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Douglas Property Maintenance moves to centralised and mobile friendly data storage with Google Apps for Business

Douglas Property Maintenance perform and manage property and building maintenance projects for many large companies, with a primary focus in the education sector where jobs often run across multiple sites.
The majority of staff are mobile and need access to various types of project data while on site whilst keeping in touch with the head office.

What they wanted to do
Douglas Property Maintenance needed a mobile friendly system to manage projects, including emails and data storage, accessible by multiple users simultaneously
 
“our onsite guys love it!”
Michelle, Administration.
 
What they did
With the help of Myrtec they implemented Google Apps for Business giving them the seamless integration features of Gmail and Google Drive and also meeting their security and compliance requirements with Google Vault.
 
What they accomplished
Completely removed the need for a local data system - all company data is stored in the cloud. Staff can work completely remotely whilst still maintaining control and easily managing their individual projects - which freed up a lot of wasted travel time and associated costs.
 
“We’re very happy with the results. Management of our documentation is much easier now” - Michelle, Administration.

Challenges

Douglas Property Maintenance needed a solution to manage a central projects email account as well as inpidual email accounts. Additionally, they had a large and in-depth data repository containing various documents related to each inpidual project - many current and on-going. They also needed this solution to be easily accessed and managed by staff who were working remotely - often with just a tablet or mobile phone.

Staff were regularly out of the office for days at a time so any solution implemented needed to allow for the reliance on access to the digital data, both in emails/calendars as well as their company data stores so workers would have access to everything they needed for their roles without needing to return to the office - which was often a long distance from their work sites.

Further to this, they needed a solution that had cross platform support (as some users had Apple devices and some with Android devices) but ultimately functioned in the same way to reduce training overhead. While onsite, staff often were required to view quotes or building/site plans and often these needed to be displayed to the client.

 

Solution

Douglas Property Maintenance engaged with a Google Apps Partner, Myrtec to come up with a cost effective solution that could be implemented to cover their email and data requirements while still being easily accessible by mobile and remote workers.

The solution that was developed involved Gmail, Google Drive for email and storage and Google Vault used for data retention. A central projects email account was setup with inpidual staff aliases attached. This allowed staff to get inpidual clients to email the alias of the staff member the work pertained to which was easily viewable and manageable by the admin staff

member who managed the account via Outlook with Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook.

The admin staff member could then sort and file the incoming projects emails based off this alias and could save any relevant documentation in Google Drive which was accessible by the staff members onsite, in real time.

This meant that the onsite staff could view any emails related to just their projects easily, and via the Google Drive app for Apple and Android they could easily access any documents they needed that had been received, by email or otherwise.

The addition of Google Vault ensured that all in and outbound correspondence was retained for administrative and legal purposes and could be accessed at any time. This, along with the nature of Gmail and Google Drive, meant that all key company data was stored and accessible in real time and by multiple users on different platforms across different geographical locations with speed, ease and reliability.

Staff members also had inpidual email accounts created for normal correspondence which meant their privacy/confidentiality requirements were maintained, both internally and client-facing.

All of this was shared with admin staff who could manage calendars, emails and data storage for all users from one central point - and these changes were reflected immediately in staff calendars/emails/data applications on their mobile devices.

 

Capabilities

One of the key requirements of this project, and one of the key advantages of Google Apps for Business, was the ease of use when accessing emails, calendars and Google Drive files from a tablet device. This was especially noticed after implementation when staff were able to show other contractors, on site, documents/plans/etc in real time directly from their tablet without having to use hard-copy plans and/or return to the office.

This, added with the centralised email management, gave Douglas Property Maintenance a fully integrated email and document management system which met their needs without having to implement a large and costly proprietary system - which may not have had the mobility capabilities that is native with Google Apps products.

The solution implemented for Douglas Property Maintenance completely replaced their onsite backup requirements and is a system that is very scalable. This allows them to focus on generating more work for their business without the associated overheads such as hardware and infrastructure requirements.

It also greatly improves worker productivity because they can work 100% remotely without needing to return to the office - allowing them to travel from directly site to site as required for their maintenance projects.