As part of the Real World Windows Azure series, we talked to CEO Ezequiel Steiner about the cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) application that Acumatica developed on the Windows Azure technology platform and the benefits it provides. Here's what he had to say:

MSDN: What services does Acumatica provide?

Steiner: Acumatica develops cloud-based accounting and ERP applications that have the power, usability, and speed of traditional client-server applications.

MSDN: What was the biggest challenge your company faced prior to implementing Windows Azure?

Steiner: Acumatica was developed for the cloud on the Microsoft .NET Framework. Our customers really wanted an option to manage their entire solution in the cloud in order to help them reduce capital expenditures associated with hardware and software, minimize expenses for computing usage and data storage, and also ease the complexity of their IT infrastructure.

MSDN: Describe the solution you built with Windows Azure to address customer needs for cloud-based accounting and ERP systems?

Steiner: We offer the same proven financial applications as before but now in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) deployment model. Regardless if customers are running their ERP system as a service on an external cloud or on-premises, each of our customers has unique requirements that can't be satisfied by an off-the-shelf solution. Thus, Acumatica, together with our partners, provides the ability to customize and configure the solutions to meet our customers' needs and to offer a best-of-breed cloud-based ERP solution as a service.

MSDN: What makes your solution unique?

Steiner: Implementing our solution on the Windows Azure platform was the best strategic decision for the company. Acumatica is now the first cloud-based ERP solution to offer customers the option to deploy on-premises or in the cloud and to switch between these deployment strategies as their business needs change.

MSDN: What are the key benefits Acumatica has seen as a result of implementing Windows Azure?

Steiner: Windows Azure helped us to focus our resources on what we do best-developing a top-notch ERP solution. We were able to quickly move our existing solution to the cloud and avoid a sizable investment. Also, our customers can rapidly deploy the solution because they don't have to worry about procuring and configuring hardware or installing client software-what used to take months is now instantaneous. Windows Azure is a big win for Acumatica and our customers.

Read the full story at: www.microsoft.com/casestudies/Case_Study_Detail.aspx?CaseStudyID=4000005777