Since the start of 2020, businesses across the world have dramatically changed the way they work. Work itself is transforming in unprecedented ways. For many of us, work is no longer a physical place we go to, and interactions that used to take place in person are being rapidly digitized. This was at first a shock to many businesses, but as we have adapted we have found that working remotely has had so many positive effects on businesses, people, and much more.
Amidst this transformation, time is more fragmented—split between work and personal responsibilities—and human connections are more difficult than ever to establish and maintain.
These are unique challenges, but they also represent a significant opportunity to help people succeed in this highly distributed and increasingly digital world.
Google is uniquely positioned to help here, given its history and product innovation:
- First, over 2.6 billion users choose G Suite. Google has spent decades building products that are simple, easy to learn, and anticipate users’ needs.
- Second, Google products are all cloud-based, so they can innovate with speed and don’t have to worry about maintaining legacy desktop apps.
- And third, Google’s global infrastructure helps deliver consistent quality & reliability around the world.
How Google is evolving to meet the need:
As a result of these changes, Google is building on these strengths and their vision for the future, by introducing some exciting new developments. Google has changed what was formerly (G Suite) to Google Workspace. This represents the brand accurately as so many changes have been made through 2020 to develop a platform that is easy to collaborate on, all through one interface.
Now, everything you need to get anything done, is in one place. Google Workspace includes all of the productivity apps you know and love—Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Meet, and many more. Whether you’re returning to the office, working from home, on the frontlines with your mobile device, or connecting with customers, Google Workspace is the best way to create, communicate, and collaborate.
To learn more about the new changes that Google are making, read their full announcement here.
How does Google Workspace help?
Google helps you get more done at work and at home—with communication and collaboration tools known and loved by billions of users, thoughtfully connected together. It’s a place for shared interests, projects, planning, and group work, with simplicity, ease of use, and helpful features that make any kind of work a little more satisfying. And it’s designed from the ground up with industry-leading security and privacy controls built-in — and powered by the cleanest cloud in the industry.
Top 3 benefits of Google Workspace
- Flexible: Designed for flexible, fluid, and fast collaboration – when, where, and how you need it.
- Helpful: Address what’s important & let Google handle the rest with best-in-class AI and search technology that helps you work smarter.
- Simple: An integrated workspace that’s simple and easy to use, so you spend less time figuring out how to manage your work and more time actually doing it.
Our role as a Google Cloud Premier Partner:
Netpremacy are always striving to work closely with our valued customers to ensure that they get the best out of their investment. Our goal is to help businesses across the UK to transform the way they work, for the better. Since the start of 2020, we have helped many customers to adapt to a new way of working.
“Businesses are looking for streamlined ways for teams to collaborate, connect, and get things done remotely – both today and in the future,” said Carolee Gearhart, Global Channel Chief at Google Cloud. “We’re thrilled to announce Google Workspace to help customers transform the way they work, and we look forward to working with our partners like Netpremacy to help organizations build a more connected future with Google Workspace.”
When the 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 across the UK. Read more on how DFS and Netpremacy worked together to ensure that the business was able to stay online and to keep the business running smoothly when the UK was first put into lockdown.
It’s not just current customers that Netpremacy has helped. Due to the pandemic, we have seen new relationships form with businesses across the UK. We first began to speak to Loxam when they urgently needed 100’s of Chrome devices to ensure that their whole company was able to work remotely.
They were rolled out and deployed within 3 days of delivery, so 200 members of the LOXAM PAD workforce were now fully operational and could continue working remotely. This rapid delivery and deployment is a testament to the hard work and effort the team at Netpremacy put into providing the right solution for their customers, and another great example of how Google’s browser first solutions have a real impact when it’s needed the most.
Read more on how we worked to get LOXAM PAD up and running in days.
Since the start of 2020, we have seen so many of our customers have to adapt quickly to ensure that they can run successfully through such challenging times. Now we have since run webinars demonstrating the new Google Workspace interface, which has been well received by our customers. We are already seeing fantastic adoption throughout, and have seen how this collaborative interface is having a positive impact on the way businesses are working, for the better.
Get started with Google Workspace
To celebrate the new launch of Google Workspace we are offering free of charge, our Google Workspace express onboarding package to allow your organisation to fully realise the potential of Google Cloud. This will cover topics such as;
- Data Migration
- Security Configuration
- Change Management
- General Best Practices
How Netpremacy & Google can help you utilise G Suite & GCP to become more digital and mobile
Register now for our 3-part webinar series, featuring guest speakers from our partners FinTech North, and Google Cloud, as we discuss:
• How to create a return to work strategy with Google technology
• Increasing collaboration and productivity in the manufacturing industry
• How to use smart analytics to stay ahead of competitors
Follow the links below to find out more and how to register for each webinar.
How ML & Smart Analytics are helping FinTechs understand their data
Date: 09/07/20 Time: 11:00-12:00
Join us, FinTech North, and Google to learn about the power of Machine Learning, and Big Query. Hear more on how FinTechs are driving their business forward thanks to Google Cloud. Understand how businesses are using data to gain a competitive advantage, and how Big Query is the tool that makes this possible.
- Alastair Lumley, Netpremay
- Tom Anderson, Netpremacy
- Julian Wells, Director, FinTech North
- Richard Ashby, Google Cloud
How businesses can use the G Suite tool-stack to return to work
Date: 22/07/20 Time: 11:00-12:00
Sign up to our webinar to understand how businesses can use tools from G Suite to create a complex and intelligent booking system, to get your teams safely back up and running in an office environment.
Hear from Google and Netpremacy on what our plans are for getting back to the office, and how we are using tools from G Suite, App Script, and Data Studio to do so.
Manufacturing with G Suite during and post-pandemic
Date: 23/07/20 Time: 11:00-12:00
Sign up for our webinar to hear how manufacturers in the industry are increasing their agility and digitizing their way of working thanks to Google Cloud.
To sustain a business we must transform digitally and culturally. G Suite has been a go-to solution for many organisations within the manufacturing and distribution market, providing that competitive edge during times of uncertainty.
If you are unable to attend these webinars, but would like to find out more, please contact us.
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Google has announced 4 new updates to improve the user experience on Google Meet
Now more than ever, businesses are relying on video conferencing. It is important that the technology we use allows for easier interaction, keeping focused and staying productive. Google has recently announced a number of updated features on Google Meet (previously Hangouts Meet), for all G Suite customers, which will improve the quality of meetings and the overall user experience.
One of the most anticipated updates is the expanded Tile View layout. This enables the user to view up to 16 people at a time – previously you could only see four. This update feature has already proved popular here at Netpremacy, as it makes virtual meetings more inclusive and facilitates collaborative viewing. We have also been able to inject a bit of fun into our daily catch-ups with fancy dress and a quick game of “guess the movie”. More updates are in the works for larger meetings, better presentation layouts, and support across more devices, so watch this space for more!
Google will be gradually rolling out the extended tile view feature for our Enterprise customers from Wednesday 22nd April 2020
Our CSS team is known for wearing many hats – here is the proof!
Guess the movie in our morning standup!
As well as the tiled layout for larger calls, Google has also worked on more technical advancements to improve meeting quality. Noise cancellation AI will work to limit sounds in the background so your meetings can run smoothly, without any distractions. This will be available for G Suite Enterprise and G Suite Enterprise for Education customers in the coming weeks, starting with web users and later rolling out to mobile users.
The new low-light mode also uses Google AI to adjust your video automatically, so you are more visible to other participants in low-light conditions. The new software enhances your video and brings out details that would have been too dark or difficult to see otherwise. This feature will gradually be rolled out, starting with mobile users, and will be available to web users soon after.
The final update Google has announced is the ability to present higher-quality video content with audio. There is now an option to present a Chrome tab, as well as presenting a window or the entire screen. Presenting a Chrome tab shares the audio on that tab by default, so if you have remote viewers and you need to share a video, this is the best option for the ultimate audio experience. This feature is rolling out to general availability from Wednesday 22nd April 2020.
As Google’s 2019 Global Partner of the Year for Work Transformation Enterprise, we are committed to helping businesses excel. We are currently offering free Google Meet licenses and deployment services, available to new businesses from now until 30th September 2020. Find out more here.
- Easy to use console
- Secure end-to-end encryption
- Enterprise security
- Up to 1TB of Google Drive Storage
- Live streaming up to 100,000 internal participants
- Zero install requirement
For more information or to book in your complimentary installation, contact us on: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions or would like a discussion to learn more, please contact us here: netpremacy.com/contact-us.
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“It’s been a pleasure working with Netpremacy”
Pressure Technologies is a specialist engineering group with businesses in Sheffield, Rotherham, Barton on Humber, Glasgow, Cardiff and overseas in Vancouver, Canada, Germany and Pittsburgh, USA.
The company was introduced to Pressure Technologies at a Sheffield Chamber of Commerce event where CEO, John Hayward was impressed by the presentation Netpremacy gave on the benefits to a business that G Suite could offer.
G Suite had two core appeals for Pressure Technologies, cybersecurity with trusted Cloud-based servers and the ability to collaborate. With geographically diverse businesses, Google’s G Suite and cloud storage gave Pressure Technologies added security and a common operating platform across the entire Group. The Cloud encouraged and enabled collaborative and mobile working, with access to data from any device, anywhere.
The project kicked off with Netpremacy being invited to present to Pressure Technologies senior management team and business leaders, who were as equally impressed as John had been at the event in Leeds.
To ensure a smooth transition of the overall G Suite Deployment, Netpremacy broke it down into 2 projects, so each project had its own statement of work.
The first project began in July 2017 and included all the manufacturing divisions. Given the scale of this first project, consisting of 6 businesses, a decision was made to break up the project into two phases: Drop 1 and Drop 2.
Project 1 was concluded by December, and the second project for the Alternative Energy Division was delivered early 2018. Even though this second project was smaller than the former it still came with its challenges. With Pressure Technologies being dispersed between the UK and Canada, it meant the project team had to plan meticulously to avoid issues arising from the time difference, time constraints and international training both in person and remote.
Each of the projects began with a period of discovery, an important aspect to ensure a smooth transition. The aim of this was to find out what processes could be improved upon, where time was being wasted and more importantly, where G Suite could be used to improve efficiency and the everyday practices of teams and individuals. The information collected was used to form the training sessions, training resources and post-training support that users received.
Before the transition to G Suite and the training that was provided, Pressure Technologies were using Outlook. When the transition began, Netpremacy used a tried and tested approach for migrating the data. After the training sessions were over, the teams returned to their desks and all of their data had been seamlessly migrated across into G Suite. This then led to a successful transition for Pressure Technologies.
Training and communications were provided by Netpremacy as a part of managing the end user’s reaction to the change in the business. Moving platforms can often be stressful without the right communication to educate end users, leading to lower adoption levels if not managed correctly.
In this particular project, training played a very important role. Pressure Technologies encompassed most age groups and generations, as a result, there was a broad mix of confidence levels in using new tools. Taking this into consideration, Netpremacy took people from every sector of the business to be Google Guides, giving them access to G Suite before everyone else. This meant they were confident and in turn able to help their colleagues with the transition after the training and go-live had finished.
A programme of ongoing communications in the weeks following go-live ensured further support. A “Tip of the Week” programme was created and sent out weekly to provide small pieces of information and improve knowledge on how to use different aspects of G Suite. This series of tips have been very successful so far with some users being known to print them out or store them in some way to create their own ‘Google Handbooks’.
“I have been heavily involved in IT projects during my 35 year career, and none of them have ever gone this smoothly. It’s been a pleasure working with Netpremacy. We highly rate the team for technical and project management ability. G Suite is transforming the way we work,encouraging much wider collaboration then we had dared to imagine.”
– John Hayward – CEO, Pressure Technologies
Although the migration to G Suite is complete, Pressure Technologies decided to continue with the CSS programme that Netpremacy provides. They felt this was essential to the continued success for the transition to Google and did not want to leave people with the project without ongoing support to ensure G suite is successfully embedded into the whole Group.
If you have any questions regarding G Suite and how it can enhance your company’s performance, please contact us.
Managing Resistance to Change
In this blog post, I would like to underline how to go about managing resistance to change. As a trainer and therefore, the person on the ground during a change initiative, I am usually a prime target for directing resistance. Having experienced this in the past, I aim to highlight the methods and approaches Netpremacy use when dealing with resistance in a project.
It is important to have a plan of action for managing resistance. This will help to mitigate the impact of resistance on a business change and ensure a smooth transition between the old and new processes. Resistance is a natural human reaction that stems from the fear of moving into an unknown future state. It is, therefore, the role of a change manager to identify and address resistance, as well as get the right people involved in managing this on a personal and individual level. Poor change management can directly influence resistance, so in order to avoid these change management activities need to be at the heart of a project.
Resistance management and change management come hand-in-hand
Proactive change management is key to dealing with resistance. Training and communications activities are essential for many reasons:
To communicate the need for change, the effect it may have on people and the benefits it will bring in the future.
To expect certain obstacles and tackle them head-on in advance of the switch (for example, by creating MythBusters, FAQ’s, custom use cases, and many more).
To ensure people have all the knowledge they need to feel comfortable and confident with the new way of working.
Motivating and engaging employees through visible executive sponsorship and general support from management serves to create a burning platform and encourage positive emotion towards the change (see blog post on the importance of executive sponsorship). This can then be captured and leveraged to further spread the excitement and purpose.
Another aspect of change management is to expect resistance and empathise with the difficulty to adapt to new ways of working. There will always be a strong tendency to revert back to old ways, especially with deadlines and time constraints. It is normal for people to “quickly do something the old way” because it’s easier and they don’t have to think about it. Making yourself do something alien or unnatural and sticking to it is very hard so it is up to the change manager to facilitate the new processes and communicate the short and long-term advantages.
There are 3 steps to formally addressing resistance:
1. Identifying the resistors
2. Give them a part to play
3. Understand why they resist
The types of resistors that you frequently encounter are people who either have a strict routine for certain processes, are the ones who put the old processes in place, or already have heavy workloads and anticipate even more work as a result of the change. For example, in a typical G Suite deployment, those who are usually resistant to the transition are typically heavy spreadsheet users such as the finance department and PA’s because they have a unique way of working (with mail and calendar delegation).
Initial communications, such as a scoping survey that gauges how people currently work and what attitudes they have towards the project, are normally the first means of targeting resistance. In the first instance, you should pick out the people who are in favour of the change as these will help to spread excitement and positive energy around the organisation. Then, identify those who raise concerns about the change and get them involved in the project. Doing this will make them feel more in-control of the change and therefore, it will seem less scary because they are driving it. Taking this proactive (rather than reactive) approach to resistance management will help to reduce risks to the project rollout.
There is also a trend in the root causes of resistance that should be taken into consideration when understanding certain user groups objections.
Firstly, a common reason for resistance would be the lack of awareness. This is where clear and concise communications are vital to ensure complete transparency of why the change is happening, how it will be rolled out and when each stage is going to take place (see blog post on impactful communications).
Secondly, people are often afraid of the effects to their current and future job role. Employees sometimes feel that they may become less efficient at their work after the change, leading to the fear of job loss. Effective and engaging training gives these people the knowledge and ability to continue with daily operations, and floor walking allows trainers to provide one-on-one support to those still struggling (see blog post on effective and engaging training).
Lastly, another reason for resistance could be bad experiences in the past. As mentioned above, implementing change into an organisation requires visible support and commitment from managers. Without this, there are no apparent advocates of the change and so no-one pushing the project on the inside.
Assign resistance managers
Getting the right people involved from the start to combat resistance will facilitate the change management process. These people will be well respected to help push positivity and influence innovation.
Senior leaders are in the perfect position to enforce the need for change. If they devote time to the project to demonstrate their commitment, employees will value their input and opinion.
Middle managers represent leadership within the organisation already and are the closest figures of authority to employees. Being openly supportive and advocating for the change will motivate employees to follow suit.
Appointing these resistance manager roles can not only reduce negativity towards the project but also minimise ongoing resistance once the project has come to an end.
Having a plan for managing resistance is an important aspect of the change management process. From the early stages of a project, there are many factors to consider for managing resistant user groups in a proactive manner.
First of all, standard change management activities should be as strong as ever, especially if there are already high signs of resistance.
Then, an understanding of who is resisting and why is required to address resistance upfront by making them a part of the change.
Lastly, resistance managers from inside the organisation drive the positive need for change during the project and the increasing desire for innovation in the future.
Click here, for more information on how Netpremacy can help with change management for your business.
Training and Change Coordinator
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