Migrate and Modernize: PROS SaaS Advantage

Discover the value available when you move away from your on-premise installation to the PROS SaaS Advantage.

About the Speaker

Scott Fisher is a Senior Program Manager at PROS. For the past 13 years, he has been helping PROS customers get the most value and usage from their solutions. Scott has worked with customers in many different industries including medical distribution, energy, airlines, financial services, chemical manufacturing, and logistics. He is currently assisting PROS customers who have on-premise installs to modernize their solutions and shift to the PROS SaaS Advantage – working with both business and technical users to address their specific concerns. Scott is based out of Houston, Texas, and graduated from Rice University with a degree in Electrical Engineering. Scott is a passionate supporter of the Houston Texans and enjoys the incredible food diversity available in Houston.

Full Transcript

Hi, My name's Scott Fisher. I've been with PROS for over 13 years. And in that time I helped customers get great value from their solutions, whether it was an on-premise installation or their SaaS solution with PROS. And today I'm going to talk to you about migration and monetization to the PROS SaaS Advantage. I'd like to first start by asking, what is it you drive today? Is it your most trusted vehicle? Is it one that every noise beep, visual, the alert indicators? You know what all of that means and you can drive it with competence, knowing it's going to get you to your destination in comfort....
You're going to be able to trust that car with everything, but one day, whether you're surfing the internet and you go by and see an ad or you drive by a dealership and you see the latest and greatest, you think "I really like that. I've looked at it and I've done my research and that new car, that's what I want. It's got everything I could ever want. The big screen GPS, the turn indicators that actually will tell you if a car's within your blind spot and prevents you from moving over." All the great safety features, the better performance, everything about it.

And you go into the dealership. When you go in, you don't say, "I love that new car and I want that car right there, but could you do me a favor and bring the upholstery, the rear view mirror and the engine for my old car and put it in the new one?" You wouldn't do that. You want to move straight over to that best newest awesomest, most beautiful new car. What we're talking about here with moving to the PROS SaaS Advantage is a pretty similar thing. You've got a great solution today that you trust and you know will get you where you need to go. PROS SaaS Advantage will do that and even better. It's got all the latest and greatest. So let's get that started on that.

You would not be the first customer to make that move from your on-prem solution. Since 2017, over 24 customers have already made the move and more in PROS SaaS right now. So it's not a first-come. But first off, let's start talking about what SaaS software as a service really is, most specifically at PROS. So starting on the left side from an infrastructure, PROS leveraging Microsoft Azure for our data centers. We believe they're best in class, and they have some great things that tier three, SOC2 data on the left side on the bottom speaks to the security and the stability they have.

Tier three is just one step below military grade security. What it does mean is that today if you were to go to one of the Azure regions and be allowed into the data center where the actual computers are, you have to stand on a scale and be weighed. And then when you leave, you stand on that same scale and are weighted again. They want to make sure you didn't bring anything in and leave it behind. And you're not taking anything out. It's really that high security, not just from a physical point of, but also from the virtual, the internet side of things.

We leveraged that highly to make sure we have a truly stable, and secure system. That center column there is all about where us leveraging the best operating systems, the best database we're on charge of that to make sure that we're providing the full stack solution. Moving to the right side, who better than the vendor of your software to know how to tune it, maintain it and enhance it? And that's really what PROS does. We make sure we're continually monitoring all of our PROS SaaS Advantage customers' environments from a database layer, operating system layer infrastructure, all the way up to the application.

And where we find fixes, they can be applied quickly to our entire solution stack. One key advantage here is we know that full stack. All of our solutions are running by solution on the same underlying environment. For instance, the same database software and operating system. That way there's no odd disparities in terms of which version of the operating system are you on? What database version are you using or what database server itself are you using? We put all this out there on status.pros.com. So our customers can quickly see the environments are up and running and where they stand today.

Supporting all of this is our DevOps model. What DevOps really comes down to is our support engineers are sitting right next to our development engineers right next to our cloud engineers. Dedicated teams that are strictly there to make sure that our PROS SaaS Advantage customers are getting the best solutions. So if an issue does arise or potential an issue arises and we need to make changes to the code, this dedicated DevOps development team can make those changes and we're not impacting the new feature development that our existing development team is doing.

The CloudOps team can be monitoring and if they notice some behavior, they can contact support engineers and develop engineers to see what's going on, what behaviors are leading towards that and what corrective actions do we need to take? It's a full team working together. I said sitting right next to each other. In today's virtual world, they're not all sitting at the same desk, but they are very much a dedicated team that is only working on your solution to make sure it's up and it's running.

Now, the PROS SaaS Advantage is deployed worldwide across over 15 different Azure regions. Each Azure region is actually multiple data centers. For our customers, we're going to have you running on two distinct Azure regions for Azure disaster data, disaster recovery point of view. Those regions are separated by at least 150 miles to make sure that no one disaster can take down the system. As a point of reference back a few years ago, when Hurricane Harvey came through and dumped a massive amount of water on the city of Houston where we are headquartered. And I do mean a lot of water.

Those of us who live in the Houston area were more worried about our kayaks or canoes and our boats to get around. No PROS customer saw any disruption from that water sitting on top of the PROS headquarters. Their systems were up and available, even though the rest of us had to pause. We truly want to make sure that our customers have systems that are available to them no matter what goes on from a disaster point of view.

Most important for and I want you to hear this is that we know that our business is built 100% on our customers trust. Because our customers are giving their most precious data, their customer data, their product data, their pricing, and revenue management data. Some of the key aspects of their business and they're allowing it to go outside of their corporate firewalls. We know that trust can only be earned and retained by making sure we treat it with the utmost respect. We will never forget that this is our customers' data, and we will always embrace those best practices and be transparent about what we're doing.

To that end, we conduct annual audits with our third-party to make sure that we are compliant with these certifications. ISO 27001 and the SOC2 Type 2 certifications along with Cloud Security Alliance compliance are truly focused on making sure that their vendors solution, us, is both documented in terms of the policies and procedures for best practices, for data stability, system security, all of that. And that we're also following our stated policies and procedures.

ISO 27018 and the GDPR compliance are strictly related to data privacy. With today's legislative world in terms of end users rights to have their data be private and control of it, we have to be able to support all of our customers as they interact with their users and their own internal employees. We are fully compliant with all of these and we can provide those certifications on requests if you'd like to see them. I did mention we're running on Microsoft Azure and the slide of their certifications is huge. They have a lot of them. So I just picked off the three key ones.

I talked about ISO 27001 SOC2 Type 2 in terms of how it applies to us. Additionally, I did mention the tier three rating. So it's not just that we say that we have a certification. It's set across the board these are third-party audits that's an independent organization saying "Yes, PROS truly is treating your system and your data with the highest security, the highest stability, the highest quality policies and procedures."

So it's been the infrastructure, it's been security, but it's also the innovation. PROS continues to invest over 30% of our revenue back into R&D. We're putting all of that power, all that muscle into our features. For the last five years, we've been cloud and SaaS first, which means all this investment is going strictly to making sure that our cloud and our SaaS customers are getting the best features. We're always innovating for them. We're innovating with all those patents. Our decades of experience, but probably most importantly for you as an on-premise customer is we're looking at all the implementations we've done worldwide and said, "We know what we did when it was an on-premise, but for the last five years, we've been focused strictly on SaaS implementation."

And making sure that we can do those faster, more efficiently and get you that return right away. So as an on-premise customer, you're at a great starting point. You've already got some great stuff going for you and we can get you to the PROS SaaS Advantage even faster. We can bring that over because we've got the experience and we've helped to enhance our own tools to make sure we can support that. So that's the PROS SaaS Advantage and kind of a higher level.

I want to ask you some questions now about your on-premise solutions. Some things to think about. Today when there are new features made available, how long does it take you to get that upgrade applied to your environment? How quickly can your IT department or your power users apply the upgrade? With the PROS SaaS Advantage, we are continually upgrading our customers across their solutions. So those newest features are available to them as soon as they wish to turn them on.

We're separating the product upgrade cadence from the feature acceptance cadence. Now our SaaS customers can choose to move to features whenever they want to knowing that they're always on the most current version, both from a feature and functionality point of view. But also from a stability and performance enhancement. We're always innovating and you're never going to be stuck using that older cash register.

Looking on another way is today you probably have one or two people that are supporting your system from a DBA point of view or an application administrator. What if that one person steps on a banana, slips, falls and is out for a couple of weeks? And during that time you need something critical done for your system. Can they help you? Maybe not. More immediately is they're probably supporting multiple systems, multiple solutions out there.

Where does your pricing and revenue management system stand in their priority? If they have to apply an upgrade to the database, where does yours get applied across all the other servers? With the PROS SaaS Advantage, it's an entire team, it's that DevOps model I talked about there to support you. There's no one person that a banana can take out. It's an entire team there to support you and make sure that you're always current and your issues are addressed quickly.

Now, one of those really big issues, there's more than just one person is if your system goes down. What if your data center catches on fire? What are your company's stated procedures and policies for recovering your system, the pricing or revenue management system specifically? Where does it stand in terms of priority to come back up? And are there documented steps to make sure that wherever the crash happened or the fire happened that you restored to that same point? Or are you going off of a backup that was taken two, three weeks ago and you've lost all that information?

For the PROS SaaS Advantage, we have disaster recovery procedures documented every month. Part of it is analyzed and addressed to see if there's improvements. Every year at least we conduct an entire DR exercise to make sure that the entire PROS SaaS is actively executed and we know how it's going to happen. We're rehearsing in case of disaster like Hurricane Harvey happens to make sure that you our PROS SaaS customers always have a system available to them no matter what happens.

So really if you want to think about it is on the left side here is the responsibilities for you and your organization to support an on-premise installation. It's making sure that you have the latest and greatest antivirus definitions. That you're current on any additional software licenses for operating system database, other third-party libraries. If making sure your hardware, which as your company continues to grow, does your hardware grow with you? Making sure that you're monitoring all the capacity, the integration, all the disaster recovery, everything I've talked about previously, but it's all there. It's that tip of the iceberg.

Your pricing revenue management solution is supported by a vast infrastructure of other things that you might not even think about, but are very much dependent upon. When you shift to the right side with the PROS SaaS Advantage, suddenly all of that is on PROS. We take care of making sure you have a secure system that's on the latest definition of antivirus and is behind all the correct firewalls and security things. We make sure that the licenses for all the underlying stuff is taken care of. That's on PROS and a SaaS Advantage. We make sure that you have a system that's up and running and all that you have to be concerned with supporting your end users, training them up and making sure that your integrations are dropping data off to the PROS endpoints.

And of course, continuing to do your UI configuration of your business roles. But everything else, all that underlying iceberg is now taken care of by the PROS concierge service. We're really there to make sure that you don't have to worry about it, that we're able to instantly resolve everything for you. It takes the worry off. So making that shift over from an on-premise world into the PROS SaaS Advantage, what's the change that you're going to see, that tactical things? I went back and I looked at all the tickets that our customers opened up with us over the past three years. I looked at the time the ticket was open to the time the ticket was closed.

I separated it by on-premise installations and SaaS solutions. And what I found was that the SaaS-based customers had their tickets result over 54% faster. In fact, it's probably even greater because what I can't take into account is the time it took to diagnose the problem and open a ticket and then following closure of the ticket, how long did it, you actually get that change applied and out to users? So I said, "Well, where does 54% come from? That's a pretty dramatic number." I want to walk you through a scenario so you can see what I discovered.

So in today's on-premise world, you're going to have an issue come up, you're going to detect it, a database error, if something goes wrong on a data load or user reports an onscreen error that pops up. You're going to diagnose it. If you can resolve it yourselves, great. You jumped straight to that green issue resolved box. But in other cases, you're going to reach out to PROS. You'll open a support ticket with us. Our support engineer would get online with you and begin the diagnosis process. They'll ask you for some logs, ask for some data, perhaps do a live meeting to see this issue taking place on your screen and we'll go off and do some work.

Now it's possible that the initial diagnosis in terms of which data or logs we wanted to see didn't really diagnose the actual underlying error and so we come back or perhaps the data that was asked wasn't the exact data that was sent over. Because PROS doesn't have access to your system and in some cases with customers that have third-party IT departments. If now three parties all trying to coordinate across potentially multiple time zones, so this red dotted line that you see on screen is really indicative of the kind of circle and the spin. Because no one can just work on the system together. You have to work through each other's access and each other's knowledge and communication points.

So looking over into the PROS SaaS Advantage, there will still be issues and we will absolutely still resolve them. But what really has changed now is that in most cases with system issues, PROS is going to detect them and begin taking actions before you ever see them. There will still be some cases where you detect an issue and you open up a ticket, but in most of those cases, PROS will have already opened the ticket and began work on it and we can share that with you.

The important thing here is that because the PROS SaaS Advantage is running on a common platform, we know all the underlying bits. We have access to the data, to the logs. We can go right to them and that DevOps model can be engaged, but it's not just a random walks to try and find out what's going on. PROS follows explicit runbooks that says, "When you see this error, here are the steps you need to take to resolve it." In the case of a data loading error, those tips may include reaching out to you the customer to say, "Please resend this file. We detected the error. We'd like to do it and then run it and get it resolved." And other cases. We may not, but we'll notify you that actions have been taken and the system is up and available.

But you notice there's no back and forth here. PROS is able to get right on a system, diagnose it, take the necessary corrective actions, verify the actions are correct, and to get it deployed. So that red dotted line spin versus a straight line through of the PROS SaaS Advantage, you can quickly see that 54% really comes out. Our PROS SaaS Advantage customers are able to have a system that's up and running much quicker and much more available. That's just one change.

Also and you can see this in many of the other outperform sessions, PROS focus from a product point of view has been on SaaS features only and we've historically been making those ones. So your move from your on-premise solution, whether it's a B2B guidance solution or perhaps on the travel side with RMA. There's new features that simply are not yet available to any of our on-premise customers because we've shifted it over. So what's going to change? You're going to have access to a lot more great features.

Again, if you'd like information on your specific solution's new features what's coming, what's available, please attend the other outperform sessions specific to those products. So why stay with PROS? What's there for you? Well, it's really important to think that as I mentioned your existing data log, your existing PROS solution, we're going to leverage that, but we're going to apply all of our learning from implementing PRO SaaS customers to make it quicker. We're going to bring you right over. Importantly, from a technical point of view, those integration points, your data files, your web services. Instead of pointing to an internal server, you can now point to the PROS server.

Your users are going to be aware of the existing PROS usage in terms of our terms, the functionality. And they're not going to see a dramatic change. There's very, very, very little change because you're coming over to a PROS common platform. And the support and user definition point of view, it's all that same thing. It's PROS connect. It's PROS University, it's all those of these things. It's existing things. So staying with your on-premise solution coming to PROS means we're going to get you quickly there. Looking elsewhere, you're going to have to take a whole lot more changes. Let's get you quickly onto the PROS SaaS Advantage.

Now for those customers I talked to you about earlier that many have made changes. I want to talk about some of the things that they saw that were improvements and changes in their life that came about that were really great. As I mentioned with that guidance slide, our customers coming over are getting access to the latest and greatest science innovations, whether it's in guidance, forecasting, all of that great stuff, we're putting all that innovation into it.

So moving over to the PROS SaaS Advantage has given our customers even better predictions and availability. System availability is also a really big thing. We had a couple of customers that just simply had a system that was hard to keep up and running due to internal things. They now have a system that they moved over to that was always going to be available to them on a stated schedule. In fact, some of our customers have now embraced the ability to support e-commerce. In today's COVID world, e-commerce is becoming more and more important, and you need your pricing solution, your revenue management solution to be able to respond to that much higher volume and much higher dynamic change that is out there in terms of those prices that are flowing.

The PROS SaaS Advantage includes the entire PROS platform that will enable you to turn on if you so desire that e-commerce capability. Something you simply couldn't do without massive re-architecture on your existing on-premise solution. Some of our customers were engaging third-party IT departments to provide their support capabilities. That now that relationship with that other vendor can be focused on other ones and your PROS SaaS solution can be focused to just this. So this is really where that support ticket resolution and upgrade cadence come right off the table and something PROS is able to provide a better single point of context for anything that comes up with no time zone disparities, that enhance performance.

Because PROS is now running their solution on an explicit platform that is tuned and tweaked to the PROS solution to make sure that it's always running at the highest availability. They can do more pricing than they ever did before. Instead of pricing just a few product categories at a time, reprice the entire catalog and know it's going to be done on time, so you can move out more efficiently in terms of your pricing. And not just doing all of it, but doing your pricing smarter. Using some of those best in class capabilities what you truly want to be able to have. All those new capabilities are available to you. Our customers have seen these and more when they moved over to the PROS SaaS Advantage.

So what's next? Well, we're excited to talk to you about what we can do for you. So please make sure you reach out to your customer success manager or if you engage with an executive account manager as well, both of them can help you out. Also, if you do have questions, you can visit the migrations to the cloud booth in the PROS showcase during this conference, I look forward to talking to you there. We have some great things we can share and talk with you about on how we can help you make the move over to take advantage of all this great stuff.

One important thing I want to close with is if not just that we're running across a whole bunch of cores with memory and massive amounts of storage, it's that bottom line there. It's that we've achieved a greater than 99.95% uptime. What does that mean? In just a few hours out of the entire year, across our entire suite, our customers not having their system available to them. It's always up. It's always available. In today's world, having that massive uptime is so important. So it's all these great features, but it's having them available to you.

So thank you very much for your time. I appreciate everybody coming. And if you've visited my booth, I look forward to talking to you. Have a great day.

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