Google Workspace for Enterprises: The Shift is Underway

The adoption of Google Workspace began with small to mid-sized businesses. However, the shift to Google Workspace for enterprises is ostensibly underway.

At the March 2017 Google Cloud Next Conference, both Colgate and Verizon talked about their move to Google Workspace.

Colgate-Palmolive has moved 28,000 users to Google Workspace from IBM’s legacy Notes and Domino systems. Verizon is planning to move 150,000 users to Google Workspace.

Early Google Workspace Enterprise Adopter

An early enterprise adopter of Google Workspace was Whirlpool, which is the largest manufacturer of appliances in the world. It markets familiar brands such as Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air and Amana.

The company has been in business since 1911 and has revenue of about $21 billion. Whirlpool employees over 100,000 people globally. The company embarked on the move to Google Workspace several years ago.

Shifting to Google Workspace as Part of a Broader Transformation

Whirlpool CIO Mike Heim said that when he first arrived at Whirlpool, IT was heavily centralized, premise-based and waterfall methodology driven.

According to Heim, the move to Google Workspace as a platform did not happen in isolation. It was part of a broader transformation of the business — a transformation with the overall goal of better serving the consumer in an increasingly connected world.

As with many industries, the appliance industry has seen disruption due to technology. In the case of appliances, the disruption is the connected home and the increasing inclusion of appliances within a home’s digital network.

With traditionally very low product registration rates, connected appliances represent an opportunity for Whirlpool to ultimately be more connected with their end customers. This digital connection opportunity is all the more important to Whirlpool due to the heavy competition from overseas competitors.

Lessons From Google Workspace Enterprise Customers

Whirlpool may have been a breakthrough account for Google, as there tends to be resistance among larger corporations to go with any solution other than Microsoft. Had Colgate-Palmolive and Verizon been using Microsoft Exchange Server rather than Notes and Domino, the move to Google would have been a less likely outcome.

For Google to penetrate a market with deep legacy roots, it takes IT leaders and executives who are willing to blaze a trail and not just make the easy decision. The question for successor companies that are contemplating a similar move is, what exactly did it take to initiate and manage a significant change?

There are undoubtedly many lessons that can be learned from the journeys of companies such as Whirlpool, Colgate-Palmolive and Verizon toward Google’s cloud.

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