“Sometimes, we even got push back on why we needed to add capacity! They’d tell us we were on a defined infrastructure plan that only allocated so much memory per server. But with Connectria, we have a partner that immediately says, ‘Yes, we can do that. When do you want it by?’ This gives us greater confidence in the commitments we make to our customers.”

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