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Building A SaaS Business On The Cloud

This is a guest post written and contributed by Scott Yancey, CEO and co-founder of Cloudwords, a Rackspace Cloud customer that offers a SaaS-based translation management automation solution.

Cloudwords is a 100 percent cloud-based application developed to enable customers to manage their translation and localization processes more quickly, easily and cost-effectively. Prior to founding Cloudwords, I was at salesforce.com helping to architect the most scalable, cloud-based CRM platform – as such, my roots are firmly planted in cloud technology, and I feel strongly that Cloudwords’ entire hosting environment run completely in the cloud.

Our application empowers customers to streamline their localization and translation processes with a specific focus on the four core pillars of executing projects: flexibility, accountability, communication and efficiency. The Cloudwords application simplifies and accelerates all phases of the translation process for any content a company needs to take global. Centralized project management and workflow automation allow for easy collaboration, timely project reviews and approvals, easy payment processes and more. Our online vendor marketplace allows customers to submit projects for bids, get quotes and select pre-qualified translation service providers. We also host key multilingual assets for our customers, like Translation Memory and glossaries. And a cloud-based service also means customers can manage translation projects across teams anytime, anywhere in the world and from any device.

We’ve been a Rackspace customer from the start. We researched hosting options and immediately eliminated the idea of a traditional data center. We wanted the cloud – we wanted elasticity without all of the cabling and overhead. We chose Rackspace for two key factors: Rackspace is a specialist and its SLAs are iron clad. Moreover, from day one Rackspace has been a hosting company, and we wanted the reliability and dependability of a pure hosting provider. With the Rackspace Cloud, we get both.

For Cloudwords, our reliance on the cloud is all about speed and agility. Within hours we can deploy and provision servers to accommodate any issues. What was once a multi-week or months-long process can be done swiftly. It’s capacity and capability on demand. As a SaaS business with a variety of customers ranging from high-tech startups to global enterprise organizations, our needs could change at any moment, so the ability to add capacity on-demand is a huge advantage.

Another key benefit of the cloud for us is flexibility. While costs are generally a driver to make the move to the cloud, ours wasn’t due to budgetary concerns. It was the business benefits: the speed to market and the performance made the cloud an obvious choice.

We currently use a blend of Rackspace Cloud Servers, Cloud Files, Load Balancers, Databases and MongoDB. We host all of our servers in the Rackspace Cloud. We’re a broker between customers and their translation service providers, and we store that content in Cloud Files and metadata in MySQL.

The cloud model has helped Cloudwords fulfill our vision of creating what we call the “global content cloud.” Global companies produce huge amounts of content, and only the cloud can handle the scale, collaboration and workflows required to manage the creation and delivery of translating all that content. Cloudwords has become the hub of the global content cloud through which APIs, CMS platforms and all the systems where content is created, stored or shared, connect and integrate with each other. Our application has revolutionized the way companies translate and deliver content on a global scale. And we run it all on the cloud.

Ultimately, our Rackspace infrastructure has contributed to Cloudwords’ success in growing our user base by approximately 50 percent and utilization rates by about 40 percent in the last quarter. Now, more than 100 enterprise customers use the Cloudwords platform to increase the speed and efficiency of localizing their content, messages and products to reach global markets faster, including customers such as McDonald’s, Marketo, Honeywell, Groupon, Shazam and VeriSign, among others.

For us, the cloud was the obvious decision. We’ve seen no negative performance issues; we can be nimble and quick. Really, for any SaaS company, I’d recommend the cloud for TCO, scalability and agility. Customers don’t have to invest in costly and bulky IT infrastructure upon which to run software; customers can sign up and start using a cloud-based SaaS offering immediately, and new product features and updates are delivered automatically. In my mind, a well-designed cloud-based application offers immeasurable benefits.

About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by Scott Yancey.

Scott Yancey was a key architect on the salesforce.com platform and applications, and his technical leadership and expertise helped grow salesforce.com from 2,000 customers to an industry titan with 77,000 customers and $1.5 billion in annual revenue. His experience on the R&D frontlines during both the earliest and most explosive growth phases of salesforce.com forged a unique set of technical skills, best practices and historical knowledge. His roles included architecting and delivering mission critical areas of the salesforce.com service and he provided technical leadership at both the team and organizational level. He has 9 patents pending from his tenure at salesforce.com.

Scott graduated cum laude from Santa Clara University in 1999 with a degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Neuroscience. Prior to joining salesforce.com in 2001 Scott performed functional MRI research for a Neuroscience lab at New York University.


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