Q&A with Zoahr Gilad of Precise Software
VSM: Precise is in business to help companies automate application management and performance, and move with confidence to the cloud. So, how can companies get more efficient and save money -- fast?
ZG: It's easier than it seems. Our company cut 70% of its IT budget by migrating all of our applications and infrastructure to cloud and SaaS technologies. That amounts to $2 million dollars in savings a year for our business of 200 employees. The only on-premise application we maintain is Microsoft Office, because our people like it and the savings from ditching it were minimal.
VSM: Was there a particular event that led Precise to switch everything out with virtual and Web technologies?
ZG: The decision to do so was out of necessity. In 2008, Precise was spun out of parent company Symantec into a private company. Suddenly, we had 1000 customers to support on our own, without much budget or staff. Symantec offered to sell us licenses for SAP and other software packages that we had been using, but in our new structure we needed applications that were cheaper to support. So, we started shopping around for SaaS partners.
VSM: What did you choose and how did you make those decisions? Did you have a set level of criteria beforehand?
ZG: The first criteria was that the application had to fit our budget. Secondly, we let our departmental heads select the applications, since they owned the processes. They didn't always get exactly what they wanted initially. In at least one case we had to ask the department to go back and find something cheaper-- but today everyone is happy. We now run our business on Salesforce, NetSuite, Marketo, Drupal/Acquia, Google Mail and Google Sites. We also went through a major server virtualization project in engineering that cut 60% off of server expenses, switched to AT&T Fiber for networking and adopted VoIP for telephony.
VSM: How long did all of this take and did you have any outside help?
ZG: From start to finish this took about a year, but there were some pieces that went remarkably fast. It took only five hours to migrate our SAP data to NetSuite and Salesforce, and about five days to move from Microsoft Exchange to Google Mail. All in all, we've really had no problems with our new environment. Security has been fine, and performance and reliability is even better than before. We didn't have to hire any consultants, but used our small IT staff to get it done. I credit our former IT director Sharon Cohen for making this all go smoothly.