Royal Papers, headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri is a family-owned business that has been serving its customers since 1948. They provide a wide range of janitorial and cleaning supplies, support, and training for their industry. They have 6 different locations with staff that need to access their MultiValue system.
Royal had an aging, unstable RS/6000 machine with an older version of a MultiValue database. The database software needed to be upgraded if they were going to move to a new piece of hardware since the older version was not compatible with the new AIX operating system. Since the underlying database was not under a maintenance contract, the cost to reinstate the agreement was three times the cost of a standard maintenance agreement. With the emergent need to move and a vendor who was unwilling to work with them, something had to be done. The solution not only needed to be cost-effective, but it had to be secure, have the flexibility to grow with the company, and had to provide remote access to all their locations.
Royal ultimately chose OpenQM DBaaS (Database-as-a-Service). The $15 per month per seat, not only included the OpenQM license, the OpenQM software maintenance, AccuTerm, and all the cloud infrastructure needed to run their MultiValue PICK application. This solution allowed their application to grow with the company. If they needed another seat, then all they had to pay was the additional $15 a month. The infrastructure grows with them and they have the flexibility they need. And, the hardware and software are always up to date.
“Hardware and software upgrades cost money so they never get done and upgrades get behind. With just a phone call and an hour or two, we can increase our storage or memory with no disruption to us”, says Steve Henkel, Director of Information Systems.
In addition to OpenQM DBaaS, Royal Papers needed the ability to print from the cloud to several of their locations. CirrusPrint was used to accomplish this task securely and quickly without the need for a costly VPN. For additional security, SSH key-pairs were implemented so only the users who are authorized to access can authenticate and access the application. They also upgraded their AccuTerm version to version 8 to take advantage of AccuTerm’s “ReZume” feature. This allows their users to maintain a persistent connection to their QM server without any disruption if any one of their locations are experiencing internet or network connectivity issues.
Cloud Benefits and Challenges Experienced
As with any solution, there are benefits as well as challenges. Benefits of the cloud solution include predictable monthly costs, flexibility, security, and some performance increases.
Performance increases are typically seen due to Google’s world-class infrastructure and global fiber network with virtually zero network latency.
Not only does the predictable monthly fee include all hardware and software upgrades and updates, but it is also considered an operating expense. An operating expense (OPEX) is an expense that is necessary for the day-to-day operations of a business. In contrast, a capital expense (CAPEX) is an expense a business incurs to create a benefit in the future – like when an expensive piece of hardware is purchased and depreciated over time. Both types of expenses have different tax implications.
Challenges can arise with Internet connections and the equipment needed to provide those persistent connections. Software like AccuTerm’s ReZume can help mitigate disconnects. The cloud will expose any drop in connection so having a consistent Internet connection and good supporting hardware such as modems, routers or switches is paramount.
MultiValue application is the lifeblood of their business
Royal’s MultiValue application is mission-critical and the lifeblood of its business. It handles inventory control, accounts payable, and receivables (and more) and is used for everything except payroll. If it is disrupted in any way, or down for any long period of time, it would be catastrophic. Any moves made needed to be done strategically so as not to disrupt their business. They have entrusted Pick Cloud and Google to make sure they are up and running smoothly all the time.
“Pick Cloud was the natural choice for taking us from our slow, aging Pick/multivalue system to the cloud. To say that they have been extremely helpful and available would be an understatement. Every stumbling block we encountered in our conversion was responded to quickly and met with a positive can-do attitude. They did whatever needed to be done to help us succeed and continue to do so to this day, says Steve Henkel. We have no regrets about moving to the cloud.”
“Helping companies like Royal Papers realize the benefits from the cloud is the reason we started Pick Cloud,” says Mark Pick, CEO. “Pick Cloud has been dedicated to the cloud and MultiValue from day one.”