Moneyspyder, based in London, is an e-commerce solution provider offering software and services. The company works with small to medium size businesses, predominantly in the UK, to build and grow their online retail sites and then host them on their platform, which is written in Ruby on Rails and deployed on Engine Yard.
Moneyspyder is unique in e-commerce because the company heavily leverages web analytics to provide customers with valuable insight into how to grow their businesses. This is entirely based on data coming from the clients' customers, so Moneyspyder can make these recommendations with a high degree of certainty and accuracy. Knowing what is and isn't working, Moneyspyder can help clients to make the necessary improvements.
Initially, Moneyspyder was going to use .NET, Java, or PHP to build their e-commerce platform. Because of the expertise of their technical team, they started down the .NET route to build a prototype. One of their engineers simultaneously went another route and started building the prototyin Rails. James Aston, Managing Director of Moneyspyder explains: "Before the .NET framework was close to completion, the Rails site was up and running. We were blown away by the speed, flexibility and power with which we could make changes. Basically, going the Rails route happened quickly and unexpectedly."
Once Moneyspyder decided to run its business on Rails, the challenge was finding a cloud computing solution. "We knew that 'traditional' hosting companies would charge a fortune to get our infrastructure up and running. We needed someone who could do this more flexibly, obviously at lower cost, and give us the luxury of not having to focus daily on issues that are not core to our business such as managing large-scale infrastructure, connectivity, and redundancy in-house," said James.
After analyzing the affordability, scalability and reliability of cloud platform vendors, Moneyspyder selected Engine Yard. "We chose Engine Yard because they really stood out as the industry leader for deploying and managing Rails applications. It was a fairly straightforward business decision. Engine Yard was able to give us a lot of skills out of the box, and they really helped us get our first deployments done. We haven't looked back since, and their support has been fantastic all the way," continued James.
Moneyspyder has been running on Engine Yard for several years now. They have integrated Engine Yard deployment strategies and best practices to achieve greater efficiencies in delivering projects to their clients. "With Engine Yard, we can bring up a staging environment in record time which enables us to achieve exceptional speed of delivery for our clients. Our estimated average time to deploy a new application has been reduced by up to 75%," said James.
Scalability is a critical requirement for Moneyspyder because their clients experience massive traffic spikes around traditional shopping peak times. By running on Engine Yard, Moneyspyder provides the scalability and reliability their clients need to be successful, and Moneyspyder is free to focus on building software and offering unique services of advising clients how to grow their e-commerce businesses. "Engine Yard is able to scale vertically and handle traffic spikes of 400% with no downtime. If we were running our own servers and using internal resources to manage them, the expense and risk of downtime would be far higher; and I would expect our development lifecycle to increase by at least 300%. The cost of this drop in productivity would be huge and significantly impact our business growth," added James.
Moneyspyder relies on Engine Yard for their Rails expertise and 24/7 customer support to solve deployment issues, but they also see Engine Yard as a partner and advisor to help grow their business. "With Engine Yard, we have a partner who truly cares about the success of our business. While they help us with technical problems, we also rely on them to help us shaour strategy with regard to managing deployments and optimizing Rails applications – and that's a strategic business advantage that's impossible to quantify," James said.
As Moneyspyder continues to thrive and grow their client base, they have a razor-sharp focus on what's important. James offers the following advice to other CTOs: "Choose your partners carefully and make sure they enable you to increase focus entirely on your core business. A large part of running a business on Rails is where you deploy it, how it scales, and who you can rely on 24/7 for support. You need to get those key things in place if you're going to succeed. Based on my experience, I recommend Engine Yard because when it comes to scalability, reliability, affordability, and customer support – they get it right every time."