Friday, September 10, 2010

Going Google across the 50 States: Google Apps and Google App Engine are a powerful combination for West Virginia business

[Cross-posted from the Google Enterprise Blog]

Editor’s note: Over the past couple months, thousands of businesses have added their Gone Google story to our community map and even more have used the Go Google cloud calculator to test drive life in the cloud. To highlight some of these companies’ Gone Google stories, we decided to talk to Google Apps customers across the United States. Check back each week to see which state we visit next. To learn more about other organizations that have gone Google and share your story, visit our community map.

As the former VP of Technology at a major financial services firm, Ray Malone has spent most of his career focused on business intelligence, data warehousing, and development of web-based applications. So, when his wife, Tina Malone, decided to start a new business out of their home in West Virginia, Ray naturally helped her pick out the technology that best suited her needs.

Today, with Ray’s help, Tina is running, a successful marketing business that provides companies with text message marketing, print advertising, and the ability to offer online coupons. The technology that powers the company is an important part of its success, and Ray shares with us how Google Apps and Google App Engine play a pivotal role.

“In 2008, my wife Tina came up with the idea for, but there was a catch – she expected me to set up our IT infrastructure with little to no money. I had been using Gmail and almost every other Google product for a long time so it was an easy decision to use Google to build the business. Now, our entire operation runs using both Google Apps and Google App Engine, and the combination of performance and scalability has been awesome.

We use Google Apps for everything from emailing to creating online documents and spreadsheets. I recently used a Google spreadsheet to create a financial calculator showing advertisers how much they could potentially make with our firm – I shared the spreadsheet with a prospective advertiser and walked him through it over the phone. We were both able to tweak specific inputs on the spreadsheet and see the results in real-time. It was a powerful way to communicate without having to be in the same room.

I’m constantly using Gmail and Google Calendar, and access them extensively from my Android-powered device. Both allow me to coordinate with our sales reps and contractors. Some of our contractors are located internationally so the Talk feature, integrated in Gmail, has been the primary communication channel.

With Google App Engine, I’ve built our entire web application. Python was a new language for us, but within a few months we were building dynamic content and connecting to vendor systems. Here’s an example of how it works – when a consumer sends us a text message requesting a coupon, we connect to the vendor’s system through an API (this is the vendor that is providing the coupon), and the right coupon is dynamically generated and sent back. If this is the second time the consumer has contacted us, a different coupon or message is sent back. All of the logic, and the ability to generate and send coupons is built with Google App Engine.

I’ve developed many systems over the years and used other well-known email clients, and this type of performance can’t be beat. You can do everything better with Google Apps.”