Fourth


Enabling SaaS and supporting business growth

About Fourth

Fourth is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software solutions to help firms in the hospitality sector manage their business. Its offerings, delivered via the cloud, allow hotels, bars, clubs and restaurants to control aspects such as inventory management, procurement, payroll and workforce planning; which are all critical to the success of any firm, be it large or small.

Established in 1999, the company provides these tools to more than 1,000 customers in 57 countries across the globe; including some of the world’s largest and best-known brands, such as Hilton, Genting, Caffe Nero and Subway. In fact, if you go to eat or drink at any major chain, the chances are many of the back-office processes will depend on Fourth’s software to run smoothly.

Executive summary

Carrenza has worked with Software- as-a-Service (SaaS) provider Fourth since 2001, providing the underlying infrastructure necessary to deliver the firm’s cost control solutions to the hospitality industry; supporting their growth from SME to a global brand and number one provider in its market.

Fourth is able to benefit from a highly flexible solution that enables it to choose how it provisions resources and scale up on demand to meet the needs of its growing business. This ensures that the company is able to respond to the demands of customers and always have adequate capacity to maintain a high level of service, while always being cost-effective.

This has helped the company greatly expand its business both in the UK and around the world, as the firm benefits from working with a trusted provider that is always able to meet its needs for a secure, reliable and highly- available infrastructure platform on which to manage its specialised applications.

The challenge

Because Fourth is dealing with some of the world’s biggest brands, it cannot afford anything less than the best service. While the company has worked hard to develop the sort of reliable, secure, high-performance solution its customers expect, it requires a strong underlying infrastructure platform to ensure
it would be able to scale this up as the company grows, without having any impact on the quality of its operations.

Christian Berthelsen, CTO at Fourth, explained: “When we first engaged with Carrenza, a big issue we had was being able to react quickly. Although we can usually predict fairly accurately what capacity we’ll need when a new customer comes on board, there is always some uncertainty over exactly how much extra resources we’ll need, and how quickly we’ll have to provision this to ensure we can always provide the fastest, most reliable service.”

Another key factor that is unique to Fourth’s sector is the 24/7 nature of the hospitality industry. “Restaurants and hotels are
still at full operation well outside normal business hours for other firms, so they need to be able to access key applications quickly, whatever the time,” Berthelsen said. “As such, we can’t afford any overnight downtime that might be acceptable in other businesses.”

Fourth has expanded rapidly in the UK since signing with Carrenza and is now looking to replicate this success in the international market. Therefore, tools that help speed up the process of securing resources and scaling up operations as it grows are highly valuable for the company

The solution

Carrenza was able to provide Fourth with a flexible Infrastructure- as-a-Service (IaaS) environment that ensures the company has all the capacity it needs to deliver its SaaS platform and offer services to customers. Because resources can be easily added to this as and when they are required, this means Fourth is able to much more easily offer the highest-quality solutions while remaining cost-effective and reliable.

This ensures that the company is able to deliver the secure, highly- available and strong-performing service its customers expect.

Another factor of the partnership was how Carrenza helped Fourth deal with authentication issues, which were previously one

Benefits

As a result of this, Carrenza’s tools provide Fourth with much more flexibility regarding how it deploys its resources to best serve its customers while remaining highly secure and always- available.

Berthelsen said: “With our partnership with Carrenza, we’re able to ensure the technology is always in the right place depending on how we need it. So if we have a new customer one month that requires more CPU resources, or more disk space, we know we can add that straight away without any major manual intervention that costs time and money.

“Because we’re a high-growth company, we frequently need to make changes to the capacity of our platform and with of the biggest bottlenecks in its system.

Berthelsen explained: “Because a database can have many different elements, checking permissions for all these was very time-consuming and one of the biggest barriers to performance we faced.”

Carrenza was able to assist with this by building a caching layer in front of the database that takes care of all these processes in one step – without compromising on the security of the system – while the multi-tiered platform ensures the core databases are isolated from the outside world. This was a consideration that was especially important for Fourth, as its customers would be entrusting it with highly confidential information, such as cash management, payroll and HR details.

Why Carrenza?

As a long-term partner of Carrenza, Fourth is able to rest assured that it is working with a high-quality provider that brings a deep understanding of the unique needs of its business and is able to offer a strong level of service tailored to these requirements. The company has had a relationship with Carrenza since 2001 – when both firms were relatively new to the market – and since then, the arrangement has helped take Fourth to the next level.

What began as a partnership between two small firms trying to break into an established market has matured into a relationship that enables Fourth to compete on an international scale. Carrenza has supported them in their growth and were a good fit supplier for both a small UK based SaaS provider as they are now for a large international focused SaaS provider; its IaaS still provides the scalability and agility to support such business growth.

“We know when we go to Carrenza with a request, they’ll be able to fulfil it quickly and efficiently, and we won’t be locked into a rigid IT solution that takes a great deal of effort to make adjustments to,” said Berthelsen. “The flexibility we enjoy as a result of Carrenza’s cloud infrastructure platform plays a key role in helping us grow our business and deliver our solutions to even more customers in the hospitality sector.”

As a large business, Fourth expends a significant amount of resources into its IT department. But with the simplicity of the automation tools used by Carrenza and the knowledge of its support team, this means that the company can leave the technical aspects of its infrastructure to the experts and concentrate more of these resources on activities that can assist customers and support its growth.

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