It’s no secret that within the IT channel, partners across every tier manage complex data sets, often pulling information and customer data from disparate sources and manually manipulating/analyzing the data to meet specific business needs. Manufacturers and distributors each work with their own operating preferences which can exceed the capabilities of basic solutions built on relational database management systems (RDBMS). As these organizations continue to grow, they will need a robust contract management and quoting solution that can keep up with their business goals and assist in increasing profits.
To meet the evolving demands of our clients, Managed Maintenance built a customizable, multi-tenant management SaaS solution on a NoSQL database that supports dynamic international markets. Complementing the growth of our customers, MMI’s NoSQL solution provides the tools necessary for manufacturers and distributors to effectively manage and normalize their data
Moving contract management from a central database to virtual containers
For several years, MMI employed a central database where customers could upload their business data into a pre-existing contract management and auto-quoting platform. But for some tenants, this was akin to fitting a round peg in a square hole. The rigidity of our previous contract management software made it difficult for certain clients to upload their business logic work into an environment that was not built with their specific needs or preferences in mind.
Because our business is located on the east coast, for example, our contract management and quoting solutions operated on east coast time. This was frustrating for our clients on the west coast who did not want their servers showing a different timezone.
Within a central database, the only thing differentiating multiple tenants is the type of data they store and how they utilize that data. Tenants were sharing the same platform and features as everyone else, creating scalability challenges and driving up server hardware costs. And businesses with different requirements would either have to change their entire business model to continue working within a central database or abandon their server completely.
In order to accommodate and evolve with multiple clients’ dynamic business logic, MMI built a multi-tenant, high-cloud containerization model to better service our customers’ various operations. Unlike a central database, containers provide individual tenants greater modularity and improved speed and resource utilization. Containerization also gives each tenant additional freedom to develop a custom infrastructure that suits their needs, rather than trying to force business processes into a rigid framework.
Virtual containers can be managed as a single, digital system that requires fewer resources to deploy compared to a centralized virtual machine. Not only are containers highly scalable, they’re also cost effective, user-friendly, and can run in any cloud environment without hardware requirements. As a contract management provider, MMI’s ability to offer manufacturers and distributors tools that easily conform to disparate client data serves as a huge competitive advantage.
How MMI developed a holistic SaaS environment for global contract management
In addition to building a structureless contract management and quoting tool with greater flexibility and operational support, MMI had to ensure our solution was easy-to-use and secure for all businesses. From data migration to training teams on new programming language changes, there were several factors MMI needed to address when selling clients on our multi-tenant cloud solution.
- For additional design simplicity and speed, the development team decided to transfer MMI’s existing solution from a relational database management system (RDBMS) to a NoSQL database. Unlike relational models, NoSQL databases typically don’t enforce a particular type of schema and are built to host distributed databases in the cloud. And NoSQL’s ability to handle volatile data growth makes it easy for MMI’s clients to scale their businesses without worrying about cost or sacrificing performance.
- Application security was another area of focus for the MMI development team. User-based access controls limit the visibility of every tenant and designated admins can determine who has access to certain information. Tenants can specify which distributors and resellers can view specific data, protecting company assets and preventing channel conflict. Due to the design of MMI’s contract management and quoting solution, tenants can segment their data to better control information transparency using custom regional filters and user profiles.
As more and more operations move to the cloud, companies will need to embrace solutions that support rapid innovation and bottomline growth. Manufacturers and distributors are quickly learning off-the-shelf solutions often lack the customization these organizations need to support their global supply chain operations. With the customer’s need for personalization top of mind, MMI’s multi-tenant, cloud-based solutions are designed to ensure businesses remain competitive and agile regardless of how quickly they scale.