Thought Leadership

Manufacturing Use Case – Cantactix

Client Overview:

Cantactix Solutions Inc., leading experts in Category and Space Management processes and applications, delivers JDA Category Management consulting, upgrades installations and hosting solutions to major retailers and the CPG companies who supply them. Clients are across the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom and South America. Established in 2009 as a virtual software
company, Cantactix consistently stays ahead of the technology curve to enable clients to direct more funds and resources to project results.

Challenge:

Cantactix’s solutions are delivered to many different clients that have different platforms, servers, access points, security requirements – single sign on (SSO) and regular sign on (RSO), levels of connectivity, levels of automation, and customization needs. Client hosted or outsourced server access among clients, made it difficult for Cantactix personnel to update, customize, add-on, and upgrade software for end users in a timely manner. Opportunities to add-value were shackled by server run program changes and minimally integrated infrastructures. The Cantactix team was frustrated by the lack of agility, slowness to scale, poor client access, and poor user experience they knew was being passed on to clients. Management recognized Digital Transformation was necessary to improve value and services for clients and requested proposals from Cloud Service Providers over the past 2 years. Quotes to transform the business model to include the Cloud, were cost-prohibitive and security concerns were unalleviated.

“Third Octet took the time to understand both our technical and business needs and responded immediately by developing and implementing a Proof of Concept showcasing a heavy traditional application and moving it to the Cloud. They took the time to educate us around networking and connectivity so we understood the design and implementation. Turnaround time for design, testing and implementation was lightning speed. They helped us demo the Proof of Concept with a major client, a global toothpaste manufacturer. Their ability to assess, design and deploy to meet our business goals and our clients’ business goals was an approach we had not experienced. Prior to Third Octet, the Cloud was this Big Scary Monster.

Dan Desmarais, President , Cantactix

Solution:

Third Octet’s Collaborative Cloud Solution assessed Cantactix clients’ customized environments, servers and resources and built them net new for centralized, self-contained access per client. Existing servers and resources required by clients were simply integrated into the centralized, self-contained settings. Citrix Netscaler was implemented to accommodate for different platforms and user sign-on requirements while ensuring the highest level of security. Security was centralized using de-centralized authentication by using clients’ Single-Sign On (SSO) authentication. This enabled control of access for improved customer service, add-ons, customization and speedy response time. Microsoft Cloud based centralized environments provides for the ability to launch new and scale existing environments for clients in real-time to accommodate business growth. All new environments were created while regular business continuity was underway. Dan Desmarais described the implementation as “Changing the engine while the plane is in the air”.

Matthew Metelsky, CTO on Third Octet’s Solution:

When the Cantactix team approached us with their requirements – an agile cloud infrastructure to support Software as a Service – our first step was to conceptually validate the use of Citrix tech, followed by extensive design through all architectural options (Citrix Cloud, XenApp Essentials, and CSP). In the end, we designed an Azure-based platform, modelled as a Service Provider architecture, including a shared connectivity plane hosting NetScaler appliances and tenant isolation zones for XenApp-based app delivery. To simplify identity management, Federated Authentication was employed to permit clients to leverage their own/existing identities for access to the Cantactix Cloud.

We found the architecture and approach of the Cantactix Cloud best aligned to business requirements of not only
Cantactix but their clients as well, allowing cost effective delivery of applications while maintaining high security
and infrastructure agility.

Results:

Dan Desmarais, President of Cantactix, speaks to the results

For us, this digital transformation has re-engineered our business. It moved us from a services consultant to an agile services provider. We now deliver new environments and software improvements 5 to 6x faster at a global scale. And Disaster Recovery as an issue has disappeared. Now we deliver a better user experience for clients, anywhere, on any device. and most significantly, we have added monthly recurring revenue to our revenue portfolio.

For our clients, there is a much better user experience, anywhere, anytime on any device. Access to centralized data is more efficient and faster. They are delighted with the speed of production for account teams for increased store resets and forecasting opportunities with fewer resource and capital expenditure requirements. Because of this new flexibility to scale environments, clients are requesting our new model across all of their geographical locations. To minimize downtime risk, Third Octet manages our access points, hosting, security, and backups so we can focus on providing business applications to our customers.

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