Craig McLaughlin loves Google for more than its ability to index and find the world's information; the BluePoint founder says the search giant saved his business.
McLaughlin (pictured on right with business partner Jim Konstas) started BluePoint in 1999 with a former IBM worker to deploy Lotus Notes and document management solutions to businesses. He sold the business a few years ago to its new owners but stayed on as operations manager to provide a familiar face to customers.
Around the same time hard questions were asked of BluePoint's future. But betting on an upstart search engine that was breaking into the enterprise and government proved one of the wisest decisions he has made.
"It was a turning point for business," McLaughlin says. "With the old guard it was a shrinking market and a shrinking business and now we're in almost uncontrollable growth.
"There was some convincing to be done but I could always see there was a strong need in the market around enterprise search and it was very greenfields in Australia, no one was doing a lot of work in that.
"It's a very specialised field but every business I talk to has this search problem and users complain ‘Why can't I search in this organisation like I can in Google.com?' And the geospatial (maps) work we do with Google is exactly the same - the solutions are low cost and can leverage the work they do on the consumer end of the business into the enterprise."
BluePoint saw its revenues grow last year from about $645,000 to $1.5 million this year on the back of rising interest in cloud technologies.
He was spurred to find a better way because those who had bought enterprise content management systems from the reseller had struggled to realise their potential, he says.
"So we looked for a search solution and partnered with Google and the rest was history. We did a 180[-degree turnabout] in our business structure and quickly realised the Google search solution was fantastic.
"We rebadged in the Googlesphere and signed as an enterprise partner."
BluePoint's business is now ordered around four pillars of Google's business-to-business products and services:
1. Enterprise search, the largest revenue contributor;
2. Google Apps, a productivity online suite including Gmail;
3. Google Maps, geospatial systems;
4. Postini, internet security.
BluePoint overhauled the South Australian Government website with a single point of entry based on Google search technologies and is completing the biggest rollout of such technologies in a retailer yet seen in the Asia Pacific.
The drift to the cloud is inexorable. "Mobility is a very big driver; the lower cost of ownership in the cloud is a massive driver and certainly leveraging the security, access anywhere, the cloud-based offerings - there's plenty of reasons business move infrastructure up into the cloud."
He says there's no one type of business that's best suited to a cloud solution. "We see very small businesses from the corner mechanic up to the SA Government moving into the cloud."
The six-person team is set to almost double as McLaughlin searches for staff with solid IT skills who can be trained in the Google way to become search and messaging experts. Those who make the cut will be sent for training to the "GooglePlex", Google's Silicon Valley HQ. Being a Google partner has opened doors to new accounts ("everyone just wants to hear about what Google is doing") and helped to find the best people. "Google skills are almost impossible to find," he says.
"Google is Australia's No.1 employer of choice and staff who come to work for us are interested in the Google brand and technology and what it brings to personal development. And our staff obviously enjoy working with the Google team.
"It's a very different organisation to work with, it moves very quickly and is very dynamic, very creative in the way they work and we share some of the creativity and bring on their ideas. People who may want to work for Google can come to work for us and get that Google experience." McLaughlin says the reseller has benefited from the search company's national footprint and marketing.