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Easy does it with Azure

Published: May 6th, 2016 By: IT World Canada Staff

Microsoft

Microsoft’s cloud-based computing is cost-effective for start ups, and simple to use

By Suzanne Rent

When Isak Rydlund was researching cloud-based systems where he could host his startup’s proactive contract management software, he went directly to his customers. Rydlund and his wife, Charlotte, founded the Halifax-based startup PACTA in 2014. Their system allows customers to upload, store and manage a company’s countless business contracts.

“There is still a little bit of a concern about cloud-based systems around security and confidentiality, especially contracts,” Rydlund says. “It’s a lot of confidential information or business secrets in those documents. So, for us it was important for us the customers felt they had some trust in our technology solution and our backend.”

One of the options Rydlund suggested to customers was Microsoft Azure. He says while their customers weren’t necessarily familiar with Azure, they did know Microsoft. “The name and the company Microsoft have a certain level of trust,” Rydlund says. “So, we basically asked them and gave Microsoft as one of the options. The 95 per cent who actually had an opinion on it, actually said Microsoft. So for that, it was a good choice.”

PACTA has used Azure for its contract management system ever since. Rydlund says what the company likes about Azure is its good infrastructure, certifications, which they can leverage while selling their software to clients. “And it’s also the fact they are very, very proactive in bringing out new things,” Rydlund says. “Not only faster storage solutions or faster databases, but they are also now bringing in more open-sourced friendly solutions.”

Rydlund says they also like the program Azure offers for startups like PACTA. He says the program allowed it to build up and scale out its technology very quickly without spending money on the infrastructure. “It allows you to get going very quickly and not having to worry about how much money you’re spending on the backend. It allows you to focus on the areas that actually add to the business results,” he says.

Darryl Dutton is a principal consultant, analytics and retail planning with T4G in Halifax. He works with major retail clients in the U.S, as well as clients in the healthcare sector and telcos. Azure is one of the systems they use with client projects.

He says Azure is very easy to provision and get the services up and running. With some of his clients, getting the hardware to get started can take months, even years. That’s not the case with Azure. “With cloud-based solutions you can typically be up and running within minutes.” he says. “If you want a server to run some software, it literally takes a few clicks on a website to start that up and you can hit it and use it as if the server was in your office.”

And Azure is cost effective. Dutton compares cloud-based computing versus purchasing the hardware to the choice of buying or leasing a new car. What makes sense for one client, may not make sense for another. “Both things will do the job for you, but which one for your organization is more effective?” Dutton says. “Some companies like the capital-cost approach because they can depreciate the hardware. Other ones, say startups or smaller companies, don’t have the cash to do that, so it makes more sense for them to use cloud services.”