Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cloud Sherpas and TechCFO

Cloud Sherpas is a cloud computing systems integrator and application developer that helps organizations leverage Google Apps and Google App Engine. The company delivers deployment, change management, support and development services to commercial, enterprise and educational institutions.

TechCFO is a team of seasoned Chief Financial Officers (CFOs), controllers, and accountants who work with clients to help them with strategic planning, capital strategy, fundraising, accounting, and other financial needs. TechCFO’s strategy of providing outsourced financial management services is paying off in the form of expansion – since its founding, the firm has grown rapidly, with offices across the United States.


TechCFO's core asset is the cumulative expertise which its seasoned financial professionals offer to clients. With 14 partners – all CFOs with 15 to 20 years of experience – the firm's value revolves around their collective intellectual capital. As the firm continued to grow across the country, they needed a better way for the partners and additional staff to easily, securely exchange ideas and share knowledge.

In 2008, TechCFO began to address this need, collecting intellectual capital across the entire company. The firm published 700 key internal documents to public folders on the firm’s hosted email system, but results were disappointing. “Our hosted solution was slow, clunky, and difficult to search,” said Neal Miller, partner at TechCFO. “People had to know in advance where to look for a document. Overall, it wasn’t really functional.”


TechCFO learned about Google Apps Premier Edition at a seminar hosted by Google and Cloud Sherpas, a leading Google Apps enterprise deployment partner. One of the hands-on demonstrations showcased Google Sites, a service included with Google Apps that lets users easily search file attachments and publish free-form content, rich media and other information to a website.

“I saw that Google Sites and Google Apps were really perfect for us, especially because we could leverage Google’s search capability to help our staff efficiently find relevant information,” Miller recalls.

In addition to the knowledge base, Cloud Sherpas showed TechCFO how they could use Google Sites as a company intranet, and as a tool for partners in the firm to collaborate with clients. With new office openings targeted for early 2009, the firm enlisted Cloud Sherpas to implement Google Sites for their organization.

Cloud Sherpas guided TechCFO through the information design and deployment strategy of their new company intranet. To migrate the firm's 700+ document repository, Cloud Sherpas developed the Google Sites Bulk File Uploader, an automated tool that uploads files into Google Sites and preserves folder hierarchy with nested Google Sites file cabinet pages. And to promote adoption of the new suite of tools, Cloud Sherpas hosted a training session in Atlanta, with others participating online, and developed a short primer to help partners build their own Sites to share files with clients.


Without adding hardware and complexity to the firm's IT mix, Cloud Sherpas has enabled TechCFO to collaborate online cost-effectively and securely with Google Sites. Partners across the firm are now able to quickly find the information they're looking for, and the new intranet has become an information hub central to helping the firm manage its growth.

“Cloud Sherpas did an exceptional, methodical job,” says Miller. Moving forward, TechCFO plans to roll out the other portions of Google Apps, starting with Gmail. “On a relative spend basis, what we pay in two months for our previous hosted email will cover a full year for the entire Google Apps suite,” says Miller. "That's a major benefit for us."

For more information, watch this recorded webinar featuring Cloud Sherpas and TechCFO or read the full case study.