First SAAS Venture

By Debra Donston  |  Posted 2008-03-02 Print this article Print

Shaklee's first SAAS venture was a simple address verification application from StrikeIron. The application was brought in to help Shaklee clean up the addresses in its database and was also intended as a SAAS proof of concept.

"We have over 750,000 members-people who buy our products, and we ship a lot of products," Harris said. "We had a number of addresses in our database that were just, frankly, wrong, so things got shipped to the wrong places. So we implemented an address verification module for one of the things that we were doing, across all the systems that were collecting addresses."

Harris said it took about 60 days-and very little cost-to implement the StrikeIron service.

That SAAS success led to relationships with two other SAAS vendors: RightNow and Visual Sciences.

Shaklee is using RightNow's technology for all its customer interface applications, mass-mail marketing, call centers, telephone order entry and Web knowledge content capabilities. "Basically, the front-end picture to our customers," Harris said.

The company is using the Visual Sciences service, now owned by Omniture, for all its Web analytics, Web search and, most recently, Web marketing presentations. "It's a fully hosted service, so when you do Web search, you end up getting a page that looks just like Shaklee's Web site; it just happens not to be Shaklee's technology," Harris said.

Shaklee then waded more deeply into the SAAS pool by betting its data on the model.

"At the core of any business map, in my opinion, is the data-the database and the data warehouse-because all the apps end up using and sharing the data," said Harris.

Shaklee implemented a fully hosted data warehouse solution from PivotLink, so "at core, our architecture and infrastructure are on a SAAS platform," he said.

It took less than 120 days to implement the PivotLink application, for "low six figures," Harris said. On-premises data warehouses he's implemented in the past have each taken up to two years-with seven-figure price tags-to implement. "[With PivotLink,] we didn't have to buy any hardware; we didn't have to buy any software. We had to negotiate certainly service levels, but we didn't have to build up the expertise and the technology," he said.

Shaklee is also using the Lenos Software on-demand solution for event and convention management, and Virtela's management service for Shaklee's global network. ("They not only provide the network, but they also manage it, down to the router," Harris said.)


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