by Hamish Barwick

Foodservice procurement company reduces IT infrastructure bill by moving to the cloud

Mar 17, 20144 mins
Technology Industry

IT infrastructure and disaster recovery (DR) services were costing Sydney-based online procurement firm Marketboomer thousands of dollars a year until it made a decision to begin using cloud services in 2013.

Marketboomer CEO Nathan Gyaneshwar said it was coming to the end of a contract with a hosting provider and wanted a service that cost less and would be more flexible.

“When we decided to take an audit of our systems, we discovered that under a flexible payment model with Amazon Web Services [AWS] we could achieve a 30 per cent cost saving in the first year on our IT services,” he said.

According to Gyaneshwar, the ability to scale infrastructure up and down on an hourly basis was attractive. However, because the company doesn’t employ an IT manager, he contacted IT services firm, Intellitek, to help manage and monitor the AWS service.

“The issue is that unless you have full-time IT resources, the developer’s time tends to get sucked up because they happen to know the most about computers. You force them into doing IT admin work that they’re just not trained to do,” Gyaneshwar said.

“With AWS, we only pay for what we use. That alternative meant the cost of hiring an IT manager was just way higher.”

Gyaneshwhar said the advantage of using Intellitek is that he has access to several team members with different areas of expertise.

“There have been a lot of benefits for us. If I need a new server, I’ve got access to it within less than an hour. If I need increased bandwidth between servers, I can ramp this up very quickly,” he explained.

Because the company is paying by the hour, Gyaneshwar estimated he could save 30 per cent on his server costs. Disaster recovery has also improved since moving into the AWS cloud. Under the previous arrangement, he estimates that it could have taken up to two weeks to get servers back up and running if the system shut down.

“With AWS, we’re using the Singapore data centre to host our production machines. All of those machines are replicated in their Sydney data centre,” he said. If a disaster did happen, it would now take about 90 minutes for services to be restored.

CEOs and CIOs should be taking a serious look at cloud computing, and not only for the improved bottom line, he continued.

“Nine months ago, we felt it was just impossible for us to go to the cloud because it didn’t sound robust enough. The [advancement] cloud computing has made over the past two years means I have no concerns that it is going to be dangerous to host information in the cloud.”

One project Gyaneshwar is now keen to explore is the use of data for customer insights. Because Marketboomer is a transactional marketplace used by five star hotels and their suppliers, it collects useful data about these transactions.

“We get a lot of pricing and product information so this will allow us to provide trends to customers,” he said.

For example, one insight the company could offer to customers is price trend analysis. Marketboomer’s database contains over 1 million catalogue items.

“Whenever we see activity around a product in that catalogue, it’s across the board. For example, if I buy a can of Coca-Cola in Australia I can see the price difference between Sydney and Perth,” Gyaneshwar said. “That data allows me to analyse price movements and seasonal or regional trends. I can look at a whole bunch of metrics that impact the price of a product.

“By the end of 2014, I envision that we will provide proactive insights to our customers and take actions based on the information we are giving them.”

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