BT on CUSP of SaaS wave

16 Apr 2008

BT Ireland has signed a €2.5m contract with Dublin-headquartered firm CUSP Point Software that will see the telco provide a platform for a software as a service (SaaS) delivery model.

CUSP Point Software is an electronic document management technology provider. The deal is for three years.

“If you don’t have a global partner then you are not in this space,” remarked CUSP CEO, Seamus Brennan. “A true partnership is required if it is going to work and I could see early in the discussions with BT that it could deliver on this.”

In the first phase of the rollout, 40TB storage capacity will be established in five BT global data centres, enabling CUSP’s reseller partners to take advantage of the delivery mechanism for a new product called PaperTrail. Crucial to the strategy has been BT’s ability to make the data centres ISO 27001 certified in Europe and SAS 70 Type II certified in the US.

Security certification was a priority for the product launch, with CUSP looking to differentiate itself in a crowded market by setting a new bar for SaaS document management, the company said.

BT’s access to multiple data centres across different countries was also instrumental in sealing the deal as this enabled it to keep up with CUSP’s aggressive growth strategy. CUSP plans to use five data centres in the short term, including one in Dublin and two in the US, and up to 10 more in the coming years.

“Security, infrastructure and architecture are elements that become as important as the features and functionality of the product when the delivery model is SaaS,” commented Leo O’Leary, head of sales, BT business. “These are all core competencies of BT.”

As well as providing rack space, BT Ireland will procure and manage the equipment that will reside in the data centres.

“Basically we wrapped everything into one contract, with BT as a single point of contact,” said O’Leary. “We will manage CUSP’s servers, SANs, firewalls – all of the environment up to operating system level – with 24/7 support, and act as a broker for all of its hardware.”

The CUSP contract is one of BT Ireland’s biggest deals to date in this area. The company said it highlighted how SaaS has come of age.

By Niall Byrne