The race to develop cloud-based supply chain solutions is on, and HighJump Software of Eden Prairie, MN, is leading the pack in the Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) space.
A developer of software applications that seamlessly move, track and store materials in a warehouse, HighJump turned to CenturyLink Cloud to get its own customers into the cloud quickly and efficiently.
As a leading provider of supply chain execution software, HighJump historically focused on installing single instances of its WMS software at customer locations around the globe. When Gartner reported that 80 percent of application software would be deployed through the cloud in some fashion over the next several years, HighJump wanted to position itself to deliver a cloud-based WMS.
To support HighJump's new offering, the cloud platform would have to be extremely flexible, and allow the company to modify and customize its WMS for individual customers. Developing that infrastructure internally would be time-consuming and costly. And maintaining it would mean HighJump would have to both host and manage the platform, neither of which it wanted to do.
“From a core competency standpoint,” says Chad Collins, vice president of marketing and strategy, “we decided not to burden our own teams with managing the entire infrastructure associated with a cloud WMS. Instead, we went looking for a partner to help us get there.”
HighJump searched for a cloud platform that would allow it to offer a fully-managed software solution to its customers, who in turn would be freed up from having to deploy or manage software in their own data centers. Having an enterprise-ready platform that could fire up quickly to meet customer demand was also important, as HighJump's cloud WMS is a mission-critical tool for users.
After exploring offerings from the leading cloud and managed service providers, the company selected CenturyLink Cloud for its robust, enterprise-grade platform, short deployment time, flexibility, agility and affordability. CenturyLink's ability to integrate with HighJump's VMware setup, provide disaster recovery and redundancy, and its high level of cloud architecture expertise were also key differentiators.
“We wanted a partner that would grant us enterprise-class IT service levels that we could turn around and provide to our customers,” says Collins. “We really like what CenturyLink brought to the table in terms of expertise, simplicity and speed, and we're benefitting from all three.”
HighJump rolled out its new customer offering during the second quarter of 2010, with CenturyLink providing a comprehensive enterprise-grade cloud platform. This included virtualized instances of server hardware, operating systems and databases needed to run the cloud-based software solution. “We simply install our WMS on top of the CenturyLink Cloud platform, configure it for a specific customer, and sell the package as a total solution to our customers via subscription,” says Collins.
CenturyLink's flexible cloud IaaS platform allowed HighJump to quickly take its existing WMS software and bring it to the cloud to serve customers in ways that didn't make business or technical sense for the company to try to achieve on its own. Within a few hours, customers can be brought onto the HighJump cloud WMS platform, which is supported by enterprise-grade security, built-in disaster recovery and redundancy for mission critical operations.
With its new cloud-based offering, HighJump is also delivering an enhanced customer experience and removing the burden of operational support from its customers' hands. In turn, HighJump too benefits from reduced support requirements. Without having to leverage is own IT resources, HighJump counts on CenturyLink&'s expert services and support team for database management and performance tuning, monitoring, security testing and proactive patching and updating, “… systematically getting in front of problems before they even affect our customers,” according to Amy Stelling-Kahler, HighJump vice president of worldwide support.
With just a few clicks in the CenturyLink Cloud's unified management portal interface, HighJump can reconfigure servers, test new environments and customize its WMS to meet the needs of specific customers. “The speed at which we're able to add new customers in the cloud — and deliver those implementations — is pretty amazing,” says Collins. “To top it off, CenturyLink's solution is also meeting all of our internal financial objectives.”
As an increasing number of customers request cloud software solutions, HighJump is positioning itself as an important player in subscription-based WMS solutions that require no on-site installation, servers or disaster recovery tools. 'We've established a leadership position in a market,” says Collins, “where none of our competitors even offer a full-blown cloud-based WMS that can run a complex distribution center.”
“The speed at which we're able to add new customers in the cloud — and deliver those implementations — is pretty amazing. To top it off, CenturyLink's solution is also meeting all of our internal financial objectives.”