Heroku App Helps Busy Professionals Increase their “Relationship ROI” through Timely Engagement

Contactually provides tools to organize, manage, and follow up with important contacts.

Any professional knows that interpersonal relationships are the backbone of the business world. Strong relationships with customers, prospects, partners, and colleagues are essential for business success. A well-managed network of business associates is essential for career success. Despite your goals, keeping in regular contact with an ever-growing network can be challenging. But when your vital relationships fall through the cracks, so do your opportunities.

Contactually was founded in 2011 to address the very specific problem of missed opportunities resulting from stale relationships. The company’s mission is to help relationship-focused professionals expand their opportunities through authentic, timely engagement. Contactually zeroes in on one of the most important factors in building healthy, sustainable business relationships: timely follow up.


As part of the onboarding experience, Contactually automatically builds a comprehensive contacts list from numerous sources, including email and other business applications. The platform then helps the user organize and prioritize their contacts, and set customized reminders for specific follow up with each individual. To further streamline their user’s business processes, Contactually provides a range of tools to enable communications, automation, tracking, and analysis. The company’s goal is to make staying in touch a fluid and easy everyday task for the busy professional.

The fine art of follow up on Heroku

When their product concept was young and raw, the Contactually founders wanted to focus their engineering team on building out their vision and getting a viable product live as quickly as possible. They didn’t want to waste time or resources on managing infrastructure. So, they chose to build their product on the Heroku platform from the very beginning.

One of the main reasons we chose Heroku is the minimal amount of work it takes to get a Ruby on Rails app up and running on the Heroku platform. Heroku makes it so easy to get started. John Gerhardt, Director of Engineering, Contactually

On the front end, the development team currently uses Backbone and Marionette, but they’re in the process of switching to React and Redux. Their mobile apps are native. On the backend, the platform is Ruby on Rails connected to Amazon RDS data stores.

The backend exposes an API which the web, iOS, Android, and third-party clients all use. Heroku’s Common Runtime runs Contactually’s applications in isolated, lightweight Linux-based containers that are automatically provisioned and fully managed. Heroku’s Common Runtime runs on trusted Amazon Web Services infrastructure.

The Contactually team is currently in the process of restructuring a monolithic architecture to a microservices architecture. As a first step, they are focused on breaking out separate Rails engines. The next step will be to break the engines down further into individual services. Although some HTML is still currently being rendered server side, the team is in the process of refactoring this to reduce functionality of the Ruby on Rails component to only serve the API.

We’re really happy with how easily we can migrate to a microservices architecture on Heroku. The Heroku platform makes it simple and quick to spin up a new app to run each service. John Gerhardt, Director of Engineering, Contactually

The team manages Contactually using HireFire, which allows them to automatically scale worker dynos, depending on the number of jobs in the queue, and scale web dynos, depending on traffic. They use Elasticsearch through Elastic for quickly searching hundreds of millions of contact records. A number of Heroku Add-ons help them further extend their apps, including: MemCachier, Logentries, and New Relic APM.


The company’s engineering team is a full-stack team, so everyone can work on any part of the app. They use JIRA for tracking features, issues, and bugs, which is also integrated with GitHub for tagging new code. With Heroku, anyone on the team is able to deploy code, which helps the team maintain a fast development pace.

Deployment is a breeze on the Heroku platform. Heroku gives our team the freedom to focus on developing a great product rather than on managing infrastructure. John Gerhardt, Director of Engineering, Contactually

Contactually integrates with a wide range of external business systems, such as Salesforce, Hubspot, MailChimp, and Zapier, using Bedrock Data’s data management platform to sync contact data between systems. This allows the Contactually team to further focus on developing core product features.

Growing ROI

The future is bright for Contactually. Since launch, their business has grown steadily boosted by healthy annual recurring revenue and investment capital. Since the beginning of 2016, they’ve released an iOS app and doubled their engineering team. Their experience with Heroku has helped them accelerate their development cycles to meet the growing demands of their business. For Contactually users, product growth will only bring them even higher “relationship ROI.”