managing data

Questrade saw in Google Workspace solutions the ability to seamlessly align the tools with their goals.


Investment Transactions and Management
Google Workspace

Questrade, a fast-growing independent online brokerage and wealth management firm with more than 500 employees helps Canadian and American investors quickly and easily perform financial transactions using their robust and user-friendly mobile and web-based stock trading apps. Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Toronto, Ontario with $8+ billion in assets under their management, the company offers their customers low fee online trading solutions as an alternative to using big bank-owned brokerages.

What Motivated Questrade to Look at Google Workspace

With a Google solution, the company saw the potential for technology advancement and integration. They liked Google’s approach toward enterprise and hybrid cloud solutions, seeing an opportunity to make an investment in AI. They also believed that the Google suite of tools dovetailed their commitment to open source, portable solutions — and well-priced, engineering-friendly software with excellent security protocols.

Questrade envisioned transforming how they think about work, increasing collaboration throughout the organization — and creating opportunities to use the tools to find efficient and creative solutions to address each challenge.

Consistent with the company’s mission and core values — innovation, curiosity, a team orientation, agility and being Questrade-centric — they saw in Google Workspace solutions the ability to seamlessly align the tools with their goals. Adopting Google workspace would also increase collaboration organization-wide and provide stronger transparency. Questrade feared that not adopting Google Workspace might result in a lag of technological advancement for the company, along with insufficient innovation capabilities to truly support their Questrade products. The company feels that as they continue exploring AI solutions, Google Workspace will play an important role in this technology.

Enter Onix. In October 2018, Google contacted Onix to discuss the business potential with Questrade. Interested in making the switch from their Microsoft Office on-prem platform after seeing the Google Workspace tools, the company wanted to know what would be involved during a migration to Google Workspace. Specifically, Questrade wanted to learn what analysis would be necessary to prepare for conversion, manage the process — and foster adoption of the new toolset.

  • Preparation. What analysis is needed, such as for macros and mailing lists?
  • Conversion. What will the conversion process look like?
  • Adoption. How do we drive the successful adoption of a large change such as this?

During two on site “discovery” sessions and a sales presentation, Onix explained the process to Questrade, including the steps, methodology — and considerations for conducting a successful migration. Questrade believed that they could handle much of the migration work, leading to scoping sessions with Onix that resulted in much give and take regarding what would be included in the migration, and when in the process work should happen.

Though there were two other competing partners, Questrade ultimately selected Onix based on our methodology, solid client support experience — and the availability of resources local to Toronto.

What Planning Was Done — and For What Scope?

The first engagement with Questrade began in June 2019 with a six-month Workspace deployment of 740 mailboxes. This period included the planning phase from July through September 2019 with Core IT, the project team and around 20 IT people. On August 12, extensive testing began, then the EA phase launched on October 7 with approximately 60 employees. Global Go Live (GGL) occurred on December 9 with around 600 team members and roughly 60 shared mailboxes. The project kicked off officially on June 26, 2019.

The Questrade team enjoyed strong sponsorship, ensuring that extensive technical testing was completed with executive sign off before adding their Early Adopter and Google Guide community to the platform. This group consisted of 5-10 percent of their business units across the organization at their three main locations; Toronto, Armenia and Brazil.

It’s Kickoff Time!

The Google Guide/ Champion program was incredibly well executed with an onsite kickoff at Google’s Toronto HQ where Solange Jacob — Onix Collaboration Services Manager — presented in person to help provide context about the Guide program based upon examples from other client implementations. SWAG and a handwritten thank you note from the sponsor were also provided so that Champions could wear and display them on GGL day. The Google Guides were informed of the upcoming required training they would take, and also participated in collaborative team-building exercises reinforcing the information they needed to know — and ensuring that they understood the full support model for GGL day.

The entire organization was kept informed about the deployment and followed guidance provided by Onix regarding timing, messaging and audiences for specific deployment communications. Likewise, Questrade ensured that their entire organization had received toolset training consistent with the Onix best practice of providing training before the GGL days — and again the week of the GGL event. Core IT received training in four courses through live webinar and recorded deliveries for any of the approximately 20 participants not able to attend the live session. The courses were: 100: Basic Gmail & Contacts, 101: Basic Calendar & Keep, 200: Basic Google Drive — and 201: Shared Drive.

Early Adopters participated in the ten training sessions listed below, offered on-site and in person — and also by live webinar.

  • Questrade is Going Google100 Basic Gmail & Contacts
  • 101 Basic Calendar & Keep
  • 160 Google Hangouts Meet and Chat
  • 200 Basic Google Drive
  • 201 Shared Drive
  • 204 Google Slides
  • 205 Google Sheets
  • 230 Google Sites
  • 225 Introduction to Advanced Sheets
  • Collaborative Inbox Operation

In December 2019, everyone else in the GGL population participated in 42 training courses including all those listed above as well as “White Glove” sessions targeted to Executives and their Executive Assistant population. “Ask the Expert” sessions were also provided. Best practices training was also delivered both on site and in a live webinar format. In August, the entire organization was given access to a site titled Apps Academy, a resource providing multiple training Workspace-specific videos, snippets, tips and tricks — and guides and documentation including topics about cybersecurity, mobile instructions and support information.

The GGL was wildly successful. Questrade is one of a handful of clients that remained steadfast with regard to their planned target GGL dates. No dates were shifted; all milestones were met as discussed and agreed upon six months earlier in June 2019. Questrade has a celebratory culture, so on GGL day, participants were provided with a note from organization leadership as well as congratulatory cupcakes and a fun atmosphere. The Google Guides were easily recognizable so they could be located by their peers for transition support. An Onix and Questrade support room was also set up to assist with any issues arising during the first week. However just three days into GGL week, the jointly supported room was no longer needed, so it was transitioned to provide only Questrade post go live support.

“We wanted to create a sense of urgency and positively disrupt the business while performing a seamless implementation,” says Solange Jacob, Onix Cloud Services Manager. “Change management requires you to think beyond technology and generate excitement about creating better work. When we think about making decisions, we must understand what the impact is to the employee experience.”

After this engagement, in 2020 Questrade acquired a company of approximately 335 persons. They proceeded to bring them into the Questrade domain, allowing Onix to work with them on an additional Workspace deployment, making this user deployment now more than 1000 users. Below are key project dates.

Milestone Dates by Phase: Project Plan

    • 12/01/2020: Pioneers/Early Adopters
      • During this phase, approximately 40 users were migrated to and successfully worked in the Questrade Google Workspace environment.
    • 01/18/2021: The remaining 295 users were successfully migrated.

Training Classes and Format: Training Plan

    • Training classes were held using GoToWebinar:
      • 11 classes were delivered to and were well received by the Pioneers group.
      • The Global Go Live group received 16 training sessions which benefitted from great participation and collaboration.

Communications Plan:

  • Questrade used the previous project communications, creating a few ad-hoc messages when needed.
  • They leveraged the success of the previous project to re-engage the Google Guides and Sponsors — and enlist their help supporting the newly-onboarded users.

Post-Project Results and Google Workspace ROI

After completing the migration, Onix delivered transformation labs to the Questrade user population to help them begin thinking about how they can improve the way they work so they can start to reimagine and reinvent many of their work processes and workflows. The labs were delivered onsite before the COVID-19 pandemic, but unfortunately had to be discontinued after the pandemic began. With this second Workspace deployment completed in 2021, we are looking forward to resuming the labs with Questrade once they are ready.

Questrade adoption metrics over time can be seen below. The company is now actively using Drive collaboration tools including Sheets, Docs and Slides.

What Do the Metrics Look Like?

Since their adoption in 2019, Questrade has continued to grow their use and experience with Workspace tools. During the past six months, sharing, collaboration and creation of files has steadily increased.

LaserFiche; A Future Questrade Project?

With Questrade’s overall satisfaction of the work Onix has delivered, there is potentially an additional scope of work; the location and move of approximately 1.4 TB of data from Laserfiche to Google Drive. (This portion of the project was placed on hold until Questrade opts to re-engage and complete it.)

The move of the data was secondary to the need for replacing the workflow solution. There are approximately 30 workflows Questrade wishes to replace, however nothing currently on the market seems to fit their needs. Another dimension of concern is that the Laserfiche workflows involve financial documents. So instead, Questrade was adding internal workflows not intended to handle sensitive data. In their quest for a software solution that would address their financial considerations, the company researched the products below.

  • Kissflow. This was not liked, however Questrade did not provide a reason.
  • Forms Workflow Plus. Questrade wanted to continue evaluating this solution, however Onix had no recommendation for or against this product since we have not evaluated it.
  • Opprove. This solution was acceptable to Questrade, however it is not a complete solution for their scope.
  • Google Forms. There was insufficient functionality without a significant amount of required customization.
  • Pipefy. Questrade really liked this software, however it does not integrate with Google Workspace.

Request a Cloud Consultation