Intuit QuickBase supports advanced IT with apps available on any device, any network
When your stated goal is to build "the most advanced IT in the world," people are going to expect results. At Ceva Sante Animale, the results of moving to a "Beyond the Cloud" IT strategy speak for themselves. Not only has overall IT spending dropped since 2008, but every core business application at the company is available from any device, on any network - no hardware restrictions and no VPNs.
Intuit QuickBase plays a key role in Ceva's advanced IT strategy. With 1,300 users and 120 active apps, QuickBase is the second-most used technology at the company, behind only the email system. CIO Francois Tricot says QuickBase enables Ceva's IT team to meet its cost and availability objectives while delivering business apps in days, not months.
"I have invested in platforms that allow me to go from idea to live in just days. QuickBase is a master at that," says Tricot.
From 25 QuickBase users to 1,300
Ceva first adopted QuickBase in 2008, just after Tricot was hired as CIO. At the time, the leader of a business unit in the UK had already selected an on-premise provider for a new CRM application. However, the business leader changed his mind after Tricot demonstrated how QuickBase could solve the same problem more quickly and without a costly implementation process. The business leader saw that an online solution that could be customized without coding could more easily adapt to changing requirements and deliver better productivity.
"I opened the account on a Friday, and on Monday the decision was made to go with QuickBase," says Tricot.
That first application started with around 25 users. Since then, QuickBase has been the launching pad for hundreds of applications, of which about 120 are currently active in several functional areas:
- Ceva built Customer Relationship Management (CRM) apps on QuickBase for sales and support teams in more than 20 countries.
- Call logs stored in QuickBase application
- A QuickBase app provides data to a public-facing website through the QuickBase HTTP API. Users can find and map directions to providers using certain Ceva products.
- Supply chain professionals use a QuickBase app to report shortages. The need for this app was identified during an emergency shortage, and the app was built and deployed to 40 countries within one week.
- An inventory risk management app helps supply chain professionals keep products moving to avoid running into critical life expectancy deadlines.
- All jobs and candidate information are synced between a QuickBase app and a public-facing website.
- Several countries use QuickBase apps for payroll reporting and performance appraisals.
- Quality Control professionals rely on a QuickBase application to manage information about test samples
Research and Development
- QuickBase enables research and development with portfolio management and project management apps
- Ceva has enabled several administration tasks via QuickBase, including workflow for capital expenditures, product lifecycle management, master data descriptions, insurance, and risk management.
- Ceva uses a QuickBase app to store and manage marketing authorizations worldwide for all products.
The success of these applications has contributed to the success of Tricot's overall IT strategy, which he calls "Beyond the Cloud." The focus of the strategy is to capture the power of mobility and the internet to create an corporate IT that is indistinguishable from consumer IT. The goal is to build an IT infrastructure that is both the most advanced in the world and the least expensive.
As a platform, QuickBase enables rapid application development at Ceva. Tricot's team has the skills and technology to build quickly, and QuickBase is integrated with Ceva's provisioning and identity management systems. The result is an IT team that can bring new apps to life far more quickly than with traditional IT development processes.
"QuickBase helps me deliver, in a matter of days or weeks, applications to users according to their needs. The classic development process takes about six months to finish anything, if not a year. If I do that, I lose my job because the users would not be happy with the service they're getting from IT," says Tricot.
Tricot's focus on user satisfaction extends beyond the speed of app delivery. He resists the traditional top-down corporate approach, instead allowing work groups to select and adopt their own solutions through an internal app store. From there, employees can navigate through hundreds of available applications - including more than 100 QuickBase apps - and implement the right solution for their group.
Adopting internet-enabled technologies frees Ceva's IT team to focus on delivering new solutions, not troubleshooting remote connection problems. It also boosts user satisfaction, says Tricot, because IT can now support a wide variety of device types to meet users' needs. Ceva provides laptops, smartphones, and tablets (depending on a user's needs), but does not restrict access to company-issued devices. Employees are free to access applications from their own devices also.
"They can use Mac, PC, Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, Microsoft Surface, Windows Phone - whatever they want. The people decide. They don't have a master anymore," he says.
Advanced IT strategy pays off
Since implementing the "Beyond the Cloud" strategy in 2008, Ceva has reaped the benefits. Overall IT spending is down 30% in that time - and is 40% lower than the IT spend at Ceva's two closest competitors (according to Gartner benchmarks) - yet Ceva's IT is able to deliver business applications faster than ever. Most importantly, QuickBase has contributed to an IT infrastructure that takes full advantage of the scalability and flexibility of internet architecture.
"My IT is available everywhere. And when you build a QuickBase app, it's available everywhere. Any network, any device - it works," says Tricot.