Magazine article CRM Magazine

Be Nimble, Be Quick: Ingres Sticks to the Software-as-a-Service Model for Cost Savings and Deployment Flexibility

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Be Nimble, Be Quick: Ingres Sticks to the Software-as-a-Service Model for Cost Savings and Deployment Flexibility

Article excerpt

* Given that Ingres, a provider of open-source information management services, embraces deployment flexibility, what were the requirements in choosing a software ecosystem?

I came on six months after Ingres implemented Salesforce. I then had the opportunity to build and choose our business applications from scratch. Ingres decided the best way to provision [applications] was to look at doing everything with open source, and to do [software-as-a-service] if not. We wanted everything on a subscription basis so that we would end up with a variable-costs technology budget.

Although Salesforce was the one application chosen before I arrived, it was the de facto best-practice decision. It's highly extensible and we have a very distributed workforce with salespeople in most regions of the world. We also needed rapid implementation, so Salesforce was the natural choice.

At first, there weren't a lot of lead opportunities going on. We were mostly recapturing our customer base. Over time, we've been able to continue to improve upon that environment and Salesforce.com has set the bar for an extensible solution. I don't think anybody's seen unlimited-user playing fields, and the unlimited ability to add your own new tables for what you might want to store and retrieve, and the ability to add your own workflow. Over two years we've worked to improve outbound marketing and lead generation.

For lead management functionality, we added in ExactTarget through the [Salesforce.com] AppExchange. Then, when we later looked for a more-complete marketing package, we began using Silverpop. Salesforce.com has this large and very open partnering style--there are so many solutions to choose from.

* Has utilizing software-as-a-service (SaaS) helped Ingres weather the tough economy? This year, for instance, we went a little smaller in Salesforce [seats] than last year, but we also had some groups of people using Salesforce that didn't need to be. We took the number of users down by 20 percent. In the legacy-[software] world, I tried to do that and the vendor increased maintenance--I didn't save a dime. [Scaling down with Salesforce.com], we saved our 20 percent and now I have a smiling chief financial officer. It's about "How do I pay less now and then ramp up when hard times are over?" It really has worked. I can't count the number of dollars we've saved by turning to open source, particularly for infrastructure, [business intelligence], and content management. …

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