"With RAS we can do more with less. We can scale the company without the need to grow in IT management because RAS helps us automate and optimize that significantly."
Spindlemedia Incorporated is an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) based in Texas. They produce tax collection software for local government. The state of Texas does not collect income tax. To produce revenue, each of the 240+ counties conduct an audit on residential and commercial properties and then creates new tax notices to collect upon. This is an annual exercise.
Since 2000, Spindlemedia’s software has been instrumental for many Texas counties because its automation removes the guesswork and most of the manual labor of tax collection. Their suite of applications calculates taxes owed and then sends out notifications to homeowners, in addition to a plethora of other capabilities.
Thanks to Spindlemedia’s integrated accounting systems, taxes are collected and distributed to the county, city, or school district—all behind the scenes.
The ChallengeCan moving to the cloud enable speedy onboarding for new customers while reducing management overhead?
Spindlemedia was looking for:
- A fast-scaling solution
- Seamless client onboarding process
- Easy workspace management
In 2017, Spindlemedia’s software was a solution used by 20 of the 240+ Texas counties.
Scaling quickly proved to be problematic since their software was on-premises only. Onboarding new clients was laborious and required extensive overhead; servers needed to be purchased and built, which then had to be shipped to the client. Moreover, they had to ensure the servers were set up properly at the client’s site.
Because of this heavy lifting, they decided to test their solutions on the cloud (using Azure Virtual Desktop). During the testing phase, they found that workspace management was still an issue.
Mark Gould, Chief Technology Officer at Spindlemedia, conducted extensive research.
Microsoft Remote Desktop was a consideration but wasn’t a good fit because Spindlemedia didn’t want to host a full desktop experience. Their goal was to publish their own applications.
Citrix was also considered but the high cost and complexity were major detractors.
Then Gould discovered Parallels RAS and its powerful remote access capabilities.
The TestWill the combination of Parallels RAS and Azure Virtual Desktop result in seamless and consistent scalability?
A pilot project hosting a customer’s data center on Azure Virtual Desktop was kicked off utilizing the RAS client, and its capabilities were quickly put to the test.
During the pilot, the data center was flooded as a result of Hurricane Harvey. This could have had devastating effects on their business, but because Spindlemedia’s services and software were hosted as a cloud service, productivity was unaffected.
A bonus was that the built-in reporting features within the RAS admin console combined with the Azure Virtual Desktop monitoring tools enabled Spindlemedia to quickly identify resource fluctuations and changes within the environment.
"With RAS, it’s just easier to manage and maintain."
The SolutionSpindlemedia successfully shifted their client base to Azure Virtual Desktop + Parallels RAS
Spindlemedia also noticed that at the height of COVID their competitors were struggling because their software was run on-premises. This meant they couldn’t quickly pivot to a work-from-home-environment.
Eventually, some offices had to shut down and then deal with the backlog months later once teams could return to the offices.
Because Spindlemedia’s offering was on the cloud managed by RAS, their clients didn’t experience any downtime and their productivity remained constant, if not increased.
It was clear—RAS was the tool Spindlemedia needed to shift their full client base from a classic on-premises model to Azure Virtual Desktop.
The ResultAccelerated business growth
By moving to the cloud, opportunity and growth increased exponentially for Spindlemedia. The main benefits they experienced were:
- Reduction in time to market: The 12-month onboarding process was reduced by 83% to just a couple of months. Plus, the pre-sales phase was faster because deploying pilots was almost instantaneous. All these factors contributed to a 37% increase in new business.
- Simplification: RAS offered a simple and consistent environment which made it easy for Spindlemedia to manage existing clients and onboard support staff since everything was in one place. The learning curve was minimal.
- Cost savings: External IT expertise was eliminated as well as needing additional headcount to support customers onsite for installation and maintenance purposes. With less overhead, they could serve more customers.
Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) and Parallels RAS, a clear synergy
In 2022, Spindlemedia added the Azure Virtual Desktop capability to their backend. They continued to utilize the RAS client to access their remote workspace, which provided synergy and undeniable value.
- Seamless device redirection: Printing and scanning, as well as using other peripheral devices like credit card terminals, was simplified.
- Simplified application management: RAS provided an easy-to-navigate folder structure.
- Gradual shift of their full client base: Spindlemedia could publish a small number of less critical applications over to Azure Virtual Desktop while the rest was kept on RDS. This allowed time for evaluation and implementation of feedback to address any issues before a complete roll out.
"Parallels RAS was the solution that enabled us to shift our business quickly and easily from an on-premises, heavy logistics model to a cloud model. We pay one price for the full solution—no extra costs for added features. Adding RAS to our process was the logical step towards achieving scalability."