Archive for the 'Multi-tenant' Category

MSPs champion Telco sales

April 3, 2017

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are making major gains in the business and government telephony markets, as customers show a clear preference to buy their IT and telephony services from a single source.  This stands to reason, as phones have become computers and computers have become phones.  The two product lines have converged, making it nonsensical to continue treating them as separate service lines.

Most of the tier-1 Telecommunications providers around the world have now established Wholesale business units to cater for “indirect sales” as they are seeing an increasing proportion of their business and government market shifting away from their own direct sales, in favour of those who have a closer relationship to – and knowledge of the target end-customer.  A sensible and logical business strategy for the Telco’s is therefore to provide a wholesale offering and pro-actively build a channel of re-sellers.   Those re-sellers are in most cases, MSPs.

Examples of Telco’s with Wholesale business units are; Spark, Telstra, Optus, TELUS and Verizon, to name a few.

A major stumbling block for MSPs moving into selling Telco services, such as VoIP, data circuits, mobile, MVNO etc is the billing process.  Telco billing can be very complex, especially in the areas of mobile, tolls, toll-free and other usage-based services.  Billing complexity and the time & effort needed to produce Telco-style billng and reporting is often the barrier to sales and success in this space. This is the problem that my company Datagate solves for re-sellers of Telco services (as outlined in this brief YouTube video).

With a suitable billing solution in place, MSPs are adding significant extra recurring revenue to their businesses, by selling and providing the data connectivity, VoIP and mobile solutions that they source from their local Wholesale Telco provider.  This is also good news for the end-customer, who gets a full-service offering from their MSP, less bills to pay and access to better analytical reports and information via an on-line portal.

Read more from the perspective of Spark Wholesale and VoIP HQ.

Datagate’s “Ecosystem-as-a-Service” Strategy

October 13, 2016

The path to value creation in business is very much about managing and balancing your tactical everyday decisions with the strategic big picture of where you are heading.

A year ago, I took on the CEO role at Datagate, an exciting fin-tech start-up, after spending over a decade as CEO of a larger business group. In an early-stage business, this balance between tactical and strategic is even more critical, because your decisions will shape the nature of your business for (hopefully) many years to come.

Datagate as a business and a Cloud service, can (like many technology businesses) be described at both a tactical level and a strategic level;

Datagate at a Tactical Level; Datagate is a white-label, Cloud-based billing and reporting portal for service resellers. We connect to all sorts of different service usage data (mainly from Telco’s, Electricity companies and Cloud services) from which we produce invoices, reports and customer portals for resellers of those services and their customers.

datagate-diagram

Datagate at a Strategic Level; Datagate is an “Ecosystem-as-a-Service”. We are building our base of service resellers and our base of service suppliers and enabling them to work through each other to strengthen their business reach and profitability. As we add more resellers and suppliers, the strategic value of our ecosystem increases dramatically.

  • We are strategic to our service resellers because we enable them to sell a range of services from a range of suppliers and combine or bundle them on to a single offering and/or a single invoice. For example we enable Telco resellers to sell Telephony combined with Electricity.
  • We are strategic to our service suppliers because we enable them to sell through our channel of resellers, who all use the Datagate billing portal.

ecosystem-as-a-service-v2

On a day-to-day basis it’s easy to get entrenched in the important but tactical demands of your business, such signing up deals, building revenue etc, but it’s important to keep in mind where it’s all heading. Do the suppliers, deals and customers you’re signing up fit with your strategic long-term view of the business? In my case, Datagate is building a valuable ecosystem through our product and the partners we sign up – and that value will become more self-evident as the business grows.

At the start it is a visualization, but over time it becomes a reality.

Enprise acquires Datagate Innovation

April 3, 2014
Datagate acquisition


Mark Loveys and Tim Mulcock

This week Enprise announced its acquisition of Datagate Innovation Limited, which is a Cloud Software Developer that specializes in on-line reporting and billing portals for Hosted Service Providers, Telco’s and Utility Companies.

Following the acquisition, Datagate’s founder, Tim Mulcock is staying on to lead Datagate in the role of Managing Director and he also becomes a significant shareholder in the wider Enprise Group.

Prior to founding Datagate, Tim was a co-founder of EMS Cortex, a global Cloud Control Panel provider for the Cloud/hosting industry – which was acquired by Enprise and subsequently sold to Citrix Corporation in 2011. Tim also has extensive industry experience, gained from working within Telecom New Zealand and also as a co-founder of Bizo – a New Zealand hosted service provider that was later sold to Orcon.

I’m enthusiastic about the synergies between Datagate and Enprise. Datagate will leverage Enprise’s extensive international contacts within the hosting industry (from our time with EMS Cortex) and also leverage our strong background in Business Management and ERP Software. Already, Datagate and Enprise Solutions are talking in unison with common potential customers.

Enprise will also benefit from Datagate’s laser-sharp industry focus on Cloud and Hosted Service Providers – which is a strong global market vertical that Enprise can apply to its international sales channel and ERP-based partnerships.

Specialisation is so important when you’re operating in the large global markets. This will be a strong new focus for Enprise.

Enprise Invests in Cloud Solution Accountability

August 20, 2013

This week Enprise Group announced its investment in Melbourne-based Cloud Solution developer, Accountability Access Pty Ltd.

Accountability is a Cloud-based Job Management and Accounting solution designed specifically for creative and communication agencies. Its customers are typically multi-branch, multi-national businesses in the creative, communication and advertising industries who want an easy to use, pay as you go, Cloud solution to process and track the accounting and billing of their projects. The solution includes a full browser based client, an iPhone/iPad applications and is built on the latest Microsoft technology with multi-currency, multi-lingual capability.

I am excited about this investment, as it signals the start of another global sales partnership for Enprise Group with Accountability. Accountability is a superb product with huge market potential and Enprise has the experience, capability and global footprint through its channels in North America, Europe, Africa and Australasia to significantly boost the existing Accountability sales channel.

A new business unit will be set up within the Enprise Group specifically to market and support Accountability. It will be able to leverage the resources of the group, including the depth of accounting and job costing expertise of our team, plus our branches in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Sydney, Melbourne and Pretoria.

Take the bus or the car… multi-tenant versus single-tenant software

May 19, 2013

A BusIn today’s world of the “Cloud”, I frequently find myself explaining the difference between multi-tenant and single-tenant software, where both are hosted or delivered through the Cloud.

I like to illustrate the difference by comparing it to the difference between a bus and a car.

A bus, like multi-tenanted software, is shared by many customers in order to reduce the cost per customer. It is driven by one driver, a trusted professional who dictates the path and direction forward. There is little flexibility in timing or journey per customer, because they all share the same bus and it can only be in one place at a time. The main benefit of a bus is cheaper travel at the cost of inflexibility.

Black Cabs
Compare this to single-tenanted software, which is like a car. A car is flexible as it can take you on the journey you want at the time you want. People who ride in cars instead of buses can dictate their own journey and schedule. Travelling by car is generally more expensive than travelling in a bus, but the benefit is flexibility.

Cars can be privately owned where you can drive them yourself, or they can be taxi-cabs which are driven by a trusted professional under your instructions as a customer. Taxi-cabs are similar to hosted single-tenant software, driven by a professional under your instructions, whereas private cars are similar to single-tenanted systems, run on-premise and controlled directly by the customer.

Obviously buses, cars and taxi-cabs all have their place in the world and each is better suited to different types of users for different purposes.

In the world of accounting and business management software, where my business Enprise operates, multi-tenanted software is generally better suited to smaller or simpler business requirements, where low cost is more important than flexibility. Single-tenant software is generally more suited to mid-sized and larger businesses that need more control and flexibility with their systems.

I notice that many multi-tenanted business management systems available on the market today are not that much cheaper than similarly specified single-tenant systems, in fact many work out to be more expensive. To my mind this is clearly a case of over-pricing and the vendors in question only get away with this due to the “smoke and mirrors” and hype surrounding the “Cloud”. I advise customers to look carefully at running costs compared to flexibility when choosing between single-tenant software such as MYOB EXO or SAP Business One and multi-tenant software such as NetSuite.

Empowering the Customer – so many choices

May 10, 2013

As time moves forward in the world of business and commerce, we as consumers increasingly get offered more and more choices and options. “Empowering the customer” is what it’s all about.

A case in point is the financial and business management software industry where I work through my role at Enprise Group. Today there are exponentially more options than ever before in all aspects of designing, configuring, consuming, delivering, accessing and paying for software and related services. In addition, there are significantly varied choices of software vendor and choices in the type of expert services to help and guide you in the use of your selected system. I think this abundance of choice is great and the different options work well for different types of businesses in different situations.

Let’s look at the different choices and I’ll offer you my opinion of the relative pros and cons;

    1. Choice of Financial Software

Your choice of financial software is critical because you want to know that the software will be around for the long-term to grow along with your business. My advice is to stick with strong market-leading vendors who have modern technology platforms & development roadmaps, decent market share and are profitable growing businesses themselves. My recommendations for Australasian businesses are vendors like MYOB, SAP and Microsoft. These are sound and proven long-term operators that have innovative, future-proof offerings. The heart of your financial system is not something to take undue risks with in my opinion. Your choice of software vendor has long-term implications. Strong, established vendors will also tend to have a strong and established channel of service and solution partners that can ensure that you get the best performance and add-on solutions for your system.

    2. Cloud versus On-Premise

Financial software in “The Cloud” is a valid software outsourcing/management, delivery and financing option for many businesses, but it is being over-hyped at this time in my opinion. It is the right option for some businesses, just as on-premise is the right option for other businesses. A clear and logical view is required to see through all the smoke and mirrors to make the right decision for your business.

“The Cloud” for financial software refers to a combination of options, including; multi-tenanting, outsourcing, hosting and subscription pricing or “software as a service” or “pay as you go”. Let’s look at the pros and cons of the individual options and remember that each of these can be selected individually or collectively when buying financial software solutions these days.

    • Multi-Tenanting:

    This is where many different businesses share the same instance of an on-line software package. It is a very good way of getting a large number of customers to share and thereby reduce costs, but that in turn comes at a cost in terms of a loss in flexibility. It’s a bit like riding in a bus instead of your own car. It costs a lot less but you have no control over a lot of things, such as when upgrades, fixes and changes will happen to your system and the ability to pilot-test for workflow issues in a new version on your data before you commit to an upgrade. There is also the limiting of options with regard to connecting to other software or devices. This is potentially scary stuff to medium or large businesses with more complex workflows, but of little concern to smaller simpler businesses.

    • Remote Hosting:

    Having your software and server hosted and managed in a professional-grade data centre with lots of redundancy, by professional, qualified engineers is without doubt the most safe and secure option if you’re serious about safety and security for your system. This is a good option if you have business-grade Internet connectivity which is subject to minimal outages and speed problems. If your local Internet connections are not up to scratch then hosting your software and/or server outside your building will be painful. There are other benefits, such as being able to access your software using a range of platforms and devices but then again there can be added complexities when you want to do simple things like integrate with software on your local computer or do fancy stuff with printers and scanners etc.
    Remote hosting can be more expensive or less expensive than on-premise hosting, depending on the expertise level of your staff, Internet and other costs and what grade of server you already own.
    All in all a mixture of pros and cons depending on your situation. Remember that any software can be remotely hosted – not only the multi-tenanted browser-based variety. As an example, check out 2Cloud.biz

    • Subscription Pricing:

    Often referred to as SaaS Pricing (Software as a Service) – this is where you pay as you use the software. It’s a bit like leasing a car and there is usually a minimum term, such as two or three years that you sign up for. It’s a Profit & Loss expense instead of buying a software license asset on the Balance Sheet of your business. An advantage of subscription pricing is that for full Cloud solutions, it’s clean & simple and includes all costs including software upgrades, hosting and support. A disadvantage is that you’re often locked into a payment plan and in the long run it can be more expensive than buying the software license outright in the first place.

At Enprise, we like to empower our customers with choices when it comes to their financial software solutions and our consultants are well equipped to help them in making the right choices for their businesses. Cloud or on-premise, local or hosted, up-front or subscription pricing – the choices are all there.

New Era for Enprise and DSQ

September 5, 2012

On September 21st at the Annual General Meeting of ASX-listed DSQ Holdings Limited, shareholders will vote on a proposal to acquire the Enprise Group of businesses. If accepted, this will effectively enable the back-door listing of Enprise where it will transform from being a private company to becoming an Australian-listed public company. DSQ Holdings Ltd will transform from being a publicly listed “cash-box” (with no business operations) to becoming the Enprise Group.

For me, the idea of DSQ and Enprise becoming one and the same is certainly an exciting prospect. I have always wanted to build an innovative, expansive and profitable public company and I have been extensively involved in both of these two businesses over the last decade, being a founder and director of both.

In the past, Enprise & DSQ have been successful in building up international software businesses which were then acquired by major American companies. In 2011, Enprise sold its EMS-Cortex business to Citrix and DSQ sold its Datasquirt business to LiveOps.

The new Enprise will maintain a strategy aimed at sustainable growth, running the business as a cash earner rather than a cash burner. Enprise is the perfect platform for growth with its extensive global channels-to-market for business management software.

2Cloud.biz
Included in the proposed Enprise Group acquisition is a one third share in a great new start-up business called 2cloud.biz which is a specialized Cloud Hosting Service provider aimed at the SME ERP market. At present it offers automated provisioning of hosted MYOB EXO systems and is marketed through the channel of MYOB EXO resellers throughout New Zealand and Australia. This business is experiencing rapid early stage growth and is a perfect example of how the Enprise Group can leverage its existing channels-to-market to launch new opportunities.

Enprise Solutions
Enprise Solutions is a Platinum MYOB EXO reseller in both Australia and New Zealand. It has offices in Auckland, Hamilton, Melbourne, Sydney and Wellington. The business is experiencing considerable demand from customers in Australia and our two Australian offices which were established earlier this year are driving a significant portion of our growth. Enprise’s goal is to achieve full regional coverage of Australia and New Zealand within the next 24 months.

Enprise Software
Enprise Software is a Gold Certified Solution Partner for the globally-marketed SAP Business One ERP platform. Enprise’s solutions include the popular Enprise Job Costing and Enprise Rent packages, amongst others. Sales and distribution is via a global channel of SAP certified resellers. There is much growth potential in this business unit as new demand grows for Cloud-based and mobility solutions in addition to SAP’s exciting new in-memory HANA platform.

Sale of Datasquirt approved by Shareholders

December 14, 2011

This morning I chaired a General Meeting of Datasquirt Limited, where the the shareholders voted to approve two resolutions relating to the sale of Datasquirt’s business to LiveOps Inc (a leading US-based cloud contact centre provider).

The first resolution approved the sale of the business to LiveOps for US $12.5M cash and the second resolution approved Datasquirt buying back 83.33% of its shares from Shareholders at NZ $0.499 per share (one share purchased for every 1.2 owned).

The sale transaction still remains conditional on a number of technical issues, but I’m confident that it will take place before the end of this year.

I believe this will be a great result for Datasquirt, LiveOps, their respective customers and the New Zealand IT industry, for the following reasons;

  • The sale brings together two world-class, complementary contact centre technology providers who share a common passion and purpose.
  • It means customers will be able to access all the communication channels they need to run a modern call centre – sms, email, fax, web chat, social media and voice – from one expert provider, LiveOps, via the ease of the cloud.
  • All of Datasquirt’s staff are being retained and will continue operating from their current locations in Auckland NZ and the United Kingdom.
  • The retention of Datasquirt’s development team in Auckland will undoubtedly lead to further investment and jobs within the local IT industry.
  • Datasquirt’s shareholders get the option of a return of their capital at a very fair price.

Datasquirt AGM 2011 – Chairman’s Address

October 2, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Chairman’s Address to Shareholders
Datasquirt Limited
Annual General Meeting
30 September 2011

FY11 has been a hard-working and productive year for Datasquirt, which has seen us increasingly selected as a best-of-breed provider by clients and channel partners internationally. We were delighted to achieve a profitable result for the last quarter of the year, and take the loss from ordinary activities for the year down to $NZ 599,000; a 51% improvement on the previous year’s loss of $NZ 1,233,000.

Our Cloud-based solution “CONTACT” is giving Corporate Contact Centres around the world the ability to communicate easily in real-time with their customers through increasingly popular channels, such as SMS, Web Chat, Email, Twitter and Fax.

Datasquirt is well positioned from a technology standpoint and is capitalizing on some major growth drivers in the marketplace, including;
• The growing preference for Cloud Computing and Software as a Service
• Rapid Smart Phone adoption
• The increasing use of Social Media by businesses
• The growing demand for faster, more immediate business communication.

This year saw continued growth in sales through reseller partners internationally, culminating in Q4 with an agreement to supply a leading North American call centre provider with CONTACT under their own branding; a deal worth over US $1M, which will see Datasquirt’s software deployed across the United States and Canada. The global technology search that preceded this organization selecting CONTACT illustrates the quality and differentiation of the Datasquirt product offering.

In October 2010 Datasquirt became one of the first software providers in the world to offer a call centre specific platform for managing Twitter interactions with customers. Datasquirt clients such as Royal Mail Group and Wokingham Borough Council in the UK are now using CONTACT to manage Twitter-based service delivery in their call centres.

Only this month (September 2011), we were delighted to be voted first in the “Top 25 Contact Centre Technologies” by readers of a leading UK Contact Centre Magazine called “Call Centre Helper”. This affirms that our product offering is in tune with the needs of our target market.

The company expects sales from both current and new clients to continue to increase and we anticipate on-going growth in the strength of our reseller channel. We will maintain a continued programme of product enhancement to deliver further social media and reporting functionality in line with client demand.

The directors remain confident in the success of Datasquirt and wish to thank our customers, staff, shareholders, suppliers and partners for their on-going support.

Mark Loveys
Chairman, Datasquirt Limited

Datasquirt voted #1 by readers of UK Specialist Call Centre Magazine

September 22, 2011

UK's Call Centre Helper Magazine

Readers of leading UK Call Centre Magazine “Call Centre Helper” have voted Datasquirt‘s Cloud based CONTACT Multi-Channel solution as #1 of the top 25 Call Centre Technologies.

CONTACT is cloud-based call centre software – for adding text messaging, email, web chat, Twitter and fax capability to contact centres.

This is a fantastic endorsement of Datasquirt’s offering by the Call Centre community and Datasquirt’s UK customers.

www.callcentrehelper.com

www.datasquirt.com