Cloud Requires a Change in Thinking

Online distributor Zoro Tools shares its concerns about SaaS platform and lessons learned from implementation.

While software-as-a-service platforms have gained in popularity over the last couple years, there are still concerns about how much these platforms can handle.

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"Did we have concerns? We had a lot of concerns," said Yugo Kanazawa, president of Zoro Tools, in a recent MDM Webcast. Zoro Tools, a fast-growing start-up with an entirely online sales model, was featured in Leveling the Playing Field: A Cloud Computing Case Study.

Would the system be able to handle the high volume of products – 250,000 – that Zoro would have available to customers? Was the system secure? And was it compatible with a parent company that was operating on a traditional ERP platform?

While no company on the SaaS platform at the time came close to matching Zoro's offerings, Zoro spoke with companies who had 80,000 products available and was told there had been no problem. Security audits were available to address that concern. And evaluation of the information that would be in the master database showed there would be no issue between the different platforms.

Starting a business on a SaaS platform required a mind shift of sorts. "It's definitely a change in the way you think about things," Kanazawa says. "When you're a start-up, you can't really plan for everything."

But, the SaaS platform actually made unexpected events easier to manage, he says. "The first day we went into operation we changed a lot of things … and we were able to accommodate really quickly given the flexibility of the SaaS."

Traditional ERP platforms wouldn't allow the same level of agility that Zoro found it needed in those early days.

"Given that we are constantly learning and trying new things, this is a much better infrastructure for us," Kanazawa says.

Watch a clip from this webcast below to hear more about how Zoro Tools dealt with its concerns about the software-as-a-service platform. Interested in hearing more? Download this free 60-minute webcast.

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