Dick Smith has taken up Google Apps to aid communication and collaboration between its workers across Australia and New Zealand.
The electronics and IT retailer has over 4,500 staff members in 323 stores across the two countries. Its IT department was grappling with meeting the technology needs of its staff, particularly when it came to communication. Casual staff did not have corporate issued devices or email accounts, and permanent staff, in line with current bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trends, were introducing their personal devices into the corporate network.
"We have been looking for ways to improve collaboration because, until now, communication in stores have been a hierarchical one-way process through the manager," Dick Smith director of IT Linda Venables said in a blog post.
The company decided to use the cloud-based Google Apps for its simplicity, according to Venables. Since staff already used Google products such as Gmail in their personal lives, training time was minimised, she said.
Sharing and collaboration features in Google Apps were also beneficial to Dick Smith's disparate workforce, according to Venables.
Dick Smith is looking to using the Google products to build a sense of community between employees and the company, she said.
"We're looking forward to using Google forms to get staff feedback and comments via regular staff engagement surveys, and the integration of YouTube videos means that when our CEO has an important announcement, we can record this for all our staff to review at a time that suits them," Venables said. "This is a great way to overcome some of the logistical challenges of having a casual workforce working across different time zones."
Dick Smith will explore ways to extend this level of interaction to its suppliers and partners, including using Google Hangouts for meetings to reduce time and cost of travel.
Last year, media giant Fairfax also migrated to Google Apps.