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Designer Solutions, an early Microsoft Azure adopter in South Africa, needed assistance in identifying performance bottlenecks in its cloud database environment and in ensuring that it was compliant with emerging global data protection standards. Tarsus On Demand and System 5 helped it to scale its business for growth.


Designer Solutions is the developer of the Synaptic Insurance Software, a Windows-based application for the management of insurance sales, claims, fund, accounting and administration. The modular package allows customisation to any client’s organisation with scalable usage and cost options for cost-efficient implementation.


Designer Solutions was an early adopter of cloud technology and migrated the SQL databases for its insurance applications suite to the Microsoft Azure platform several years ago to take advantage of the flexibility, cost advantages and scalability of the cloud. However, with its services hosted in North America, the company started encountering latency issues as the size of its databases grew.

The result was that its clients encountered slower response times on their systems, in turn affecting their ability to serve customers fast and process transactions in an acceptable time frame. Client support call volumes were growing across its three call centres and the company knew that it would need to streamline performance in order to accommodate any new large contracts that it won.

A tipping point arrived when a Designer Solutions client merged with another insurer, which required the merger of two large databases. The company started to evaluate ways it could improve database performance, bringing database hosting back in-house, migrating from Azure to another cloud platform, or optimising its Microsoft Azure architecture.


Designer Solutions consulted with IT solutions provider and Tarsus On Demand reseller, System 5, for advice. As a Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP), Tarsus On Demand partnered with System 5 to deliver an Azure solution, licences and value-added services to Designer Solutions. System 5 is the primary contact for Designer Solutions but has access to the Tarsus On Demand infrastructure and skills base.

Working with System 5 and Designer Solutions, Tarsus On Demand’s Azure experts evaluated the software provider’s Azure environment and architecture to identify a solution. The Tarsus On Demand team was impressed by the pioneering way in which Designer Solutions was leveraging the Azure cloud.

However, it identified a range of ways in which the deployment could be optimised. Tarsus On Demand transferred skills and knowledge to Designer Solution’s technical team to empower them to manage and optimise the Azure environment themselves. It also supported them in transitioning the database to a new Azure architecture.


Designer Solutions now has a more scalable Microsoft Azure architecture in place, able not only to deliver better service levels to existing clients, but also ready to scale up to meet the demands of any large international and South African clients it takes on board in the future. In addition to hosting in Azure’s US data centres, Designer Solutions is now also making use Microsoft’s European data centres.

The new solution is also compliant with the demands of global personal information protection laws and regulations such as South Africa’s Protection of Personal Information Act and Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The Azure platform makes it simple for Designer Solutions to call up the standardised database audits, vulnerability reports and GDPR studies that its global clients expect it to produce at regular intervals. It also offers powerful information security features such as ransomware protection, giving Designer Solutions and its clients the peace of mind knowing that their data is secure.

Tarsus On Demand also helped Designer Solutions to reduce the costs of managing and maintaining its databases, even as it improves the performance and service levels of its applications. This will help the company to stay on a path of sustainable and profitable growth as it adds more clients and users to its system.

“System 5 and Tarsus On Demand were responsive to our needs and helped us with our challenge when no one else could. Not only did Tarsus On Demand help us identify the architectural flaws that hampered the performance of its database, it also helped us to strengthen our own  capabilities through its willingness to transfer skills to our teams. This is a considerable advantage, given how scarce top Azure skills are in South Africa.” – Llewellyn Marais, Managing Director, Designer Solutions.