Collaboration is important to business, but it needs to be calibrated correctly. If you do not collaborate enough, then your company is made of silos that do not work well with each other. This happened during the merger between DaimlerChrysler when the German and American Engineers refused to work together.
On the other hand, you also do not want over-collaborate. This occurred a few years ago at the oil giant BP. Management emphasized the need to collaborate and share ideas with different groups. According to the former CIO John Leggate, travel expense increased as people began to fly around the world to host meetings with the sole purpose of sharing ideas.
Collaboration is important, but it needs to be a balanced approach.
Google Apps is a powerful set of tools that can help business find the right balance. Below, we profile two companies that did a Google Apps Deployment in order to find the right collaboration balance.
Story 1 – The North Naples Fire Control District
The North Naples Fire Control and Rescue District is an independent fire district located just north of Naples, Florida. The group is responsible for providing emergency fire and rescue services to the North Naples community. To perform this service, they have an operating budget of about $20 million a year to address the needs of 7 firehouses and 1 central command center.
When it comes to fire rescue, there is an obvious coordination need. However, the organization found that their Groupwise solution did not provide all of the functionality they wanted in a solution. In addition, they needed software that would facilitate simple communication with volunteer first responders in emergency areas. These volunteers were responsible to triage a situation and communicate back to the command center the type of response that was required.
After evaluating various options, they eventually selected Google Apps. Google Apps was affordable and allowed them to reduce their IT budget, since it was a fraction of the cost of Groupwise. In addition, everyone was able to share their calendars, significantly increasing administration coordination. More importantly, they were able to setup a tool called Shared Groups which used mobile phones to create instant communication with first responders on the ground. This is the next step in a short but vital history of using cloud-based apps and shared information to save lives.
Their Google Apps deployment allowed them to find the right collaboration balance.
Story 2 – CBC/Radio Canada
CBC Radio Canada is a diversified media company based in Toronto Canada. To facilitate collaboration between their reports, programmer managers, and administrators, they had originally purchased on premise hosted email/calendar system and basic word processing programs. However, they realized that if they moved their system to the cloud, they would be able to reduce IT costs and gain new collaboration functionality.
They selected Google Apps as their provider and realized two things. First, they gained new ways to collaborate including shared calendars and Google + Hangouts. This cut down on travel costs while using the savings to grow the core business. Second, they also discovered that story collaboration was easier due to tools like Google Docs shared editing options.
Their Google Apps deployment also helped them to find the right collaboration balance.
Google Apps is an excellent tool to help companies find and calibrate the collaboration balance. Better yet, it is cost effective and can potentially provide internal savings. If you are interested in learning more, please contact us.