1-800-GOT-JUNK? is the flagship brand within O2E Brands, a company which also includes WOW 1 DAY PAINTING, You Move Me and Shack Shine. 1-800-GOT-JUNK? is the world’s largest junk removal company, with locations across Canada, the U.S., and Australia. The company makes the ordinary business of junk removal exceptional (Ordinary2Exceptional = O2E) by creating space and peace of mind when junk gets in the way. The company is known for its strong focus on quality customer service, and its environmental initiative to divert as much as possible from the landfill.
What 1-800-Got-Junk? Wanted
As O2E Brands develops as a multi-branded, enterprise organization, 1-800-GOT-JUNK? has enjoyed significant growth across 3 countries. Andy Parkins, Vice President Business Technology for O2E Brands, explained that in 2012 the company introduced the largest multi-unit launch in franchise history with 23 franchises of its third brand, You Move Me, across the U.S. and Canada. At the time, 1-800-GOT-JUNK? was running a hybrid of Microsoft Exchange and various POP mail servers and there were lots of operational points of failure. One of Andy’s first challenges after being hired to run IT was to make email work efficiently.
“As a Microsoft house, there was a push to just go to Microsoft 365 to clean up the on-prem email systems,” said Andy. “Our business units came to me with a big list of needs around marketing, education, culture, as well as to be permanently connected on mobile, with constant uptime. Because of the flexibility needed, it really came down to either going Google Apps or Microsoft 365. In our conversations with Microsoft, they offered a fix, but that’s as far as it went. Speaking with Google, they offered a holistic business approach that quickly went from email service to an enterprise-level collaboration and messaging solution. One of our brands already had Microsoft 365, so we decided to try our own IT department on Google Apps. The net effect was that the email upgrade project quickly evolved into a business transformation program.”
In keeping with the test, Andy’s team initiated a small Google pilot. One of the system administrators set it up in his spare time, even suggesting that the entire IT team could be using it within hours. It was just that easy. Andy agreed and they got the department using Google Apps.
Around the same time, an extended Microsoft outage took down the exchange hybrid link to 365, disabling email for the brand using 365. “This was at our busiest time of year and pressure was on to fix it,” said Andy. “We turned on Google for the affected brand and it was easy, it created instant Google evangelists. This was finally the opportunity to offer feedback to the executive team, as well as gain the confidence to move forward on a large scale. We looked at total cost of ownership and return on investment information, as well as our expected cultural impact, and made the decision to go fully with Google.”
With ongoing help on change management, training, and deployment from Google partner Agosto, the organization continued rolling out Google Apps and Google Vault to O2E’s moving brand, You Move Me, and then the entire 1-800-GOT-JUNK? system. “You can really make it fun,” said Andy. “It helps to get teams inspired with their own use cases and their own department champions, because with Google tools, they have the power to control and do almost everything themselves.”
“Agosto has the patience to help clients move at the pace needed. They have a world class technical team to help us on each and every step. It had to be a smooth transition so that the leadership team would remain confident and see how well things were going to run. There were bumps internally to do with our record management on the use of exchange public folders and internal distribution lists. Lessons were learned and we went into Google apps with big wins in this area. The Agosto team taught us how to do things right. Bringing in a trusted partner like Agosto to get the early knowledge and business processes going was critical to our success.”
“This is about business performance and partnership and we couldn’t be happier with Google and Agosto. They are helping us positively transform our business.”
Andy Parkins, Vice President Business Technology for O2E Brands
Andy shared that after going Google, there were no complaints. Instead, people were delighted that they now had the ability to access and easily share the real-time information needed to do their jobs. They questioned why the organization hadn’t gone Google earlier!
With three brands across three countries, O2E Brands has numerous remotely staffed positions. “Google Apps for Work has connected our field crews so they share and see the same trusted facts, at the same time,” said Andy. “Also, the security is really great; you can set sharing and read-only access and don’t need to create a PDF or send a separate attachment in an email. It has simplified things for us greatly. There are no file sharing version control issues and you can see who has done what, what edits have been made, and archive published documents into folders. We also retain all documents and email in Vault, Google’s archiving and e-Discovery tool. It now takes us minutes to do the business or legal forensics that used to take us hours or even days.”
1-800-GOT-JUNK? also uses the video conference Hangouts included in Google Apps to connect its Toronto and Vancouver offices and its field crews. “Everyone jumps on for a few minutes in the morning to share up-to-date information to start their day during our daily huddle,” said Andy. “It’s remarkable how the Google system is inspiring our teams to find small ways of improving communications and productivity that grow into large company initiatives. People are responding better and everyone feels more connected.”
Andy also added a note about working with enterprise licensing and contracts. “It’s a lengthy process with Microsoft,” he said. “You have to work hard to be a customer. With Google and Agosto we received a master service agreement, handed it over to our legal counsel, and the entire program was turned around for us in 24 hours. There are no hidden ‘gotchas’ you need to look for; what you see is what you get, allowing us to have tight control of the budget.”
“Today we’re finding that with Google and Agosto, it isn’t about them just selling us a license, taking the cheque, and disappearing till the next upgrade,” said Andy. “There’s hand-holding when we need it, so we learn how best to exploit the technology and are always working to our fullest potential. This is about business performance and partnership and we couldn’t be happier with Google and Agosto. They are helping us positively transform our business.”