Evolve 2012: TechnologyOne invests $200m in new Cloud platform

The company launched the TechnologyOne Cloud at its Evolve Conference on the Gold Coast

Australian enterprise software company, TechnologyOne, has launched a Cloud service for customers, flagging plans to invest $200 million over the next five years in research and development of the platform.

Addressing attendees at the company’s Evolve Conference on the Gold Coast, TechnologyOne founder and executive chairperson, Adrian Di Marco, said the launch was the result of 18 months of research and development into Cloud and would be run solely through an internet browser.

“TechnologyOne Cloud will be available anywhere, on any device — all our customers need is internet access,” he said.

The TechnologyOne Cloud will be responsible for business’ services, software and infrastructure but Di Marco said he did not want to with label it an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) or software-as-a-service (SaaS).

“We’re avoiding those terms because there’s a lot of connotations that come with it,” he said. “People can call it whatever they like but to me it is about TechOne providing them and end-to-end service and result.”

The service will be based on a yearly service fee, which is based on the annual licence fee the business pays and will include software, infrastructure and upgrades, and customers which have existing licences will be transferred to the Cloud.

The company has partnered with Amazon to develop the platform, using the Web giant’s core infrastructure.

“Underneath the covers it’s Amazon that we’re using. We’re using their elasticity, their enterprise grade infrastructure and then we build on top of that our enterprise suite and that will be delivered to the marketplace.”

Data will initially be stored in three Amazon data centres in the UK, the US and in Singapore, with plans to establish an Australian data centre in the next six months.

“If Amazon don’t come over to Australia we will partner with another local company to do it. Initially we thought Amazon has the huge scale which works in the US, UK and Singapore, and early adopters will be happy with that.”

With customers in the government, finance and education sectors, storing data offshore may be an issue for some customers, Di Marco conceded.

“I think it will depend on just how sensitive the data in question is. A lot of them will probably wait for the next little while until we launch an Australian facility.

“I think the whole data sovereignty issue will just end up disappearing. I think it’s an overreaction and in 12 months time people aren’t going to care to be honest but at this stage it is an obstacle to overcome.”

The next five years will involve the establishment of the company’s enterprise software as applications to be delivered via an online store where customer will be able to buy apps individually, update them using a personal profile, give feedback and leave comments.

“This will transform the relationship with our customers and our products, marking the end of software releases, which will be replaced by continual updates driven by customer feedback.

“The five year investment will include the creation of the consolidation release which is the common release for both the Cloud and the on-premise customers and then shipping, which we are now, the app infrastructure so people can download apps. Then it’s delivering the simplicity theme throughout all of the products, so [as to] make them more consumer-based.”

Business that do not currently run TechnologyOne software will also be able to invest in the Cloud platform, Di Marco said, with a team dedicated to look at the software being used by a company and how to bring it to the Cloud.

“It may be that we take other products from TechOne to facilitate that or maybe we just host those existing products in the Cloud.

“We see the Cloud as having two parts to it: The core engine of the Cloud which is our enterprise suite, which is rolled out to thousands of customers [and] which is massively scalable, and then there will be periphery areas, which are the areas where customers have some non-standard stuff that we will host for them as well, we need to able to support both."

The company is cautious about encouraging customers to move to the Cloud platform and will run it in parallel to the company’s on-premise business so customers can choose when to make the jump.

“We have a parallel path so our customers will move forward with the Ci [Connected Intelligence] series in parallel and get the app infrastructure and browser-based applications.”

Follow Chloe Herrick on Twitter: @chloe_CW

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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