Tradebridge is the leading South African value-added transaction switch, providing solutions to enable immediate, secure and reliable messaging between organizations that support financial transactions. The company consists of three group members: Healthbridge, Sureswipe and DCM Group.
Through a powerful range of products and services that Tradebridge has pioneered, it has saved the South African healthcare industry over R1 billion ($77M) a year in operational efficiencies.
After migrating from on-premises hardware to a cloud platform, the user experience deteriorated
Application latency affected productivity
Enable collaboration and improve performance
Riverbed® SteelHead™ SaaS for optimized cloud performance
Until recently, Tradebridge relied on a traditional client-server set up, which, although fast, was unreliable. For example, the electricity supply in South Africa is not guaranteed, which can disrupt availability and if the air conditioning that is necessary for computing centers fails, it can take weeks to get fixed. This was having a pronounced impact on productivity.
“We used to have a file server, Exchange server and project server all of which were dependent on the stable supply of electricity. As a result, we experienced occasional downtime,” explains Elize Neethling, Head of Group Information Security and Technology, Tradebridge. “Given the nature of our business is connecting healthcare professionals, that was unacceptable.”
Moreover, the company provides its own solutions to doctors and hospitals via the cloud, so it felt it should be setting a good example in embracing cloud platforms. This led it to migrate its 400 users in four offices to Microsoft® SharePoint and Microsoft Office 365 on Azure cloud. However, despite a smooth transition, there were implications from a performance perspective.
“With on-premises equipment, the user experience was quick, however, following the migration to the cloud, a lag in performance appeared, and users were confronted with a spinning blue wheel,” adds Neethling. “Unsurprisingly and understandably, they were quick to complain: how is slower better?”
The company evaluated the market and found that asking ISPs to solve the problem would be prohibitively expensive. Instead, it worked with local partner, Datacentrix, to find a solution. Datacentrix is an ICT solutions provider and was already providing Tradebridge with various hardware. Together, they undertook a number of PoCs and completed technical evaluations. Tradebridge found that Riverbed® SteelHead™ SaaS ticked all the right boxes.
“Having the service under my control rather than an ISP makes it less expensive,” continues Neethling. “Moreover, once we started the PoC and I saw the results on paper, it was clearly the right choice.”
SteelHead offers industry leading secure optimization of all applications, across hybrid networks to users everywhere so Tradebridge can leverage global resources and access applications and data from anywhere - all while reducing the cost of running the business. SteelHead SaaS is an integrated, purpose built, end-to-end scalable solution that accelerates SaaS application delivery to and from the cloud. Tradebridge can now start optimization for SaaS applications with a simple license activation—any physical or virtual SteelHead solution already deployed can quickly be enabled and service availability is instantly increased based on user demand.
“Riverbed worked with our local partner, Datacentrix, to deliver the project on time via detailed planning. The implementation really was surprisingly easy,” comments Neethling. “We have recently renewed our license after the first year.”
Now the issues with latency have been eliminated and, as a result, user experience has improved. The deployment is also a demonstration of how the company is embracing the cloud and enabling its employees to become engaged endorsements for the new approach.
“We are in the process of articulating our new vision of becoming a fully digitalized cloud company and this is an example of that,” says Neethling. “Riverbed underpins that cloud platform to ensure optimal performance. When we had a problem with telephony and had to switch the Riverbed platform off, I was swamped with complaints. Now that does not happen anymore.”