Google Apps in the wild

Posted on November 4

I was recently forwarded an email from the CEO of Zuora, a Google Apps customer whose company has embraced Apps across the board. According to CEO Tien Tzuo, “Google has been transformative, allowing us to have the nimbleness of a startup but be even more productive that large companies with lots of resources.”

They have a lot of characteristics that we see in Apps customers.
– Company: fast growing, geographically distributed
– Employees: knowledge workers, multi-lingual
– Computing environment: Multi-platform (Mac, PC), mobile devices (iPhone, Blackberry)

Tomorrow, Thurs, at 10 AM PT we’re hosting a webinar on the security of Google Apps that will also feature details on Zuora’s move to Apps. Sign up for the webinar.

Below, posted with Tien’s permission, is the initial email he sent outlining how they use various Google Apps. There are lots of great ideas in here.

From: Tien Tzuo
Date: Wed, Oct 1, 2008 at 8:00 PM
Subject: Zuora as case study for Google Apps

Dave –

I wanted to write you to let you know that we are a post-child for Google Apps.

Our company, Zuora, is a 40 person company located primarily in Redwood City, CA and Beijing, China. We also have extended team members in Seattle, Phoenix, and Shanghai. We’re a technology company, TechCrunch calls us “The Salesforce of Online Billing”.

We run our whole company on Google Apps, and have been since day 1. We’re on the Premier Edition.

Our email is Gmail. We access it from all sorts of clients — Outlook, Entourage, Mac Mail, Outlook Express. I personally just use the browser interface. We also access it from our Blackberries and our iPhones. And we use Google Chat for presence and quick chats. Plus, we get 25GB storage a person! That’s 100x greater than what each employee used to get at Salesforce. Gmail is great, we have no intention of every going off of it, I’ve already vetoed our new CFO’s request to put in hosted Microsoft Exchange.

We use Google Calendar. Works great. Fully syncs to my blackberry with Google Sync. Good support for conference rooms, and it even handles invite responses from non-gmail users as well.

We use Google Documents. Almost all of our files are online. We have proposals, documents, weekly status reports, budget spreadsheets, and our corporate directory, all stored in google documents, and all searchable and easy to find.

We use Google Sites. Every feature, every project, every client engagement gets a Google Sites page. We create a Site for every department, and everyone in that department subscribes to changes on that Site. Now, I always have a pulse on what each team is working on.

In addition, Google Sites has been transformative for our development teams. We have developers in Beijing that work together with our developers here, and the challenge was to get people communicating. Email wasn’t working, we could not get developers to actively email… chat was problematic because of the time zone differences. We almost decided to re-structure our teams to minimize the need for cross-city communication. Then we discovered Google Sites. Each developer creates a sites page and then starts writing a tech spec for the feature he is working on. Everyone subscribes to the page, and contributes their opinion, and now the Google Sites has become our primary collaboration tool for working across geographies.

We use Google Translate. We let our junior guys in Beijing write specs on Google Sites in Chinese… the American dev team can paste that into Google translate, which translates great. No more language barriers.

We use Google Video. The problem with distributed teams is often, you’ve never met your teammate. Now, every employee is expected to record a video introducing him or herself and putting it on Google Video. We shoot our team meetings, birthday celebrations, throw it all onGoogle VIdeo, so even though we’re in multiple locations, and some of us have never met face to face, we feel like one small team.

We use the Salesforce.com integration to Google Apps. So, all emails to salesforce contacts actually go through gmail and get stored as an activity, so we have the full history.

We use Google Analytics. So we always know the effectiveness of our marketing campaigns. We do lots of A/B testing, and we always know what are our top referring sites, our top search terms, and the demographics of our web site visitors.

And best of all, we have no servers! Nothing to maintain, nothing to backup.

In short, Google has been transformative, allowing us to have the nimbleness of a startup but be even more productive that large companies with lots of resources. This is a story waiting to be told!!!

– tien

Tien Tzuo
CEO
Zuora, Inc.

Posted by Kevin Gough, Sr. Product & Marketing Manager

Source: Google Enterprise

Tags: , // Category: Geeky Talks.

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