At Netpremacy, security is number 1 on our list, especially with so many companies now working remotely. We wanted to share a high-level summary of some of the security features Google Chrome offers to ensure your employees and data are kept safe.
A Chromebook is an ultra-secure computer, with little setup required, making it a great choice for remote workforces. It runs on Chrome OS with embedded security, which uses Google-powered security features to make it well-protected against malware and external threats. There is no need for antivirus software or scans as it comes with built-in malware and virus protection. This multiple protection approach means that if one layer is bypassed, others are still in effect.
Chromebooks automatically manage updates so they are always running the latest and most secure version of the OS. Feature updates are available every 6 weeks, while security patches every 2-3 weeks. This eliminates the need for direct action from administrators and they take place in the background, without downtime or interruption, so the end-user can continue to work. There are also two versions of Chrome OS on every device, so one can be used while the other gets updated.
Chromebooks are protected every time it starts up. It does a self-check called “Verified Boot”. This confirms if the operating system is authentic and unmodified. In other words, it can detect if the system has been compromised or tampered with dangerous malware. It will repair itself without any effort, and with two versions of OS, it can proceed with boot-up even if one OS has been corrupted. The Chromebook will be restored back to an operating system that’s as good as new.
The primary use case of a Chromebook is for browser-based applications and for important data to be stored in the cloud. However, there will be files and data that need to be present on the machine, like downloads, cookies, and browser cache. These data are protected because they are encrypted using tamper-resistant hardware, called the Google Security Module. This user data encryption is enabled on every Chrome device by default, which cannot be switched off, making it very difficult for anyone to access these files.
Chrome Browser uses sandboxes to contain possible threats and uses site isolation to keep all Android, Linux, and OS processes separate from each other. If a user is directed to an infected web page or application, the sandbox security feature contains the possible threat, so it can’t affect any other tabs or apps on the computer.
Protection against threats
Safe Browsing Protection
The Safe Browsing service protects users from phishing attacks, dangerous malware, and unwanted software, which can be buried in and amongst websites. Google’s servers will scan billions of URLs and the content on each web page. If it detects harmful material it will add that URL to a list of unsafe websites, and that list will be stored locally on the users’ device. This means if the user goes on an unsafe website, Google will alert them with a warning.
Every 40 seconds, a company is hit with a ransomware attack*
With limited data held on a Chromebook, there is often little which can be held at ransom. Nevertheless, there are a number of Chrome security features which minimises the risk of a ransomware attack. Similar to phishing attacks, Machine Learning works on Gmail to identify emails that contain malware, and Chrome Browser warns the user before accessing hostile sites. The built-in protection on Chrome OS also helps to stop malware from spreading across your network. If an attack should get through, Verified Boot would restore the operating system.
The above security features are designed to work together, safeguarding end-users against harmful attacks and mitigating the impact if one does slip through. The recovery mode is the final step to quickly restore the operating system if something does go wrong. You can use this option to restore the Chromebook back to its original factory state. This will wipe everything from the machine, including downloads, local files and it will remove all user accounts.
Sign up for our webinar on 27/05 as we delve into how Google Chrome is keeping businesses running securely, and to learn more about Chrome security features.
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DFS was looking to align their business…
Sofology initially transitioned to G Suite with the help of Netpremacy in 2016.
DFS is the leading upholstery retailer in the UK who are passionate about making and selling high-quality sofas supported by specialist in-house design teams. The group trades as 4 separate brands: DFS, Dwell, Sofa Workshop, and Sofology. Each brand appeals to a different customer segment and therefore enables the brand to target the majority of the market. DFS has been named a Sunday Times Best 25 big companies to work for with over 5,600 team members across all 4 brands.
DFS was looking to align their business wherever possible, they needed a new email system and Sofology had proven to the wider group that G Suite was a solution that would work in their sector.
“We had a clear choice between Office 365 and G Suite, it was then about choosing the most suitable product for us” – Will Rose, Programme Manager, DFS
From a G Suite perspective, DFS saw the positive changes that Sofology were experiencing through their utilisation of G Suite and realised it should be something that was investigated further. DFS group wanted to improve collaboration as a business and were struggling with communication across their different sites located around the country.
“Working collaboratively was very difficult. Sharing information was difficult, everything had to be shared via email. Access to shared Drives was on a brand by brand basis.” – Will Rose, Programme Manager, DFS
After a meticulous group evaluation, DFS Group made the decision to move to Google Cloud with Netpremacy. Due to the string of acquisitions, legacy email and collaboration platforms were neither consistent between DFS group companies, nor were they integrated with each other. This meant that even basic cross-group collaboration such as calendar sharing or working on shared documents was challenging for employees.
Not only would moving to G Suite help with collaboration across the business, but it would also improve the communication across the different sites. The company did have a conferencing set up before but found the solution to be poor, and it also proved difficult to set up. So when the offices were kitted out with new Hangouts Meet Hardware kits, the communication barrier was broken. This helped DFS to communicate easily, and to also save money on traveling as meetings were held remotely where appropriate.
DFS saw numerous advantages of Hangouts Meet Hardware for remote meetings; simplicity of use, native integration with calendaring, seamless and reliable video conferencing. They are now up to 12 Hangout Meet Hardware kits across the business allowing all of the key locations to join sessions remotely.
“We did have a conference facility but it was pretty poor, so the advantage of Hangouts Meet makes it really easy to communicate as a business rather than setting up a Zoom conference, which had proved difficult and required licenses setting up for everybody.” – Will Rose, Programme Manager, DFS
Over the whole migration project, we consolidated approximately 2200 employees onto the single G Suite platform.
DFS began seeing several improvements and positive changes from moving to G Suite which then led to the company investigating the further options that Google Chrome could provide. This led DFS to roll out 1200 Chrome tablets to all DFS stores to be used on shop floors so staff could easily demonstrate the products DFS has to offer to customers. In addition to this, they are now trialing using Chromebooks at the head office, for all 4 brands of the DFS group.
“It’s the other things that are offered to us that are enabled by G Suite, so we have rolled out 1200 tablets to all the DFS stores, we’ve started to trial Chromebooks at head office for all 4 brands. That trial is going really well so we are actually at the point where if a new member of staff joins, depending on their role they will be given a Chromebook. As a result single sign-on through G Suite has been a big advantage to us and we already have a couple of suppliers on the single sign-on system. We are going to continue to do this with our other suppliers, and we are also looking at the Mobile Device Management solution, and are also looking into a more secure way of looking after our data through 2SV, which is currently being rolled out across the Group.” – Will Rose, Programme Manager, DFS
DFS is looking to a continued relationship with Netpremacy through our CSS services program now the initial business transformation is complete. This is due to the team not having the support or technical knowledge that the team at Netpremacy can provide. This will help the company to keep up with current trends and emerging technologies so that they stay on top of their game when working in the Cloud.
Now, through the support of our CSS program, DFS is benefitting from the Netpremacy team continuing helping the teams with adoption through a series of change management services. This helps with continued support on business progression for the DFS group. The team is also helping to move the finance team from Excel to Google Sheets, and educating DFS on Big Query, Data studio and how to make the most out of the data the company collects, such as insights on buyer profiles, trends, spend and much more.
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Lightweight Chromebook ideal for people on the go
At Netpremacy we are always keeping on top of new trends and the latest technology, so when we got word of the new Pixelbook Go coming to the market we couldn’t contain our excitement
The Pixelbook Go is the latest edition to the Chromebook collection, there are two colorways for the Pixelbook Go “Just Black” and “Not Pink” for those who prefer a choice.
This is topped with a range of powerful processor options and up to 12 hours of battery life. Chromebooks are widely known for how long the power lasts, and the Pixelbook Go is no exception. The superfast charging means you get 2 hours of battery use from charging for just 20 minutes.
Working on the move is made easier with Pixelbook Go, as the total weight is less than 1kg and a slender 13mm depth. A new case design to the bottom of the Chromebook means that the sleek and textured base makes it easy to carry too, and it won’t weigh down your bag!
Start up time has been reduced to literally seconds thanks to the 8th Gen Intel Core processor which is super fast and responsive. Say goodbye to loading time and a device that slows down over time. The Google Pixelbook Go does not slow down and keeps on performing just as good as the first day you bought it.
On top of the sleek design and colorways, the 13.3” screen is a touch screen with a 4k high definition display. This is topped with a high-resolution duo cam. The 1080p webcam makes video chatting almost feel like real life! The dual front-firing speakers also demonstrate stereo quality sound, whether you are listening to your favourite artist on YouTube or using Hangouts to speak with colleagues halfway across the world.
All of these features are of course excellent, but what about security?
Well… security is at the forefront of Google technology, and we believe this is something that should always be looked into and not an afterthought. The Pixelbook Go has your back with built-in virus protection so you can surf the web worry-free knowing that you are protected from nasty malware and viruses. Your data is also secure with the Titan C security chip, which ensures that your information, passwords, and operating systems are protected. Automatic updates ensure that your Chromebook is always up to date so you have the latest security software installed.
These are just some of the advantages of the new Pixelbook Go. If you want to find out more about the benefits your business can see by using Chromebooks feel free to contact our team for more information. You can view our recent case study, on how we enabled a more collaborative way of working for OVO Energy through the implementation of Chromebooks, and other chrome products.
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Creating a seamless Meeting Room experience at OVO Energy’s office with Google Chrome Devices
One of Netpremacy’s strategic customers, Ovo Energy, have moved into a new, sustainable space in West London.
As part of this incredible, high-tech working environment, Netpremacy engaged with OVO to supply Chrome devices such as Hangouts Meet Hardware and Chromebase for Meetings to enable collaboration across their offices.
This ensures they have the appropriate hardware strategy to maximise their meeting room experience in their Google Ecosystem.
“We are proud to Partner with OVO Energy as their Google Cloud Premier Partner as they continue to grow and innovate within the Energy Market”
– Ben Trood, Head of Business Development
To find out more about how Google Chrome can benefit your business, download our free whitepaper here.
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Released in October 2018, the Google Pixel Slate is Google’s latest tablet on the market, and the first to be built around Chrome OS rather than Android. But how can this powerful piece of software impact your daily life when you’re working on the go?
Offline G Suite
The Google Pixel Slate allows users to work offline in Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. The tablet also allows you to read and respond to Gmail whilst offline, with pending emails sending as soon as you’re back online. Work without interruption, wherever you are, as Gmail allows you to search through 90 days of messages and organise your account without internet connection. Google Drive’s offline capabilities mean that you can create and edit documents, alone or collaboratively, even when you’re stuck without wifi. Read more about the benefits of G Suite for working on-the-go here.
All-day battery Life
The Pixel Slate holds up to 12 hours of battery life, ensuring that it won’t let you down throughout the working day, even when you’re unable to reach a plug socket. If you need a quick boost, just 15 minutes of charging will give you two hours of use. The device takes only two and a half hours to fully charge from flat while being used.
Split-screen functionality allows the Google Pixel Slate to be the ultimate tool in multi-tasking when juggling various projects or workflows. Mobile collaboration is also made easy with built-in Google Docs, Sheets and Slides.
Versatile form factor
This powerful tablet can be transformed into a complete workstation with the easy additions of a monitor, mouse and keyboard by using a USB-C dock adapter. The Google Pixel Slate performs equally well as a desktop, with the backlit keyboard providing a smooth and easy typing experience. The keyboard attaches to the slate with stronger magnets than any other tablet, perfect for the busy worker on the move. On top of this, the Pixelbook Pen provides users with an on-screen writing experience designed to increase creativity and productivity.
Overall, the Google Pixel Slate offers a powerful browsing experience, with exceptionally long battery life and a design which is simple and comfortable to carry and travel with. The tablet gives users the best of both worlds in terms of offering both a mobile and desktop-style solution, making it a valuable piece of technology for those who work on the go.
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Introducing Chrome Grab and Go with Netpremacy
Keep your team productive with self-service Chrome Grab and Go Chromebooks
Netpremacy can help you to keep your teams productive and your IT support happy with Chrome Grab and Go Chromebooks! Netpremacy is a leading Google Cloud Premier Partner, with deep knowledge and trusted relationships across the entire Google Cloud portfolio. We are proud to have achieved Premier status for over a decade. These skills, combined with our profound knowledge across all Chrome devices and licensing, enables you to be supported effectively throughout your Chrome journey.
What is Chrome Grab and Go?
Sometimes it is inevitable that your employee spills coffee on their laptop, leaves it on the train or the device just gives up altogether! Whether your worker’s machine is lost, broken, stolen or they simply need a loan for the day, the Grab and Go program ensures that your team is able to stay productive with a Chromebook in hand. It allows the worker to self-checkout a loner Chromebook, whilst ensuring that your companies data is always kept secure.
Within your workplace, a shelf stacked with Chromebooks will be provided where workers can grab a device and get up and running fast. The shelves easily fit Chromebooks, which can be plugged in so that they are charged and ready to go when your workers need them. This helps to decrease the workload of IT support, whilst also reducing downtime for the worker as they are able to pick up where they left off.
How can Netpremacy help?
First things first, you need to get set up and running with the Grab and Go program!
Netpremacy can help your company with the following so that you are up and running in no time:
- Scope and define Grab and Go solution
- Deploy Grab and Go
- Configure and deploy Grab and Go Chrome extension
- Device enrollment and licence management workshop
- Training on Grab and Go console
- Training on Chrome Enterprise Management Console
- Define and deliver end-user communications pack
Our team of certified Chrome specialists can deploy the Chrome Grab and Go loner app in your workplace. This includes installation, deployment, customisation, and admin console training.
How does Chrome Grab and Go work?
By ensuring that there is always a Chromebook on hand, the Chrome Grab and Go programme enables all staff to go about their daily tasks, in the same collaborative and mobile way that they were working on before. This ensures more security as Chrome OS features encrypted profiles, verified boot, automatic updates, and sign-in restrictions.
The Grab and Go programme has been developed to help your employees borrow devices when they need to. This allows them to get back up and running quickly should something go wrong with their primary computer.
When employees sign into the borrowed Chromebook, all of their bookmarks, passwords, extensions, browsing history, and personal settings are still readily available on the new device thanks to the Google Chrome Sync. Employees can easily log out and return the Grab and Go device without having to reset it.
Netpremacy is offering this programme to help keep your company on the go. Find out more about how we can implement this strategy into your business or alternatively, email our Chrome team on: email@example.com
Jellyfish are a global boutique agency located in offices in the UK, Europe, US and South Africa. Jellyfish pride themselves on being accountable, autonomous, flexible and personal.
About This Project
In 2017, Jellyfish approached Netpremacy as they wanted to achieve a more flexible and collaborative way of working. Over the course of several months, Netpremacy facilitated the transition to G Suite for all Jellyfish offices around the globe.
The project was kicked off with teams from Jellyfish and Netpremacy to outline the approach for the project. Initially, the Core IT staff at Jellyfish were the first team to go live.
The G Suite Ninjas were next. G Suite Ninjas were a select group of Google enthusiasts, tech-savvy individuals who would help support other end users through the transition. Jellyfish created a series of fantastic illustrations to accompany their Ninja theme, and brought fun and creativity to their go live!
“Jellyfish decided to Go Google in 2017 to further enable us to work in a more collaborative and secure environment. Netpremacy were incredibly helpful throughout the project, and ensured that our transition to Google was a smooth one”
– Daniel Paget, Group Operations Director
For the final phase of the project, to make all other users live, Jellyfish and Netpremacy took a ‘big bang’ approach. This meant everyone went live on the same day. G Suite branded bottles, T-Shirts and stickers were handed out, along with bunting, balloons, and cake to decorate the offices during this time. This made Go Live week a more engaging and exciting event for everyone in the business.
In addition to this, Netpremacy built a social intranet for Jellyfish to display content and create a central place for internal communications. This intranet was accessible for all staff members which integrates with G Suite where people’s emails, calendars, and files can be displayed for a more personalised feel. The intranet allowed for easier access to information, news, and files and formed an online social community for Jellyfish. This was also launched at the same time as users went live on Google making for a whole new exciting user experience!
Featured above, some of the female team at Netpremacy
Celebrating women and minorities in technology.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, on the 100th anniversary of voting rights for women being passed, it is important that we still acknowledge areas where women and other minorities are still fighting for equality and acceptance.
Let’s get straight into this! My name is Francesca Clarke, I am a Training and Change Co-ordinator for Netpremacy Ltd, a Premier Partner of Google Cloud. 2 years ago, I made the move from working in finance to technology. It was the best decision I ever made however, sadly I am part of a minority. Of those working in tech industries, only 17% of the UK technology workforce are women.
It is clear that there is an obvious divide between sexes within the technology sector, however, it appears that the gap is closing! Over the 2 years that I have been working for Netpremacy, we have doubled the female workforce, and have found talented women who are eager to learn and grow within the business.
For all genders, I believe that there is a common misconception that you need to be a technical genius in order to gain employment within the technology industries. Nevertheless, there are many career options that keep businesses such as ours flourishing worldwide.
Aren’t the only jobs on offer for programmers and developers?
Tech companies are like any other, they need all the relevant cogs to keep the machine working. These roles include personnel in the obvious roles of Technical, Support Engineers, and Developers. But also include divisions such as Marketing, Accounting, Change Management, Training, Business Analyst, Project Management, Sales and more.
You could already have experience in one of these roles or be looking into changing career path into one of these fields. Moving into a different industry can provide the motivation you are craving, and as the saying goes ‘a change is as good as a rest’.
It is your employer’s duty to provide you with the information and skills you need to flourish. Although don’t forget it’s down to the individual to take an active role in their own independent learning in order to be successful.
Learning new skills is an area where women can often outshine men.
A study by the University of Georgia suggests that women of all ages have a better approach to learning. It is believed this happens because of the way that women learn goes far beyond the realm of cognitive learning. Instead, a woman’s attitude and enthusiasm towards learning can far exceed expectations.*
In the past women have been pigeonholed by their ‘maternal instincts’ and an ability to ‘nurture’, meaning they have often been restricted by society and most importantly themselves when seeking employment. Instead, we should look at these characteristics and what they can bring to a role. As equal opportunities in the workplace have become standard practice we now have to focus on the main barrier preventing women from covering new career ground, the mental barrier of ‘it’s no place for me’.
I am a woman in a male-dominated industry and I personally find it brilliant! Every workplace has it’s pros and cons but as more women are coming into the technology industry there have been major improvements from what some might call ‘a woman’s touch’. We are still outnumbered but women are rising up to the highly ranked positions and the only thing holding us back is our own perception of what is possible.
Don’t just take it from me, I asked one of my colleagues about what it is like as a woman working in the tech industry…
“All my positions in tech companies have been people facing. I have found that women usually tend to work in people facing roles. I guess we have a tendency to be people oriented rather than working with ‘things’.
In theory, more women in tech could change the direction of the industry by creating more choice & demand for solutions by approaching projects from a different perspective.
To be honest, if I’ve been treated differently for being female I haven’t noticed.”
– Bernice MacAndrew, Technical Account Manager, Netpremacy Ltd
Bernice touches on a common theme that can deter women from entering unfamiliar industries… the fear of being singled out or treated differently. When moving into a new company, there will always be nerves and hesitation as there is with any change, but I am in complete agreement with this statement, I have never been professionally singled out due to my gender. I am instead a firm believer that if I maintain to break ground at work and keep my standards high I will stand out for this reason alone.
I asked the CEO of Netpremacy what his views on this subject were.
‘As a tech startup in 2000, Netpremacy’s core values were to change a predominantly male tech industry. As we have grown as a company so has our female workforce and as a result, we have seen increased communication (both internally and with customers), fresh perspectives on business problems and a large increase in company harmonisation. In today’s industry, our employees are evaluated on their value to the company and not their gender.’
– Michael Carter, CEO, Netpremacy Ltd
Understanding how a person, regardless of their gender or upbringing, can bring vital attributes to a role, is about understanding that individuals should be seen for their personal and professional qualities.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
This is a question that every child has been asked at some point. I can easily say that I never responded with “a Training and Change Co-ordinator for a UK Premier Partner of Google Cloud”. In fact, if I had been told as a teenager that I would end up working in IT I would have laughed.
At that point in my life, I didn’t have much of an interest in IT, and most importantly even though I was confident using computers I would never have labeled myself as overly skilled on them either.
I made my career move to technology with my self-taught computer skills and built on my existing strengths and experience from previous employment. Almost instantly I had my eyes opened to new tools and through some basic training, a spark was lit that turned into a fire! I went out of my way to learn everything I could about this new area of work and whats more I was enjoying going to work every day for the first time in my working life.
Now, some may say this is a little dramatic, however, my role has helped me travel the world and have experiences I’d never even dreamt of.
I think like a lot of my peers, growing up I was never actively encouraged to learn more about technology. My parents were from a generation that associated ‘playing’ with mud, footballs, climbing trees and generally being outside. Nowadays playing on a games console, computer or mobile phone has redefined the definition of ‘playing’ for present and future generations.
Children are now being taught coding in the first few years of their education. Making IT an accessible future career for all no matter their gender or background.
Tablets are now becoming a common fixture in a child’s school bag and tech of all kinds is replacing paper and pen. Our dependency on technology is something that has to impact the ratio of men to women in tech, but like any advancement, it may just take a little time.
Is the industry that speaks binary soon to become non-binary? We certainly think so!
If you are interested in a career at Netpremacy head to our careers page to find out more.
Communicate change, celebrate success: How communication can impact attitudes towards change.
A little about me
Firstly, I will introduce myself. My name is Francesca Clarke, I am a Training and Change Co-ordinator for Netpremacy Ltd, a Premier Partner of Google. I started this role after leaving the corporate banking world where I witnessed first hand the blunders that are often made during a change in a business.
In my previous role, I was heavily involved with training new starters and managing change projects. I found keeping the attitudes of others positive was an uphill struggle as systems were constantly changing with inadequate change management. This encouraged my passion for helping companies and individuals to understand the importance of managing change.
During my time at Netpremacy Ltd I have led numerous change initiatives and been part of too many to list all by name. Last year I had the pleasure of working with a particular customer whose goal was to implement Google Drive across the organisation within the space of two weeks. This was a challenging piece as time was of the essence, but by not sacrificing communication we had an undeniable success. We had great support from the customer as they understood the importance of communication in overcoming negative attitudes towards change. With great executive sponsorship and a willingness to be open, honest and empathetic to different skill levels the project was a triumph.
Understanding human reaction
Change management can and should be acknowledged and implemented through all aspects of life. ‘The change curve’ is a useful tool in understanding the human reaction to change of any kind; showing the different stages that people go through when faced with a change in any aspect of their life, it can also be used to understand why we act the way we do in both personal and business change scenarios.
The important thing to remember is that this is not a linear process. Whilst going through the curve, setbacks can happen and you may find that individuals or even entire companies can move back and forth through the different stages.
The following scenario is one that can easily be avoided when a company ‘Goes Google’: John works in a finance department that has always used Microsoft Excel, they have just been told that from now on they are to use Google Sheets. John has never used Google Sheets before and has not received comprehensive training or floor walking to help him through this change. John still has to meet his deadlines and has been left to struggle to meet these deadlines whilst using an unfamiliar product. John will probably have very strong negative feelings towards the new tools as a result of a lack of change management, therefore heavily impacting his productivity.
If John had been kept informed through communications, training sessions and post training support, this could have been avoided.
Taking these small steps could help someone feel confident and comfortable with change and eventually lead to this new product being integral into how the company works to achieve the goals of the project.
Working in change management, it is my role to orchestrate a plan that will guide people through these stages, prevent these setbacks and most importantly provide the correct guidance and support.
Keeping the change curve at the front of our mind, communication should be a present and persistent concern throughout every stage of a project or change. However, if you are thinking about executing a project without proper communication… This is a dangerous game to play.
How communications can make a difference
Communications are the lifeline of any project, they have the power to maintain the levels of positivity needed, stop incorrect information making the rounds and encourage individuals to be proactive in their own learning. It has been well documented that 70% of change initiatives fail. To measure how successful a change initiative is we examine the goals of the project and see if the change has achieved these goals. These goals should be explained and emphasised through communications to raise awareness of the desire for this change and how to achieve them to ensure success.
Ensure to choose the correct Executive Sponsor to deliver these communications. For example, if you are running an IT project the communications should not be coming from someone in IT, instead they should be coming from a well known face of the company. C-level management work best to stop the all involved from believing ‘it’s just another IT project… nothing to do with me’. (To find out more on the importance of Executive Sponsorship click here).
Another big faux pas is underestimating who needs to know about a change in the business or organisation, a change in the company. Everyone needs to know about any change – even if it will have a seemingly insignificant effect on their role, as even the smallest effect on someone can lead to negativity and this may have a domino effect throughout the company, leading to a failed change initiative.
Getting the word out
We are fortunate that in this day and age we have more available channels of communications than any generation that has come before. We should not limit our information distribution to merely emails and monthly newsletters, as you will find most people within a company can ignore these or at most skim read them not absorbing the important information often contained within them.
Today businesses have multiple internal communication channels at their disposal…emails, texts, letters, leaflets, posters, table stands, banners, internal communication platforms, public websites, videos and animations are just a few of the methods for little cost or none at all. So long as what you’re putting forward is eye catching and transparent in it’s content you can use any and every channel available. As part of Netpremacy our change team have delivered weekly broadcasts direct to users to brush up on useful hints, we have created corporate and fun animated videos to spread the goals of projects, used products at the customers disposal to create an open forum for sharing useful information, celebrating success and congratulating colleagues on achievements… but we can’t give away all our secrets!
As a customer facing trainer I have seen first hand the issues that arise from a lack of communication, for this reason when we take on a project the Change Management team and I will always ask which communication channels the company uses. If I am given more than two channels to use from the customer I am about ready to jump for joy, and let’s not even get onto how happy I become when I am told by a customer…“We have a great in house communications team.” This is the dream of anyone who specialises in change management, as from the start the customer already understands the importance of change management in any project and communications in general.
The need for a customer-driven focus on communication is essential in tackling opposition to change in the workplace. You will find that the strongest resistance can come from the most unsuspecting places, for the smallest of reasons. So facing this early in a change project is an absolute must!
One last thing…Empathy
Try to put yourself in the users shoes and explain in simple language. Never assume that anyone has any previous experience with what will be introducing. If you use jargon you run the risk of excluding people and this will cause a lot of issues that communications are designed to prevent. The idea is to remove boundaries and hierarchies and instead give those who would usually shy away from change a reason to embrace it and become an evangelist.
If you have any questions on the topic of this blog post or a general question contact us.
Blog post written by Francesca Clarke, Training and Change Co-ordinator, Netpremacy
The Secret Ingredient in Change: Executive Sponsorship
My name is Fraja Hodges and I work in the Training and Change Team at Netpremacy, a Google Cloud Premier Partner. Having seen first-hand how important the role of an Executive Sponsor is during a time of change, I was inspired to write a post on this specific topic:
We recently worked with a company who were looking to implement a social collaboration platform in order to “connect the unconnected”. Their extremely proactive CEO, who acted as Executive Sponsor in the G Suite deployment, strongly contributed to the overall success of the project. His general enthusiasm and eagerness for the transition motivated his employees, especially upon seeing that he ‘practiced what he preached’, communicating via Hangouts and Google+, rather than email. Working with us as a partner meant they had all the advice they needed on-hand. We were able to identify exactly what needed to happen and how, namely analysing key use cases and broadcasting a unified, focused message.
When a company decides to make a change – whether this is a deployment of G Suite, Zendesk, LumApps, RingCentral, etc. – the ‘why, what, when, how and who’s must be relayed to the end-user so that the project is completely pellucid for everyone to understand and trust in. These include why this is happening, what exactly it will entail when it will take place, how it will be rolled-out, and lastly who they can contact for further information and support. This should help to prevent resistance, anxiety, and confusion from the offset. As per the Netpremacy Change Management Methodology, at the start of any project, we ensure that an Executive Sponsor is nominated to act as the face of change. This blog post explores the part played by an Executive Sponsor in a change initiative and their significance to the project.
So, what does being an Executive Sponsor actually mean?
The role of an Executive Sponsor is best untaken by a senior member of the project board, often the CEO of the company. The reason for this is that they are a respected, authoritative person who can aid in promoting change management and supporting the project from the perspective of the organisation’s strategic goals. They are a key decision-maker in the deployment, with the control over people and resource needed to finalise the best approaches and practices for their company; as well as a catalyst for change to get the ball rolling. It’s important for them to have a vision of what the change will bring to be able to identify objectives, outcomes, and measures. This, in turn, will create and emphasise a ”burning platform” – or absolute need – for the transition.
Executive Sponsorship usually involves a number of responsibilities when it comes to organisation-wide announcements and communications (see more about the importance of communications here). The elected sponsor is the one from whom end-users should receive any information and updates to do with the project, and is the internal presence that provides a sense of familiarity during such times of change. They are usually a big (if not sole) focus in the elevator pitch – this is the initial announcement and a direct message to all employees from the Executive Sponsor on the reasons and benefits of going Google. It typically includes the end goal and vision for the future, as well as the project roll-out plan and impacts on users that the move may entail. Their named sign-off on communications and senior position build the initial sense of urgency for this transition on an individual, personal level, as well as an organisational one.
What else makes for good sponsorship?
One of the top contributors to success for change management initiatives is active and visible Executive Sponsorship. All organisations look to their leaders in times of difficulty or uncertainty to be strong supporters and lead the way – this is no different when it comes to times of change. Senior leadership provides the credibility to maintain and articulate a clear and attractive vision for why the change is necessary and therefore, increase the impact of the messages received by the end-user. Likewise, their overall line authority gives them the ability to directly confront resistance in order to clear a path to success.
The Executive Sponsor will align the organisation’s infrastructure, environment and reward systems with the change, allowing for performance to be measured and managed accordingly. Having somebody well-known and influential celebrate project successes is meaningful to the end-user and encourages innovation long after the deployment has come to an end. This also emphasises that this is not just an IT project, but a complete cultural transformation (see here for a great blog post on how G Suite deployments underpin the journey of cultural transformation within businesses).
What are the risks of poor sponsorship?
Using an influential, senior person in the company for communications, means end-users are more likely to open (and actually read) the information they include around the project. Let’s face it, you’d pay more attention to an email from your CEO, than you would from someone in IT that you may not know! Additionally, when you see an email from your CEO, you immediately assume it’s content is important – otherwise, why would they spend their valuable time writing it?
As established beforehand, an Executive Sponsor should have authority and credibility. Without this, there is less of an incentive for people to co-operate and little sense of urgency for the transition. Visible senior involvement helps to avoid push-backs and delays of the project, as well as portray the change as a “burning platform” because their internal position brings value, urgency, and priority to the project.
I hope that this post has highlighted the roles and reasons for an active and visible Executive Sponsor in any form of change initiative. Not only do they boost employee engagement and promote the importance of change management, but they also have a direct effect on the success of the deployment as a whole. Having the right people involved and providing transparency throughout the project creates a purpose and a visual plan for the transition.
If you have any questions on this topic or for Netpremacy in general, please feel free to contact us here.
Blog post written by Fraja Hodges, Training and Change Co-ordinator, Netpremacy