Frontline Workers have a significant impact on the business, directly impacting customer experience and are the eyes and ears for reporting on progress, spotting new opportunities and providing extraordinary customer experiences. Don’t let your Frontline Workers miss out on the power of Chrome Enterprise that drives greater efficiency for the business.
As the clock runs out on Windows 7, the time is right for Chrome Enterprise
225 days—and the clock is ticking.
If your organization runs Windows 7, that’s the time left until January 14, 2020, when Microsoft officially ends all support for its popular operating system (OS). With more than one-third of PCs still reliant on the OS, migration is on the minds of many IT professionals.
While moving up to Windows 10 may seem the obvious remedy, maintaining a Microsoft environment is not without its pains: Costly licenses. Cumbersome configurations. An easy target for cyber threats. A focus that’s still more desktop than cloud.
These challenges explain why many middle market organizations like Schnuck’s, a leading Midwest grocer, are seizing this opportunity to switch to Google’s Chrome Enterprise.
Five reasons to replace Windows 7 with Chrome Enterprise
- Robust security. When the clock runs out on Windows 7, Microsoft will no longer issue bug fixes or security patches, making the OS extremely vulnerable to malware and other cyber threats. But even a current version like Windows 10 requires constant security updates and additional antivirus software for adequate protection.
Chrome Enterprise, on the other hand, makes security integral at every level. Each time a user boots up a Chrome device, it automatically checks for upgrades and scans for potential infections. During usage, sandboxing and data encryption provide further safeguards. Plus, users never need costly antivirus programs, because the Chrome OS protects, contains, and repairs security threats on its own.
- Rapid deployment. They don’t call it “migration” for nothing; upgrading your operating system is no small task, especially in a Windows environment. Chrome Enterprise, however, is uniquely engineered for speed—without sacrificing security or functionality.
As a true cloud OS, Chrome eliminates many of the complicated and time-consuming tasks that plague traditional roll-outs. From unboxing to handing the device to an employee, you can fully deploy a Chrome Enterprise device in minutes. In fact, Chrome Enterprise even offers a White Glove deployment program that allows devices to ship directly to office locations or end users. Imagine the productivity boost for IT staff and users.
The Jumpstart program from Agosto helps you plan and pilot your Chrome Enterprise implementation in a matter of weeks, rather than months. Working together, we engage your in-house teams, integrate with your current environment, build out the specific use cases, and provide training and change management. You move forward with a proven strategy that streamlines your roll-out.
- Centralized management. Lots of users, lots of devices? No problem. With Chrome Enterprise, a single cloud management console connects you to more than 200 security and management policies. It’s everything you need to configure user policies, device access and more, for a single user, a group, or the entire company.
- Significant cost savings. A switch from Windows 7 will likely require new hardware as well as OS licensing. Here, Chrome Enterprise delivers a healthy benefit to the bottom line, with savings in licensing, hardware, training—even employee productivity.
When Schnuck’s adopted Chrome for their frontline workers, they replaced 600 Windows desktop devices with 1,200 Chromebooks. Instead of replacing their Windows 7 hardware, they moved to Chrome, doubling their device deployment—yet still saving saved nearly $500,000 on hardware and licensing.
- Simplicity. Today’s modern workforce loves the convenience of Chrome Enterprise with its user-friendly interface and its anywhere, any device access. Users can sign into any Chromebook or Chrome browser, and start working.
Unlike Windows, Chrome OS boots swiftly. Updates run behind the scenes. It’s engineered for productivity and collaboration, and compatible with any cloud-based or Android application. Users can also work in offline mode, or run legacy applications with a secure virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution.
There are plenty of myths surrounding what Chrome can and can’t do. But the facts—and the satisfied customers—speak for themselves. Now is the time to see for yourself.
Explore your options. Take Chrome Enterprise for a test drive and see how it compares to Windows 7. Schedule your one-on-one consultation today.
Last month we talked about 3 ways to prepare your project team prior to a change:
- Host a lessons learned roundtable
- Include them in the product/workflow assessment
- Know where they want to go with their professional development
Preparations were made, and now it is GO TIME!
Imagine that your change project is in flight, and your project team is busy working on implementation planning and strategy to help the rest of the team succeed at the time of deployment. While they are busy with a laser focus on end user experience, you’ll be well-served by slowing down just a bit to make sure to nurture their experience with the change.
Even with a project team that is fully brought into the “why” behind your project, there will still be an adjustment period. Change is hard work. Read on for a few of our favorite ideas to help your team put on their own “oxygen masks” before helping others.
Train ‘em Up!
Have you ever admitted something to a close friend that you wouldn’t want to admit to your family? For sure, right? We’ve been there, too. And when it comes to our work family, it isn’t all that different.
Your work family (project team) might not be willing to share their gaps in knowledge around the new product or workflow you are about to deploy. Protect them from having to be super brave and admit it by making sure that they are afforded learning time and resource support to boost their knowledge and confidence. Maybe even frame it up as an exercise in “thinking like a newbie end user” if you think egos might be at play.
Provide a Safe Space to Vent
If the road to change is too smooth, we are probably missing something. Give your team space to look around and identify opportunities for improvement, describe what they need in terms of assistance, and give them room to vent a bit about the whole process. There are lots of resources to help you learn more about the value of the broader concept of psychological safety – with this one being one of our favorites.
Remind the Team of the (Inspiring) Mission
When your project team is in deep with a resistant executive, an unexpected timeline delay, or yet another competing internal project – help keep them moving forward by reminding them of the mission you are mutually striving to achieve.
Love, love, love. Find out how your team likes to be recognized on an individual level and deliver! A special lunch for those that like treats, a shout out in a leadership meeting for those that thrive on public recognition, a chance to present to VIPs for those who want professional development opportunities, etc. Go, go, go!
Your project team probably feels like part of your family, so let’s give them your best! Support your team and treat them well because it goes a long way to assuring a successful project.
I&O’s make increasing the use of cloud a priority
A recent Forrester study found that 25% of business decision-makers and 42% of technology decision makers are aiming to increase the use of cloud in the next year. Many business leaders have found that utilizing the cloud increases revenue and provides an exciting customer experience. With this in mind, incorporating a comprehensive cloud strategy successfully is becoming a priority in order to maximize this opportunity.
A holistic cloud strategy includes multiple stakeholders, specifically business leaders, development and technology teams. When priorities are aligned across stakeholders, it’s much easier to get cloud-based projects approved, funded and successfully launched.
Although everyone’s end goal is to see the company thrive and grow, it’s crucial for I&O (Infrastructure & Operations) leaders to understand the needs of each stakeholder to fully realize what a comprehensive cloud strategic plan looks like for the business.
The needs of business leaders
Business leaders desire cloud software that helps them win, serve and retain customers; therefore, including feature-rich and innovative SaaS into the strategic plan is essential.
Keep in mind, business leaders are going to expect you to address business SaaS buyer needs and concerns in your cloud strategy, which may include:
- SaaS complement and replacement plan for critical business functions.
- Document plans for SaaS security, privacy, compliance, integration, and cost control.
- Prioritize extensible SaaS solutions that include customization tools.
The needs of developers
Developers desire cloud platforms to build and deliver compelling software faster. As today’s customers are becoming more demanding and tech-savvy, companies are expected to be forward-thinking and keep up with customer expectations. In the next two years, migration of legacy enterprise apps to cloud platforms, new microservices-based app designs, and container technologies will create further disruption and fuel innovation.
Your cloud platform strategy for developers must recognize that:
- You must satisfy both digital native and digital transformation developer types.
- Developers prioritize cost, simplicity, and self-service when choosing cloud platforms.
The needs of tech leaders
Tech leaders desire cloud platforms that enable greater infrastructure agility. For I&O pros, there is a lot on your plate as the business is looking at you to make decisions that will ultimately serve the company in many capacities. The business is depending on you to create a cloud management plan.
To get business buy-in for your cloud infrastructure and management plan:
- Understand how the business wants I&O to make cloud easier.
- Take charge of the public versus private cloud debate.
Ultimately, putting together a cloud transformation strategy involves answering the question: “Where are we going?” Once that goal is defined, you need to structure your plan to address the wants, needs, and concerns of the business, developers, and technology leaders in your organization.
Ready to develop a holistic cloud strategy that will impress your stakeholders? Download the Forrester Report: Considerations To Make When Building Your Cloud Transformation Strategy now to get started!
Looking for a strategic partner to get you on the right track with your cloud transformation strategy? We’d love to help
Editor’s note: Today’s post is by Scott Lawson, Director of IT Architecture at QAD, provider of cloud-based software and services for global manufacturing companies. QAD is using the Grab and Go with Chrome Enterprise program to improve employee productivity when traveling between offices.
We pride ourselves on being a helpful IT department for QAD’s 1,900 employees. We have 31 offices around the world, with IT people in only 16 of them. When employees travel to different offices and forget their laptops—or need us to repair one—the IT team has to scramble to help out, with limited resources.
We’re using Grab and Go with Chrome Enterprise so people can pick up devices wherever and whenever they need them. Once users sign in, they have their applications, preferences, and documents right at their fingertips. Grab and Go is also an easy way to let employees test-drive Pixelbooks as we have an initiative to increase Pixelbook adoption.
Grab and Go is a good match for our business because Chrome is already our preferred browser, and we encourage employees to use G Suite tools, like Google Drive, Docs and Sheets. When Pixelbooks came on the market, we thought they would have tremendous appeal for workers at a company moving toward the cloud. Around the same time, we learned about Grab and Go and realized it could help us avoid the downtime connected with missing or malfunctioning laptops.
Previously, if an employee forgot or misplaced a laptop, it could have taken several hours to provision a new one. Someone in a QAD office without an IT department might have to wait days while we ship one out. With help from Agosto, our Google Cloud Premier partner, we placed Grab and Go racks with Pixelbooks in our Santa Barbara headquarters and our Mount Laurel, N.J. office—the places that global employees are most likely to visit on business.
With Grab and Go racks available, I don’t have to get the IT department involved if someone wants a Pixelbook. We save the hours of software installation time involved in setting up a new device, or shipping it to another office—and employees get to work right away. We think Grab and Go will also come in handy for office visitors like our vendors, who could check out a Pixelbook enabled in guest mode.
Instead of keeping track of loaner laptops on a spreadsheet, like we used to do, the Grab and Go solution tracks the Pixelbooks for us. When people come to the end of their two-week loaner period, they can extend the loan with just a couple of clicks, self-service!
As people get hands-on experience with Pixelbooks from Grab and Go, they see how seamlessly the device, Chrome browser, and G Suite work together. We manage Pixelbooks from the Google Admin console and push out configuration changes without touching devices or installing software. Like Grab and Go, these features remove the barriers that get in the way of our work. With Pixelbooks, we don’t need to do anything to the devices, like install software or manage security applications. The Pixelbook simply becomes a portal to Google and the rest of our cloud-based applications.
For us, Grab and Go isn’t just about saving time and money for IT. It’s helping us learn more about what our employees want and need to do their jobs. We plan to use the Softwatch Chromebook Adoption Readiness tool to understand which workers and teams use cloud apps the most, and therefore would be good candidates to use Pixelbooks as their primary devices. We’re getting constructive feedback on Pixelbooks to help future device rollouts go smoothly. Overall, the Grab and Go solution is a low-stress way to help us drive innovation and increase productivity in our organization.
It’s easy to overlook the ones you love the most. Okay, maybe love is too strong, but let’s say that in the world of project management or change implementation it is easy to overlook the effort we should spend with our most trusted allies – our project team players – BEFORE the start of the next big change project.
We want to challenge you to do 3 things to maintain your strong relationship with your project team players in advance of your next project’s official kickoff:
Host a lessons learned roundtable.
There is plenty to gleam from recent initiatives that can help us to maintain strong momentum or even improve our momentum the next time around. Let’s not assume that the lessons from our last event really clicked with everyone on the team. Some of us could stand a chance to be reminded of what is essential to fix in order for expectations to be met at the next “at bat.” Be sure to recall that most of what your team did in your last few projects worked brilliantly, and is worthy of reflection as well! The team should walk away from the roundtable feeling empowered, equipped, and energized for the next challenge.
Invite them to be a part of the product/workflow assessment.
You rely on your chosen Project Team Partners for a reason. They’re trustworthy, smart, curious, and they get things done. Help them to buy-in and fully invest their best talents for your next project by exposing them as early as possible to the benefits of the change and the risks of not moving forward in a scenario where they can truly “kick the tires.” When they are allowed to have an early voice to the change ahead, they’ll help you to identify blind spots and potential blockers to a successful implementation.
We get it – maybe you were handed down a directive and you didn’t get to be involved in an assessment phase. If you’re on the unfortunate end of this scenario, do what you can to get in some detective work to find out who conducted the initial assessment and get them to share some notes for your team on how they came to the decision to change. Being given a bit of the “why” story can help your team to ramp up their passion for the project – and this includes helping you to get geared up, too. Trust us, if you’re not excited to implement this change, good luck getting your team to take the wheel and steer everyone to a smooth landing.
Know where they want to go.
We’re not talking where they want to go for coffee or lunch (although great leaders know this kind of data, too). We’re talking where do the members of your project team want to go professionally? Take a deep breath here. Let’s remind ourselves that actively developing our team and being in open dialogue about development doesn’t mean we’re nudging people to leave us. We’re looking to align their development aspirations with the work ahead to drive purpose and a deeper meaning beyond simply embedding a new workflow or a new widget for your organization. When your team has a personal interest in a few key aspects of the work ahead, they’ll be quicker to voice risks and suggest improvements along the journey. It’s a win for everyone – and the bottom line.
Got a few other ideas that have been a difference-maker in maintaining your Project Team’s performance? Feel free to drop us a line in the comments section below!
Google never stands still.
As a company, Google is constantly evolving and introducing new tools and feature to help businesses grow, build and succeed, especially in the world of G Suite.
That’s why we’ve gone through all the latest and greatest updates for G Suite and summarized just ten of the top updates, introduced in the last year, that are helping companies worldwide make an impact. Are you one of them?
1. Google Groups Contact Hovercards
Maybe our favorite update of the year! Google made Gmail even better last year with contact hovercards for Google Groups. This is an especially helpful time-saving feature for large organizations – providing essential info when you move your mouse over a Google Group. Quickly view how many group members there are and their names, plus enjoy easy access to more information. You can also effortlessly email the whole group and schedule events with members.
2. Security Updates
One of the top requests we get from our clients is to engage with them in detailed Security Reviews. Google is delivering on that need with Gmail security enhancements. This includes phishing and malware protections, confidential mode, plus an alert center for security-related notifications and actions. (Note that 2019 has just started, but Google has already added some additional improvements to G Suite security protocols!)
3. Gmail Offline Mode
Offline Gmail functionality is an excellent feature for professionals on-the-go who may not have internet access, but have some downtime while traveling. Maximize that available time reading and responding to emails with the offline mode. These are the type of smart features that help you get things done, anytime, anywhere.
4. Hangouts Meet Attachments
Streamline conferences and other virtual work gatherings with simple access to important attachments during Hangout Meet meetings. Document collaboration has never been simpler for your team.
5. Gmail Smart Reply
Machine learning meets predictive text with another great time-saver, especially when you’re on the move – Smart Reply! Minimize keyboarding and reply quickly to emails with this innovative feature. Suggested responses are customized to the content in the messages.
6. Calendar Rescheduling
Things change, meetings get moved, and people need to be informed quickly. Calendar has a new “propose a new time” option to support faster meeting rescheduling. An added message pop-up allows you to communicate the reason for a reschedule and out of office mode in calendar lets your team know when you’re not available to meet.
7. Quick-Access Panel
No need to leave the doc or project your working on in G Suite to quickly calendar an event, make notes, view other content or manage pressing tasks. Just access these other G Suite products from the quick-access side panel – now available in Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Calendar and Drawings.
8. Live Streaming
With large business gatherings, like big company meetings, all-hands assemblies and educational conferences, reaching a huge audience is essential. The new live streaming feature in Hangouts Meet is equal to the task, reaching up to 100,000 in-domain users. Versatility is key, allowing attendees to watch on the internet or from a mobile device.
9. Google Drive Beta
Unfortunately, not everyone you do business with has yet recognized the stellar value that G Suite provides. When they don’t have their own Google accounts, collaboration is hampered. But now, a Google Beta Drive gives these business associates the ability to collaborate with access to your selected Google Docs, Sheets and Slides files with pincode ID verification.
10. Box for G-Suite
Work productivity and collaboration will get a boost from Google’s Box for G Suite. G Suite’s content creation products now work seamlessly with Box.
Have you been using these new and expanded G Suite features? Have another to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below what makes your “best of” list for new G Suite features. And don’t forget, if you’re interested in learning more about any of these updates, or diving deeper into maximizing your use of G Suite with customized training, we’re here for you.
Musings from your neighborhood Change Manager
It’s never too late for a fresh start, yet no time of the year seems more appropriate to plan for renewal than the weeks leading up to the New Year. I’ve never been big on resolutions; it seems like the failure stats are stacked against that kind of method to bring about lasting change for most of us. What has made a difference for me is claiming a “word of the year.” Just one word for how I want to bring my best self forward at home, at work, and beyond.
Recently, I’ve been nerding out about what one word I would choose not only for myself, but what word I might propose for my team, or for my client projects as it relates to change. (This isn’t how you nerd out? Hey, I am a Change Manager – this is my bread and butter.)
To begin the selection process I start by allowing myself to just toss out any words that I feel could align well with 2019 goals and desired improvements. Your list might be three words or 30, but here’s a peek at mine:
Then comes the tough part﹣allowing yourself to just sit with the possibilities for a day or two without pressuring yourself into a decision. Seriously. Don’t force it.
If you allow yourself a bit of that precious space, your gut will likely just call out the answer for you. I kept coming back to DELIGHT for my team and GRATITUDE for my client change projects. So now what?
After claiming a word for the New Year, the idea is to get a little momentum behind helping that word to manifest itself:
- Create a visual reminder in your workspace
- Get an accountability partner (or three) who are “in” on the plan
- Take one concrete step this week to bring your selected word to life
For my clients in 2019 who are launching new technologies with their teams, I am going to focus on GRATITUDE:
- How are we going to do more to recognize our help desk/service desk teams?
- What can we do in 2019 to learn more about how our direct reports want to be recognized?
- How can we creatively show appreciation when gifts aren’t the answer (or in the budget)?
- Where can we invest our attention with select VIPs to build relationships and mutual appreciation before that next big project kicks off?
We’d love to hear how GRATITUDE is manifesting itself with your team in this season OR tell us about what one word might inspire your next initiative or project. Cheers!
Today’s workforce is mobile, and flexibility is key. Tools that support your employees when they’re traveling, telecommuting or simply being human – read forgetful or accident-prone – are essential to business success. That’s where Grab and Go with Chrome Enterprise comes in.
Sure, you have an IT team, but how productive are they (and your workers) when IT is helping an employee commission a replacement laptop? Requisitioning a loaner device and re-imaging the device for the user takes up valuable time. Meanwhile, your employee is likely sitting idly by, waiting for a replacement.
Grab and Go with Chrome Enterprise is a self-service solution that effectively addresses these issues. There’s no need to wait for IT or monopolize their valuable time with a process that your employees can take on easily. Laptop re-set or re-configuration is unnecessary. Instead, your workers can just grab a Chromebook and get right back to work.
Cloud-based data makes this process seamless, and Chrome Sync allows users to easily transfer passwords, bookmarks, extensions and history with no extended re-set process. All your workers need to do is sign in and everything they need is right there on the Grab and Go Chromebook. Problem solved.
How Grab and Go Helps Workers
Technology is wonderful . . . until it isn’t. The problem is, you’ve come to rely on access to work via your laptop. When it fails, things go left, quickly. Lost, broken, damaged and stolen laptops can bring productivity to a halt. Grab and Go helps mitigate these challenges.
Loaner chromebooks are also an asset to employees visiting remote office locations by reducing the downtime that typically occurs when employees lose access to their work laptop. And for those of you who still worry about Chromebook security, management, offline usability and other debunked myths, here are the facts.
Relying on Experienced Pros to Maximize the Benefits of Chrome Grab and Go
Agosto is one of only a handful of partners in North America working with Google for full service deployment of the Chrome Grab and Go Program. Our experienced and knowledgeable Google Premier Partner team will assist with everything you need to set up this essential program.
Setup – We’ll help you with the setup of the racks and devices needed, and other hardware necessities.
Deployment – We’re well-versed in maintenance and customization of the loaner management app.
Management – Our services include inventory management, oversight and reconciliation.
Support – When you have problems, we’re here to solve them.
Are you ready to move forward with Grab and Go with Chrome Enterprise? We’d love to help you. Reach out with any questions you may have.
With the emergence of new G Suite security features, regulations like GDPR, and other privacy concerns, many customers have refocused their 2018 security priorities on G Suite data protection.
Earlier this Summer, Agosto, in conjunction with Virtru, held a webinar to discuss the top G Suite security, compliance, and data privacy concerns for the coming year – and how powerful email protection can make it easier to securely share sensitive information in the cloud.
Here are some of the key trends and takeaways from this discussion, which were sourced from a survey recently conducted by Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) in partnership with Samsung Next, the Center for Democracy and Technology, and Virtru:
You Have a Lot of Data to Protect
One of the more surprising findings in EMA’s survey was how much corporate data requires protection. Respondents reported that 72% of enterprise data needs protection — either for regulatory (40%) or corporate confidentiality reasons (32%).
The Biggest Threat Comes from Inside
While hacks continue to make most of the headlines, it turns out the biggest threat comes from inside an organization.
When asked to identify the actual source of leaks or breaches at their organization, respondents indicated that external actors only accounted for 39% of the leaks or breaches, and that insiders were responsible for a staggering 61% of all actual data leaks. This represents a combination of accidental sharing, phishing/social engineering, and malicious sharing by insiders.
Further, respondents noted a very high degree of inappropriate data sharing by their employees. This finding highlights a huge area of opportunity for enterprises who wish to improve their security posture.
Data Is Most Commonly Leaked Via Email
Email is everywhere. Organizations create, store, and share some of their most valuable data assets through email messages and attachments because it’s the easiest method for collaboration in business environments. That’s why it’s the number 1 source of data leaks.
Complexity Kills: The Burden for IT Security
A combination of complexity for administrators and shortcomings in ease of use for end users mean that data protection solutions are less likely to be widely adopted.
Traditional solutions are too hard to use, both for the technology professionals who need to deploy and maintain them and for the business people who need to use them. In fact, it was discovered that complexity actually outpaces cost by more than 3x as a barrier to adoption for IT security personnel. Even if budget is readily available, legacy data protection solutions are clearly too cumbersome for overburdened teams.
Clearly, a new approach is required.
Best Practice Recommendations:
- Ensure you’re using the state of the art data protection approaches and test your defenses regularly, going beyond regulatory requirements to ensure corporate sensitive materials have appropriate protections.
- Train employees in data protection best practices. Set up automatic protections to ensure that sensitive information is secured before it’s shared.
- Develop mechanisms for auditing employee sharing by email to prevent careless and malicious insiders from facilitating data leaks.
- Make ease-of-use a key buying criteria when evaluating any user-facing security technology. Your security posture isn’t determined by the products you buy, it’s by the ones your employees are regularly using.
- Eliminate complexity by seeking data protection products that are easy to deploy and manage.
Get your copy of all the key takeaways from EMA’s survey here.
Interested in learning more about how G Suite and Virtru can help protect your data? Drop us a line.