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HTK Limited

HTK Enhances CRM Application by Adding Analytics

HTK Limited







HTK wanted to sell its CRM application to smaller organizations, and needed to meet high expectations for their platform.



Pentaho Data Integration and Pentaho Business Analytics automate data processing and improve access to data.


  • Cost savings due to the Commercial Open Source Software licensing model
  • Flexible, customizable reporting.
  • ETL capabilities to migrate customer data into data warehouse.
  • Delivered the first phase of the project in only five weeks.
  • Highly professional, attractive interface.

HTK expands its Horizons SaaS platform with Pentaho Business Analytics and Pentaho Data Integration software from Hitachi Vantara.

The Challenge: Meeting Expectations for a High-Performing SaaS Application

Founded in 1996 and privately owned, HTK has historically developed CRM applications and web/email/SMS/voice automation services for large enterprises and public sector organizations. Past projects include building the UK’s first electoral voting by interactive voice response (IVR), government ‘warn and inform’ systems classified as critical national infrastructure and information lines for TV’s Big Brother program.

It was important to our customers that reports looked professional and polished.

– Justin Bowser, Managing Director, HTK

Today HTK serves the small and medium-sized business community, in addition to its enterprise customers, with 'Lite' and 'Professional' versions of its HTK Horizon software. To support its customers' significant data storage requirements, HTK manages two UK data centers.

HTK Horizon’s SaaS platform changes the way businesses sell to and serve their prospects and customers. Horizon's CRM data-segmentation capabilities and one-stop integration of email, social, SMS and voice communications enable marketers to manage more effective campaigns, increase adoption of customer self-service and improve customer satisfaction. One of HTK Horizon's key differentiators is that it lets marketing professionals tailor the way they interact with customers based on things like location, preferences and behavior. For example, marketers can determine how much money their customers spend. This tailored approach helps marketers raise customer advocacy, loyalty and – ultimately – profitability.

HTK had a strong foothold in the large enterprise and public sectors, but in a UK market where 99% of businesses are small and medium-sized, HTK wanted to open its CRM application and infrastructure to smaller organizations – from boutique marketing agencies to local councils. HTK knew that for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), Cloud was the right deployment model and SaaS the right commercial model. HTK also knew that people who buy SaaS applications expect a very different experience from what they get with traditional, on-premises software. Their CRM application needed to be self-sufficient, able to return fast queries and capable of easily creating ad hoc reports.

The Solution: Pentaho Business Analytics, Pentaho Data Integration

At first, HTK built its own reports using a proprietary system, but this effort proved unworkable. The reports took too long to develop and maintain, and the user interface was not intuitive enough for its marketing clientele who wanted to be able to develop ad hoc reports without having to rely on IT support. Ultimately, HTK decided to search for a business analytics software application that it could adapt to meet its customers' requirements and white label under its own brand as an OEM partner. HTK shortlisted software from Microstrategy and Pentaho and ultimately chose Pentaho for many reasons.

HTK valued that Pentaho's ETL capabilities includes being able to migrate customer data into its data warehouse. Hitachi Vantara's modern and embeddable platform includes end-to-end features they needed, including the ability to access, visualize and analyze data. The customer appreciated that the solution was able to quickly analyze large volumes of historical data. For example, one of HTK's large telecommunications customers generates over 100 million new voice interactions every year. The data within each call record contains very detailed behavioral information that needs to be analyzed. Moreover, HTK experiences significant cost savings thanks to the Commercial Open Source Software (COSS) licensing model. Finally, HTK picked Hitachi Vantara's platform as it delivers flexible, customizable reporting with highly professional attractive interface designs out of the box.

After selecting the software, HTK enlisted Pentaho's professional services team to manage the development project including deciding on the right architecture. The European professional services team invited System Integrator Xpand IT into the project to build tightly embedded reports into Horizon for HTK's online customers. At this point, HTK was under mounting pressure to bring its online solutions to market and needed a very fast implementation. Fortunately, Xpand IT was able to collaborate with Pentaho's professional services team on an Agile development process that allowed a fast time to market.

In just five weeks, Hitachi Vantara's professional services and Xpand IT teams fully integrated Pentaho Business Analytics into HTK's Horizon CRM application. They built a data warehouse in the back end and an OLAP cube. The team developed integrated security capabilities and skinned Pentaho Business Analytics to match HTK Horizon's look and feel. Hitachi Vantara and Xpand IT designated eight dashboards and reports to go with the application. Development was planned and executed using a 100% Agile approach. As Xpand IT is based in Portugal, the geographical proximity and cultural similarities made it easy to collaborate effectively while being able to offer attractive "nearshore" fees.

HTK's technology stack includes Microsoft® SQL Server 2005 and some MySQL. Secondly, the two operating systems they are running Microsoft Windows® and Linux. Finally, their hardware includes Intel 64-bit.

The Outcome: Hitachi Vantara Delivers HTK's Online CRM Applications in Five Weeks

The development team enabled HTK to deliver integrated reports for two editions of its online SaaS software - "Lite" and "Professional" - to specification, in five weeks. The new online applications are the foundation of a whole new line of business to serve the UK’s high-potential SMB market, building upon the company’s excellent track record in large enterprise and the public sector.

HTK can provide flexible dashboards so marketing professionals can slice, dice and present their multichannel data depending on specific campaign requirements, and offers attractive 3-dimensional charts that render on an iPad, which is critical for marketing professionals. Furthermore, HTK can migrate customer data in near real time into its data warehouse.

"Pentaho and Xpand IT really came through on the integration work and report styling in a very short timeframe. Those guys are very enthusiastic, passionate about the product and certainly make sure that we get a great outcome. This was a very collaborative e ort, rather than straightforward supplier customer relationship." – Justin Bowser, Manager Director, HTK Online.

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