Keeping the community spirit alive, one Google Meet at a time

25 February 2021

#WeAreNetpremacy

Netpremacy prides itself on being a friendly, fun, and exciting place to work, we like to think that our working style is dynamic and modern. Our normal office environment is lively, usually with people competing on table football, or collaborating on projects in our open plan, Google-themed spaces. 

On 16th March 2020, one-week before the national lockdown was announced, Netpremacy made the decision to close the office and send everyone home to work. Fortunately, it was easy for us to transition into remote work because of the technology we have available.

However, something we did find difficult, like many other businesses, was keeping up the team morale, and making sure we were keeping the Netpremacy community spirit alive.

In the beginning, we ran a themed quiz every couple of weeks. These were fun, and it was a great way to allow conversations between groups of people who wouldn’t necessarily speak during work. 

After seeing a demand for people to socialise outside of work (but inside their living rooms) we decided to take it to the next level, so we formed our social committee: NetSocial. 

 

Meet the team

Our amazing Netsocial Team was formed to keep up communication across the company, to provide support in unprecedented times, and to organise social activities to suit everyone’s taste.

The logistics were easy. Google Meet’s new features and updates over the last year have made it effortless to host a video call and organise a social online. You can now play good quality sound using the “share Chrome tab”, organise break-out rooms, and even use the raise-hand feature to get noticed on calls with a high number of participants.

The fun, but difficult part, was thinking outside the box. How can we cater for everybody? How do we make it exciting? How do we make sure that people are having fun? 

Below are some of the events our NetSocial team has run:

  • Bingo – We had a £20 Amazon voucher up for grabs, and we used https://myfreebingocards.com/ to make sure there was no cheating! We played Bingo near Valentine’s Day, so we used the website to generate Bingo cards with Valentine’s themed words – it was a great success!
  • Online Escape Game – This event was highly anticipated, we had to split up into teams of 6 to be able to play – this is where the breakout rooms feature came in really useful! Each team had a virtual room they had to escape from, this was a Sherlock Holmes escape room edition, the goal of the virtual escape room was to communicate virtually with the teams to solve a murder and escape the room the quickest! The highly competitive were exposed as we were up against each other, with the winning team escaping in 01:02:00. We used this great virtual escape room tool. 
  • Pilates & Yoga – In normal times, the company benefits from a bi-weekly Ryde session at L1 Performance, right next to our offices. We have a few fitness enthusiasts that are really missing the group classes, so we have set up virtual pilates and yoga to look after our mind and body. These are run by local independent Leeds-based instructors over lunchtime and focus on alignment and posture to help with lots of sitting down and tight hips caused by working from home.

 

We have some exciting things to come and we can’t wait to share our ideas with you. For now, have a look at our upcoming events to see if you can take any inspiration:

  • Pictionary with drawasaurus
  • Jackbox
  • KwizzBit themed quiz
  • Retro Bowl League
  • Online Book Club 
  • Creative Corner
  • GeoGuessr
  • AmongUs (App Game)

 

Keep an eye out for future #NetSocial posts for inspiration and ideas on how to stay connected with your colleagues. Now more than ever, it’s important to keep up morale and continue socialising, albeit virtually!

Want to join our team? Visit our careers page to see what vacancies are currently available. Can’t see a job description to suit you? Email careers@netpremacy.com and tell us why you would like to join our team.

08 February 2021

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To find out more, or to see how your organisation can benefit from this solution, contact us and speak to one of our specialists: info@netpremacy.com

18 January 2021

Alastair Lumley – Account Director, Netpremacy

A new year brings new trends and motives. Be that your own personal ambition to cut down on alcohol for January or not eating meat. Whether it’s to get out and exercise more or whether it’s career progression, we all have aspirations at the start of the year…..and so does the tech industry.

One of the big topics this year I can see having sat on a number of webinars and read numerous blogs is Ai but more importantly the ethical use of Ai.

Ai is becoming such a big part of what we do, whether it’s generating a personal suggestion stream on Netflix….or deciding if your credit rating is good enough to provide a loan. This is why it’s as important as ever to ensure that it’s used in an ethical and correct way. There are boundaries we need to set when using Ai, and these need to be understood correctly and adhered to. So much work has been done globally to improve equality, we need to ensure that everything we do meets this standard.

What is Ai?

Ai can be defined as:

  • A computer or a robot controlled by a computer being able to perform similar tasks as any other highly intelligent living being

  • Simulation of human intelligence processes by computers which includes learning, logical reasoning, or problem-solving

If used correctly it can have a number of benefits:

  • Offering better Customer Service through tailored, personal recommendations

  • Protecting business through analysing historical data & mistakes and using technology to learn from those mistakes

  • Automate the manual process and improve operational efficiency

  • Reducing Human Error improving results & outcomes

  • Holding us all accountable based on the data!

If you would like to learn more on Ai, we’ve created a White Paper that goes into a deep dive on the subject.

Ai in Fintech

If we look at the Financial Industry and how Ai can be applied, it really opens us up to some great products which is why the Fintech industry is thriving and one of the most exciting to be involved in.

Use Cases for Ai in Finance :

  • Fraud Detection: Analyse anomalies against historical data to detect fraudulent activity both for the business and consumer

  • Credit Scoring: More accurately provide a credit rating improving the application process resulting in more reliable & accurate decisions

  • Personalised Products: Can we use Ai to offer personalised financial advice based on our spending patterns, age, salary etc..

  • Focused Saving: Using Ai to generate automatic savings based on our spending patterns.

  • Business Protection: Are we taking on customers who are a risk?

  • Better customer service by analysing support calls & monitoring trending queries getting ahead of the curve

These aren’t necessarily new use cases and by no means an exhaustive list, some are already being executed extremely well by the major players in Fintech but also up and comers as well. However with such a broad range of use cases and its increasing involvement in one of the most integral industries, surely we need to make sure Ai is being used in an ethical way?

So what is Ethical Ai & how do we ensure we are using it correctly?

Ethical Ai is pretty much what it says on the tin, Ai that adheres to certain rules, responsibilities & accountability to ensure the decisions it makes & the suggestions it produces are free from bias and unethical thinking, making sound & accurate decisions that have a benefit.

We have to remember the power technology now has, how much of an influential part of society it has now become, and ultimately how much we need to control it. It’s therefore important to ensure as we develop these Ai algorithms & machine learning models, they are based on sound ethics and principles to ensure they are not biased, prejudiced or operating unfairly.

Fortunately, a lot of research has been done into Ethical Ai & principles to stick to, and as a Google Cloud Premier Partner we learn from the best, from people who are at the forefront of innovation.

Google has a number of pages that go into ethical AI and the principles to adhere to but I wanted to highlight the key ones that they stick to as if it works for Google, it should be somewhat a golden standard for the rest of us.

1. Be socially beneficial.
2. Avoid creating or reinforcing unfair bias.
3. Be built and tested for safety.
4. Be accountable to people.
5. Incorporate privacy design principles.
6. Uphold high standards of scientific excellence.
7. Be made available for uses that accord with these principles.

Why is it so important we adhere to Ethical Ai in Finance?

The Financial industry is one of the most regulated industries in the world, and one that has to constantly be held to account, surely our use of Ai should follow suit? If we get it wrong it can have catastrophic effects as we’ve all either witnessed, studied at school, or read in the news.

If we generate Ai models that start to become corrupt, use unethical data sources and make decisions that are wrong, we are not learning from our mistakes and merely leaving ourselves open for an even bigger crash in the future.

This is why it’s imperative that the Ai models we create learn from our own mistakes, we don’t use it to justify supplying products to those who aren’t suitable for them. We used it to analyse the vast amount of historical data we have, make unemotional, unbiased decisions that ultimately benefit us all in the long run.

Used correctly Ai is an extremely powerful tool and without a doubt one of the biggest enablers in every industry. This is why it’s so important we stick to the principles above, technology is meant to make a difference, not open us up to a faster way to repeat the past and at a potentially larger scale.

As a Google Cloud Premier Partner, this is something Netpremacy can help with. With a team of experienced Data Engineers and Scientists, Netpremacy has helped deploy numerous Ai projects. This has helped develop our understanding of Ai projects, how to correctly develop algorithms to ensure they remain true, the data is clean and the results are fair.


If you’d like to know more about Ai reach out to me on alumley@netpremacy.com to see how Netpremacy can help with your Ai journey.

09 December 2020

2020 has presented us with so many challenges, so we decided to get together (virtually) to celebrate and discuss them with our valued CSS network. We organised a week-long event full of workshops, discussions, and roadmap sessions to celebrate a successful, if not challenging year. All content is exclusive for Netpremacy CSS customers to say thank you for your continued and valued custom. 

Below is a summary of each session so you can see some of the content we share with our CSS community. Contact us to learn more about what our CSS programme entails. 

Opening Keynote 

Speakers: Martin Russell – Netpremacy, Guy Ellis – Netpremacy, Dan Middleton – Google 

Our first of a kind, CSS2020 Digital event kicked off on 07/12/20 with a welcome introduction from our Director of CSS, Martin Russell. This week-long digital event had a total of 14 sessions over 5 days. We are now halfway through the week and have already had exciting, innovative, and insightful discussions. We can’t wait to see what the rest of the week will bring!

In the Opening Keynote, Martin spoke around Netpremacy’s highlights for 2020 and addressed the current climate. This session was to introduce the week, what topics we were focusing on, and what our attendees could expect. In addition to this, we also had a fleeting sneak peek at the CSS2021 roadmap. We also heard from Guy Ellis, Commercial Director at Netpremacy on some exciting new programme announcements. There were a number of new campaigns built from our customer’s engagement and ideas over 2020. 

Next was Dan Middleton, the UK&I Google Workspace Lead from Google. He spoke about how Google has adapted to 2020 and what activities they have been doing to keep their business connected. He highlighted how Google was ready from a tech perspective when the pandemic hit – but it was the cultural shift that was the challenge. This is something that many businesses can relate to. It was great to hear about some of the things Google has been doing to replicate the culture at home. Ideas on this include: coffee meets, remote-based sessions, Master Chef cook along, wreath making, and mince pie making.

Before the session was brought to an end, we heard from 3 of our customers; DFS, Rentokil, and Pressure Technology on their experience with 2020, and how Google technology and tailored solutions have helped them not only keep their head above water, but to thrive in a global pandemic.

Changing the face of IT 

In this session, we heard from use cases in the field from our special guest speakers, Seza Nevat and David Anderson, from Just Eat. They spoke about their experience of moving from a break/fix IT environment in their basement, to an engaging business partner focused on education and empowerment. This session taught us how Just Eat has improved their collaboration and productivity since moving to Google Cloud with Netpremacy. 

It was eye-opening to learn how much the business has changed since they were first founded in 2001. From using break-fix methods and having to reboot their servers manually every single day, to growing to a massive business across the UK that uses Google Cloud to their advantage, to understanding their customers and providing the best service they can. All whilst continuing to grow. 

We heard from the team on the kind of changes that were noticed in the business when they moved to Google. Change was a challenge and something that they had to properly consider. It was communicated that Netpremacy was the reason behind the successful change and adoption of the product. This is something that always has to be kept in consideration to continue successful adoption and engagement. 

Finally, we discussed how Just Eat were able to continue to work successfully in the height of a pandemic because they were already fully immersed in the cloud. It was said that “we are so glad we were already on the cloud, we honestly do not know what we would have done otherwise”. 

Becoming Certified

Speakers: Fraja Hodges, Simon Smart, Josh McMurdo – Netpremacy

Here we heard from our CSS Product Manager, Fraja Hodges, our Support Team Lead, Simon Smart, and our CSM, Josh McMurdo, who each told us about their own experiences in becoming Google Cloud Certified. 

Simon first explained what getting certified actually means. Not only do you get access to the certified community, but you are in the certified directory as well. In addition to this, once certified applicants receive a badge, certificate, and a medal (and exclusive merchandise at Google Next). The non-physical benefits include boosting your confidence and personal progression. 

Fraja then took the mic and discussed her journey from a non-technical background and how she wanted to develop her skills, grow her technical knowledge, and allow herself to be exposed to more technical conversations in the business. Read Fraja’s blog post to learn how she prepared for the actual exam, with useful tips and tricks to help make sure you are ready to pass (hopefully). 

We then heard from Josh, who gave us an in-depth look at what the exams actually look like. At 2-hours long, with 50 multiple choice questions, you have plenty of time to review your answers, and you actually have 3 x attempts at passing the exam. 

Not only does this certification open up a lot of opportunities; such as speaking at customer events, hosting webinars, and even changing job roles, the biggest reason you should consider becoming certified is the confidence boost. It allows you to demonstrate your expertise and knowledge.

Spark to Vision

In our spark to vision session, we heard from Martin Russell and Rita Alaoui, a Business Services Trainer for Google EMEA. 

This session was to look at how Martin’s ‘spark to vision’ methodology has evolved over the years. Read Martin’s blog on his methodology here. It was aimed to address how leaders in businesses can successfully lead with empathy, and make a difference. The session also touched on how to successfully train teams, help relieve resistance to change and to make for successful adoption and a happy workforce.  

This ‘spark to vision’ has now been implemented in everything Martin does, and has also been adopted by Netpremacy. There are many sparks we all have that we can fix, but Martin’s view is to take a step back, and first understand what is starting this spark. How do we wrap around that vision for technology and how a business works going forward. Instead of a scattergun approach and fixing things when they go wrong. Martin is passionate about driving innovation and change forward with empathy, and it shows. 

Martin made it clear that to be a successful leader you need to look into how we can change the way the business operates and solves problems. Look at an empathetic approach not just a technical process. This approach that Martin spoke around can be implemented into big business changes such as moving to Google Cloud, or smaller projects you may face within your company. 

“The new person in the business has the loudest voice.”  – Martin Russell  

Rita Alaoui spoke around her experiences in Google Cloud, what she thinks makes for a successful business change, and how they stay on top of innovation at Google. She spoke around why training matters to help relieve resistance to change. She touched on how communication is vital to successful change, and also to good leadership. There were a number of customer use cases that demonstrated how important it is to make sure that change is accepted correctly in the workplace. “Transformation is a mindset”. 

This session sparked a lot of discussion for our customers and enabled them to have a voice and ask questions around change management topics and methodologies that they wanted to learn more on. 

It was clear from the session that there are a number of factors that make for a successful business and a happy workforce. The main things to consider when pushing change in a business when you are in a leadership role is: 

  • Empower people 
  • Work with empathy
  • Communication is key 
  • Correct training is crucial 
  • Making information useful and accessible 
  • Set goals 

Change Management 101

Speakers: Fraja Hodges, Jeana Marshall, Chris Freeman – Netpremacy

Change in a business is constant. 

It isn’t a one-size-fits all approach, and when adopting change into an organisation, people may move back and forth through each part of the cycle. Our CSS Product Manager, Fraja Hodges, started the discussion by setting a vision for constant change. Efficiency, innovation, collaboration, and talent are just some reasons why constant change is essential for a business. 

The Change Curve is a simple way of navigating through the different stages of change. The first stage is normally shock, or even denial, when change is announced, so it is important to approach with empathy. The disruption phase often sparks emotions such as anger, or fear, that this impending change will affect them and their job security. The 3rd and 4th stage is where the new processes and tools have sparked curiosity and innovation, and people can start to see the benefits of change.

Our Training Coordinator, Jeana Marshall, then took us through how to manage constant change. Change should be led from the top down. Senior leaders should be seen to actively support or participate in change, so people know it is real, and that it is happening. Resistance is always inevitable, but it should not be a reason to put off change. Change is critical to evolve, so it is important to communicate that to your teams. 

Our top tip: be concise, be clear, and be honest.

Chris Freeman, Customer Success Manager, then summarised the key takeaways from the session. Being transparent with your workforce; having clear, concise, and consistent messaging; offering support; encouraging attendance to training sessions; and giving people plenty of notice is the key to delivering successful change projects.

Learn more about the importance of change management here.

Google & Netpremacy Roadmap and Deep Dive

This session was run by Tom Chase, Josh McMurdo and Dominic Parkes at Google. 

Due to the nature of this session, the content provided to our CSS customers was exclusively for their eyes only and as a result under NDA. These kinds of sessions are common for our customers, we make them aware of the timelines and roadmaps of changes that they can expect to be coming up over the next year or so. 

Although we cannot elaborate on what exactly was included in this session, we can elude to the rough subjects that were covered over the course of the session:

  • Collaboration
  • Meet 
  • Google Voice
  • Security 

If you would like to learn more on how you gain insightful and exclusive access to information on updates prior to release, contact us and learn more on what our CSS programme entails. 

Netpremacy Technology Roundtable

This session was an open and informal roundtable session, in which our customers were encouraged to discuss current topics and how leadership is coping with a virtual workforce. 

Our session was chaired by Martin Russell, who opened the session speaking around how communication in the workplace has changed since going home to work. 

This was an eye-opening session in which we shared ideas on how to enhance internal communication and replicating cultural scenarios that so many of us are now missing. We discussed how to keep that culture alive and shared ideas that had and hadn’t worked across different companies. 

Some of the topics covered were as follows: 

Avoiding burnout

We touched on how to protect your time, being in back-to-back meetings is not good for mental wellbeing. Some attendees discussed how they are using apps that add into Google Chrome to book our repeatable time slots specifically for focus time. It is important to factor in your work-life balance, even when working from home. 

Keeping engagement in Google Meet 

This can be overlooked and sometimes people find themselves diving straight into work talk, without the usual “hi, how are you” introduction to any meeting. It’s important to try to keep this, as it keeps meetings personal, and not feeling like you are just speaking to a screen. 

Ideas to replace the morning commute 

This is something many of us may have taken for granted and even complained about previously. Now we see people are missing this routine from their day. It was suggested that people could “walk to work” whereby before you sit down at your desk to work, you get outside and go for a walk around the block first. 

Remote recruiting 

People were split on this topic, some companies are more open now to recruiting new team members, no matter their location. Whilst others feel being close to your team is still important for effective collaboration and communication. 

“Forced fun”

We touched on how to keep fun and communication within the workplace, without it feeling forced. There are only so many online quizzes we can all go through, so we talked around other ideas to keep your teams engaged. Ideas such as walking meetings, virtual escape rooms, and online interactive board games could be a great way to break things up. 

Overall, it was a fantastic and frank discussion. There was a community that felt comfortable and free to disclose their opinions on varying topics, something we are so proud to create. 

Due to the sheer amount of content we are running this week, we will also be doing an end-of-week round-up, to talk around more topics covered through the next half of the week. If you have enjoyed this blog, and want to know how you can be a part of our growing CSS community, please contact us here

02 December 2020

The energy and utility sector is something most of us take for granted. We pay them for warm showers and to heat our homes, and no doubt we will all be reaching for the thermostat over the long winter months ahead to keep us extra cosy. However, behind the scenes, these companies have to embrace digital transformation and harvest massive amounts of data in order to grow, evolve, and meet the demands of the future. 

The industry is constantly up against challenges; from pressure to reduce emissions, increasing demand, and providing competitive prices to their consumers. Google Cloud has a wide range of industry-leading and energy-specific solutions aimed at helping these businesses digitise faster, and respond to these demands. 

Why data is important for digital transformation

The most valuable asset many companies have is data, and in order to be successful, energy providers must adapt to change, stay current, and realise this. They need to be able to store, read, and analyse data properly, in order to gain a competitive advantage and solve complex business challenges. 

Google’s BigQuery can help businesses bring different data sets together in order to gain those insights, and Google’s AI-powered solutions are the key to unlocking analytics capabilities within your data sets. In this case study, you can learn how Energyworx, an energy supplier in the Netherlands, uses GCP and smart analytics to harvest their data to better plan for future energy demand, and find ways their customers can save on their electricity use. 

If you would like to learn how to use smart analytics to help your business grow and evolve, download our Smart Analytics White Paper here.

A deeper dive into AI and ML energy-specific solutions

Powerful AI models use data analytics to provide actionable insights, and these models can help inspections at scale. This is extremely useful for energy and utility companies who have large areas they need to monitor, such as energy grids, wind farms, or solar panels. Google Cloud’s Visual Inspection solution reduces inspection times without compromising on safety or accuracy and makes organisations more efficient and sustainable. 

Businesses also have the ability to build their own custom Machine Learning model with minimal effort and little to no Machine Learning experience. 

AES is a Fortune 500 global power company that distributes sustainable energy in 15 countries. Their asset inventory is phenomenal, with a value of over £33 billion. They use Machine Learning and drone technology in their wind farms to monitor, manage, and maintain their assets. 

This was the perfect solution, as it was in keeping with their greener vision and they were able to massively scale using Google’s powerful infrastructure. Learn more about their custom made solution powered by Google Cloud’s AutoML Vision here.


For most modern energy and utility companies, contributing to greater customer satisfaction is also an important identifier for success.

AI models like Contact Centre AI allows agents to assist with customer requests more efficiently, leading to shorter call times and improved outcomes, with much quicker resolutions. Learn more about Google Clouds CCAI and how companies are using this technology to modernise.

A smart future for the energy industry

Smart meters are the latest innovation to tackle the biggest challenges facing the industry today. By 2024, almost 77% of EU households will have one installed*. 

This new technology brings multiple benefits such as delivering automated, real-time readings, giving consumers access to their own data; and being able to identify faulty appliances, reducing downtime, and enabling repair staff to be efficient and effective with their time. They also improve the awareness of energy consumption, allowing individual households and businesses to reduce their energy use and generate savings.

Of course, with all new technology advancements, comes an influx of data. Energy companies need a scalable data warehouse to be able to import, process, and anaylse this data. Google Cloud’s BigQuery streams data in real-time and can predict business outcomes with powerful built-in ML models; plus it runs on Google’s infrastructure and is a managed service, meaning companies spend less time developing technology and can focus on their service instead. Read how Halsfund, the largest power company in Norway, uses GCP and BigQuery for the new smart meter network here.

Being a successful energy and utilities company today requires the right technology to solve big business problems. However, in order to truly succeed, you must make the right decisions for your business by making the most of the information you gather.

Now you know what you can do with your data, are you using it to the best of your advantage?

Speak to one of our data experts and we can help you implement this technology and show you how to use it. Contact us here.


*By 2024 almost 77% of EU households will have a smart meter installed, European Commission 

 

17 November 2020

Realise the true benefits of digital transformation with Google Workspace

It is no secret that the retail industry is forever changing. In order to keep up with consumer trends and behaviours, businesses need to constantly adapt to stay ahead of the competition. New strategies and processes need to be implemented. It is more important than ever to optimise the most valuable asset to your business: data. But before you begin with implementing these complex strategies, you need to start from the very beginning: are you using the right tools for your digital transformation?


Get ahead with the omnichannel approach

In March 2020, the world ground to a halt. High Streets were empty, roads were quiet, and an eerie stillness put doubt into businesses across the globe. Without an online presence, many retailers wouldn’t survive. This was the driving force to innovate faster. Many had to upgrade their technology, not only to implement these digital strategies but to also continue working, remotely. Read our first blog in the retail series: “An enhanced retail experience with AI and Machine Learning” to understand why the omnichannel approach is important to succeed.

To help tackle these challenges, Google has been working on industry-specific solutions. Through driving operational improvements, capturing digital and omnichannel revenue growth, and help make data-driven decisions. Watch Google’s Next: OnAir session “Planning for retail’s new priorities” for further details.


Stay productive and collaborative with the right technology stack

Just because you have identified the solutions, does not mean you can enable them straight away. The biggest obstacle businesses have faced is the cultural shift from working in an office to now working from home. Most companies were simply not set up for a remote workforce. In order for retail businesses to deliver a brilliant customer experience, keep up with consumer demand, and excel in a digital environment, they need organisation robustness – systems, processes, productivity, and collaboration.

Google Workspace

Google recognises these challenges and prides itself on enabling businesses to thrive in a digital environment. The collaboration and productivity tools within Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), are everything you need to get anything done. Earlier this year, Google announced a better home for work. The main applications are now fully integrated with each other, bringing together the core tools for communication and collaboration.

Gmail: Made into a more collaborative space, with tools from Meet, Chat, and more all being accessible in one interface.

 

Chat: Create tasks, upload files, and join a Google Meet from your chat window.

 

Google Meet: Hold a video call on any device, no matter where you are. Send a calendar invite with a link to a Google Meet and transform the way you host a meeting.

 

Google Drive: A safe place to store all of your files and has a powerful search tool to find your files quickly. 

 

Docs, Sheets & Slides: Everyone can work together on the same document at the same time. Create, edit, and share documents directly from within your browser. 

Download our latest White Paper: “How Google Workspace helps businesses thrive & plan for an unpredictable future” and learn why Google Workspace could be the best technology stack for your organisation.


How Google Workspace has helped organisations transition to a remote way of working

When the first UK lockdown was announced, the DFS group decided to immediately close down all operations, pause deliveries, and halt manufacturing. DFS was then left with just an online presence, and had no other option than to furlough 5,000 members of staff. However, after exploring their options, they decided they wanted to align their business wherever possible and to improve collaboration and communication as a business.

Netpremacy partnered with DFS to ensure that the business was able to stay online and to keep the business running smoothly throughout lockdown. DFS saw numerous advantages of Google Meet Hardware for remote meetings; the simplicity of use, native integration with calendaring, seamless, and reliable video conferencing.

Read the full case study here.


Google’s vision for the future of technology in retail

Thanks to the collaboration and productivity tools, Google is able to solve the basic challenges of remote working and can help drive digital transformation. This allows retailers to focus on their marketing strategies, digitise their processes, and ultimately serve their customers better. 

Being successful in the retail industry today requires technology to solve big problems. Whether that’s stock inventory, customer experience, or analysing data. Google continues to innovate and has multiple tools and solutions specific to retail (view here).  


 

Further reading: With Christmas just around the corner, learn how to use your data to prepare for the busiest shopping period of the year with our second blog in the retail series: “Is your retail business ready for a surge in online sales?”.

06 November 2020

Download our new Collaboration & Productivity White Paper to explore the key areas of digital transformation and a new way of working

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Download our “Guide to Adapting to a Digital Workplace” to explore the key areas of digital transformation, and how Netpremacy can help implement these into your business. Also learn the results of the biggest POC ever to understand what the immediate impact of the pandemic has had on businesses, the attitude towards remote working, and what this means for the future.

Contents:

  • Adapting to a digital world
  • The correct setup, MDM & Security
  • How Netpremacy have helped businesses to adapt
  • Google Workspace – Better collaboration in one interface
  • Adapting to work in a pandemic and beyond
  • What the people think – our results from the biggest POC ever, analysed
  • Will things go back to the way they were?

 

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To find out more, or to see how your organisation can benefit from Google’s collaboration and productivity tools, contact us and speak to one of our specialists: info@netpremacy.com

02 September 2020

Find out how to use Google Cloud technology to anticipate customer demand and gain a competitive advantage

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We have put together a solution to help businesses anticipate customer demand, by using Google technology to help gain meaningful insights from their data, leading to better business decisions. Download our One-Pager if you are interested in finding out more about this solution.

DOWNLOAD ONE-PAGER

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To find out more, or to see how your organisation can benefit from this solution, contact us and speak to one of our specialists: info@netpremacy.com

14 August 2020

Google Cloud Next ’20: OnAir: Half Time Round-Up

 

We are half-way through Google Cloud Next ‘20: OnAir, and have already seen lots of exciting new content and product updates. The first 4 weeks have covered Industry Insights, Productivity & Collaboration, Infrastructure, and Security – and we are excited to see what the next 5 weeks will bring!

In this blog post, we have highlighted some of the stand out sessions that we have found insightful. See below for just some of our highlights and find out how you can access the on-demand content.


Week 1: Industry Insights

In Thomas Kurian’s opening keynote, we were given a first look at updates such as the upcoming new interface in Gmail, the release of BigQuery Omni, and we got an insight into how companies have been able to adapt using Google technologies during the pandemic. Read our blog: Netpremacy Next Insights: Week 1 Industry Insights for our top highlights from the opening week.


Week 2: Productivity & Collaboration

As one of the UK’s leading Google Premier Partners, specialising in business transformation with G Suite, we anticipated this week would be full of exciting and valuable content for us, and our customers. We weren’t wrong!  Here are just some of the sessions we thought really highlighted the value of G Suite and how you can use it to power your organisation.

G Suite’s Vision: Your Future Workplace

Ever since the sudden and global transition to a remote way of working, more than 6 million businesses have chosen G Suite as their partner in digital transformation, and billions of people are using it to stay connected. This could be the catalyst that will accelerate the shift to a more flexible work culture.

*80% of employees want to see a more flexible way of working continue

**74% of CFOs are seeing a permanent shift in the way they are going to run their business

Giving employees more flexibility is helping to prepare us for the future. It has other benefits too, like saving businesses money and reducing their carbon footprint. Google is cloud-native, so G Suite tools were engineered with flexibility in mind. Noise cancellation and low light mode in Google Meet was just one of the many updates Google announced to help with the challenges of remote working, where often your environment isn’t that predictable. 

Google Meet is now free for everyone, so more people can enjoy secure and reliable video meetings. Google also announced earlier in the year that G Suite Essentials, for businesses, will be free until October 2020. The better home for work update was another exciting new feature, which will integrate the main G Suite collaboration tools to work even more seamlessly, helping users better manage the pace of work.

Watch the full session here and learn more about Google’s first step in their long-term vision of what the future workplace could look like.

Power Your Business with Search & AI in G Suite

This session looks at some of G Suite’s incredible capabilities that help with employee efficiency, by improving meeting experiences, simplifying tasks, and turning data into insights: 

  • Google Calendar is able to automatically suggest the time and place of a meeting, based on the number and location of participants. 
  • Gmail and Google Drive use powerful search and assistant features to enable you to find the files you want, quickly. 
  • Machine Learning (ML) is used in Gmail (and now Docs) with smart compose, allowing you to write more quickly and accurately – powered by world-class Google search technology and ML models. 
  • Deep learning signals are used to learn and utilise these behaviours, delivering relevant and highly intelligent results.

Watch the full session here to learn more about the intelligent features in G Suite you should be using in your business.

Communication in G Suite: The Future of Gmail, Chat, Meet, and More

In this session, Google announced the key features, tools, and updates they have made to make it easier for people to work remotely. 

  • Extended tile view layouts in meetings
  • “Guest Access” – collaborate with external partners on Google Chat
  • Forward to inbox – makes it easier to follow up on specific chat messages
  • Ability to edit messages in Chat
  • Voice and Chat now available in Gmail 
  • New home for work – access everything you need straight from Gmail

Personalisation in Retail

Consumer behaviour in retail has been changing for years, but the sudden closure of brick and mortar stores highlighted and accelerated the importance of digital strategies. Now, the customer journey is much more complex, but behaviours online can be tracked and used to personalise experiences. Data science, AI, and ML models are at the forefront of implementing these strategies in an intelligent, scalable, and automated way. AI is fuelled by consumer demand, so it’s more important than ever to collect and analyse data properly. You can then make better decisions, such as delivering personalised product recommendations based on products they have previously viewed, and with Google’s powerful ML models, you can suggest products based on what other consumers have bought.

Watch the session here to learn how you can use this technology to deeply understand your customers.


Week 3: Infrastructure

Infrastructure is a vital part of any business which is why we need to ensure that it is protected and working to the best of its ability to keep businesses running efficiently. There was a range of interesting updates, and below are just a few that we felt stood out, and that will make a big impact on the way that businesses work going forward. 

New Transatlantic cables – Grace Hopper cable system

Google already has a deeply impressive private network, including many different sub-sea cable investments. However this week, Google announced the new transatlantic cable that they will be building, named after the famous Grace Hopper. This cable will be linking the US, UK, and Spain and will provide extra bandwidth to this key connectivity route. People will be able to share, search, send, and receive information more than ever. After all, in today’s day and age reliable connectivity is more important than ever before to ensure business continuity. The new transatlantic cable will provide even better resilience for the network that underpins Google’s consumer and enterprise products. Read more about the new cable and all the others here.

New private service connect

Private Service Connect in alpha, which allows you to connect and consume first and third-party as well as customer-owned services easily and privately. It creates service endpoints in consumer VPCs that provide private connectivity and policy enforcement, allowing you to easily connect services across different networks and organisations. Private Service Connect abstracts the underlying infrastructure for both the teams consuming and delivering services, making it easier for you to use value-added services. With Private Service Connect, traffic stays private and secure over Google’s global network. See the overview video, or Read more here.

Google Cloud Armor

There has been 3 stand out Google Cloud Armor updates over the infrastructure week that will have a large impact on many businesses across the globe. Google has simplified the way you can use Cloud Armor to help protect your websites and applications from exploit attempts as well as distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. Here’s a quick overview:

Cloud Armor Managed Protection Plus 

This is a subscription service with a predictable, enterprise-friendly monthly pricing model that mitigates cost risk from defending against a large L7 DDoS attack. Leveraging the edge of Google’s network, as well as a set of products and services from across Google Cloud, Cloud Armor Managed Protection Plus can help protect applications from DDoS attacks and targeted exploit attempts. Businesses can now benefit from the same scale and expertise Google employs to protect applications and critical services from malicious activity.

Named IP Lists 

Named IP Lists are now in beta. These are Google-curated rule sets containing a pre-configured list of IP addresses that can be referenced and reused across policies and projects. Google is starting with providing Named IP Lists that have source IP ranges for common upstream service providers that many users would want to allow through their Cloud Armor security policies.

New WAF rules: RFI, LFI, RCE

Google is also making RFI (Remote File Inclusion), LFI (Local File Inclusion), and RCE (Remote Code Execution) rules available as a beta. Collectively, these rules contain industry-standard signatures from the OWASP ModSecurity Core Rule Set to help mitigate the Command Injection class vulnerabilities while enhancing the out-of-the-box coverage for OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities as well.


Week 4: Security

Security is something that is on everyone’s mind. At Netpremacy, we want to ensure that our employees and customers are safe, especially with so much of the world working remotely since early 2020. Google has introduced a range of new security measures to ensure that everyone’s new normal is safe. This week Google made sure to speak about security to people on every level, from introductory sessions all the way to advanced sessions.

Google also shared with us some of the recent resources, features, and products they’ve been working on in the Security space:

Cloud Security Best Practices Center

With Security being at the forefront of organisations minds, Google has collated lots of information, whitepapers, and blog posts relating to the best practices and key considerations across a number of workloads. It’s a central place to go to ensure you’re meeting your compliance and security needs in Google Cloud.

BeyondCorp Remote Access

Google’s BeyondCorp methodology is one of the most innovative parts of Google’s overall security posture. By using the principle of Zero-Trust, Google enables its own employees to work and access internal systems from anywhere in the world. BeyondCorp Remote Access is a solution built on top of Google products (Cloud IAP and Cloud Identity) that enables organisations to adopt the BeyondCorp methodology for their own applications and employees.

Certificate Authority Service

Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and certificate-based authentication are one of the most popular methods of securing networked devices and services. But Google recognises that there is a significant problem – it’s hard to set up Certificate Authorities (CA), and even harder to do it reliably at scale. Google has announced that they are releasing the Certificate Authority Service: a highly scalable and available service that simplifies and automates the management and deployment of private CAs.

Confidential Computing + Confidential VMs

Google has widely documented its security controls, governance, and policies and is completely transparent when it comes to their usage of data. However, Google still recognises that there are organisations that need extra assurances that their data is secure while on Google Cloud. At the present, Google encrypts data at rest and in transit but must decrypt it for processing inside of its servers. Now Google is announcing a new product category called Confidential Computing, with its first product – Confidential VMs.

Like many Google products, Confidential VMs are based on the open-sourced framework Asylo and ensure that data is encrypted at all times, including during processing. And the best part is that enabling this technology is as simple as creating a regular virtual machine – just check the box during creation and let Google take care of the rest. Confidential Computing could truly be the next frontier in data protection in the cloud.

Confidential VMs are in beta, and you can read more about the service here.



These are just some of the announcements and links to the new content that Google Cloud Next has pushed out over the first 4 weeks. To see the full announcements and updates, head over to
Google’s blog. Week 5: Data Analytics is available now. To book on, head over to the Google Cloud Next website.


*Source: Global Workplace Analytics: Work at home after COVID-19 
**Source: Gartner: 74% of organisations to shift some employees to remote work permanently

 

21 July 2020

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