Case Studies

Guardian goes for Google Apps

The publishers of the Guardian newspaper have implemented Google's enterprise-level web-based applications

Google Apps Premier Edition has a new fan in the media world in the form of the Guardian News and Media group.

Google's web-based system is now being used by all employees across the group, which publishes the Guardian and Observer newspapers, letting them use Google's Docs, Calendar, Sites, Video and Talk even while working out of the office. Google Mail will be added later this year, in addition to email security from Postini.

"The way we were doing it before pretty much summed up as word attachments in email'," said Andy Beale, technology director for enterprise operations at the Guardian, who added that the group also used Lotus products for collaboration.

"We recognised this was not a good solution for a long time," he told IT PRO, explaining the company had also tried using newer tools such as wikis. "We very much saw wikis as being a solution but we established it's part of a solution, but not everything."

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

Beale said it became clear that email would be a key part of the equation, and that office products were a "de facto standard" for modern workers, so he started looking at systems that could offer both.

One consideration was to continue the investment in Lotus, but instead, the Guardian chose to move to Google's technology, because of the ease of use for staff and IT, in addition to the lower cost. "It's a competitive cost model compared to more expensive enterprise software."

While the switch was tied to the Guardian News and Media Group's move to new offices in St Pancras, London, Beale said the idea to use Google Apps came up during the Beijing Olympics last summer. The 30 reporters on the ground used the web-based collaborative tools to do work because they could access them anywhere.

Indeed, when picking new systems, the group had to consider the working habits of its staff. "We had to look at what type of staff we have now, and their expectations of technology," Beale said. "They're not interested in things that take days and weeks to configure or involve the IT department."

No formal training was required across the company for the Google Apps roll out, according to Beale. "People generally just get it," he said. "It is simple to use."

Because everyone already knew how to use the technology, or quickly figured it out on their own, IT staff were able to focus on creating awareness of more specific features, such as encouraging employees to make use of video chat functions rather than take business trips.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Off-site management and hosting does have a number of benefits. But Beale admitted it was initially a challenge moving to a software as a service (SaaS) model, as the data is held elsewhere and it can raise new security concerns. "That took a small amount of introduction and work to make sure we were all comfortable with that data model," he said.

The Gmail roll-out later this year won't be the end of the project. While the next moves are still in the "idea stage", the Guardian plans to take full advantage of its new investment, according to Beale.

"We do see it as a very core product now We will be looking to use the extensibility of it, using gadgets to bring in internal data and workflow type tools with it," he said, adding that he also hopes to migrate the firm's current Lotus Domino collaboration system to a Google version.

The Guardian's move follows one by its rivals at the Telegraph last summer.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

That said, Beale believes Google Apps aren't just suited for the world of publishing. "I generally think that there isn't a sector thing going on here," he added.

"Anyone with requirements for group collaboration around information, anyone with a disparate workforce, would find these products useful."

Advertisement - Article continues below

Click here to read IT PRO's review of Google Apps Premier Edition.

Featured Resources

Transform the operator experience with enhanced automation & analytics

Bring networking into the digital era

Download now

Artificially intelligent data centres

How the C-Suite is embracing continuous change to drive value

Download now

Deliver secure automated multicloud for containers with Red Hat and Juniper

Learn how to get started with the multicloud enabler from Red Hat and Juniper

Download now

Get the best out of your workforce

7 steps to unleashing their true potential with robotic process automation

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/cloud/354231/the-it-pro-podcast-is-the-future-multi-cloud
Cloud

The IT Pro Podcast: Is the future multi-cloud?

29 Nov 2019
Visit/business/business-strategy/354204/google-accused-of-union-busting
Business strategy

Google accused of ‘union busting’

26 Nov 2019
Visit/cloud/public-cloud/354159/vodafone-launches-neuron-platform-with-google-cloud
public cloud

Vodafone launches 'Neuron' platform with Google Cloud

20 Nov 2019
Visit/cloud/hybrid-cloud/354158/google-cloud-ramps-up-its-migration-partnerships
hybrid cloud

Google Cloud ramps up its migration partnerships

20 Nov 2019

Most Popular

Visit/security/vulnerability/354309/patch-issued-for-critical-windows-bug
vulnerability

Patch issued for critical Windows bug

11 Dec 2019
Visit/cloud/microsoft-azure/354230/microsoft-not-amazon-is-going-to-win-the-cloud-wars
Microsoft Azure

Microsoft, not Amazon, is going to win the cloud wars

30 Nov 2019
Visit/hardware/354193/buy-it-to-grow-not-slow-your-business
Sponsored

Buy IT to grow, not slow, your business

25 Nov 2019
Visit/operating-systems/microsoft-windows/354297/this-exploit-could-give-users-free-windows-7-updates
Microsoft Windows

This exploit could give users free Windows 7 updates beyond 2020

9 Dec 2019