KS2 set out to help even more clients overcome their business challenges by moving from custom deployments towards repeatable industry solutions.
For KS2, cloud isn’t just another new platform – it has sparked an entirely new way of working.
Cloud enables KS2 to develop and deploy solutions to clients much more rapidly and to build an industry solution set to revolutionize the homebuying process, opening the doors to substantial growth.
faster development of a new industry solution, driving faster time-to-market
acceleration of contract exchange for homebuyers
saved on an integration project
Business Challenge Story
Settings sights on growth
KS2 Technologies has a rich history stretching back over 25 years. Starting out originally as a specialist in reselling and servicing IBM infrastructure, KS2 has rapidly evolved into ERP, middleware and cloud solutions. The company has gradually built up a portfolio of solutions as part of its unique value proposition.
When cloud came along, companies like KS2 Technologies faced a choice: to stick its head in the sand and hope its business didn’t get disrupted, or embrace the change and attempt to capitalize on the opportunities presented. Needless to say, KS2 Technologies chose the second option.
“IBM and IBM Cloud have already helped us reshape and grow our business substantially over the last couple of years, and we are excited to see what we can achieve next.”
Planting new roots
At first, KS2 took advantage of cloud to unlock efficiencies within its existing way of working.
Overnight, the company gained the ability to develop custom solutions and integrations in days or weeks, rather than months. In one scenario, accessing Strongloop via the IBM Cloud enabled KS2 to connect an Oracle JD Edwards ERP system to a database between 80 and 100 hours faster than a hand-coded integration, helping KS2 deliver much faster results to the client.
Building on its initial success, KS2 began to delve deeper into the opportunities presented by cloud, and the results have been remarkable. Not only has the company expanded into the cloud service and cloud integration markets, it has also built its own industry solution set to revolutionize the home-buying process.
The story began when KS2 helped a top 20 US homebuilder manage sales more efficiently by building a Digital Automated Secure Homebuying (DASH) solution using IBM® Cloud services including IBM Liberty App Server, Node.js, Strongloop frameworks, IBM Cloudant®, and IBM Secure Gateway.
Available as a web and mobile application, the solution replaces manual processes and spreadsheets for configuring lots and home plans to suit buyers’ preferences, generating quotes and signing contracts with a slick, automated solution directly connected to the homebuilder’s Oracle JD Edwards ERP system.
With the DASH solution, the homebuilder’s sales agents can quickly configure, price and quote a home for customers and discuss what options they can afford in near real-time.
Once they are ready to sign, the process is streamlined and automated – customers can now sign contracts on the spot in a few minutes using DocuSign, making the home-buying process much faster and easier. The solution also helps the homebuilder to sell more add-ons, boosting margins.
Using cloud, it took us around 8 months to build a prototype of DASH. With an on-premise model, it probably would have taken around 1.5 years, so we saved around 10 months. Some of the IBM Cloud services cut 2-3 months out of the development time. Critically, because we saved time on non-value-added tasks – such as the 1-3 months it takes to acquire and stand up new infrastructure and software tools – we were able to spend more time refining and enhancing the solution to precisely meet the needs of the homebuilder. And when our client requested additional environments for development, testing and Q&A, we were able to deliver them immediately, rather than asking them to wait another 6-8 weeks as we set up new infrastructure.
KS2 also implemented an operational dashboard for the homebuilder built on IBM Cloud, giving the company clearer visibility of how its sales teams are working and where it can improve – a real value-add. Making one client happy was great, but KS2 saw even bigger potential.
We recognized that other homebuilders were likely to be facing the same challenges, and would benefit from a similar solution. We applied our experience and expertise from the DASH implementation at the first client to develop a cloud-based mobile-ready solution for other homebuilders, called HomeSalesOne. HomeSalesOne provides a flexible platform for homebuilders to manage and sell more homes.
With HomeSalesOne, our homebuilder clients obtain real-time feedback on the deals they are closing, and what their margins are, so they can take a more proactive approach to steering profitability. Previously, they had to wait for this information as contracts were wet-signed, sent to the central office and rekeyed into Oracle JD Edwards.
“Because we saved time on non-value-add tasks – such as the 1-3 months it takes to acquire and stand up a new infrastructure – we were able to spend more time refining and enhancing the solution to precisely meet the needs of our client.”
Reaching new heights
As seen in the HomeSalesOne example, cloud has enabled KS2 Technologies to develop its own intellectual property and build industry solutions catering to new clients. Because the HomeSalesOne application is largely repeatable and requires only minor customizations to suit each organization, KS2 Technologies can serve a growing number of clients more efficiently.
Eric Kuefler remarks: “We are transforming our 25-year relationship with IBM, branching out from traditional on-premises sales into recommending IBM Cloud. We tell our clients that if and when they are ready to move off their on-premise IBM technologies and step into the cloud, we are ready to support them.
“At the heart of our transformation lies our partnership with IBM. IBM puts a wealth of world-class technologies at our fingertips, so we can develop solutions tailored to fit our clients’ needs. Through boot camps and other events, IBM also helps us stay at the leading edge of innovation. IBM and IBM Cloud have already helped us reshape and grow our business substantially over the last couple of years, and we are excited to see what we can achieve next.”