Automotive retailers and manufacturers need to run high-quality systems to sell and promote cars online. This has created an opportunity for ambitious developers to build the digital products they need – one such business is GForces.
GForces was founded by Giles Smith in 1999 as a small digital agency working out of a barn to supply local businesses with websites. The company is still privately owned and based in Maidstone, but it now has around 250 staff working across three UK locations, as well as in Gdansk in Poland, Dubai and Brussels.
It may have started life developing general websites, but GForces really took off as a business when it focused on developing software for automotive dealerships. The business now uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) to help it supply a suite of software tools, called NetDirector, to assist automotive retailers and manufacturers in selling and promoting their products.
AWS is a suite of more than 90 cloud-based services aimed at helping businesses big and small run their own services in an easier and more cost-efficient way.
Notably, AWS provides GForces with cost-effective and flexible technical capacity. It also provides a productivity-enhancing digital environment where the business can develop new digital products for its customers.
“Before we were on AWS,” says Callum McCurrach, Head of Technical at GForces, “we needed notice from our clients if they were going to run a large marketing campaign as we would have to provision the higher demand and take things offline overnight. It was very man-hour intensive.
“Now, with a highly available environment, we don’t worry about it: clients go off and use their sites as they should.”
Moving to the AWS cloud meant GForces could embrace new services such as auto scaling its server requirement. This netted the firm a considerable cost saving, as capacity automatically changes to meet demand. The move also meant the infrastructure on which GForces runs its business could be largely self-healing, so developers no longer need to be woken up at 3am if a problem occurs.
The fact that GForces hosts its services in the cloud, through AWS, has also made it easier for the business to expand globally. It is now rolling out digital destinations for clients across the Middle East, and in China, Russia, South Africa, the US and various European territories.
In fact, the business was recently placed at number five on The Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 list of SMEs with the fastest-growing international sales.
“It all comes back to scale,” says Callum.
“You can start from your bedroom, with a single little deployment, and with a little effort and know-how you could end up with a product that could scale out internationally. AWS means that technology isn’t a limitation anymore.”