Workplace Collaboration

Now, thanks to shared calendars, employees at headquarters don’t have to contact the receptionist to reserve a conference room! In short, it’s just a “more efficient, quicker, easier way to operate."

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PROJECT SCOPE

INDUSTRY
Education
EMPLOYEES
600
SERVICES PROVIDED
G Suite

Since 1992, The College Network® and its partner universities have provided accessible educational programs for individuals seeking degrees or professional certificates, entirely through distance learning. Programs are available from leading universities for associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees as well as professional certificates. Areas of study include a variety of disciplines including healthcare, nursing, business, criminal justice, fire science, human resources, project management, marketing, lean six sigma, legal studies and more.

Ryan Sallee, CIO of The College Network, has been with the organization since 2000. Together with his team of three employees, he is responsible for all technology initiatives, including mobile phones, infrastructure, and customer-facing technology. The College Network works with a variety of technology vendors to meet its needs. With several hundred employees, the organization is headquartered in Indianapolis, maintains an office in Las Vegas, and also has team members who work from their homes across the United States.

Before making the move to G Suite, The College Network was using webmail; nothing was centralized. When it was time to upgrade, Sallee looked at Linux email servers, Microsoft Exchange, and other hosted services for web hosting for his email users. He felt there was,“no good solution." He wanted to look into cloud computing options, and had been using Gmail personally, “since it had been around." G Suite did everything he wanted it to do — for a fraction of the cost of Exchange.

When moving their users to G Suite, the IT team first moved Outlook clients, “and they didn’t even notice." The project was completed in phases, since the IT department was confident they could grow with G Suite,  introducing new functionality over time.

The College Network’s IT department has changed a great deal since deploying G Suite, and it’s been change for the better. The IT team wanted to be able to focus on — and respond to — business problems, not continuing their “fixing and maintaining role." They were tired of monitoring networks, servers, and databases. It’s not what the team members wanted to do, or what was good for the business.

Going Google was first “test” down the path of moving applications to the cloud. At its peak, the IT department had 12 people to handle application development, networking, databases, and more. Cloud computing has allowed them to change not only the size of the IT team but also its role within The College Network. Sallee is pleased to report that today, “It’s a different role; we are business-facing and not support-facing. We help in addressing issues that improve our business.”

The College Network is now using Chrome as its browser instead of Internet Explorer; employees are pleased with how well it runs. During the deployment of G Suite, two or three power users were identified within each department, about 25 users total, and a “train the trainer” approach was used to bring everyone on board.

When asked what the biggest or best change has been since switching to G Suite, Sallee reveals that sometimes the smallest things can make the biggest difference. He and the rest of the employees can’t imagine not having shared calendars and documents or Hangouts. Human Resources frequently conducts interviews via Hangout. Now, thanks to shared calendars, employees at headquarters don’t have to contact the receptionist to reserve a conference room. In short, it’s just a “more efficient, quicker, easier way to operate."

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