Posted by Nan Boden, Head of Global Technology Partners
Today, we announced a partnership with Box to power collaboration and productivity for businesses of all sizes. As part of this partnership, Box will integrate with Google Docs and Google Springboard to deliver a seamless experience for working and collaborating in the cloud.
The integration between Box and Google Docs will enable Box to act as a third-party repository for Docs, Sheets and Slides, allowing users to create and collaboratively edit Google Docs directly from Box.
We’re also working together to integrate Box with Google Springboard, which connects people and information with Google-powered search and intelligence. Through this integration, Springboard will help users find the right information at the right time, no matter where it’s hosted — in Gmail, Drive, Docs or in Box.
We want our customers to have flexibility in their choice of tools and to have the most productive and collaborative suite possible for their needs. In fact, several of our own customers, like Avago, Intuit, Internet2 and Whirlpool already use Box and Google together, and these integrations will contribute to a more productive and collaborative enterprise. We’re excited to partner closely with Box to expand our efforts in the enterprise and transform how businesses work in the cloud.
Posted by Mike Hincks, Director of IT Infrastructure at Vivint Solar
Editor's note: Today we hear from Mike Hincks, Director of IT Infrastructure at Vivint Solar, a leading provider of residential solar power in North America. The fast-moving enterprise is using Google Apps, along with Dialpad, to drive collaboration and support for a workforce that's 63% remote. Register here to join our YouTube Live event on September 15 at 10 a.m. to learn more about how Dialpad, a Recommended for Google Apps Technology Partner, can modernize your IT strategy to support the anywhere worker.
Vivint Solar’s mission is to flip the switch on how the world consumes power. With millions of homeowners adopting solar for economic and environmental benefits, our workforce has rapidly grown to nearly 4,000 employees spread across 51 offices.
Much of that growth has been within our mobile workforce. Today, about 63% of our employees work remotely. Our sales professionals and technicians are constantly on the road building relationships with customers, and they need the right technology to ensure that they’re able to get their jobs done as efficiently as possible.
We turned to Dialpad to eliminate the hurdles of traditional voice technology, which can include multiple steps to reach successful deployment and ongoing maintenance challenges.
Integrating communications and productivity in the cloud with easy access to Gmail, Calendar and Docs across every device
Dialpad’s pure-cloud communications solution directly ties voice, video and messaging with Google Apps. Our mobile workforce immediately saw increased productivity once we made the switch. To get started, employees downloaded the Dialpad app, which automatically synced their meetings, emails and shared documents from Gmail, Calendar and Drive. The fact that it works across laptops, tablets and mobile devices (not just a desk phone) frees our workforce to work where and when they want.
Dialpad’s native integration with Google Apps allowed us to connect two mission-critical tools, and now our mobile workers can get their jobs done faster and more efficiently. When employees log in with their Google credentials to view recent emails, shared documents and upcoming calendar events, they get insights and rich context right from the Dialpad app.
In addition, Dialpad syncs with Google’s global company directory, so employee contact information is always up-to-date. And if an employee needs to call a colleague or customer, they can click-to-call with Dialpad straight from Gmail.
A simple deployment of scalable, high-value technology, without the overhead
Our transition to a pure-cloud communications platform with Dialpad and Google has resulted in significant cost savings and impactful productivity gains. For example, our prior telephony system needed a team of five people to manage and administer it full-time. Now, one employee spends only 5% of their time managing our new system.
Traditional IT voice systems come with hundreds of thousands of dollars in yearly infrastructure and hosting costs, while modern competitors require significant professional services just to get the product up and running. Dialpad, by contrast, had no upfront capital expenditures or ongoing maintenance costs. When switching to Dialpad, we were able to get our communications network deployed in just a couple of days without the high upfront costs — and Google Apps integrated instantly.
As our business continues to grow, both tools will scale seamlessly and neither requires the purchase of new IT infrastructure.
An empowered workforce that collaborates freely
A pure cloud stack lets employees get work done from anywhere. At Vivint Solar, our customer success managers need to connect with technicians in the field, but are based in our office headquarters. Before Dialpad and Google, it was a significant challenge for these different groups to maintain close relationships or communicate at a suitable time. Now, managers can resolve issues or bridge conversations using group messaging or SMS.
By integrating our core communications and productivity tools in the cloud, Vivint Solar has enabled an agile and deeply connected workforce that can collaborate from anywhere. It has created a new kind of business dialogue. Whether employees are local or remote, Dialpad and Google Apps make it easy to bridge voice with productivity and build a connected, more efficient workforce.
Posted by Arvind Balakumar, Head of Alliance Technology Partnerships, Google for Work
Today, Google and Okta announced an expanded alliance to help large enterprises transition from legacy on-premise directory infrastructure to the cloud and foster improved productivity, secure collaboration and rapid innovation.
Through this alliance, we’re expanding our relationship with Okta as a preferred identity and access management partner in the large enterprise segment. Okta and Google will jointly deliver a flexible, multi-cloud reference architecture that enables large enterprises to securely migrate from on-premise legacy infrastructure to the cloud and seamlessly deploy and manage Google Apps and other SaaS applications.
The Google-Okta reference architecture will enable a secure identity and access management solution for large enterprise customers by using Google as an authentication master and by using Okta as an identity bridge to address complex and advanced identity requirements. Using this reference architecture, enterprises can take advantage of Google’s scalable cloud infrastructure, state of the art account security and comprehensive application integrations. Enterprises can also benefit from Okta’s enterprise-grade identity and access management functionalities, such as bridging authentication for over 4,000 on-prem and cloud-based applications, and connecting distributed, multi-forest Active Directory environments.
Google and Okta will also equip global systems integrators (GSIs), Google resellers and independent software vendors (ISVs) with training, tools and support that enterprises need to accelerate their transformation to the cloud.
We’re excited to partner with Okta with the shared aim of accelerating the large enterprise shift from legacy directory infrastructure to the cloud.
Editor's note: Today we speak with Kyle Coleman, Director of Sales Development and Kelly Payne, Customer Programs Manager at Looker, a data analytics software company that makes deep data understandable and useable for business teams. Looker uses Google Apps and Asana to track and collaborate on all their work.
Can you tell us about Looker and why the company needed collaboration and productivity tools? Kelly: Our team at Looker is building software that helps business teams find, explore and understand the data that matters to them. As a fast growing startup, we think a lot about scaling our team and processes effectively and efficiently. We need the right tools do this well.
Why Google Apps? Kyle: We’re heavy users of Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. We can easily share our work cross-functionally and always feel confident that the person we’re working with has the most up-to-date version. Kelly: We’re constantly pulling up a Google Doc to have everyone work from the same place at the same time. There’s a huge benefit to having our work and discussions update in real time and to easily share what we’re working on with anyone in our organization.
How and why does your team use Asana? Kyle: We use Asana for important cross-functional workflows like new hire on-boarding, sales development and for almost all of our marketing team’s work. From campaign management to launches, every piece of content we publish — whether video, customer case study or blog post — is tracked in Asana. There’s so many moving pieces involved in a complex and collaborative workflow; Asana lets us track every detail. Kelly: With Asana, we can more easily keep track of who's doing what, and stay updated on the progress of projects. As we’ve grown, Asana has helped us identify how repeated tasks can become standardized processes. Developing process standards brings the clarity and accountability that help us work together well.
How are you using Asana and Google Apps together? Kelly: We're always linking our docs, spreadsheets or slide decks into our Asana tasks, which is easy to do with the Asana and Google Drive integration. Asana is where we make our work actionable, so the task becomes the place where all the relevant information is stored. Connecting Google and Asana makes it easy to ensure that everyone’s working out of the right documents. We’ve added a good deal of efficiency to our workflow by not duplicating efforts across teams.
How has productivity improved on your team by integrating Asana and Google apps? Kyle: Two things that matter deeply to us as a growing team are productivity and priorities. Having everything in the same central place saves us so much time as a team, and Google Apps and Asana have given everyone a sense of what they need to be working on and when.
You mentioned that you’re constantly working collaboratively at Looker. How does using Google and Asana side by side make working together easier? Kelly: With these tools that we’re now using, it’s so much easier to be collaborative and build a sense of trust and empowerment within our team. Whether we’re making a comment in a Google Doc or “hearting” someone’s task in Asana, we’re having a lot more fun moving our work forward together.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about how Looker makes work fun and collaborative using Google Apps with Asana. You can learn more and enable Asana in your Google Apps account by visiting their application listing in the Google Apps Marketplace.
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.