Great Examples of Delivering 1C Applications as SaaS

Anna Kopetskaya

25.10.2021 5 min

2021_08_dn-com_Картинка для статьи_Главная.png

We are pleased to present the cases of our ISV partners and the subsidiary that offer their own SaaS solutions based on the 1C:Enterprise platform. Here you can learn about the partners' experience and get some details on how they manage SaaS.

It is the 2nd part of our series on delivering 1C applications as SaaS. The first part is available at https://1c-dn.com/blog/delivery-of-1-platform-applications-as-saas/. Check it to find out about building cloud applications on the 1C:Enterprise platform. 

Contents:

Rise SA Experience in Delivering SaaS
FirstBIT UAE Experience in Delivering SaaS
1C Vietnam Experience in Delivering SaaS

Rise SA Experience in Delivering SaaS

Rise SA, an accounting software provider in South Africa.

"Currently, Rise SA in South Africa offers two cloud solutions. They are Rise Accounting and Rise School Management. Rise School Management is basically the same as Rise Accounting but aimed specifically at schools. Both products come as SaaS. 

Some figures and details

We administer our solutions on our side but host them on Xneelo servers in South Africa. To ensure everything runs smoothly, we have established three nodes: Production, Demo, and Development & Testing. We utilize 1cFresh to manage the service but use Bitrix for the website. Rise Accounting allows up to 45 concurrent user sessions. 1C application servers run on Windows 2008-2012 R2 Server, Debian, Ubuntu. We use MS SQL Server 2012 and PostgreSQL 9,10 for DBMS. Virtual machines run on Intel Xeon E5-1620, 64 GB ECC RAM, 2 x 960 GB Micron 5200 ECO SSD. The support team consists of a single administrator and 3 to 5 developers. 

Our thoughts and ideas

Rise Accounting is intended for smaller companies. Such companies require a ready-to-use solution. As a rule, they have no IT specialist on staff, so we provide our customers with full support. 

The most important task here is to deploy updates as quickly as possible. The modern-day accounting system must be capable of communicating with cloud services. And these are evolving at the speed of light. We see it with Rise Accounting that is integrated with Shopify. The only way we can implement modifications with the speed they need is through the cloud. 

Solutions offering integration with mobile devices enjoy high popularity in SA. Mobile internet connectivity in this country, as well as in some other nearby countries, is much higher compared to a landline. For example, in Mozambique, many users heavily rely on tablets and smartphones in their work because the cost of a PC is too high for them.

Most of the Rise users rely on mobile applications. We create these applications with the 1C mobile platform and integrate them into our cloud accounting solution. As of today, we have achieved 6000 mobile installs. It is evident that reaching and supporting so many users would be a challenging task without cloud infrastructure. 

The aim of our mobile applications is to reach final users and provide them with a simple, easy-to-use interface. Keep in mind that in the majority of cases, such users will not be accountants. Thus, we offer Rise Communicator mobile application as a companion for Rise School Management. It is an application intended for parents who want to read news about their kids’ school, get notifications on due invoices, and so forth.

We supply schools with a combined admin plus accounting package. At that, the admin package offers plenty of data on learners, including grades they are in, their achievements, and other information. We constantly work on improving the functionality of our solution, making sure all new features come onto mobile devices, as we know that mobile companions can be a great tool to boost sales. 

In addition to the current school-specific service based on our accounting solution, we have plans to present other special-purpose services.  We adapt the existing accounting solution to specific markets and offer independent products with dedicated landing pages. Still, the core always remains the same. Soon we intend to present solutions for healthcare, delivery services (it has become extremely popular in SA nowadays), and supplier companies with employees working in the fields. 

In other words, we can use our core accounting solution as a basis for a gradual development of products aimed at particular vertical markets. Mobile applications that come with the package make products even more attractive. In fact, we are offering not just an accounting system but an accounting plus CRM solution or an accounting solution plus administrative functionality aimed at specific types of business.

It is worth mentioning that keeping in touch with the 1C team helps us a lot. They assist and share their latest developments that are still waiting to be integrated into the platform. For example, 1C offers document OCR service based on AI. 1C helped us create Rise Doc. The application helps users scan invoices into their devices and send to the server for processing. As soon the server completes processing acquired images, their accounting department gets OCR-ed documents. We plan to scale Rise Doc and promote it as a standalone product." 

Ilia Shikhov, CEO at Rise SA Business Solutions (Pty) Ltd

FirstBIT UAE Experience in Delivering SaaS

FirstBIT UAE, аn ERP and accounting software provider in United Arab Emirates.

"Currently, we are offering two products, FirstBIT ERP and FirstBIT Accounting. FirstBIT Accounting is by subscription only, while FirstBIT ERP can be either a subscription or an on-premise.

Some figures and details

We lease 100% of the infrastructure, but we manage it ourselves. For FirstBIT ERP, we lease only hardware, while with FirstBIT Accounting, this is MS Azure as IaaS. We use 1cFresh for FirstBIT Accounting and rely on our own solution to manage FirstBIT ERP. 1cFresh runs on MS SQL, but we plan to switch to Postgre SQL. 1C application servers run on both Windows and Linux machines. We plan to migrate some machines to Linux due to the anticipated switch to Postgre SQL. FirstBIT ERP can handle up to 200 simultaneous users, and with FirstBIT Accounting, this number is 170. Our application servers usually have 10 cores and 40 GB of RAM. There is a team of 12 IT specialists to manage the infrastructure and develop our solutions.

Our thoughts and ideas

We like a subscription model as it generates regular payments from our customers. Unlike a single purchase, a subscription is a much better motivation for us to be more flexible as we deploy the solution. Thus, in the deployment process, there might be a need for extra works not reflected in the budget. If a client is unwilling to accept an hourly rate, and this is the case of an on-premise deployment, we lose money. As opposed to it, in the case of a subscription, it is in our best interest that customers start using the product and extend the subscription one year later. Most often, subscription contracts start generating profit during the second or even the third year. However, as most of our customers stay with us for more than five years, this is still good. 

As to administration, we manage MS Azure infrastructure with the tools offered by the provider. On the one hand, these tools make our lives much easier, allowing automation for multiple tasks. On the other hand, they introduce some limitations that prevent us from being as flexible as we would love to. With the lease of just hardware, we get better flexibility, and this is why we stick to the approach for FirstBIT ERP, which is a more complex product than FirstBIT Accounting.

We utilize 1cFresh to manage the FirstBIT Accounting infrastructure, and we have our own solution for FirstBIT ERP. 1cFresh technology makes things pretty simple. It is easy to deploy, administer and manage the service because 1cFresh has everything you need for these purposes. Our solution is less convenient because we have to code it on our own, but the benefit is that it fully meets our specific needs. For example, we have dedicated tools to monitor and register system failures. Should anything go wrong, the system immediately gets in touch with our engineers over the phone. In addition to it, when the system takes backup files to helpdesk specialists, it anonymizes data, preventing the support team from accessing data of our customers. As soon as the work is done and it is time to bring updated configuration back to the service, the infrastructure checks the configuration to make sure everything is in the proper order and only then uploads it back to the cloud.

Our current DBMS for FirstBIT Accounting is MS SQL, but we intend to replace it with Postgre SQL. At this moment, we have migrated about 15 clients to Postgre SQL. We have conducted load testing and are pretty happy with the results. We expect that migration to Postgre SQL will result in a 25% decrease in costs associated with MS Azure.

We place a high emphasis on the safety and availability of our service. Thus, we use three data centers.  Two of them serve our customers’ needs, and the third one acts as a backup server.  The data backup from the two servers to the third one is a near real-time process. If the system fails, we can resume operation with no noticeable delay. At that, we have a dedicated SLA for the cases of force majeure. According to the SLA we use standard tools to put the service back online. We create three independent backups with Veeam and Acronis and store these backups in different locations. We also use database mirroring to ensure our clients quickly get back on track in the event of the primary data center failure. As a result, most often, we are able to provide a level of security and availability way higher than customers can achieve on their own. It is specifically true for small and mid-size businesses."

Alexandr Smolyaninov, General Manager First Bit Middle East

1C Vietnam Experience in Delivering SaaS

1C Vietnam, being a subsidiary company of 1C, develops and distributes applications based on the 1C:Enterprise platform.

"Our main product is the AccountingSuite (or ACS), tailored for customers in Vietnam. It is designed to automate bookkeeping, inventory control, and production accounting in small and mid-size companies. Most of our customers are shops, wholesale and retail companies, small production companies, as well as independent accountants.

The product comes in two versions: cloud and on-premise. There is also a mobile version that customers mainly use for generating reports. In 2017 we started developing ACS based on the product with the same name built for the US market. In 2018 we finalized the deployment stage and opened the product for customers. Initially, the service was free, and sometime later, we started charging for the product.

We lease the infrastructure from a provider based in Vietnam and administer the product ourselves. Our virtual machines run on the VMWare platform. Each virtual machine has an eight-core CPU and 24 GB of RAM. Our OS is Centos 7. We use PostgreSQL version 10.13 for DBMS. At that, DBMS data is fully replicated to another machine. To ensure better performance, we keep the DBMS server and applications server on the same virtual machine. For us, the advantage of virtualization technology is that we can manage the allocation of resources without spending on the infrastructure more than required for the service with the account of demand.

1сFresh that we have also localized for Vietnam is the tool we use for managing users and the areas of tenants’ data. We have a website of our own, and currently, we are busy optimizing the processes for new user registration and payments.

We use Zabbix for graphical representation of load on CPU, RAM, drives, and other elements.

Our administration team consists of two specialists, while the developer team can vary from one to three developers based on our current needs and plans.

Most of our customers use the cloud solution without any modifications on our side. Customers can use standard subsystem library functions built into the solution for minor customization (like adding additional address lines or changing printed forms). Among these function is the additional attributes and information records function that allow customization of printed forms. Still, some customers do need a much more customized solution. Thus they might require modified document forms or some table forms added. To handle these cases, we utilize a mechanism of extensions built into the 1C:Enterprise platform. It enables us to introduce required customizations without touching the core configuration. 1cFresh allows setting up the service in such a way that an extension works for some customers only, while others keep on using the standard configuration. Sometimes we include these modifications into the major release if we think they can be helpful for many of our customers. 

We work hard to improve and expand our solution. Before we decide to add new functionality, we analyze a lot of information coming from different sources. And the most important source for us is the current customers. We talk to them and observe their actions without violating their privacy, which is possible with a cloud solution, 1cFresh, in our case.

Our user agreement allows us to collect anonymized data on customers’ behavior through the 1сFresh functionality. Among the tools we use is a special-purpose type of document that registers all manual actions that currently can not be automated. We monitor these manual actions in all areas of operations, group them by type and check if they have anything in common. And if we see 10 to 20 customers use the same function in manual mode, we realize this needs to be automated. It was especially important when we were just starting. 

Also, the system allows seeing how popular this or that function is among our customers. If some functional units are not popular or users do not use them at all, it means we need to understand what is wrong and try to improve them. On the opposite side, if some functional units, say, Sales, enjoy high popularity, it means that we need to create more tests to ensure high reliability of the unit. 

In parallel to developing the solution, we work to improve the service infrastructure. Among other things, we aim to improve the reliability of infrastructure in case of force majeure. The way to achieve it is to enable full data replication to a second data center located in another city. Thus, should anything happen to the main data center, we can use the reserve one. 

Despite the apparent advantages of the cloud solution in terms of reliability and data safety, many of our clients in Vietnam still prefer the on-prem option. In this context, the country is more conservative than, say, the USA or even Russia. Many customers do not feel like they are ready to get on the cloud. This is why we offer the on-prem version as well. Currently, one-third of our clients are on the cloud, while others use the on-prem.

There is almost no difference for us in updating and supporting the cloud versus the on-prem version. We develop and release both versions simultaneously. We update the cloud version ourselves, and customers with the on-prem version get a notification on an update that gets installed once customers push the update button."

Maksim Shuvalov, Head of R&D Department, 1C Vietnam LLC

Be the first to know tips & tricks on business application development!

A confirmation e-mail has been sent to the e-mail address you provided .

Click the link in the e-mail to confirm and activate the subscription.