Yuille said that, prior to implementing Google Apps, the company had been using Google Maps and Google Earth "as a way to better visualise and plan our operations and communications with customers" when it took the decision to 'go Google' for its internal IT infrastructure.
"This was a tougher decision [than choosing Google Maps and Google Earth] at a philosophical level than a technical one, because it fundamentally concerned a new way of working within enterprises, but it's a decision we haven't regretted."
Yuille said that AAPT had opted for a two phase implementation: Google Video and Google Sites in the first phase, to be followed by gmail later on. "We resolved that Phase 1...would significantly contribute to a more engaged (and hence productive) workforce."
Google Sites is a hosted web site creation application that supports the creation and serving of both private and public web sites. It was launched by Google in February 2008 and has its origins in JotSpot, a software company that offered enterprise social software, acquired by Google. Google claims it is "Powerful enough for a company intranet, yet simple enough for a family website." Google Video is a hosted application within Google Apps that enables employees in an enterprise to upload and share videos.
Yuille said that one of the key challenges had been to convince the company that its information hosted by Google would be secure. "We had to convince our security guys that we were all still safe...It was a really interesting experience, as along with Google we were really educating our security guys on the robustness and security of the cloud, a new area for them."
Following a test phase, with about 20 users, Yuille said that AAPT had gone live with its entire workforce of 1300. "Even as I was trying to upload my second video at 7.30am, I realised that several people had already hit the landing page and watched the video. More impressive is that I'm still getting feedback and comments from people about what I post. I think this whole 'engagement' thing must be working ... Personally, I'm sucked in hook, line and sinker with video updates, which are proving a much simpler and quicker way to spread the word."
According to Broad, "Google allows us the freedom to do things in ways we never thought possible and to make sure we are best positioned for tomorrow Google apps are the most important part of what we have to adopt."
The company is now planning to move to gmail for its internal email and Yuille said AAPT was planning a swift transition.
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