Empowering Your Largest and Most Influential Workforce

Michael Wheeler-Wyatt, Head of Google Chrome Enterprise EMEA, led a workshop at the CIO Inspired conference in London. Discussing the importance of empowering frontline workers, Michael believes that cloud-native solutions such as Chrome Enterprise can unlock a workforce’s potential and provide great collaboration, engagement, process efficiencies and insights for better decision making.

Google’s mission is to ‘organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’, which Michael states is more relevant than ever with the huge amount of data in the world. “Technology is changing quickly because we are consuming technology in different ways,” he says. “We expect to be able to work anywhere; to access any application, anywhere in the world.”

Cloud technology has transformed employee preferences and behaviours, with workers now expecting instant access to information wherever they are. By 2020, 83% of enterprise workloads are expected to be in the cloud and benefit from the increased security, speed, convenience, collaboration and fluidity.This is the age of the cloud worker - Google Enterprise

In a competitive marketplace, positive customer experience is key. “The reason that Amazon is so successful is their customer experience is absolutely stellar,” Michael explains, highlighting research that shows customers who have the best experiences spend 140% more. With 89% of companies expecting to compete primarily on the basis of customer experience, Google believes that empowering frontline workers is vital. “The frontline workers are the workers promoting your customer experience,” Michael says. “They are the real window to your customers.”

Google describes frontline workers as the backbone of a company, but Michael says these employees are not benefiting from new technology. “Frontline workers are being left behind,” he explains. “When you look at giving workers new devices and new technology, in the marketplace globally today, frontline workers are not being given new kit.”

And they are being left behind by technology - Google Enterprise

“Getting the right technology and the right devices in front of this frontline worker community is really important,” Michael explains. “If you’re not giving frontline workers the right tools, it means they’re not engaged with your customers. If they’re less motivated because they’ve got a bad kit and they’re not accessing the things they want to access, that’s going to affect your bottom line. It’s going to make you look bad in front of your customers.” This frontline disengagement comes with a high price, with disengaged employees costing the US economy between $483-605 billion in lost productivity every year.

Frontline disengagement has a high price - Google Enterprise

Google believes Chrome is the way to unlock the potential of a frontline workforce, creating a better experience for employees and customers. Chrome Enterprise gives frontline workers access to the information they need on a fast, familiar interface across versatile devices, where updates happen automatically and downtime is significantly reduced.

Michael refers to an article in The Metro that highlighted the things most complained about by office workers, including slow computers, IT issues, computers crashing and printers jamming. “If we could solve all of this, we would have a much more productive workforce,” Michael says. Workers want undisrupted access to technology, with 78% of people saying that fixing issues without losing productivity is the most critical work device attribute. “If our mobile phone can be on and working all the time, why isn’t the rest of our technology on all the time?” Michael asks. “How are these problems affecting your workforce, and more importantly, your frontline?”

Chromebooks have proven to be extremely successful in education because they are shareable devices, cost-effective and extremely secure. “We’re now number one by a huge majority in education globally,” Michael says. “There are more Chromebooks in education than any other device out there.” It was this success in the schools that inspired Google to move into enterprise, with the aim to replicate the benefits seen by pupils and teachers. Although still seen as the ‘new kid on the block’ when compared to iOS and Windows, the popularity of Chrome OS is rapidly increasing. In EMEA more Chromebook and Chrome Enterprise licenses were sold in Q1 of 2019 than in the whole of 2018 – “that’s how fast it’s growing,” Michael says.

Frontline workers rely on speed and collaboration to do their jobs, utilising a wealth of knowledge to provide routine and essential services. Businesses using Chrome Enterprise are enjoying increased productivity, as fast boot time and automatic background updates are giving back valuable time to employees. “Looking at frontline workers specifically, you’re giving them the tools to work really quickly without any downtime,” Michael explains.

Security is extremely important to Google. There are multiple layers of security built into Chrome through its hardware, firmware, operating system, browser and applications. This increased security also contributes to a lower cost of ownership, with Chromebooks benefiting from a total annual saving of $482 per device. “There’s no anti-virus, they’re really easy to update – all of those things in a Windows world, for example, have a cost attached to them,” Michael explains. “You have to buy extra kit, extra servers or extra licenses. With Chrome, the whole thing is built in. The Chrome Enterprise license enables everything you need to manage a secure fleet in an enterprise.”

Water and energy management company Veolia made the decision to work completely in the cloud. This empowered 170,000 desk and field workers across five continents. Previously relying on 250 different productivity tools, Veolia launched SATAWAD (‘secure, anytime, anywhere, any device’) with Chromebooks and G Suite. The move resulted in improved teamwork through sharing and co-editing, creating a connected workforce that collaborates across borders. “The way they interact across different time zones and different geographies is amazing,”. Michael says, noting that Veolia employees now hold 80,000 video Hangouts per month.

“Our workforce has become truly connected,” says Herve Dumas, Group Chief Technology Director at Veolia. “Our employees increasingly expect to work with their colleagues all over the world, not just the ones a few desks away.” Further benefits noted by Veolia include increased security, virus protection, safe browsing capabilities and drastically reduced time spent on IT management.

Google strongly believes in the benefit of empowering frontline workers with cloud-native, secure-by-design products. Ending his workshop with the announcement that this is ‘the age of the cloud’, Michael Wheeler-Wyatt poses the question: “Are your devices ready for the transition?”

Check out Google Chrome Enterprise here.

Learn more about CIO Inspired Conferences here.

Michael Wyatt-Wheeler

Click here to watch Michael’s full Masterclass Presentation at the UK & Ireland CIO Conference.