Tag Archives: Google Apps for Work

Across the U.S., businesses are using the web to grow

When their 10-year-old daughter asked if she could raise alpacas on the family ranch, Jim and Kelley Hobart figured, “Why not?” They welcomed the animals onto their land and soon thereafter discovered the many benefits of alpaca wool. It was soft, durable, warm and eco-friendly—it had to be shared with the rest of the world. To the delight of their daughter and alpaca lovers everywhere, the Hobarts launched Alpaca Direct in 2005, producing quality yarns and apparel made from the unique fiber.

Jim and Kelley never imagined that a curious request from their youngest daughter would transform into a full-fledged business, or that a small storefront in Hayden, ID, would become a popular travel destination for knitting enthusiasts worldwide. Yet today Alpaca Direct is at the heart of a vibrant and global knitting community. With the help of the web, they’ve brought the warmth of alpaca wool to more than 100,000 customers across 30 countries. As Kelley says, “With Google tools, we can do that, and [customers] can be part of our community.”

In 2016, Google’s search and advertising tools helped provide $222 billion of economic activity for 1.5 million businesses, website publishers, and nonprofits across the U.S. Our 2016 Economic Impact Report explores that economic impact state-by-state and the local businesses that are helping to drive it.   

While working on a small leather goods line in New York City, Tanya Menendez and Matthew Burnett realized how difficult it was to find local manufacturers. In an effort to democratize that access, the two started Maker’s Row, an online marketplace that helps small businesses find American factories to make their products. They use AdWords to both establish factory partnerships and find new customers, and YouTube to, as Tanya describes, “put a face behind the products that are made in the United States.” In five years, the company has helped 120,000 small businesses source and create products in 11,000 American factories.

After serving as a U.S. Marine for six years, Nick Baucom founded a company, Two Marines Moving, in Alexandria, Virginia. His goal was to keep his fellow veterans gainfully employed, while giving local residents a moving option they could trust. Today, Two Marines Moving employs more than 100 veterans. They use Search and AdWords not only to find customers,  but also to recruit employees. Nick has opened a second location in Florida and hopes to create job opportunities for 500 veterans in the next five years, vowing that “veterans will always have a home here.”

Across the U.S., businesses large and small are using the web to find their customers, grow, and make an impact. We’re proud to be part of their stories.

Posted by Claire Mudd, Director, Americas Small Business Marketing

Atmosphere 2016: Spotlight on technologies for Smart, Modern and Secure businesses

Today we hosted over 2,000 business leaders, in person and over livestream, for the India leg of Atmosphere 2016 in Mumbai. As our first time bringing this global enterprise event to India, it was an amazing day discussing everything from digital transformation to machine learning and enterprise security with companies of all sizes and from across sectors.

At the event, senior leaders from Flipkart, Hero MotoCorp, PwC and Mahindra’s startup arm, SmartShift, spoke about their adoption of Google Apps for Work and Cloud Platform, which are enabling their teams to be more connected, collaborative and competitive.
Rajan Anandan, Vice President, Google- SEA & India, at the company’s flagship enterprise event -
Atmosphere India in Mumbai

Through our enterprise technologies, we provide a seamless experience from desktop to mobile - accommodating the current needs of a digital, connected and integrated workforce while continuing to build for future shifts that will make companies smarter, more efficient and empowered to identify opportunities, service customers and manage risks. We are enthused that according to Builtwith.com Trends, over 70% of sites with a .IN domain are using Google’s enterprise technologies, making Google Apps a popular IT choice for Indian businesses.

A robot programmed with Google's Cloud Vision API that can recognize and speak object names

For the first time in India we spoke about how our Cloud Platform takes advantage of Google’s deep networking and machine learning expertise to provide services for application development, data analysis and computing. Google Cloud customers including Wipro and SmartShift, are hosting applications on our platform.

Among the other technologies we demonstrated an immersive experience focused on the much needed water taxi for Mumbai. The demo included several cloud based features including security features like data loss protection and information rights management, interactive live Google docs, created QR codes and got real time feedback from the audience. One of the most popular demos was a robot powered by the Google Cloud Platform Vision API, that correctly identified a human smile and everyday objects. It is exciting to see the opportunities for this technology and the various ways in which it could be applied to myriad industries including manufacturing and retail.

Leaders from various sectors and industries shared their experience of using technology to improve efficiency, modernize decision-making and keep their organisation’s data secure. This was a great opportunity to learn from our customers and IT leaders. We look forward to supporting even more Indian businesses on their digital journey.

Posted by Mohit Pande, Enterprise Country Manager, Google South East Asia & India

Building sustainable supply chains with Google and Smartsheet: Q&A with Shaw Industries

Editor's note: Today we speak with Melissa Pateritsas of Shaw Industries Group, which uses Google Apps along with Smartsheet. Read on to find out how these integrated solutions foster collaboration and add greater efficiency to the Shaw Industries supply chain. Register here to join our Hangout on Air on July 20 at 10 a.m. PT to learn more about how Smartsheet, a Google recommended app, can improve your business.
Can you tell us about Shaw Industries and why you chose Google Apps and Smartsheet?

Shaw Industries Group is committed to creating an efficient and sustainable supply chain for its flooring enterprise. Being the world’s largest carpet manufacturer and a leading floorcovering provider means sustainability isn’t just a moral or ethical imperative, it’s smart for business. More efficient supply chains produce better, lasting products with fewer costs.

With offices and sales representatives across the United States and world, Shaw’s sales reach nearly $5 billion every year. Our growing business needed an even more efficient (and sustainable) way to bring daily operations into the digital age. So we turned to two powerful collaboration tools: Google Apps and Smartsheet.

In Smartsheet, we could make good use of the collaborative work management (CWM) platform that marries the power of a project and process management solutions suite to the familiar interface of a spreadsheet. And we saw Google Apps as an opportunity to improve efficiency and collaboration across teams. With a strong working history, the two work in tandem very well and together were exactly what we needed to achieve our digital transformation.

You mentioned the importance of supply chains for Shaw Industries. How did considerations around the supply chain impact your decision to switch to Google Apps and Smartsheet?

Part of creating an efficient and sustainable supply chain is lowering overhead costs. The processes used to produce carpet and flooring at our various manufacturing facilities differed slightly from location to location. The many manufacturing divisions had common needs, but also their own unique challenges. Any solution would have to address these differences, while commonalities would cause overlap. It didn’t make sense to have different support teams for each process, especially if half of what the teams did was identical.

Sharing plans and projects was also challenging. The systems we had in place were costly and time-consuming. We needed a way to increase visibility and update project statuses, not only for our team, but also for external parties like clients and vendors.

What results are you seeing now that you’re using Apps and Smartsheet?

Turning to Google Apps’ collaborative tools was a positive first step. Google Drive allowed us to easily share documents and files both internally and externally. Documents could be instantly shared and jointly edited by employees around the world in real time. Plus, going paperless made our operations more ecologically friendly.

Smartsheet’s suite of project and process management solutions, which feature Google Apps integration, further enhanced what Google already had to offer. Smartsheet offers great flexibility. With them, we can easily create templates that we can edit and customize to meet diverse needs.

We also simplified project roll-ups — which were previously done by hand. Using cell linking, engineering managers could automate the process, saving time and effort, and automatic updates solved the problem of visibility that we struggled with. We could now easily share individual projects with stakeholders, both internal and external, ensuring that everyone was on the same page.

Also, today our separate business units are able to build custom and individualized solutions on a strong foundation that addresses both common and distinct needs. Managers and engineers can automate processes that had previously been done by hand, spending more time and energy on devising ways to make our products better and longer-lasting. These new solutions are built using familiar interfaces and services that employees already know how to use.

Can you tell us about the process of adopting Smartsheet?

Adopting Smartsheet was a simple transition because of its familiar spreadsheet-like GUI. We didn’t need additional software. Everything we needed could be done within the frameworks that Google and Smartsheet already offered.

So where does the company stand now in terms of its digital transformation?

We’re definitely in the midst of transformation. With Smartsheet and Google solutions, and their simplicity and the scalability that a worldwide enterprise like Shaw needs, we’ve reduced overhead and complexity and cut time spent on processes. We now have more time and focus on building for the future. We can also proudly say that we’ve met our goal to create easy-to-adopt digital practices and a more efficient, sustainable supply chain.

Top UK CIO explains how to create a 5-star digital hotel experience

Editor's note: Today’s post is from Chris Hewertson, CTO of glh, the largest owner-operator hotel company in London with over 5,000 rooms throughout London as well as two locations in Malaysia. Chris was recently named “disruptive player in the crowded hotels market” in the CIO top 100 list. Here, he shares his secrets to success.

In 2013, we launched the world’s fastest hotel wi-fi and put our focus on digital. We had big ideas to transform our business, and we knew we couldn’t do it alone.

We’re always looking for new and innovative technology solutions that can help us deliver the best guest-centred experience in hospitality. Hosted services and real-time responses are becoming more and more of a basic customer expectation in other industries so we thought, why not hotels? We worked with implementation partner Cloudreach to adopt Google Apps as our fully integrated, enterprise-wide cloud collaboration and storage solution.

Let product enthusiasts within your teams help usher a smooth adoption

With over 33 hotels, more than 1000 users and nearly 4 million files, how were we going to move everything and everyone onto Google Apps for Work? The answer was obvious – Jedis.

Well, not Jedis exactly, but pretty close. Our nominated Google Guides were a group of 65 champions across all our locations and departments – from night managers to head housekeepers – who helped kick-start our Google Apps for Work adoption. Their support and enthusiasm for the tools meant we could truly bring Google Apps for Work into every part of our business.

Not only did they help us cut down old and unused data as part of the migration process (we have now almost halved our original 3 million files), they encouraged everyone to use the tools for creative solutions. This is a great example of how a user led change approach can lead to high levels of engagement and adoption while minimising the need for a traditional data migration.

Find creative ways to use new tools to improve customer experience

At glh, we take guest complaints seriously and try to accommodate each request as much as we can. At our biggest hotel, room moves and changes happen daily. Guests move rooms to be closer to their travelling party, away from their boss (yes, really) or even to avoid odd numbers.

Before Google, this would cause major disruption across a number of teams from Housekeeping to Concierge. Now, all teams can see and edit real-time room changes in Sheets, and housekeepers can even use it on their mobiles. As a result, we’ve significantly minimized delays, confusion and complaints.

From internal invites to office polls, Forms has been a welcome addition to the working lives of all of us at glh. Now we have a form that allows staff to check out a guest from anywhere in the hotel in seconds. No more printed paper that was popped into a box at reception.

Invest big savings from new technology tools into workplace improvements

Trans-atlantic Hangout conversations have led to a 42% reduction in conference call charges. Hourly printouts of various logs and reports of over 1,000 pages are now shareable digital Docs that are securely stored on Drive. The logs are updated in real time and available on any device.

It’s just over a year since we introduced Google Apps for Work, and in that time we’ve made so many apps-based ideas a reality – like our Manager of the Month initiative, where everyone votes using a Form.

Our Google Guides, who were so central to our training and awareness a year ago, are still coming up with new suggestions all the time – it’s amazing how creative people can be.

Azavea’s socially-minded employees work collaboratively together using Chrome devices

Editor's note: Today we hear from Robert Cheetham, founder and CEO of Philadelphia-based geospatial web software and analysis firm Azavea. Read about how Azavea has relied on Google for Work tools for more than eight years and recently started using Chromebox for meetings and Chromebooks so employees can work together from anywhere.

When I founded Azavea in 2000, I dreamed of creating a great work environment focused on driving social impact by applying geospatial technology. We're a certified B Corporation, and our mission-driven work includes climate change, elections, public safety, transit, water infrastructure and natural resources. Inspired by my first job working for a local government agency in Japan, where cubicles don’t exist, I designed our workspace to have an open layout, long before it became popular in contemporary offices. Today, we rely on Google Apps, Chromebooks and Chromebox for meetings to support this collaborative environment and help us work closely together on our software and data analytics projects.

In the early years, when Azavea only had a handful of employees, we installed basic workplace software from a CD-ROM and had limited server space. When we outgrew our email system in 2008, we chose Gmail. Our employees quickly started using Google Calendar, Docs, Hangouts and Sheets because they integrate so closely with Gmail. These tools helped us work effectively together on projects, so it was a natural next step.

In 2012, our software developers started asking for supplementary computers to let them work from home, when traveling for client meetings or even in the office kitchen. We looked into tablets, but they were expensive and didn’t have fully functional keyboards. As longtime Google users, our Operations team investigated options from Google.

Chromebooks are fast, affordable, secure and remarkably powerful, so we started offering them as supplementary devices for people who wanted more mobility. Our colleagues can easily switch between their main workstations and portable Chromebooks, and the long-lasting battery makes them the perfect companion for frequent travelers, office roamers and remote employees. I typically travel for a week each month myself, so I use my Chromebook on long flights as well as meetings and conferences where there may not be convenient power. It typically lasts more than nine hours, while a laptop only lasts two or three.

The company now has more than fifty people, and when we moved to a new office a few months ago, we needed a videoconferencing solution for a dozen new meeting rooms, we once again turned to Google and picked Chromebox for meetings. Like the other Google products we use, Chromebox is affordable, easy to install and integrates with our existing workplace software, like Hangouts and Calendar. Anyone can quickly set up and join a meeting. As a small firm, this ease of use is critical for us — we don’t have a team of dedicated IT staff, so we don’t have capacity to constantly deal with technical difficulties or high-maintenance updates.

I wanted to start a company that felt like a community and made an impact. Over the past several years, Google has significantly enhanced our company’s operations because their products simply work and easily scale as the company has grown. Our teams are able to work effectively together, no matter where we are.

Google Apps and gaming help Melexis keep a fast-growing global team together

Editor's note: Today we hear from Koen Bosmans, Senior Systems Administrator at Melexis, a microelectronics supplier based in Tessenderlo, Belgium. One of the world’s top producers of sensors and microchips for the automotive industry, Melexis is expanding into new industries, with great success. Spread across 11 offices in nine countries, read how this truly global company uses Google Apps for Work to build its international team.

There’s a good chance you’ve used one of our products without realising it. The sophisticated microchips we make are in everything from children’s ear thermometers, to airbags, to smartphones, to drones. And as the demand for microelectronics has grown, so has our business: Melexis shares are worth 20 times more now than when I started working here in 1999, and today we employ 1,200 staff worldwide in Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Switzerland, China, Malaysia, the Ukraine and the US. As early as 2010, we could see that this rapid expansion might lead to “silo thinking” that prevents outstanding engineers in different countries from working together effectively in a global team. That’s why Melexis management asked me to research alternatives to the open-source software we were using.
I ranked five IT solutions on 25 criteria — including web accessibility, document sharing and OS compatibility — and Google Apps for Work came out on top. We bought 500 accounts and got ready to deploy them over 13 weeks. But after the first fortnight, I realised that Google Apps training was so straightforward I could ask a student working in my department to do it. He travelled the world for three months and trained the entire company.

Google Apps improves staff satisfaction with their work environment and rewards teamwork. In the first quarter after we switched to Gmail, the number of complaints about email dropped by 65%. No more spam or slow webmail, and Calendar has ended confusion over meeting room bookings. Expansion is much easier, too; instead of having to install servers and data lines in every new office, all we need is an internet connection. Plus, we can expand without asking engineers to relocate, since as part of a virtual team, they can talk to colleagues anywhere in the world over Hangouts while working together on a shared document in Sheets. And wherever we are, Drive saves time by letting colleagues work simultaneously on single documents — whether it’s our R&D teams collecting test data in Sheets, or the IT team preparing a presentation on Slides for our monthly meeting.

Through my experience using Google Apps within our IT team, I understand how something as simple as face-to-face contact through Hangouts can make a team so much stronger. My IT Service Desk team is made up of eight people split over six locations, and we meet every two days on Hangouts to discuss work. I noticed that seeing each other so often created a relaxed and friendly dynamic that made it easier to share advice and help each other.

At Melexis, we don’t just work hard, we play hard, too. Fun is part of our DNA, and three years ago, we invited everyone to take part in an international computer game LAN party. We’ve been doing it every year since, and it’s always a great opportunity to get to know each other across different locations.
Google Apps makes these international LAN parties possible. Staff use Forms to sign up for some of the four or five games we’ll be playing in competition, and we organise times and equipment through a community on Google+. Presentations on Slides explain what we’re doing, and we use Sheets to keep score.
The party starts at 6pm on a Friday. In each office, staff decorate a room, put on fancy dress, and set up a Hangout between all the offices, even our senior leaders get dressed up and take part! Projection screens, microphones and speakers let the offices communicate with each other while the organisers announce gaming fixtures. Our scoreboard is in Sheets, which automatically updates its graphs with all the new information from every match.
In the first year, we had 120 participants, and that number’s been going up every year since. We’ve even given out best-dressed awards for themes from Halloween to superheroes.
Now, when I travel between our offices in different countries, staff walk up to tell me how good the LAN parties are for the company and morale. But there’s no question that combining our talents and pulling together through technology, wherever we are, lies at the heart of our global success.

Payment processing company Fifth Manhattan switches to secure, easy-to-use Chromebox desktops

Editor's note: Today we hear from, Adam Garrett, president of Dallas-based Fifth Manhattan. Learn how Fifth Manhattan switched to Chromeboxes for a simpler, more affordable desktop computer solution.

When I joined Fifth Manhattan as president in 2014, I wanted to expand our customer base. We provide credit card payment processing services for small to medium-sized businesses and help them cut costs, increase revenue and provide a higher level of customer service. Big nationwide retail chains have substantial marketing budgets, but your local Italian restaurant and auto body shop don’t. That’s where we come in.

One of my first orders of business was to upgrade our aging fleet of desktop computers. The team needed simple, easy to use computers with web access, so we decided to buy one Chromebox and try it out. We were astonished by how simple it was to set up and deploy. After the pilot, we bought Chromeboxes with Chrome device management licenses for each of our 30 employees. Since then, we’ve given a Chromebox to each new hire.

Because of Chrome, we no longer need a traditional IT help desk. Fifth Manhattan has six full-time IT staff members, but they focus on building and managing our internal CRM platform. Before Chrome, they spent hours every week troubleshooting computer crashes. Today, they spend less time managing Chrome and deploying new devices and more time on their core responsibilities. Since we switched to Chromeboxes, we’ve only had one issue with a device — and it was a hardware malfunction, no fault of Chrome.

As a payment processing company, we deal with highly sensitive data like bank account information and social security numbers, so security is critical. We’re required to maintain compliance with PCI regulations governing customer data. As part of this, we limit the number of employees who have access to sensitive internal data and monitor all usage carefully to avoid breaches. Chrome makes this easier to do. Administrators can set up different “organizations,” or teams so they can create customized settings for each team to limit which applications they can access. For example, our telesales team only need to use our web-based CRM tool, so we limit their usage to that, while account managers need access to their Chrome web browser and applications like Gmail and an e-signature solution. In addition, we can turn off incognito mode and disable saving to external flash drives. These settings help us control employee access so we can prevent data breaches and leaks.

Fifth Manhattan employees are now able to work remotely, thanks to Chromebooks and Google Apps. We have five extra managed Chromebooks for employees to use if they’re unable to come into the office because of travel, parental leave or bad weather. As president, I travel often for customer meetings. My Chromebook lasts for more than eight hours, which comes in handy during cross-country flights and long meetings. I can even access my desktop applications remotely from my Chromebook using Chrome remote desktop.

When I joined Fifth Manhattan, I wanted to grow our payment processing business into a thriving enterprise. Google Chrome has helped me scale the business from 35 employees to 100 in two years and makes it easier for everyone to focus on their work, not IT.

How BlackDog Advertising marries technology and design with Chrome

Editor's note: Today we hear from John W. Penney, creative director and CEO of Miami-based BlackDog Advertising. Read how the company used Chrome devices to build engaging hotel kiosks for a major hotel chain.

I’d always wanted to start a business that used technology in creative ways — so I founded BlackDog Advertising in 1989. Since then, design has been at the center of our culture.
Members of the Blackdog Advertising team (from left to right): Jason Carbonell, interactive director, John Penney, founder and creative director and Humberto Abeja, art director
We sell to businesses that use technology to engage customers, so our solutions need to be eye-grabbing and intuitive, elegant and approachable. Devices like the Chromebit and Chromebox align perfectly with our design-first approach and provide both cost-effective and dynamic solutions to expensive static light boxes and point-of-sale ads.

Our team became well-acquainted with the efficiencies of Google productivity tools like Hangouts and Gmail when we switched to Google Apps for Work from Microsoft Office about five years ago. This led us to give Chrome for Work a try, and we saw even greater benefits for collaboration, ease of use and cost. That’s how we discovered that Chrome devices could work really well for our clients in the hotel and tourism industries.

We tested whether we could use a combination of devices and monitors to create compelling interactive signs and quickly realized that we could centrally manage a constant stream of images and video with the Chrome device management console, for pennies on the dollar. The decision to build personalized apps on the Chrome Web Store that could be instantly updated across all of our clients’ kiosks was a no-brainer.

Our client, a major hotel group, posed a challenge that pushed this line of thinking even further. They asked us to build something that would replace the three-ring binders their concierge professionals have used for decades to show hotel guests activities and restaurants they might enjoy. We knew the use of tablets, which they suggested, would be expensive to implement over the long run and instead urged them to explore Chrome devices and touchscreen monitors. The Chromebit and monitor together cost less than a single tablet, but offered the added features of easy content deployment and theft protection. Hotels may carry up to 20 pitch books on hand, costing about $75 each. Our Chromebit kiosks, which can each replace all of a hotel's pitch books, cost no more than $400 — a savings of over $1000 for some hotels.
Chromebit kiosk showcasing area events, activities and attractions for hotel guests
Blending vivid imagery, video and interactive features, Chrome kiosks provide a modern alternative to the three-ring binders concierge professionals used to use when showcasing area events, activities and attractions. And hotel guests can interact with the kiosks on their own to plan or add to their itineraries, even after normal work hours, when the concierge desk is closed.

We can use Chrome to design, test and introduce new solutions that our clients love. It’s reliability, ease of use and affordability make it an attractive option to replace all kinds of signage — not just concierge kiosks. Our clients have requested Chrome for other uses, such as ticket sale kiosks — all possibilities we’re eager to explore. Chrome’s marriage of approachable design and robust technology has created a new revenue stream for us, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to uncover where else Chrome will take us.

Online Travel Agent (OTA) Travix takes off with Google Apps for Work

Editor's note: Today we hear from Jan Castelijns, Head of Systems Engineering and IT Operations at Travix, a global online travel technology company that sells low fare flight tickets to 2.5 million passengers from 28 countries every year. Founded in 2011, Travix has rapidly built up a network of 500 staff in seven offices worldwide. Read why they chose Google Apps as the IT infrastructure behind their rapid expansion.

When Travix started out in 2011, it was through the merger of three companies. We gained strength from that diversity, but we also inherited three corporate IT systems. So the first thing the CEO asked me to do when I joined was to find one system we could use across the whole company. He recommended Microsoft Office 365, but implementing it was more demanding than anyone had expected. Months into the process, I went back to him with a realistic projection of the time and resources necessary to finish the rollout, and a recommendation that we put the project on hold. The hunt began for alternatives. That’s where Google Apps came in.

Google Apps is perfectly suited for an expanding global business. We have offices in Amsterdam, Oosterhout, Berlin, Bangalore, Singapore, California and London, and in all of these places, Office 365 required infrastructure modifications before implementation. By contrast, Google Apps was ready to go right out of the box.

Our corporate IT systems need to be quick, reliable and safe, with a minimum of costs and management overhead. Google Apps costs less to implement, less to maintain and allows greater contractual flexibility than Office 365. Because Google Apps is also entirely cloud based, we don’t need to install servers, as recommended in the hybrid server-cloud Office 365 solution. In fact, Google Apps allowed the decommissioning of 10 existing servers, each of which is priced at $3,000.

Rolling out Google Apps took just six weeks. g-company led training with one-on-one sessions for executives, small workshops for staff and even presentations over Hangouts for our Bangalore team. But key to our rapid deployment were the “ambassadors” – staff prepared to support their colleagues when Google Apps went live. After setting up our systems engineers on Google Apps, I sent out a Form for people to register as ambassadors and the response was overwhelming: 104 people signed up for 50 positions. This was a clear sign for us that our people were willing to embrace this change and make this transition work.

At Travix, we already worked with other Google products in particular fields, like Google Analytics and Google Adwords in marketing and Google BigQuery and kubernetes in engineering. Now we have Google Apps for everyone.

Staff here have become very enthusiastic about Google Apps, as they see how the tools fit into their working lives. Gmail, Calendar and Hangouts let staff stay on top of their work anytime, from anywhere. Rather than book meeting rooms through a separate app, now everything is on Calendar, saving time and hassle. Drive has been organically and rapidly adopted across the organisation, and Forms has been a huge success that we didn’t even plan for. Instead of starting a gigantic email thread or using a free survey tool found on the internet, we now use the simple Forms interface to get swift feedback, with answers fed directly into Sheets for analysis.

Hangouts in particular has changed the way we communicate, whether through the efficiency of instant messaging or by working more closely with colleagues abroad. Hangouts on Air allows staff in other offices to participate in our CEO’s presentations in Amsterdam, and because the stream is recorded, engineers in Bangalore and California can watch it too, despite the time difference. Collaboration between team members no longer requires a kind of “email ping pong” and stressful version control. We can just open Hangouts and Drive and go through a document together, whether an engineering design in Docs, a marketing product plan on Slides, or details of a tender on Sheets.

A growing global technology company demands an IT solution that works in any location, on any device. On top of that, it has to be cost-effective, easy to maintain and ready to use in short time. It’s my job to provide that for my colleagues. With Google Apps, that’s exactly what we’ve got.

Fancy.com grows merchant partnerships with Google Apps and ProsperWorks

Editor's note: Today we hear from Paul Hsu, Chief Operating Officer at Fancy, which uses Google Apps with ProsperWorks CRM to help manage merchant partnerships, gain transparency into sales team activity and optimize their internal processes. Register here to join our Hangout on Air on June 14 at 9 a.m. to learn more about how ProsperWorks, a Google recommended app, can improve your business.

Fancy, the place to discover, engage with and buy goods from top brands, works with trendsetters and tastemakers to curate thousands of goods. Keeping track of new merchant product launches can get complicated, but Google Apps helps ease the coordination process. For example, we often need to schedule last minute meetings to review products that we want to feature at the start of every day. We use Calendar to find meeting times that fit our schedules, Drive to share product launch proposals and Sheets to manage product launch timelines. Since Google Apps are designed to work and integrate smoothly with one another, running these meetings is a seamless process. We’ve used it heavily since we started the company, and the tools have been vital to our productivity and growth.

Growing with Google

With a quickly growing merchant partnership base, we’ve found it increasingly important to keep track of all potential vendors and new interactions. Working with thousands of merchants and even more products, we needed a CRM solution to help scale this part of our business.

Since we were already using Gmail, Calendar, Sheets, Contacts and Drive for most of our operations, we saw ProsperWorks as an effective CRM solution, given how integrated it is with Google’s entire ecosystem of apps.

ProsperWorks with Gmail and Calendar

After we integrated the ProsperWorks Chrome extension — which only took a few short hours — our brand development team began using it immediately. They used ProsperWorks to track communications and interactions with merchants in Gmail and identify items that required follow-up. We saw an increase in our team’s productivity and growth in our brand partner network that we directly attributed to this integration.

With easy-to-use and intuitive tools from ProsperWorks, we experienced a significant increase in the number of merchant partnership deals closed due to the ability to better track customers and share real-time information that helped us close deals.

ProsperWorks with Drive and Sheets

In addition to the benefits for our brand development team, our executive team gained tremendous insight through ProsperWorks reporting capabilities, which work perfectly with Sheets. ProsperWorks' integration with Sheets allowed our brand development team to simply aggregate, organize and visualize our sales in a single dashboard. This gave us immediate access to important insights, such as those gleaned from comparing pipelines by stage, opportunity assessments, customer types, team workload, monthly team progress and even the status of our leads. We were able to get a bird’s eye view of all our sales pipelines without leaving Google Apps.

Using ProsperWorks with Drive gave us insight into product category gaps that we weren’t pursuing and showed us categories that had more partners than we needed. With ProsperWorks, we were able to easily identify these areas and refine our focus to develop partnerships that would expand our reach into new categories while reducing time spent on categories we had already built out.

Optimizing our brand management team with ProsperWorks and Google Apps for Work

On the ground level, our brand management team used ProsperWorks as a way to communicate, manage workflow, manage and assign tasks, share documents and more. Our brand development team has thousands of interactions daily across Gmail, Calendar and Hangouts, and it’s really helpful that on ProsperWorks, the profiles and status of each lead are automatically updated so that every email exchange, event and file is easily accessible by any team member.

Using Google Apps alongside ProsperWorks has helped us optimize the processes of our brand development team and make better decisions faster, which definitely gives us an edge over our competition.