SaaS customer relationship management tools for organizing and tracking sales contacts, tasks, and deals
Needs an affordable, scalable infra- structure; small team has to focus on customer-facing products; demands stability, support, and security that its customers require 24/7
Ability to focus on core business; easy integration of new features; peace of mind due to round-the-clock support; cost-efficiency on a scalable infrastructure
KarmaCRM is a startup providing SaaS customer relationship management (CRM) tools that allow users to organize and track sales contacts, tasks, and deals. KarmaCRM founder John-Paul Narowski decided to create the company after founding his own web development firm and working as VP of Sales there, an experience that alerted him to the demand for a simple, easy-to-use CRM application.
KarmaCRM’s clean, user-friendly interface conceals a complex and powerful backend built entirely on the Rackspace Cloud. An array of Rackspace services have saved KarmaCRM time and money, allowing Narowski and his team to focus on growing their business rather than managing infrastructure.
AFFORDABLE, SCALABLE INFRASTRUCTURE
When it came to hosting options, KarmaCRM needed an affordable, scalable infrastructure that wouldn’t siphon man-hours away from the development of the company’s core offering. As a cloud-based service, KarmaCRM needed a host with stability and support in order to guarantee its customers the same. These considerations led Narowski to build KarmaCRM on Slicehost, and his satisfaction with the service kept him loyal during the migration to the Rackspace Cloud.
For startups like KarmaCRM, cost-efficiency is a major factor in staying competitive. “As a small company, I need to leverage all the affordable technology I can,” explains Narowski. “The cloud both provides a strong backbone to my services and allows me to compete with the big boys with large technol- ogy budgets. By leveraging Rackspace cloud offerings, we gain access to a wealth of services that we couldn’t afford to create or manage in-house.”
Narowski takes advantage of numerous Rackspace services, including hosted email, to save money and free up his team’s time. “It’s far too easy to fall into the trap of doing everything in-house and waste your IT talent managing email servers instead of growing your business,” he says. “Our business is CRM, not IT, and everything we can do to help keep that in the forefront helps us remain lightweight and competitive.” Rackspace allows KarmaCRM to focus on what it does best, which Narowski describes as “a fusion of the ultra-simple and the ultra-complex.”
KarmaCRM’s complexity is behind the scenes, where its entire infrastructure—from testing and storage to the production app—runs in managed Cloud. They use Nginx as their web server and Phusion Passenger to manage their Ruby on Rails servers. They have a Cloud Server dedicated to MySQL, and they connect to it remotely through their app server.
KarmaCRM doesn’t have a systems administrator to keep an eye on everything, so Narowski counts on managed Cloud to make sure that users have constant access to their data. Rackspace round-the-clock support means that Narowski can have downtime, even if his business can’t. “I operate a cloud-based service that doesn’t allow for any downtime,” he says. “In the event that I’m unavailable, I need to have the peace of mind that my system is covered in the event of disaster.”
Narowski has also been using Cloudkick for cloud monitoring for the last 12 months. “It alerts me to any issues or warnings on my servers,” explains Narowski. “I have alerts set up to allow me to preemptively fix any load-balancing issues my servers might have. The ability for Cloudkick to monitor CPU and memory usage and dynamical spin-up or resize instances is going to be a crucial part of our system stability and automation over the long haul.”
CONSTANT UPTIME AND EASY INTEGRATION
Constant uptime also calls for simple integration of new features, and Rackspace makes testing them beforehand a snap. Narowski says, “To test features before pushing them live, we just spin up a new instance of our app server from a backup and have an environment identical to production in a matter of minutes.”
Even if KarmaCRM could afford a dedicated server, Narowski says they wouldn’t want one. He prefers the Cloud because “security patches are automatically applied, you can scale up or down at a moment’s notice, and you don’t have to worry about a hard drive failing or Internet connection going out. The physical hardware is not something you have to concern yourself with, and Rackspace provides more security than I could get on my own.”
STABILITY, SPEED, AND PEACE OF MIND
Narowski gives Rackspace high marks for service. “So far, the experience has been A+,” he says, “alleviating a lot of pressure we previously felt before switching to a managed, monitored solution. Rackspace gives us all the services and tools we need to ensure our CRM application is stable, fast, and always available to our customers.”
Would Narowski recommend Managed Cloud to other SaaS businesses? “Without question,” he says. “The peace of mind it brings is worth its weight in gold as you are starting up. For web-based software companies without a dedicated sys admin, it’s a no-brainer.”
For more information on using KarmaCRM to manage your customer relationships, visit KarmaCRM.com.
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