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November 13, 2009

Elementool, Zoho Offer Combined SaaS Solution: Interview



Software-as-a-service (SaaS (News - Alert)) is may present the greatest opportunity for partnerships. Combined cloud offerings benefit both parties by reducing the time and cost of developing the solutions individually. The benefit of such partnerships ultimately goes to customers because they get a wide range of powerful and cost-effective solutions from a single vendor.
 
The recent partnership between Elementool and Zoho is one of the latest examples of such efforts. Elementool released Elementool Docs by integrating Zoho’s (News - Alert) wide range of applications and features to complement Elementool’s existing suite of integrated SaaS tools.
TMCnet recently got an opportunity to interact with Yaron Sinai, CEO and founder of Elementool, to discuss various aspects of their SaaS offerings.
 
Our exchange follows.
 
 TMC (News - Alert): What is the motivation behind Elementool’s partnership with Zoho?
Yaron Sinai: Elementool strives to provide our customers with a range of integrated project management solutions. Partnering with Zoho let us offer our customers a reliable product that has already been market tested, without the time and cost of developing it ourselves. We probably saved about a year of development by implementing Zoho’s existing document management tool. This allowed us to get a quality, useful, tool out to our customers sooner.
 
TMC: How does Zoho technology complement Elementool’s solutions?
YS: Zoho offers a range of SaaS tools that bring added value to Elementool’s management tools. For instance Elementool Docs, which is adapted from Zoho Writer, lets users attach spreadsheets and documents to the issues they submit in Elementool Issue Tracking.
 
TMC: What are the important applications of Elementool Docs?
YS: Elementool Docs lets users add additional detail to their issues and test cases, making for a more robust and comprehensive project management solution. Also, since Elementool Docs is a product with a very broad appeal, it allows companies to use Elementool across a wider array of business practices and groups. Docs is not only useful with Test Cases and Issue Tracking, but can be used as well to share HR documents, Project memos, NDAs and more throughout a company.
 
TMC: How satisfied are your customers?
YS: We’ve been getting very positive feedback. Customers appreciate not only that they can customize our tools to fit their business processes, but also how easy it is to work with and switch between multiple Elementool tools.
 
TMC: What new offerings do you immediately plan to add to your service?
YS: We’ve just recently released Elementool Docs to our current customers, and are now offering it to new customers as well. We also have several projects and new products in the works, with new announcements coming hopefully in the first quarter 2010.
 
TMC: SaaS is perhaps one of the most dynamic markets in the IT sector. What is your experience over the past one year?
YS: Elementool was founded in 2000, and was one of the first companies (the first in software development project management) to offer hosted software in this business model. We’ve built a dedicated, and growing, client base over the years and have always had plenty of interest in our products. However, over the past year as more companies adopt the SaaS business model, we’ve definitely noticed increased interest in SaaS. Additionally, as the business model becomes more popular, customers are also becoming more educated – we’re getting less questions about security and stability concerns than we did in the past.
 
TMC: What important changes have happened to your SaaS strategy over the past one year?
YS: We have expanded the range of products that we offer our customers. Added new products such as Test Cases and Docs and improved the current products by added additional features based on feedback that we received from our customers.
 
TMC: What is the toughest challenge faced by SaaS providers in general, and Elementool in particular?
YS: A big challenge for the SaaS industry has always been reassuring customers about the safety of their data. As the market place is growing though, vendors are making more of an effort to clearly and concisely explain their security efforts and users are becoming better educated about the potential risks and overall safety of adopting cloud services
 
TMC: How do you overcome this challenge?
YS: Elementool employs a third-party security standards firm to monitor and inspect our systems for vulnerability to security breaches. We’ve made an effort to inform our customers of this, and other measures, and have received positive feedback as a result. Elementool used different security measures to protect its customers’ data and offer additional security. We are also PCI (News - Alert) compliant.

Rajani Baburajan is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Rajani's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Marisa Torrieri


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