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Category Archives: Application Development

About the Client
Smartsoft is a leading provider of workflow management software.  Smartsoft has helped top American businesses improve returns on investment, decrease costs, and increase efficiency in operations.  Since its founding in 1997, Smartsoft has grown to become a full service company for its SAP clients.

Business Situation
Given Smartsoft’s continued growth, it needed a more resilient and elastic environment and decided to switch from on premise infrastructure to Azure.  Microsoft Azure is a growing collection of integrated cloud services—analytics, computing, database, mobile, networking, storage, and web—for moving faster, achieving more, and saving money. Smartsoft enlisted the assistance of Henson Group, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with extensive experience in solving the IT challenges of companies like Smartsoft.

Henson Group team moved the customer from on premise infrastructure to Azure. The customer had issues with their on-premise Infrastructure and wanted to be moved to a more resilient and elastic environment. Henson Group worked with the client to complete the migration of their servers which included applications and SQL servers. The high-level deliverables included:

  • Build a new Windows 2012 R2 server
  • Add server to Active Directory and configure access
  • Install SQL Express 2008 R2 on new server
  • Move data from existing MS061 server to Azure server (~120 GB)
  • Move 2 SQL express 2008 R2 databases to new server
  • Move 4-5 IIS Application to new server
  • Support testing on server and applications
  • Final migration of SQL databases on go-live

The primary objectives of this project were to increase the resiliency and elasticity of Smartsoft environment to prepare for future growth while maintaining low costs.

Henson Group was also tasked with improving the quality and efficiency of the system, while reducing risk.  Upgrades were to be made with minimal disruption to the work at Smartsoft.

In addition, Smartsoft wanted to gain practical experience during the transition to Microsoft Azure.

Results and Benefits
The Henson Group oversaw the development, implementation, and transition for Smartsoft from on premise to Azure.  The transition included building a new Windows 2012 R2 server, upgrading software and data management systems, and moving pre-existing data to new server. The project included support testing on the servers and applications.

Due to its transition to Azure, Smartsoft reduced it’s administration by 39%.  With this solution, the hardware is maintained by Microsoft, so the client saved 24% on hardware cost maintenance.  Smartsoft realized a ROI within 6 months of the migration.

Elasticity was another benefit Smartsoft received after its transition to Azure.  Because of the migration to Azure, the client is able to install and use servers according to their need.

With the implementation of the Azure solution, quality has greatly improved.  Smartsoft is now experiencing 99.99% reliability with the Azure cloud solution.

Risk reduction was improved, as the transition to Azure led to a higher rate of server and data security.  This security improvement also increased its access to its IT infrastructure.


  • Microsoft Azure
  • Windows Server 2012
  • SQL 2008 R2
  • IIS 7.0
  • Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit
  • Microsoft System Center 2012

To request a free consultation to learn how your organization can realize similar benefits and gains with Microsoft Azure deployment services provided by preferred Microsoft Gold Partner Henson Group, please email

Being an “app designer” is a trend that’s on the upswing. Microsoft is stoking the creative fire with Project Siena. Project Siena is designed to be a user-friendly way for everyone to build their own Windows 8.1 programs with the same knowhow that goes into using Microsoft PowerPoint or Microsoft Excel. Project Siena is also a “Metro” app, so you can just as easily use it on your Windows touch-enabled tablet. It is a 3.4 MB sized free download for Windows 8.1.

Siena apps are all HTML5 and JavaScript, so they are easily extensible to any kind of use you want to put them into. It’s in a beta release now, and is intended for business experts, business analysts, consultants, and other “app imagineers”. You can make customizable apps and power them with your specific business intelligence.

For more information and a free consult, please contact Henson Group at or 800-980-1130.

Henson Group and Microsoft are offering a two day strategy and technical session for Windows 8 application development. Session are offered throughout the US at any Microsoft office (

If you need to migrate an existing app or are starting from scratch, this session is invaluable to your technical and business professionals.

While each session is individually customized, here is a sample of what we cover during each session:

Day 1
– Introductions and Discovery: We’ll have a facilitated discussion on the your business challenges, current, capabilities and desired future state.
– End User Scenarios: We’ll discuss specific application scenarios that and look at how they can be addressed with Windows 8.
– Introduction to Windows 8: We’ll take a look at Windows 8 including an overview of the software platform, Windows 8 hardware, and the Windows 8 ecosystem from a business and technical point of view.
– Review of any existing application: We’ll take a look at the existing application from a business standpoint and explore the value that Windows 8 brings.

Day 2
– Technical Review existing application design and infrastructure
– Deep Dive into the Windows 8 Application Model: We’ll discuss the new Windows runtime WinRT and talk about what the platform and tools provide for developers. Some of the topics will include:
o Windows Store integration
o Application Capabilities
o Programming with contracts
o Security
o Cloud access
o Asynchronous programming
– Storyboarding – We’ll lay out a UI storyboard for the application and walk through a high level view. This will give you a great first step towards designing the user experience.

To schedule your session today, please email