The cloud’s talent

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 as they transform their businesses in a cloud age.

We spoke with Michele Vernasca, Chief Operating Officer, Talentpay, about how the usage rights management company is using cloud to respond to the increasing volume of video advertising in the online world.

Founded in Sydney in 2002, Talentpay, which has a 16 strong team, manages the performer buying process on behalf of advertising agencies – an area traditionally dominated by media, such as TV. However, with video advertising now proliferating in the online world, talent management agencies are having to adapt to dramatically increased and more complex workloads.

A new world of opportunity

While bringing many new challenges, including managing ongoing payments for advertisements streamed online, the online world of video advertising represents a huge opportunity for Talentpay with a vast increase of locations able to host content. In an effort to capitalise and steal a march on its competitors, Talentpay looked to refresh its ageing IT infrastructure with one which could rapidly scale and better manage the customer process.

“In late 2013, we fundamentally rethought our business approach. Our clients were expanding abroad, and to service them we wanted to open new offices in Auckland and Singapore. However, before we did that we needed to devise a good remote access solution empowering staff to work on the go, lower the cost of our server infrastructure and make it more flexible,” Mr Vernasca said.

One option was to purchase a new server, which would have been a major cost for Talentpay to install and manage. “Ultimately, we wanted more reliability at a lower cost with greater scalability, so that IT wasn’t a brake on expansion,” he said.

Journey to the cloud

Working with Microsoft Gold Partner and Small Business Partner of the Year, XCentral, Talentpay looked to the cloud to address its new business needs. Based on Talentpay’s previous positive cloud experience with Office 365, XCentral created a proof-of concept of the company’s accounting suite – BCC AdSystem – on Microsoft Azure. The deployment took four hours, demonstrated superior performance to Talentpay’s previous solution and showed that it would take less effort to maintain.

“With the Microsoft Azure solution, we knew that it would reduce our overall costs and simplify our IT procurement. Also, we had confidence in the platform. With Microsoft Azure, we knew that we were dealing with a reputable service provider who would ensure our core platform was secure and properly backed up,” Mr Vernasca said.

Following the success of the proof-of-concept, XCentral created a production environment in Microsoft Azure for the accounting system in a single day, and executed the migration after a period of parallel testing.

“Migrating our core platform to Microsoft Azure was quick, easy and inexpensive,” Mr Vernasca said. “XCentral planned and executed the migration, after submitting their design for review by Azure experts. When we switched production platforms, we didn’t have a single problem.”

“Our IT bill has halved”

When we speak with organisations about moving their business to the cloud, the common drivers behind migrations are cost reductions, improved reliability, empowering rapid innovation, and enabling growth into new sectors and countries. Talentpay’s use of Microsoft Azure has achieved all these, and many more.

Mr Vernasca said: “Before we switched to the cloud, we spent approximately $2,700 per month on IT, including maintenance. Now, our IT bill has halved, and we don’t have to worry about security, reliability or backups.”

Furthermore, Talentpay’s use of Microsoft Azure means that in the future its new cloud IT infrastructure will not constrain new technology adoption due to its interoperability. Similarly, its constant updates, new features, interfaces, and capabilities can consistently enhance Talentpay’s business capabilities, an area Mr Vernasca said XCentral is helping it to take advantage of.

With cloud, Talentpay also avoids the costs and risks associated with expanding its business locally and overseas, which was one of its objectives in moving to the platform. With Microsoft Azure Talentpay can simply dial up capacity as needed rather than undertaking expensive guesswork in purchasing infrastructure.

Business transformed

“Just a few weeks ago we added a second BCC AdSystems for our New Zealand subsidiary, and there is no discernable latency,” Mr Vernasca said. “When Talentpay opens in Singapore, I know that I can set up a new database in two days at nominal additional cost. With Microsoft, it’s great to work with one IT supplier who takes care of everything, allowing us to focus on our business.”

Twelve months ago Talentpay was a small team in Sydney looking to respond to new market challenges. Yet, by embracing cloud it has not only overcome those challenges, but is expanding into new countries and markets. That is the true power of cloud – whether you are a small business or large international enterprise it has the ability to unlock the true potential of your services in today’s global marketplace.

With our local Microsoft Azure offerings now live, there will be more Australian success stories like Talentpay’s.


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