Pillar Data System

Case Study - Pillar Data System ( now acquired by Oracle )

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Pillar Data Systems, a computer data storage company headquartered in San Jose, California, developed midrange and enterprise network storage systems. Pillar Data employed 325 people and sold its products to organizations in the financial services, healthcare, government and legal industries. Its primary product-offering was the Axiom platform.Formerly Digital Appliance Storage Systems Israel, Pillar Data Systems was created in July 2001 with funding from Tako Ventures, LLC, the venture arm of Larry Ellison, founder and CEO of Oracle Corporation. University of California Berkeley and Stanford University alumnus Mike Workman founded and later became CEO and chairman of the company. By 2005 it had over $150 million in financing.

The Pillar Axiom product integrated storage area networks (SAN) and network-attached storage (NAS), supporting management of tiered storage on one platform. Axiom supported any combination of iSCSI SAN, Fibre Channel SAN or Network File System (NFS) NAS. Pillar also offered products for Microsoft Exchange Server, Oracle Database, OracleVM, and VMware data.

Pillar directly competed against EMC CorporationHitachi Data SystemsNetApp3PARIsilonCoraidBlueArc and Compellent Technologies in the midrange-storage hardware-industry. Pillar had partnerships with Symantec,FalconStor, and Data Domain for data de-duplication. Pillar also had partnerships with Oracle Corporation and with VMware.

Oracle announced on June 29, 2011, that it would acquire Pillar Data. The acquisition was done with no up-front payment, since Pillar owed Ellison and his affiliates $544 million. The acquisition took effect on July 18, 2011.

Relationship : Development Partner  Duration : 2009 – 2011  Price Range : $40,000 – $60,000

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How did it started?

Looking at the size of the business and different verticals Pillar had, they had given a special focus and investment to promote their web and internet presence. They had several web profiles, websites and web presence for their customers, investors and other potential well wishers. Apart from that to make their routine operations smooth, stable and fast they wanted to build few effective tools, softwares and applications. For task like designing monthly newsletter, designing the press kit for their marketing campaigns, designing the promotional and festive banners for the websites they wanted to have a team of creative designers and developers who are able to get the things done in quick and effective way. Like this, they had several such things where they wanted services like web development, web design, server maintenance, online marketing and consultancy and lot more under one roof. Thus, one fine day in 2009, Mr. Shawn Kummer  - Digital Marketing Manager from Pillar Data System had contacted Multidots and from there we had started to work-together.

How did it grown?

Multidots worked for Pillar Data System alike their “IT Division”. We were responsible to taker care of all their web, design, technical, server, marketing, social profiles and almost every digital and technical needs and requests. In the initial days, we were working on small-small tasks through Elance where they put their assignments and we get it done. After few small jobs, Digital Marketing Manager, Mr. Shawn Kummer were very happy and impressed by our attention and focus to the details, responsiveness, proactive communication and our affordable rates. There was one thing we were lacking behind and that was the Quality of the Work. We had put more efforts and process to improve on quality part which was getting better day by day.

Pillar sales team were using a “Sales Number Tool” for sales forecast and other purpose. The tool was not stable and wanted our team to get through with it and fix the problem and add new features. The tool was small but very complex because they had to manually copy the files from different location to this tool and it was very time consuming. So, we had created scheduled cron jobs and wrote shell script to copy the documents from designer’s computer to this tool server and fixed the bugs and did other improvements for them. Pillar were having their company’s social profile on Ning platform, we took the charge there and helped them to update, upgrade and maintain it. We had helped Pillar to design & HTML for their newsletter which they were sending to their customer on monthly basis. There were few flash cards which we had designed and put effects and animation for them to embed in their web portals. We had also worked on several such kind of small requests like – data entry, video to text transcript, server maintenance, technical support etc that helped them to focus on their business activity and other operations.

Pillar had their another own community network website – Pillar Community which was built in WordPress. The community website was for their customer, staff and other members where they can share their ideas, opinions and questions. We had suggested them to setup BuddyPress on that website to add more social networking features and community enabled capabilities. They agreed and we helped them to revamp their current community website design & features with BuddyPress and added more advanced and effective features which indirectly benefited them to get more credits and increase in brand value and customer satisfaction.

Pillar had few very effective process which they were managing through spread-sheet programs. They wanted to make all such tools web based so that their team can access it from any location and they wanted to make it more stable and useful. We had helped them to convert their excel-spreadsheet process and programs to web based tools. Price EstimatorPillar Power Saving Analyser are few of such tools which we had built for Pillar team to access it securely from web and share the reports through PDF and other ways.

During this time, Pillar management was taking a decision to redesign and rebuild their old corporate business website. Their old website had several pages and resources and complex information architectures. So, they were very conscious and serious to make the new website in such fashion so that SEO ranking of old website should not lost and most important the new design and new structure should be more effective and should help them to get more visitors and conversations. The thought was started to build the new website with either Drupal or WordPress opensource CMS. After careful understanding of their objectives and advantages of WordPress opensource, we had suggested to build the new website in WordPress and they had agreed to our suggestion about WordPress. And then we started to build the new website in WordPress and integrated the new design and new information architecture. The website was ready after 2-3 months of efforts and then we helped them to put the content, videos and other details on their new website. They also had presence in UK, UAE and other parts of the world and had separate website for each. We had helped them to setup this new website for different country with minor modifications.

Conclusion

This way we had worked as “Offshore Development Partner” for Pillar on several projects and helped them to run the business effectively. In Jun 2011, Oracle announced to acquire Pillar Data. During that time, Multidots had worked with Oracle team to make this transition smooth specially the web and internet presence and application and branding redesign. 

Services Offered

Website Development

We had helped Pillar to create & maintain their business website, cloning the business website for UK, UAE and other country, company and CEO blog, company’s micro website etc.

 

Custom Application Development

We helped them to create several business tools like – Price Estimator, Power Estimator Analyser Tool, Sales number tools etc.

Social Media & Community

Multidots built their community website and maintained it for several months, we had also helped them to update and enhance their Ning social profiles.

 

Online Marketing

Multidots was part of their online marketing activity, we had helped them to create many effective tools and application to help them in their marking strategies and plans.

Web & Graphic Design

We had designed their monthly newsletter, marketing campaigns, promotional and festive banners for website, graphic elements for their several tools.

 

Server & Technical Support

Pillar had several websites, applications and tools thus they had many hosting servers and domains. We heleped them to manage their server. We had assisted them 24×7 to make sure their every website and web server functions properly.

 

PROJECTS DONE FOR PILLAR

 

Pillar Corporate Website

Pillar had their business website very old and very difficult to manage and operate. And they wanted to redesign and rebuilt with new information architecture. The old website of pillar had several pages and resources. So, they wanted to rebuild new website to get more visitors, increase reputation and more brand values. The thought was started to build the new website with either Drupal or WordPress opensource CMS. After careful understanding of their objectives and advantages of WordPress opensource, Multidots had suggested to build the new website in WordPress and they had agreed to our suggestion for WordPress. And then we started to build the new website in WordPress based on the new sitemap they have provided. The website was ready after 2-3 months of efforts and then we helped them to put the content, videos and other details on their new website. They also had presence in UK, UAE and other parts of the world and had separate website for each. We had helped them to setup this new website for different country with minor modifications.

Pillar had their own community network website – Pillar Community. Pillar Community was for their customer to share ideas, thoughts and anything about Pillar products and services. Their old website was build in WordPress. We had suggested them to setup BuddyPress on Pillar Community Website to add more social networking features. They agreed and we helped them to revamp their old community website design & features with BuddyPress and added more advanced and effective features. The new Pillar Community had few great features like Forums for customer to discuss about the different products, Groups, Activity feeds etc.
Pillar team were using an excel-spreadsheet program to calculate the power saving of their hardwares. They had created an excel program where they configured few data and based in new inputs tool was updating the values. They wanted to convert this excel program to web based app. We studied their current excel program and built new web based tool that was not only 100% accurate but very effective, advanced and similar like excel program. We had built this tool in PHP and MySQL backend and used jQuery and other animations to make it look more like excel spreadsheet.

 

Pillar Data Systems were using excel spread sheets to generate estimation of their different products like – Axiom 300, Axiom 600, Axiom 600e. They wanted to build a web based tool with user login and role capabilities and very similar interface and usability like excel spread sheets and an option to export the final quotation to PDF. Our team had built the entire tool by learning their complex excel formals that was conjoined with their business calculations and logic. Our new tool had replaced their spreadsheet programs and was 100% accurate in term of calculation and comparison with excel-sheet.
Pillar sales team were using a “Sales Number Tool” for sales forecast and other purpose. The tool was not functioning well and wanted our team to get through with it and fix the problem and add new features. The tool was small but very complex because, the Pillar team had to copy the files from different location to this tool and it was very time consuming. So, we had created scheduled cron jobs and wrote Shell Script to copy the documents, images from designer computer to this tool server and fixed the bugs and did other improvements. The tool was very effective and accurate and saved their time.

 

Pillar’s Feedback

 Understanding requirements, Expert delivery:Pillar Data Systems develops Application-Aware Storage systems for midsize and enterprise organizations. Although Pillar Data Systems had an existing website, our business needs required us to develop a site on a CMS platform to manage our growing business. This resulted in a complex set of requirements for the proposed site. A three phase approach was established. The first phase was to push the sales cycle to the web. The second phase was automate internal processes by linking our products and lead nurturing systems to the web database and creating dynamic SEO friendly pages. This posed some challenges in database development, layout, and logic.After some preliminary discussion, Multidots was chosen to develop our website. Although Pillar Data Systems provided Multidots with a good deal of guidance, we were continuously impressed with the close working relationship, access to Multidots team members, their ability to quickly understand what we were trying to accomplish and the expertise of the Multidots team in the key areas of database development, coding, and WordPress CMS development. Multidots comprehended and incorporated many features that were not discussed but required for future development.

Our website is central to our business success and is considered to be a work in progress. With a never ending emphasis on development and improvements, and based on Multidots performance to date, we anticipate a continued and long business relationship. I would highly recommend Multidots for all levels of website development.