Windows Azure SQL Database Marketplace
As part of the Real World Windows Azure series, we talked to
Johannes Schick, CEO of höltl Retail Solutions, about using the Windows Azure
platform to run the company's point-of-sale (POS) system. Here's what he had to
MSDN: What service
does höltl Retail Solutions provide?
Retail Solutions is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner that offers innovative products
for optimizing retail processes for the clothing and nonfood industries. The
most popular of these is the POSFlow chain software solution for midsize
retailers-more than 50,000 people throughout Europe use the POSFlow solution.
MSDN: What was the
biggest challenge höltl Retail Solutions faced prior to adopting the Windows
is popular among midsize retailers, and we wanted to make the solution viable
for smaller retailers, too. However, because POSFlow is an on-premises
solution, we had to send technicians out to customers' locations to set up,
install, and configure the software, which could take up to three or four hours
plus travel time. That wasn't a cost-effective or time-efficient model for
MSDN: Can you describe
the solution you built with the Windows Azure platform to help address your
need for efficient deployment?
migrated our existing solution to the Windows Azure platform using the
Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 and the Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Team Suite
development system. We are using the Windows Azure platform AppFabric Service
Bus to bridge cloud, on-premises, and hosted deployments. For our relational
database needs, we're using Microsoft SQL Azure. For the visual interface, we
used the Microsoft Silverlight 3 browser plug-in.
The POSFlow solution takes advantage of the Windows Azure
platform to deliver cloud-based POS services.
MSDN: What makes höltl
Retail Solutions unique?
other POS solutions that typically run on-premises, POSFlow runs in the cloud
on the Windows Azure platform. As a result, customers can now handle routine
setup and upgrades themselves, minimizing costs and saving time.
MSDN: Have you been
able to reach new markets as a result of using Windows Azure?
Schick: We are
now able to offer POSFlow to small retailer stores since moving to Windows
Azure. By eliminating the cost of having to send technicians to customer
locations, we're able to pass those savings on to customers, which makes
POSFlow an affordable solution for small businesses.
MSDN: What are some
of the key benefits höltl Retail Solutions has seen since implementing Windows
Schick: By using
Windows Azure, we're able to improve the services we offer our customers.
Instead of waiting for up to four hours to get their POSFlow solution set up,
customers can get up and running in just four minutes. In addition, the
scalability of Windows Azure helps us ensure a reliable solution that our
customers can rely on. The scalability makes our high-tech solutions especially
appealing to large chains and purchasing associations, because we can combine
communications streams from several thousand registers without issue.
Read the full story at: www.microsoft.com/casestudies/casestudy.aspx?casestudyid=4000007121
To read more Windows Azure customer success stories, visit:www.windowsazure.com/evidence