Google Apps: A step into the 21st century

Business Description

ANNONCE is one of the largest and best known online and offline advertising publishers in the Czech Republic. It is a traditional Czech company which started to publish its printed advertisement news in 1990 and Annonce.cz ad server in 1997. Annonce is being published three times a week in three versions differing by the main topic of the adverts. Weekly circulation is between 100 to 110 thousand copies. This makes it a no.1 among nationwide print advertising media.

Since its start the online version of Annonce has gained over 300 thousand subscribers and currently reaches about 350 thousand real users per month. On average Annonce.cz publishes around 250 thousand adverts daily – only real estate offers reach around 80 thousand every day. Other most used topics are related to work, cars and also dating.

Annonce is a highly decentralized company with business representatives in all regions of the country. This makes a lot of travelling to meet potential new clients and also work from home a necessity. There are around seventy employees and over half of them are regularly out in the field. Their average age is around 37 years. Google Apps are a great help both for employees in the field as well as for the management and production.

The Challenge

“We have felt the benefits of Google Apps on our own as we have been using personal Gmail accounts at work. We wanted to share this with all our Annonce employees. My goal was to learn my colleagues collaborate as they were not used to it before. We have worked for many years strictly as individuals. The easy user interface of Google Apps helps me enormously in this venture.” Lenka Černá, CEO of Annonce

Employees of Annonce have started using personal Gmail accounts at work. After some time, the company has decided to create its own infrastructure consisting of an email client and FTP server. Afterwards they also started using a dedicated server with POP3 and IMAP technologies, 50 GB of storage and a separate CRM system. Employees were thus forced to use two email accounts at once. All work files were stored on an FTP server which could only be accessed via workstations at the office. An option to connect to the network from outside of the office was nonexistent.

After two years of using a dedicated server the infrastructure required a major change as it was very inflexible and there was no reasonable way of expanding or upgrading it. It was sufficient when employees were only using emails to communicate. But whenever they wanted to work on something in a different system, trouble ensued. Employees were forced to use ever more new system tools and the process started to be too complicated. That was the reason that the management started using their personal email accounts for work purposes. Personal Gmail accounts solved all of their issues but still remained outside the company infrastructure. The definite reasons for the transition were the availability of data from any device, shared calendars and also the opportunity to collaborate on and share documents within Google Documents.

“Colleagues would sometimes forget to bring files with them to a meeting with a client a presentation, for example. There was no other option but to improvise which made the meeting longer and less effective. Today the answer is clear – use Google Documents. You will have all your files with you at any time.” Michael Matyáš, Director of print and digital products Annonce

One of the big questions for Annonce was that of data security as it handles sensitive information and puts a lot of emphasis on its protection. The optional two-step verification that puts the level of security of Google Apps close to the likes of internet banking has been a sufficient persuasion for the management of Annonce.

Annonce

The Solution

Management of Annonce did not want to directly force its employees to start using Google Apps. They wanted the shift to be gradual. At the same time, it makes the employees work closer together as they are helping each other with the transition. First to move to Google Apps are always team leaders from different departments. They hand over their experience further onto the team. The company will also have a user training conducted by lecturers from Netmail so that the transition is as smooth as possible.

The complete transition was managed by Netmail, a company focused on implementation of Google Apps for businesses. Netmail is one of 12 Premium SMB resellers in Europe. Netmail has performed hundreds of implementations and provides support for tens of thousands of users.

The Capabilities

New solution brings a whole new business philosophy to Annonce. IT now uses Google Forms to evaluate error rates of their servers. Sales department has started creating client presentations within Google Docs because it is possible to instantly edit the presentations from any devise thanks to the openness of Google Apps. The presentations are also accessible from anywhere. The management of Annonce believes that Google can stay on top of its competition and always deliver the most advanced products. Data security is at a very high level and constant development allows for many new options. That is why the decision to use Google Apps was unanimous.

Annonce

“For me personally the transition to Google Apps means a comfortable sharing of documents, unified calendar and data storage. I can access my files from anywhere using any device. For instance I and my colleagues cooperate on minutes from our business meetings. We collaborate on them online so within minutes we have a valuable record of our experience.” Lenka Černá, CEO of Annonce

Annonce Employees have learned to use a closed group on a social network. Not only to share business intelligence but also funny moments from their work life. IT department is currently working on a Google+ community and a company intranet based on Google Sites so that they can leverage synergies of Google Apps.

“Internally we have struggled with the inefficient links between our systems. Google Apps makes accessing the system easy – everything is unified under one identity and credentials. What is more, it works flawlessly from any mobile device.” Michael Matyáš, Director of print and digital products Annonce


Summary

What issues did the company deal with?

  • Employees were not used to use modern technologies
  • New management wanted to push the company to the 21st century

Which solution was chosen?

  • Implement Google Apps especially Documents and Google Calendar

What were the results?

  • The whole company philosophy was changed
  • Employees started using shared documents, mobile devices integration and an enclosed social network

“I did not need a solution that would become obsolete within two years. I needed a long-term solution. That is why the transition to Google Apps was not a question of costs but rather a move to the next century.” Lenka Černá, CEO of Annonce