A cool Breeze with IP commercialization opportunities

By Toby Bowers, Cloud & Enterprise Business Group Lead, Microsoft Australia

Earlier today, we announced the launch of the Microsoft Azure Geo in Australia. This is a landmark moment for Microsoft in Australia, but we’re even more excited about the difference that the new Geo will make to our customers and partners as they transform their businesses in a cloud age.

We’ve been catching up with a number of our partners ahead of the Azure Geo launch to learn how the platform is helping them to thrive in our mobile-first, cloud-first world.

Breeze is one of Microsoft’s Gold level partners in Australia and has come a long way in 16 years, having been initially founded as a training company. However, when that market collapsed in 2009 Nicki Page stepped in as CEO and turned the focus of the business into application development and integration.

“Let’s glue together customers’ existing investments in technology so they can maximise their existing investment rather than spending more money,” she explained recently.

It’s a move which has delivered some impressive results to date, with the business growing 30 to 40 per cent year on year for the past two years. Following its recent merger with Technology Effect, under the Montech Holdings banner the business will employ over 80 people and be listed on the ASX.

Let’s glue together customers’ existing investments in technology so they can maximise their existing investment rather than spending more money

– Nicki Page, CEO
Breeze

Cloud opens new horizons for Breeze

Focused on enabling customers’ IT systems to talk together – regardless of whether they’re in the cloud, on-premise, or private – it’s been great to see Breeze leverage the latest Microsoft technologies throughout its own business transformation. What’s even more exciting is how it’s using Microsoft’s cloud technologies to transform its customers’ business.

One customer in particular Ms Page was keen to talk about was Centrebet, whose on-premise IT hardware was straining to process the hundreds of thousands of transactions on Melbourne Cup Day – the largest turnover date on Australia’s racing calendar. “That situation was really our first opportunity to say to them: ‘Hey, have you heard about the cloud? Have you heard about Microsoft Azure?’” Ms Page said.

Based on Breeze’s expert advice, Centrebet elected to bet its business on the Microsoft Azure Cloud. The integration partner believed the performance, scalability and reliability of the cloud platform would cut the odds against success to negligible levels. “We spun up a proof of concept and showed them what we could do,” Ms Page said. “It then took us three or four months to implement the solution and bed it down for them.”

The day of the big race, Centrebet was first past the post. “On Melbourne Cup day, the service just worked beautifully,” she said. “Transactions were processed faster than ever before, and the solution scaled up into the cloud during demand peaks and back down again. This was fabulous for them and also won us our first worldwide award.”

A new approach to business

Centrebet’s success prompted Breeze to adopt a new business model, whereby it works with customers to determine which of their applications would obtain the most value from a move to a cloud environment and then helps them complete the migration. At Microsoft, we were delighted that Microsoft Azure was chosen as Breeze’s cloud platform, enabling us to strengthen our relationship even further to improve the services delivered to customers.

However, facing a highly competitive services marketplace and an economy where customers were pushing prices down through offshoring and other techniques to obtain value for money, Breeze pivoted again. “We started commercialising IP, which is an area Microsoft gave me massive support on by putting me in contact with an IDC focus group to better learn about cloud economics and how to embrace the platform” Ms Page said. “We’ve packaged up a product which we have turned into a new monthly recurring revenue business model.”

We’ve packaged up a product which we have turned into a new monthly recurring revenue business model

– Nicki Page, CEO
Breeze

Breeze delivers real-time financials reconciliation

With the transition complete, Breeze needed another customer to validate its IP commercialization and product development. This came in the form of Dental Corporation, a BUPA company, experiencing the technical equivalent of toothache in reconciling its end of month financials. With 220 dental practises worldwide operating in siloes, it needed a central hub to enhance operational efficiencies across the organisation.

Breeze worked with Dental Corporation to implement an integration layer to collect the data from dental practises, move it into the Microsoft Azure cloud for processing and plug it back into the customer’s on-premise data warehousing system. It’s a move which has delivered “phenomenal” cost savings, with end-of-month processing now completed in real time to deliver unprecedented levels of business insight.

Furthermore, following the initial testing phase the cloud solution can now be rapidly rolled out, and Dental Corp is doing so on a global level.

“Because it is in the cloud, it is easy to replicate globally now, whereas previously you would have to hop on a plane and [complete the installation],” Ms Page said.

Packaged solutions

Dental Corp and its patients were not the only benefactors of Breeze’s innovation – Breeze now has a packaged solution which can be used in other verticals: “It literally is collecting and liberating data, no matter what your business is,” she said. “We just have to develop the customized API into the databases we’re collecting the data from.”

Ms Page is now working with Microsoft to identify opportunities to replicate the model across other industry verticals in the 2015 financial year.

Breeze is a great example of cloud’s ability to transform business for customers and partners alike; it has now commercialized three products: Cloud Data Manager, Cloud Feeds Manager and Cloud Lab Manager. Five years ago, Breeze could have faded away. However, Ms Page and her team identified an opportunity with cloud and delivered upon it, bringing great results for themselves and their customers.

With the Microsoft Azure Geo now live, keep an eye on Breeze as it guides Australian businesses on their journey into our mobile-first, cloud-first world.

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