Unlike many other vendors, Progress DataDirect provides a common, standards-based connectivity architecture across database types and versions with no proprietary approaches that can restrict flexibility.
The DataDirect Connect for ODBC drivers have provided Vertex with the broad support needed for a multitude of operating systems and database types and versions, in both 32-bit and 64-bit computing models. Freed of the need for developers and architects to track and monitor data connectivity drivers, Vertex personnel can now devote itself to the company’s core competency.
“We like to focus our development resources on tax technology,” Viglione says. “To the extent that we can deploy resources to focus on tax technology as opposed to porting issues such as building drivers, then that’s obviously a business win for us. With the Communications Tax Q product we were able to utilize DataDirect to simplify the driver support we required.”
“DataDirect has absolutely saved us a lot of development time,” adds John Hart. “The relationship they have with the database vendors keeps Progress DataDirect on top of the advancements and features of the database technology, so we don’t have to be.”
Hart adds that the superb DataDirect documentation makes it easy for him to navigate through and find what he needs to refresh his memory even for projects he’s moved on from some time back.
“It really helps me when I’m drawn back into issues at an established customer’s site to get things straightened out quickly,” he says.
“Tax technology is complex requiring extensive research and documentation,” notes Viglione. “We develop volumes of documentation around tax technology, so we appreciate it when another vendor has clear and concise documentation.”
It’s the support organization that DataDirect puts behind its technology, however, that Vertex values going forward.
“DataDirect support is highly responsive and very knowledgeable,” says Hart. “We recently had a multithreading issue that was quite complicated in terms of locating the source—whether it was in our system, the customer’s system, or the database drivers. Progress DataDirect worked with us in narrowing it down to the customer’s system and getting it resolved.”
DataDirect technical support extends well beyond simply troubleshooting and resolving issues, too. Hart reports that when a Vertex application needed connectivity to a platform that Progress DataDirect did not currently support, that support was subsequently provided inside a 2–3 week timeframe.
Hart offered a good example, as well, as to the confidence Vertex has come to have in the ability of DataDirect products to deliver the highest-quality data connectivity.
“Our manager of alliances tells us that whenever he receives an RFP asking whether our software supports a particular platform we haven’t yet supported, he refers to the Progress DataDirect Web site: if DataDirect supports the platform, he knows he can issue a positive response without any further research into the matter.”
Viglione emphasizes that it’s this level of support that makes DataDirect important to Vertex going into the future. It is indicative of a company having strong OEM capabilities—that understands what it is to partner with a software company as opposed to a company that has an internal deployment of their technology.
“A lot of vendors lack an OEM support model,” he says. “They can’t respond quickly to changes in the environment and platform issues, though they may make that claim. Progress DataDirect says it, and they do it.”