Azure empowers local technology company to offer its new cloud products to a bigger global audience

In part three of our series profiling innovative Australian software companies, we sat down with Dean Sappey, CEO and Co-founder of DocsCorp, a Sydney-based software company that is passionate about productivity. DocsCorp have made a strong investment in the cloud and they expect it to pay dividends in the form of a five-fold growth in the next five years.

Q: First and foremost, I’m keen to find out what gets you out of bed in the morning as a CEO and Co-founder. What are you most passionate about?
I run a software company helping document management professionals – people who create and deal with volumes of documents daily, but document management is not my passion. I don’t think it’s anyone’s, on the surface it’s about as unsexy as it comes. However, what I am passionate about is efficiency, transforming the way businesses work and helping them achieve more. And that’s what we do at DocsCorp, I’ve been able to marry my passion for efficiency with my deep understanding of technology to empower document professionals to achieve more. And that’s pretty exciting to me.

Q: You started DocsCorp 14 years ago. Can you talk to me about the journey so far?
A: We started DocsCorp in the early 2000s after a realisation that legal professionals and other workers who dealt with large volumes of documents were spending hours and hours of their valuable time manually managing documents. By managing, I mean things like going through major contracts line-by-line to find anomalies and changes or manually searching PDFs on a server to find the right one. We knew there had to be a better way and being passionate about technology, we turned to tech to find the answer.

Since we started we’ve grown significantly across a number of industries. With technological advancements, headlined by the cloud, we’ve been able to open offices and serve customers in all major industries around the world. In fact, today we have around 4,000 customers, 80% of whom are located overseas.

Q: So what was the answer to the document management problem that your customers were facing?
A: Let’s start with compareDocs, one of our hero products. In essence, compareDocs looks at the differences in documents from one version to another. It covers a range of document types including comparing Word docs to PDFs which is something quite unique in the market place. There is a strong demand in the legal industry for comparing contracts, in accounting for managing tax returns and in virtually any corporate environment.

Today, we launched compareDocs cloud, which will be running on Microsoft Azure via an Office Add-in enabling us to deliver that same functionality via the cloud. This allows any person, whether they are at work, or on the move with their mobile device in hand to run compareDocs. So not only is the cloud exponentially broadening the places where work can be done, it is also doing so at a price point that makes the technology available to a huge number of people and businesses, not just the major enterprises.

It’s a real disruptor in the industry and the only complete document comparison solution available in the cloud.

Q: What’s the feedback been like?
A: Feedback from both current and potential clients has been extremely positive. A big proportion of our customer base is in the professional services industry. For these guys, time is literally money, and by being able to install compareDocs cloud via one click on the Office Add-in and then compare contracts which can be hundreds of pages long with another click, they are able to spend more time on higher-level consulting services.

It’s also opened up entire new markets for us as the sheer simplicity of installing the solution removes the barriers to entry that existed before the partnership with Microsoft Azure and Office 365.

Q: In what other ways are you making document management more efficient?
A: contentCrawler is another one of our key products. It’s an application that looks for documents that are not typically searchable. Whether it be a JPEG or PDF or another image-based file, contentCrawler searches any document management system such as SharePoint and converts images to text using OCR technology.

The solution also compresses the documents and inserts them back into the document management system, enabling users who access the system later to search the files without running contentCrawler again.

For context, we estimate that somewhere between 30%-50% of files in any given document system are unsearchable.

contentCrawler is available to customers through the Azure Marketplace. Users simply select the application and it will start running via Azure, at a much lower cost than if they were to deploy it locally. The tool simply needs to be directed to the set of documents to be searched and it will work its magic.

Azure Marketplace was crucial in creating a seamless distribution channel, delivering the product, preconfigured, ready to deploy and use instantly.

Q: What role has Microsoft Azure played in taking your customers on this cloud journey with you?
Azure provides a whole set of tools that are simply not available on other cloud platforms. Firstly, with Azure’s global footprint our customers are secure in the knowledge that their data will be residing in-country or at least in-region.

Azure also gave us a unique selling point that we can tie in the licensing of our products with the user’s own enterprise domain set up, using Azure Active Directory. This means we can say to an enterprise, “We will license this product for you”, and they can automatically push it out to all of their users through the integration with an active directory. It makes deployment incredibly easy for both us and the customers.

Microsoft also has a stellar reputation for security which is something of utmost importance to our customers. The security and encryption systems that Azure provides are absolutely imperative for those customers that operate in the public sector or major corporations.

Lastly, given that Microsoft Office and Office 365 are the applications used on desktops, and increasingly on tablets, by delivering the product via the Office Add-in store we are able to deliver the technology to an extremely wide potential customer base. We didn’t even consider Google Docs, partly because our customers simply aren’t using it but secondly, it doesn’t give us the ability to connect our applications into the word processing application. This is a crucial point for us.

Q: Would it be safe to say that the cloud is going to be the major vehicle of growth for your business?
Microsoft Azure and the delivery of products through the Office Store and the Windows Store allows us to deliver technology to a much wider audience without needing to deploy large sales teams across the globe. So without needing to significantly invest in expansion we are still able to reach new markets via the cloud. Our products are much more compelling because they’re accessible directly from interfaces they are familiar with.

We expect our business to multiply at least five times over in the next five years in terms of revenue and client base, and a significant part of this can be attributed to the cloud. In fact, we expect the cloud to be our single biggest driver of revenue moving forward.

Q: So what’s next for DocsCorp?
With both contentCrawler and compareDocs available in the cloud starting today, we are anticipating a period of rapid growth. We expect to gain customers in new verticals, of different sizes and from countries and regions we have not yet dealt with.

compareDocs cloud is available as an Office Add-in. Download a preview from the Office Store.

contentCrawler is available on the Azure Marketplace. Download the VM to run a free 48-hour audit of your document management system.



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