We started with basic email and collaboration tools
and quickly moved beyond
In 2012 we identified a problem with a number of scalability challenges with the internal servers used for company communication and email. Because customer service is at the center of our business, having downtime or being unable to promptly respond to email requests represented a serious issue.
The internal self-hosted tools we were using to manage our company were no longer adequate to handle XTRF’s growth. After a period of server downtime that was unacceptable, we decided to move these critical communication needs to Google Cloud in 2012.
In the beginning, we used the basic email and collaboration tools offered: calendars, basic Docs capabilities, and email. However, as we became more familiar with Google Cloud’s capabilities, we realized it offered sophisticated tools we could utilize for a wide range of our internal needs.
Going beyond Gmail
Our immediate requirement was to fix our email systems. But we discovered that Google Cloud offered us a much wider range of tools, services, and functionality. For example, we moved from individual
- Gmail accounts to a unified system that integrated calendars and Google Docs across the organization. Other capabilities changed many of our internal processes:
- Cloud disc access (storage) offered anywhere, anytime access and group sharing of our internal documentation and company policies
- The same access gave us a central place to store and share work, eliminating email attachments and version control issues
- The ability to assign accounts to conference rooms or teleconference tools gave us a centralized company booking and calendaring system
- We greatly reduced the number of Microsoft Office licenses, reducing costs while offering our team members a more modern way to work collaboratively
- This centralized access to our business processes and policies helped us speed up our onboarding processes for both new hires and customers
We’re still exploring the capabilities involved. For example, reserving employee vacation time was a labor-intensive process involving back and forth emails, checking statuses to determine eligibility and more. We are implementing a shared vacation calendaring and information tracking system to ensure that time off approvals are faster, other team members are aware of upcoming time off for their team members, and that these benefits are fairly administered. After all, we are talking about a vacation here!
Integration with developer tools from third parties
These days we know that the entire range of cloud applications can be connected to build a more sophisticated business and collaboration processes, for both internal and customer-facing communication. Developer tools like JIRA, the popular agile development project management tool, can connect with our Google Cloud via APIs and connectors. This has improved our development processes, meaning software updates and bug fixes are launched faster and tracked across our enterprise.
The implementation of Google and other cloud applications has revolutionized our approach to managing XTRF. Over the years our IT team has become highly sophisticated users of these applications, resulting in greatly improved internal processes and better ability to interact with our customers. If you’d like to learn more, our IT Director Dominik would be happy to share his experiences in the cloud.