Pingboard provides the functionality that Google Apps currently does not. Brian Huddleston | Head of IT
As the Head of IT at Sumo Logic, Brian Huddleston is responsible for implementing and managing the company’s growing list of business apps—among them, Google’s enterprise offering (called Google Apps).
When he first came across Pingboard, Brian was trying to find a platform that could help Sumo Logic overcome one of Google Apps’ shortcomings.
“One of the biggest problems I’d been dealing with in Google Apps was that they don’t, in any clean way, implement a Global Address List,” explains Brian. “There was no central directory where people could look up others they don’t know, or share contact information.”
Dispersed contact information made it significantly more difficult for staff to connect, communicate and get to know each other. Brian had looked for solutions in the past, but none of them solved the problem the way Sumo Logic needed them to.
“There were a number of times we looked at different apps from the Google marketplace, but nothing ever quite fit,” Brian recalls. “I saw that Pingboard could supply that general directory for all users, and that was really attractive.”
But what started out as a search for a better directory led Brian to a solution with much broader potential.
It addresses the shortcomings in Google Apps, and adds a lot of other functionality.
Benefits Beyond the Directory
Communicating on the go was one of the problems Brian knew Pingboard could solve for Sumo Logic.
“I saw that Pingboard could sync contact information with people’s phones,” recalls Brian. “We have a lot of people who aren’t always at their computers. Prior to Pingboard, when they wanted to look up or call someone, there was no easy way to do that.”
“Having an app on your phone where you can look up numbers and emails or sync that information with your existing contacts is incredibly valuable to us.”
Another feature Brian was excited about was “Ping me”—the ability to send a message to a user directly through the app.
“Before, if you couldn’t reach someone via email then you ended up looking up a phone number or asking around,” Brian explains. “Now, we have a mechanism that can cross multiple communication methods—email, phone, messages, text...”
Now, we have a mechanism that can cross multiple communication methods.
Solving Diverse Problems Company-Wide
IT weren’t the only ones using Pingboard to solve problems.
“When we started really diving into Pingboard, we found that it addressed other, indirect needs of other departments,” Brian explains. “The ease of use, clean interface and automatic synchronization have eased a lot of pain in a lot of areas.”
For example, HR found immediate usefulness in Pingboard’s built-in org chart, giving everyone in the company a clean, up-to-date look into who was working where, and with whom.
They also found that the software could improve communication surrounding out of office and vacations.
“We had these legacy email lists where people would tell others they’d be out, but it was very hard to manage membership. The lists were very specific-team-centric, and there was so much chatter that people wound up having to dig through other notifications to suss out if someone was there,” recalls Brian.
“Pingboard has out of office and vacations integrated automatically; you can open up someone’s profile and see if they’re in or not at a glance.”
Meanwhile, Sumo Logic’s site facilities team was making use of the metadata beyond contact information that Pingboard made easier to collect.
“Now we had not only contact info, but an individual employee’s interests, team membership—and even things like t-shirt size or food allergies,” explains Brian. “Our site facilities team could export that information for events and use it to place orders.”
The ease of use, the clean interface and automatic synchronization have eased a lot of pain in a lot of areas.
A One-of-a-Kind Solution
Sumo Logic has been with Pingboard since the early days of the platform, and for the most part, the experience has been without incident. But when issues do arise, Brian appreciates having the company’s ear.
“When we’ve had issues, at one point we were chatting with the CEO,” laughs Brian. “I feel like they’re very interested in addressing any questions or issues, and I feel like we have a very clean, direct line to getting concerns addressed. Their features keep expanding, and they continue to add value.”
Ultimately, Brian is happy with what he and Sumo Logic have been able to achieve with Pingboard in their tech arsenal.
“There’s really nothing else out there that touches so many bases at the same time,” he explains. “If you’re using Google Apps as a primary groupware system, this is a beautiful, perfect companion because it addresses the gaps in Google Apps and adds loads of additional functionality. It’s worked really well for us.”
If you’re using Google Apps…Pingboard is a beautiful, perfect companion.