This guest blog post is written by Derek Walklate, service delivery manager at HMV Retail. HMV Retail is a leading specialist retailer of music and entertainment, with a heritage stretching back nearly a hundred years that is synonymous with the development of popular music. In 2013, HMV Retail emerged from administration with a fresh outlook on entertainment retailing, especially when it comes to the technical environment to support that vision. As a result, in January 2015, HMV Retail worked with Ancoris to implement Google Apps across the business.
Going Google was a big change for us
Going Google was a big change for us, given we'd previously worked with Microsoft for many years. Our first step was simply to move to Google Mail and Google Drive, get the technology bedded in, and get our people used to working with Google Apps. But we always knew we wanted to do more.
We embraced Google technology very quickly
As it turns out, thanks in no small part to the support we had from Ancoris, everyone here embraced the new technology very quickly. By early 2016, we were ready to take the next step and start to use Google Apps to change how we work for the better.
At their suggestion, we brought Ancoris back in to run a Google transformation workshop. We piloted this in our Solihull office, where we have around 20 finance staff and a service desk team of half a dozen people. I was slightly sceptical myself as to how successful the workshop would be.
I was in for a massive surprise – but a very pleasant one. Halfway through the meeting, it became clear that everyone there had totally embraced the event and had very quickly seen seen how they could use Google Apps to make their work easier or faster. Not only had their body language changed, but they were really engaged and involved, and everyone was working hard.
Becoming more innovative and moving quickly
It didn't stop there, though: I went back to the Solihull office a few weeks later to discuss putting plans together on how to move forward with the suggestions made at the workshop – and found the team were well ahead of me. They'd already had those discussions and put together their own plans for how to make progress, both inside the business and with external partners. The workshop hadn't just given them a few specific pointers on how to use Google Apps to become more effective. It had changed the whole culture of the group to become more innovative: willing to challenge what they were currently doing and eager to adopt new elements of Google Apps that would let them become more effective.
In their case, the focus is on making contact between themselves and others much sleeker. For example, they used to ask for information from other parts of the business or external trading partners by email, have the information emailed back to them and use it to manually update spreadsheets. Now, they send out a Google Form, the person supplying the data fills in the form, and the spreadsheet is updated automatically, saving an enormous amount of work and time for both parties. In business terms, that means store staff can spend more time on the shop floor selling, and finance staff can spend more time on analysing data to support better business decisions or managing cash flow or suppliers.
Digital transformation workshop success
The next question for me was: could we repeat the success we'd had with the first workshop? The answer was a resounding yes: we ran a second workshop, with our HR and payroll department, and got the same result. Again, the team walked out of the transformation workshop enthusiastic about what they'd just heard, already able to see several ways in which they could improve their day-to-day work, and keen to go on looking for ways to use Google Apps to make improvements. Since then, word has spread and I've had numerous people coming to me saying, "We really want to do this. We've heard from other people how good it is." So the plan now is to roll the workshops out to the rest of the business.
It's true that the idea of a "transformation workshop" sounds a bit vague – until you actually sit in with the Ancoris people and see it being done and see what a positive impact it has. Our first workshops were covered by the service days included in our annual contract for Google Apps, but I'm now happy to pay for more because the benefits to the business are so good.
Working with our digital transformation specialists
If you're involved in the busy day to day and your teams have been working with a process a certain way for years, it can be hard to step back to imagine doing it in a totally different way.
Got an idea to transform your business and want help bringing it to life? We’re all ears. We design, build and manage customised mobile and cloud apps to meet your specific needs – either alongside your team or for you. Our early prowess in mastering APIs led to Google itself becoming a customer and us building their Exam Platform. So not only do we know our onions but you can trust us to deliver innovation and edge in spades.
If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you with your own digital transformation journey, why not take a look at some of our customer success stories or talk to our Digital Transformation Specialists.