PC networks have been around for a long time. Twenty years ago, ARCserve, created by New York-based Cheyenne Software, was the industry-leading backup product for protecting server data on PC networks.
Cheyenne grew rapidly as a consequence, eventually being bought by industry giant Computer Associates (CA), then renown for its software for much bigger mainframe systems.
At the time of the acquisition, CA was the second largest software company in the world (only Microsoft was bigger).
In the new millennium, CA expanded the ARCserve product line considerably. The family grew to include protection for bigger and more complex, heterogenous networks, and was integrated with CA’s anti-virus products, to meet increasingly sophisticated, internet-based, security threats.
At the point Bristol IT Company became involved, the product range comprised around 3,500 different SKUs covering all the necessary licence combinations and add-on modules.
The complexity was necessary: the ARCserve product family solved complex problems for customers, but this also made it difficult for CA’s in-house sales force and its channel partners, as not every salesperson–nor even every technical salesperson – knew the product range really well.
It wasn’t easy to quickly specify exactly to customer requirements, and changing quotations at short notice could also be challenging.
Our experience in the new field of on-line sales tools was just what CA needed. We developed a “configuration wizard,” which gave them the channel competitive advantage they wanted. Small enough to be emailed to staff at remote sites, the “CA Configurator” allowed quotes to be assembled accurately and quickly, whilst the salesperson was actually meeting with the customer on-site.
It allowed the sales staff to include competitive discounts as necessary, and even to take account of software licenses already owned by the customer. For the first time it became easy for salespeople to offer fully-costed options to customers, giving them clear choices, cost savings and better strategic purchasing.
In a market where brand loyalty was extremely high, this enabled CA’s sales force to win customers away from other backup products.
The project was piloted in the EMEA region, localised into five languages (EFIGS).
The next development was released to North and Latin America, with the potential to be globally localised, using all Windows-supported languages and character sets.
Product and price list updates were automatically pushed to users over the web from our Bristol servers, exactly synchronised with the changes CA made to its corporate price list in Islandia, New York.
The product continued to have a small footprint however, and didn’t need online access in use—a critical matter when sales staff were at customer sites.
How could your team help me?
We think the CA Sales Configurator is a good example of how product development and complex database applications have been at the core of our business since we started.
The developers who exceeded CA’s expectations then are still with Bristol IT Company now. They are still developing applications that give competitive advantage to our current clients, and they can do so to meet your needs, too.
We excel at moulding information technology to fit real-world business problems – we’re definitely not just another IT helpdesk!