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Clicktools

Clicktools is a web-based, on-demand research company with particular focus on customer lifecycle event management and customer satisfaction. Clicktools required a very sophisticated hosting package to ensure 100% uptime and availability demanded by customers. They turned to specialists, Rackspace who provided everything they needed and more.

Knowing what your customers really think is half the battle. You can plan, forecast, develop and invest secure in the knowledge that you are aware of what’s happening and where the next order is likely to originate.

Clicktools’ business is assisting companies in capturing accurate customer feedback and turning it into useful, everyday knowledge that can eventually help improve customer satisfaction and protect that most important asset – future business.

Complex Customer Surveys
Clicktools started life as a management change consultancy. In the process of working for many clients the same questions often cropped up. David Jackson, the MD at Clicktools revealed, “we needed to carry out complex customer surveys, but the tools available at the time were very expensive and required a great deal of extra work to customise the programs and make them fit our needs, so we decided to create a set of tools of our own to carry out on-demand feedback. The result is a fully functional, on-demand, web based survey package at an amazingly affordable price. This management tool turned out to be so easy to use and so successful in operation we decided to make it our business and bring it to market, hence the establishment of Clicktools.

Clicktools on-demand research now impacts on market research in a variety of sectors with particular focus on customer lifecycle event management and customer satisfaction. The Marketing Director at Clicktools is Andrew Walker, he said, “Clicktools is the first feedback management product that provides the depth and functionality usually reserved for ‘high end’ solutions at a price that everyone can afford. It is an on-demand marketing tool that requires no investment in software or any additional hardware – just a PC and access to the internet. Customers simply sign up and get started. There is no limit to what you can ask and, thanks to high level encryption, the results are always secure ensuring no-one except the authorised user can access the information.“

Getting Started is Easy
Andrew revealed, “Getting started is easy. You can build surveys into modules – language is not a problem. Multiple question types are available to support all survey requirements. Users can add contacts one at a time or import complete lists and any of the contact fields can be customised for filtering demographic information. Built-in design templates make the task of setting up surveys and emails easy, while the merge tools allow total personalisation. Management, analysis and feedback complete the story. Large and small companies have benefited from Click Tools survey programmes and include The Economist, Logica, Nationwide Building Society and Nike.

A Strong Foundation is the Key
Clicktools Technology Director Andy Chapman explained, “Clicktools is a highly developed enterprise scale web application built on Java J2EE technologies. The foundation of our datastore is no secret. It’s the world’s most popular open source database server - MySQL. This choice made practical sense from the outset, as it has been proven in more than five million active installations. MySQL was selected for its extreme reliability and performance, though equally important was the availability of a mature, stable and highly functional JDBC (Java DataBase Connectivity) driver for use in building Java based applications. In tests, we discovered that MySQL was by far the best performing database engine, particularly when used in a JDBC configuration. Finally, we found that MySQL was very easy to install and configure on both our Windows development and Linux production platforms.

Chapman revealed, “In three years of development and through continuous use of MySQL, we have found that our database engine runs efficiently and without error. We have never needed to intervene. MySQL has proven to be highly scalable with no onerous limits on the number of tables or table size. The availability of replication makes MySQL excellent for our current and future load requirements. Familiarity with the package has revealed a number of configuration possibilities that have enabled us to improve application performance. The tuning of the system has been made easier through use of the comprehensive and standard SQL set available in MySQL. It has allowed the implementation of highly complex and powerful low level functionality below our business application layer. In addition, the excellent, well supported 3rd party tools provide us with very effective, error free database administration. The built-in comprehensive and powerful security model has given us total peace of mind by allowing infinite configurability of the database security on production servers. The final result is stability and absolute reliability, which is precisely what all our customers demand.”

The Right Hosting is Critical
Clicktools’ Marketing Director Andrew Walker continued with the story, “Being web based is a major benefit, but of course this approach requires a very sophisticated hosting package to ensure the 100% uptime and availability demanded by our clients – there’s certainly no point in offering advanced professional marketing tools online without the infrastructure being in place to support the product. This is our reason for selecting a specialist managed hosting company as a partner in this business, because without them we simply could not offer our products and services. We need the absolute peace of mind of 100% network uptime guarantees and 24/7/365 support. Previous hosting companies had caused us many sleepless nights, particularly with the level and quality of technical support. Rackspace® provides everything we were looking for and far more. Their whole ethos is about service and the total support of customers, which veers towards the fanatical.

Protected, Monitored and Secure
Andrew Walker explained, “Our system is hosted at Rackspace’s secure data centre in London, where our web servers and database servers are maintained in a secure, temperature controlled environment. Everything is protected through firewalls and monitored 24-hours a day by highly qualified technicians. All software upgrades and patches are carried out on our behalf with no loss of uptime. Our business could not operate successfully without the Rackspace team. I would completely recommend Rackspace to anyone with a mission critical website. I cannot afford nor can I justify our system being unavailable and the only way I can guarantee 100% availability is through our business relationship with Rackspace”.

Rackspace Marketing Director, Fabio Torlini, said, “On demand applications like Clicktools are the reason Rackspace exists. They need 100% guaranteed uptime and total support to be successful. We are delighted that they have chosen Rackspace as their hosting partner.

You can learn more about Clicktools at www.clicktools.com or call them on 01202 317755.

Professional hosting information is available from Rackspace at www.rackspace.co.uk or by calling the hosting hot line on 0800 988 0100.

Rackspace is a certified MySQL hosting provider.