Case Study: Google Apps Supports Strategic Growth at Merrimack Mortgage Company


The Company

Founded in 1983, Merrimack Mortgage Company (MMC) continues to be a leader in residential mortgage lending throughout the Northeast and is one of the region’s largest independent mortgage bankers.

MMC prides itself for being the company that delivers the same products as the big lenders but with the high quality service levels inherent in a small lender. This winning combination of finesse and strength has led Merrimack Mortgage Company to its exceptional growth during the past three decades. The company’s success is attributed to its core strategy of providing a high level of customer satisfaction at a competitive price.

The Challenge

Merrimack Mortgage Company relies on extending its operations by expanding the size of the company’s geographic market area with new satellite branches. The IT department is challenged with bringing these loan officers located in satellite branches into the company’s processes effectively and quickly to allow them to be up and running as fast as possible.

The Solution

With integrated communications and file services, the transition to Google Apps was part of a strategic initiative to put the company in a competitive position to enable it to expand its operations effectively, from a primarily New England-based operation to cover their expansion outside of New England. This expansion included enabling a homogenous environment to all of the company’s loan officers while still complying with SOX, GLBA, ISO and other internal governance and audit requirements.

“The business side of me saw Google Apps as a slam dunk from a ROI and TCO perspective, and the technologist in me also couldn’t argue against introducing variable costs, scalability, availability, and OS and hardware independence. Cumulus Global recommended and helped us deploy CloudLock and Backupify for compliance, policy enforcement, risk mitigation, and data protection. This allowed us to fully embrace Google Apps and made both my Chief Compliance Officer and CFO very happy.”
— Matthew Seaton, CIO Merrimack Mortgage Company

Integrating Google Apps and CloudLock, Merrimack Mortgage Company extends its security perimeter to the cloud. MMC ensures its use of email, calendars, contacts, and files stored and shared via Google Drive comply with regulations like SOX, GLBA, ISO and other internal Acceptable Use Policies.  Backupify protection data across Google Apps accounts against data damage or deletion due to user error.

“I am not sure if I would have felt confident with my decision to move our company’s communication and collaboration needs to Google Apps for Business without the solutions and assistance from Cumulus Global. The integrated solution has relieved my anxiety over having our company data hosted by a third party,” said Seaton.  “Our management team was relieved by the value proposition.  We pay as we grow rather than making large up-front capital investments.”

Since MMC’s initial Google Apps for Business implementation in June of 2011, MMC has increased sales staff by 15% and the number of physical locations by 26%. Operations staff increases have been minimal in comparison. The greatest benefit, in regards to increased sales staffing and locations, is the ability turn-up new team members literally in minutes. In more recent months, MMC has seen back-to-back monthly company record breaking sales numbers.

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Breitner Transcription Services

“Horizon’s implementation service was key to our success. We could not have given more than 100 at-home workers a new email service without the planning, training, and migration expertise that Horizon provided, all at a per-user price we could afford”

Owen Breitner, President

The Challenge

How do you provide a reliable email service to a staff of over 100 at-home workers located throughout North America? In-house solutions would demand resources and a secure, costly infrastructure for remote access.  Most hosted services provide support to your IT staff, but not to individual end users. Finding the right solution requires an easy-to-use, secure, hosted system combined with proven, affordable implementation and support services.

The Solution

Google Apps Premier Edition combined with Horizon’s Unlimited Service Package combined the power of Gmail and Google Calendar with individual user attention. Working with each user via web meetings, Horizon’s Operations Team ensured every user was able to log into Google Apps and perform basic email and calendaring functions. Horizon also managed the migration of active emails into each users’ Gmail account.

With Horizon’s help, Breitner was able to provide over 100 remote users with secure, robust email services without increasing IT resources.

Zero Point Zero Production

Google Apps protects an award-winning brand while providing flawless communications around the globe.


Zero Point Zero Production (ZPZ) is an Emmy winning television production company based in New York City.  Producing shows such as Anthony Bordain: No Reservations on the Travel Channel, ZPZ has staff and freelancers working 7×24 around the globe.

The Challenges

With a string of successful productions, ZPZ was growing and their current email solution was failing to keep up.  Beyond a difficult administration tool and weak user interface, their hosted email service lacked calendaring and shared documents.  It also failed to integrate with other applications.

ZPZ also needed a solution that would help them protect their intellectual property and their brand.  They wanted all communications, even from freelancers, to be sent from and to the corporate domain and to have all emails archived.  Employees and freelancers were regularly using personal email accounts to ‘get around’ their current system.

With the speed of their business, they would also need to be able to deploy new user accounts in less than 12 hours and easily manage active/inactive status.

The Decision

ZPZ did their research and found that:

  • They could deploy a cloud computing email solution for much less than an in-house system
  • Cloud-based email supports global users more easily and at a lower cost
  • Active user accounts can scale up and down as freelancers start and finish projects
  • More than 75% of their employees and freelancers already used Gmail personally and were familiar with its use
  • Google Apps Premier Edition integrated with Postini to provide full email archiving services, even for inactive and deleted accounts

ZPZ turned to Horizon Info Services for help with the setup and migration.

The Results

Following a jointly developed project plan based on Horizon’s best-practices, Horizon created and migrated all existing user accounts, behind the scenes, over a single weekend.  ZPZ email users began work on a Monday morning with the new service, with no complaints about the migration or Gmail service.  Horizon assisted the 25% of users wishing to keep their application-based email client and ensured all mobile devices were fully connected.

Staff and freelancers quickly began using broader functionality, including Google Docs, instant messaging, and calendar scheduling/sharing.  With easy setup, new freelancers have accounts and instructions waiting for them nearly immediately after the contract is signed.  Use of personal email accounts dropped to zero.

Since deployment, the number of users has nearly doubled.  Google Apps has scaled linearly, without any financial bumps for hardware and software.  Up-time has been perfect and ZPZ has integrated Google Apps with other cloud-based solutions.

With Horizon’s deployment expertise and support services, Google Apps has given ZPZ more than a global email service, Google Apps lets ZPZ communicate and collaborate in ways that let them focus on delivering award winning productions instead of IT.

Cloud Protects Small City from Hurricanes

How, you may ask, can a Cloud protect a small Florida city from Hurricanes?  Just ask the IT team supporting the City of Defuniak Springs and their police force.

In the face of Hurricanes and new regulations requiring public access to email, the City of Defuniak Springs, Florida, needed a disaster-safe email service with message archiving and discovery. Horizon’s Google Apps Premier Edition / Message Discovery bundle delivered availability, secure access, mobile user integration, and audit-ready archives.

The Challenge:Customer Profile

The City of Defuniak Springs, FL, like many municipalities, found itself searching for a new email solution. Deemed part of the public record, the city must preserve and be able to recall messages upon request. As important, the city and its police force needed to ensure email and critical documents would be available during Hurricanes and other major events.

The Solution:

In choosing Google Apps Premier Edition, the town and its police force have a secure, hosted email service that resides well out of harm’s way. Accessible from any Internet-connected device, users can work from vehicles, cell phones and PDAs during power outages. Bundled with Message Discovery, the city and police have an audit-ready archive of all email, meeting all regulatory requirements. As part of the package, Google Sites provide a secure, hosted location for critical documents when on-premise servers are unavailable. From decision to go-live in less than a week, the Google Apps Premier Edition and Message Discovery bundle costs a small fraction of other on-premise and hosted solutions.