Libeo: Helping businesses close the books by reinventing supplier invoice management

About Libeo

Libeo is a SaaS payment platform in Europe that allows mid-sized companies to collect, manage, and pay supplier invoices with one click. Libeo was named “FinTech of the Year” by Finance Innovation, and received funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.

Industries: Financial Services & Insurance
Location: France

About SKALE-5

SKALE-5 is a Paris-based, DevOps-focused cloud consulting company specialized in Google Cloud migration.

Libeo scales effortlessly with an increasing user base by moving applications to Google Cloud, eliminating downtime, strengthening security, and attuning supplier invoice management to customer needs.

Google Cloud results

  • Eliminates downtime for customers by implementing multiple nodes with Google Kubernetes Engine
  • Increases deployment by 25% to enable the addition of popular new features for customers, such as invoice exports
  • Safeguards customer data with detailed access permissions for employees in G Suite and Google Cloud SQL
  • Optimizes applications with a monitoring stack, spotting inefficiencies in the setup with Operations (formerly Google Stackdriver)
  • Significantly increases productivity by streamlining employee collaboration with G Suite

Scales platform efficiently to handle 20X user growth

If you run your own business or work in accounting, the following scenario might sound familiar: A flood of invoices comes in by email, post, or even fax. None of them share the same format, each has to be processed individually, and a few of them aren’t even complete. The result, often, is chaos: 82% of finance departments in the UK are overwhelmed by the number of invoices they are supposed to handle each day.

Libeo has set out to reinvent the way businesses handle supplier invoices. Grown out of the accounting challenges previously experienced by one of its founders, the subscription-based SaaS product helps small- and medium-sized businesses stay on top of their invoices, saving valuable time in the process.“Many of our clients used to spend a day or more each month just paying their invoices,” says Pierre-Antoine Glandier, the company’s co-founder, Chief Product Officer, and Chief Technology Officer. ”That's the problem we’re tackling, by providing a unique platform to collect, centralize, validate, and pay their invoices.”

Using the intuitive Libeo dashboard, clients import invoices from all relevant source types, coordinate with other employees from the company, and pay with one click. More than streamlining the invoice management process, Libeo’s real-time insights provide an overview of the company’s finances. Businesses never lose track of the amount of pending invoices, late or refused payments, or monthly expenses, allowing for reliable cash flow forecasts and the analysis of spending trends.

“Because we handle payments, security is a priority for us. At the same time, we need to manage a fluctuating volume of users. Our developers unanimously endorsed Google Cloud as the most flexible platform to help us achieve both.”

Pierre-Antoine Glandier, co-founder, Chief Product Officer, and Chief Technology Officer at Libeo

As more businesses discover the strategic and operational benefits of a centralized invoice management solution, Libeo’s client base has steadily increased since the service went live in November 2019. Within months, more than 500 companies had integrated the platform into their accounting practices.

Libeo’s early success proved that businesses were looking for new invoice management solutions, but posed new challenges as well. “Because we handle payments, security is a priority for us,” says Pierre-Antoine. “At the same time, we need to manage a fluctuating volume of users. Our developers unanimously endorsed Google Cloud as the most flexible platform to help us achieve both.”

For Pierre-Antoine and Libeo’s developer team, usability was the deciding factor: “What sets Google Cloud apart is the quality of the interface. The platform is intuitive, making it more enjoyable to work with than other solutions.”

11 minute migration, minimal disruption

For a small company running a 24/7 live service on a tight budget, switching cloud providers required not just the right moment, but the right partner. Google representatives put Libeo in touch with SKALE-5, a Paris-based cloud consulting company specialized in Google Cloud migration. Together, they devised a strategy to conduct the switch without disrupting the existing platform.

“On top of building and fail-proofing the new platform, we needed to copy and integrate existing data from the old infrastructure and effectively organize the changing user flow,” says Jean-Pierre Chamarande, founder and CEO of SKALE-5. “Following our holistic plan, Libeo managed to do the actual migration in a mere 11 minutes, with minimal disruption to their live service.”

SKALE-5’s “on-the-job learning” approach supported Libeo’s developers to handle the actual migration themselves. “Our partnership prioritized Libeo’s autonomy in the long run, instead of just looking for quick solutions,” explains Jean-Pierre. “By providing the necessary training, we made sure Libeo had the knowledge to continue without SKALE-5.”

“We went from 10 to 200 daily users, with a tenfold increase in our total user base. Google Kubernetes Engine gives us the flexibility to scale as desired.”

Pierre-Antoine Glandier, co-founder, Chief Product Officer, and Chief Technology Officer at Libeo

20X more daily users, zero downtime

Libeo’s invoicing dashboard needs to effortlessly scale with a rapidly growing user base. As user demands grow more diverse, the platform needs to add features to adapt to different challenges in supplier invoice management. By implementing Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), Libeo improved its service on both fronts.

Among many Kubernetes vendors, SKALE-5 recommended Google Cloud for its simplicity. “For us, GKE is the best Kubernetes platform because it allows us to easily set up a continuous integration and deployment chain,” says Jean-Pierre. “It was essential for a fast and secure way to deploy new features and the ability to roll back faulty deployments.”

Today, Libeo scales its application more effectively by replicating pods using GKE, which ensures high availability of its containerized services and offers resilience if containers crash. “We went from 10 to 200 daily users, with a tenfold increase in our total user base,” says Pierre-Antoine. “Google Kubernetes Engine gives us the flexibility to scale as desired.”

Despite the steep user increase, Libeo was able to leverage GKE to introduce a new “no downtime” feature, making sure the platform is up and running regardless of time of day or the production cycle. According to Pierre-Antoine, the feature is as popular among Libeo’s developers as it is useful for its users: “Thanks to Kubernetes, we can set up and push into production without causing any downtime.”

Launching a backlog of features previously impossible

No downtime, now a staple of Libeo’s services, was part of a backlog of features the switch to Google Cloud made possible. “With our previous setup, we would have had to focus on infrastructure while having users on the platform,” says Pierre-Antoine. This would have wasted valuable time Libeo now uses to improve its service: “Thanks to maintenance automation with GKE, we’ve been able to focus on developing features, accelerating the speed of production deployment by 25%.”

One of those features is the ability for users to export files. Libeo tried to implement this possibility before the migration to Google Cloud, but the infrastructure was not equipped to handle high-volume requests, leading to crashes. Today, everything runs smoothly, says Pierre-Antoine: “We can handle thousands of invoices, compress them into a zip file, and make them available to our users, which wasn’t possible before.”

Optimizing performance with Libeo’s first-ever monitoring stack

With a growing user base and more functions that interact with each other, Libeo’s platform has become more complex, requiring in-depth monitoring. With the support of SKALE-5, Libeo configured Google’s operation suite (formerly Google Stackdriver) with Prometheus, a monitoring aggregator, to receive and read metrics from its application, enabling developers to resolve potential issues more easily.

When some users informed the company of slow platform performance, the monitoring stack revealed inefficiencies in the setup of Libeo’s servers and layers. “We didn’t have any monitoring before, and our setup impacted the speed of our platform,” says Pierre-Antoine. “With the Google operations tools in place, we were able to fix these issues and optimize the performance of our applications.”

To store customer data in relational databases, Libeo uses Cloud SQL, managing the end-to-end data pipeline between suppliers using a third-party customer-data service provider. This way, the company only stores data necessary to operate the platform, with detailed control visibility and user access levels.

Fine-grained permissions allow Libeo to specify how team members interact with the database, safeguarding customer data. “With Google Cloud SQL, we can manage internal users much more accurately,” says Pierre-Antoine. “Previously, we had to have one designated database user, but now we can give granular permissions to individual users, making the process more secure for our customers and more convenient for us.”

Increasing productivity, enhancing security with G Suite

Even before Libeo’s migration to Google Cloud, the twin assurances of security and convenience connected the two companies. In February 2019, G Suite replaced a more heterogeneous system where employees used their private email accounts and cloud storage services. This system throttled productivity, as employees spent valuable time searching for storage space and lacked standardized email practices. With G Suite, these practices have now stopped, leading to a welcome increase in security and compliance.

“When we discussed our vision for the coming years, Google was the first company that came to mind. Because of our shared values, seeing our logos side by side fills us with pride, and we’re happy to continue our journey together.”

Pierre-Antoine Glandier, co-founder, Chief Product Officer, and Chief Technology Officer at Libeo

With Gmail, Libeo streamlined employee inboxes, enhanced by real-time collaboration on Drive. Gone are the days of searching for storage space, and a linear pricing model makes it easy to predict future costs based on the company’s growth. At the same time, granular control over individual permissions minimizes security risks, making it easy to define parameters and terminate access with departures. “G Suite changed our habits,” says Pierre-Antoine. “We’re significantly more productive, with less time lost due to inefficient setups, while managing security for our platforms has become much easier to handle.”

Looking forward, Libeo and SKALE-5 see potential to further enhance the customer experience by automating customer-centric tasks with AI. By predicting user expectations, Libeo can tailor offers and additional features to users, increasing revenue in turn. This requires data, and visualization tools to make sense of it. “To store and analyze data in the future, we are looking into BigQuery,” says Pierre-Antoine.

With such future projects already in mind, Libeo’s partnership with Google Cloud and SKALE-5 remains vital. The mission to reinvent the way businesses handle supplier invoices is grounded in a desire to innovate, an area where, the team agrees, Google Cloud sets the benchmark. “When we discussed our vision for the coming years, Google Cloud was the first company that came to mind,” says Pierre-Antoine. “Because of our shared values, seeing our logos side by side fills us with pride, and we’re happy to continue our journey together.”

About Libeo

Libeo is a SaaS payment platform in Europe that allows mid-sized companies to collect, manage, and pay supplier invoices with one click. Libeo was named “FinTech of the Year” by Finance Innovation, and received funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.

Industries: Financial Services & Insurance
Location: France

About SKALE-5

SKALE-5 is a Paris-based, DevOps-focused cloud consulting company specialized in Google Cloud migration.