LANSA launches cloud-first PIM software with Google Cloud Platform

Software maker LANSA wanted to take the Product Information Management (PIM) software sector to the cloud with an affordable SaaS version of SyncManager, a complement to its widely used enterprise PIM application. However, it didn’t want to go into the infrastructure business, and it didn’t want to break the bank.

Disrupting the market

Big companies have long relied on LANSA’s on-premises PIM software to reliably organize and manage the myriad pieces of data connected to their vast product lines, from size to packaging to price. And as cloud-based software started gaining acceptance, LANSA’s CEO Martin Fincham saw a golden opportunity to broaden the market. His idea? Wean small and medium businesses off spreadsheets with an inexpensive and easy-to-use SaaS solution.

“Think of it as the PIM version of what Salesforce did with CRM,” Fincham says.

Making a bold move like this required the company to completely rebuild its app as a SaaS product with a low enough price tag to appeal to smaller companies. “We wanted to use a ‘freemium’ pricing model that lets companies kick the tires on the software for free,” Fincham explains. “For this to work, we needed a development and hosting solution with a really good price point. At the same time, we needed a solid PaaS that could support a B2B application.”

“Ridiculously” simple development

Fincham and his team spent a year evaluating vendors such as, Azure and Amazon Web Services before choosing Google Cloud Platform. LANSA chose Google Cloud Platform for its affordability, reliability and performance. “The idea that you can write something in Java and throw it into App Engine and it just works was ridiculous, but that’s been exactly our experience,” he says.

The team spent two years developing the software, which Fincham says was a far simpler process than building and maintaining a proprietary on-premises system. SyncManager runs on Google App Engine, and LANSA also uses Google Compute Engine for areas that don’t need to scale automatically, such as the secure communications gateway for sharing product data with company partners. lansa-sync-manager-image

Launched in June 2015, SyncManager gained 820 customers in just four months. “With our traditional product, it took us 10 years to get to 300 customers,” says Fincham. “It’s a very different financial customer profile, but in terms of relative adoption and interest, we’ve been blown away by the response.”

Powering a whole new line of business

App Engine’s automatic scaling feature handles LANSA’s rapid growth without a hitch. “Our users have created about 130 million product entities at this point,” Fincham says. “It’s quite a lot of data, and App Engine’s performance has been absolutely linear and consistent.”

He also appreciates the fact that Google Cloud Platform cuts considerable capital expenses from the budget and planning from his schedule. “With Google Cloud Platform, we can keep the pedal down on sales and marketing and promote the heck out of SyncManager without thinking about capacity planning,” he says. “As a CEO I can’t tell you how refreshing and incredible that is.”

In fact, Fincham looks at Google Cloud Platform as a crucial strategic tool for his business. “This is ultimately about sales revenue rather than saving money,” he says. “Google Cloud Platform is fundamentally powering a whole new line of business for us that has the potential to disrupt the entire sector.”