Editor's note: Today we hear from Craig Bell, IT Service Delivery Director at The Cordant Group, a specialist recruitment and integrated services company employing up to 50,000 staff during peak times, and turning over £750 million a year. Here, Craig tells us how Google Apps for Work has not only helped them work smarter and more flexibly thanks to a business-wide rollout, but has also helped deliver a projected savings of £500,000 to the company’s bottom line in just a year.
It may have grown since it was founded in 1957, but ours is still a family business, and one that values the input of every individual, whether they’re one of our 2,500 permanent employees, or one of our tens of thousands of seasonal workers. But with so many staff, we realised we needed an IT solution that would answer the needs of each person, rather than asking each of them to answer to our inflexible IT system. Our solution is Google Apps for Work, which has transformed the way we operate our business at every level.
With 200 locations nationwide, as well as offices in Germany and Australia, we launched our rollout of Google Apps for Work so our staff can work as a team, wherever they are. Gmail gives access to our accounts whether in the office, at home or on the road — and the fact that it’s multi-device compatible means no more lugging laptops around just to check our inboxes. The flexibility and immediacy it provides ensures that important messages don’t fall through the cracks, and now we’re so speedy and effective with email communications that we send and receive up to 16 million emails each month.
Hangouts also allows us to communicate (face-to-face in this case) at any time, no matter where any of us are based. With over a thousand Hangouts happening across the Group every month, Hangouts have become so crucial to the way we run our business and communicate with each other that we now often use it to conduct interviews for IT recruits. It’s a great way to asses how intuitively candidates use technology tools, in particular Google Apps. Using Hangouts for interviews also benefits our bottom line: we now spend an average of 25% less time on interviews for IT team members, simply because we don’t have to spend time on things like collecting interviewees from reception and making them cups of tea.
As a recruitment company, we have a frequent turnover of staff. Having forward-looking and familiar tools helps us appeal to the very best new recruits. Web-based mail, instant messaging and online communities like Google+, are cloud-based tools that younger generations have grown up with — and are now ready to work with. This familiarity allows new starters to work efficiently from the moment they log on and saves us time and money on training. Plus Google Apps tools are also incredibly easy to scale up or down.
Knowledge is also easy for us to scale now. We share documents hosted on Google Drive almost half a million times every month and add 125,000 new files each month. And everything we do is reusable rather than disposable. Our own internal teams can manage and roll out successful solutions to every one of our 200 locations without needing armies of external IT service providers to support us, a change that along with keeping specialist knowledge in-house and doing things more efficiently has played a significant part in reducing our operational expenditure by hundreds of thousands of pounds each year.
With the virtual nature of Google for Work products, we can also keep costs and downtime at a minimum when relocating to new offices as we grow. Google’s ability to integrate data and systems to the cloud so seamlessly means shifting office spaces and acquiring new companies is now more economically viable. When considering the total cost of acquisition for a subsidiary business, we look at how easily a business can be “Googlised.” Using Chrome OS allows us to almost instantly integrate existing businesses with often outdated legacy apps into our Group. This has opened up a host of opportunities that we otherwise would not have taken because of prohibitive IT costs.
In just one year, Google Apps for Work has completely changed the way we operate, which says a lot coming from a large and established business. As part of our company-wide “New World” IT rollout, we estimate that the new tools will enable us to save about £500,000, thanks to a combination of lower licensing costs, reducing capital expenditure by purchasing 2,000 compatible devices at more than half the previous cost of replacement, minimising use of external suppliers and relying more heavily on in-house skills and efficiencies. And there’s no doubt that we’ve also saved and earned a whole lot more thanks to working smarter with IT-led solutions.