Customer Story

RSPCA: Rescuing animals with the help of Google Workspace

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The RSPCA uses Google Workspace to help reduce the barriers to clear communication and collaboration as it works to improve the lives of animals across England and Wales.

Google Cloud Results

29,000 animals rehomed with help from Google Drive

• Helps place animals into new forever homes, despite social distancing measures, with digital rehoming trials using Google Meet
• Lowers hardware costs with Chrome and mobile devices
• Removes technological barriers for workers and empowers them to find their own solutions
• Assists teams across England and Wales to collaborate to get the right help for animals in need

In 1824, at Old Slaughter’s Coffee House in London, Reverend Arthur Broome convened a meeting of leading politicians, clergymen and lawyers, including anti-slavery campaigner, William Wilberforce. The attendees became the founding members of what would become the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), the first animal welfare charity in the world.

Nearly 200 years later, the RSPCA is still going strong. Today, the charity employs a staff of more than 1,500 people, including 273 inspectors and 90 animal rescue officers to investigate more than 140,000 incidents every year. This continued dedication and hands-on approach is what keeps the RSPCA in the public eye, according to Alan Moynihan, Head of IT Customer Solutions at the charity. “We’re a proactive animal rescue team working across England and Wales,” says Moynihan. “We have the experience and expertise to help animals in distress in all sorts of situations on a daily basis.”

Supporting the work of animal welfare

“We wanted a system that provided effective collaboration and communication tools without geographical boundaries. It also had to be economic, intuitive, secure and future-proof, everything our existing system wasn’t. Google Workspace met those requirements.” -- Alan Moynihan, Head of IT Customer Solutions, RSPCA

While the frontline workers at the RSPCA have the most direct impact, roles such as Moynihan’s are no less important for the overall running of the organization. “Our job in IT is to support our frontline workers so they can do the best job they can and not have to worry about the technology,” he says. “Our strategic mantra is ‘Together for animal welfare.’ Everyone in every department is all working towards that same goal.”

Since 2012, the RSPCA has been using Google Workspace as its primary productivity platform. “We wanted a system that provided effective collaboration and communication tools without geographical boundaries. It also had to be economic, intuitive, secure and future-proof, everything our existing system wasn’t. Google Workspace met those requirements,” says Moynihan. The choice of Google Workspace was also driven by its cost-effectiveness. As a charity that relies on public funds, the RSPCA has to ensure that it spends its donors’ money wisely.

Building a platform for anywhere, anytime collaboration

“We used to use emails, paper forms and PDFs for everything from basic forms to recruitment approvals. Many of these processes have moved to Google Forms. Everything is accessible anytime, anywhere; it’s indispensable to how we work.” -- Alan Moynihan, Head of IT Customer Solutions, RSPCA

In 2012, when the RSPCA first migrated from an on-premises to a cloud-based solution, Google Cloud Partner CTS helped the organization optimize its new productivity platform, providing technical expertise and training.

The RSPCA rolled out the new solution in three stages - nicknamed “Ready”, “Steady” and “Go” - to minimize disruption and allow for course corrections during the adoption phase. The Ready stage was for the IT team rollout, the Steady stage was for a select group of superusers who were ready to help their colleagues during the third phase, and Go was for when Google Workspace was rolled out to the rest of the organization.

With Google Docs, Google Slides and Google Sheets, field and office teams can benefit from the power of anywhere, anytime collaboration. “They can access the files they need wherever they are with Google Drive, instead of having to look through unwieldy email threads. The mantra we had was ‘Share, don’t send!’ during the rollout,” says Moynihan.

Google Forms has proven itself vital over the years as a way of quickly and cleanly gathering data from all over the organization. The RSPCA doesn’t have a huge team of developers on staff, but easy to install add-ons within Google Workspace allow the IT team to quickly turn Google Forms into structured data for use with other tools. “We used to use emails, paper forms and PDFs for everything from basic forms to recruitment approvals. Many of these processes have moved to Google Forms. Everything is accessible anytime, anywhere; it’s indispensable to how we work,” says Moynihan.

The RSPCA also invested in Chromeboxes and Chromebooks for its staff to reduce hardware costs and minimize software downloads. Meanwhile, the use of Android Enterprise and iOS mobile devices means that the charity’s team of rescuers and animal welfare officers can instantly and securely access the files they need in the field.

Adapting to adversity

Over the years, CTS and the RSPCA have developed their partnership, meeting every month to make sure that the organization is making the best use of all the latest Google Cloud tools and solutions to optimize all its processes. "CTS and RSPCA have forged a strong partnership in the nine years we have been working together", says Charlie Rozentals, Head of Google Workspace Delivery. "From the initial migration using our proprietary CloudM software, through to ongoing customer success as part of our Managed Service program, we've been able to empower collaboration-led culture at the RSPCA with Google Workspace at its heart."

That constant focus on improvement and innovation, became especially important in 2020 when the United Kingdom went into a series of lockdowns due to COVID-19. With Google Workspace, the RSPCA could continue its vital work during even the most severe restrictions.

Google Meet became a crucial component over the lockdown period, allowing team members to connect with each other and work virtually more easily than ever before. The RSPCA has even trialled digital rehoming initiatives, which use video conferencing via Google Meet to virtually visit the new homes of animals that have been rescued. The RSPCA rehomed more than 29,000 animals in 2020 and many of these animals found their forever homes thanks to these new digital protocols.

Virtual meetings also benefited from new features such as breakout rooms and the ability to ‘raise a hand,’ helping to keep workers connected. In 2020, more than 500 meetings took place every day over Google Meet. This accounts for tens of thousands of minutes worth of contact time and by making travel to meetings unnecessary, it gave RSPCA staff more time to focus on their core work. “Since COVID began, Google Meet has been absolutely vital for us,” says Moynihan. “It has given us the ability to be flexible, agile, and consistently improve the way we are working.”

Away from the frontline, the organization has been able to continue recruiting staff and volunteers, with onboarding and induction sessions for homeworkers/hybrid workers supported by Google Meet. This has proven so effective that the practice continues despite lockdown having ended. This new method of recruitment is also helping the RSPCA attract a more diverse workforce.

The use of inexpensive Chrome devices has not only reduced hardware costs but also made workplace onboarding simpler and faster. Previously, the IT department would have to build and configure new laptops, taking several hours for each new employee. Today, new Chromebook users are simply issued an enrolled Chrome device, sign in to Google Workspace and are up and running within minutes.

Transforming communication and collaboration for a higher good

“The collaboration with Google Workspace has been seamless. It really does lower those barriers to working together wherever you are and whatever device you’re using.” -- Alan Moynihan, Head of IT Customer Solutions, RSPCA

With Google Workspace, the RSPCA has built a powerful productivity platform that has transformed communication and simplified collaboration across the organization. “The collaboration with Google Workspace has been seamless,” says Moynihan. “It really does lower those barriers to working together wherever you are and whatever device you’re using.”

While the tangible savings in time and costs are hugely important, the benefits of Google Workspace for Moynihan’s team are evidenced as well. “With Google Workspace, we can be enablers rather than a bottleneck,” he says. “We say ‘yes’ more and focus on helping teams with solutions and innovation. Rather than fixing problems, we’re helping departments across the organization to come up with their own solutions.”

And the improvements haven’t stopped. The organization is constantly striving to better itself in new ways with new tools to speed up onboarding, training and animal rehoming. To get rescued animals out of centers and into homes faster, Moynihan and his team are currently trialling a replacement of the existing physical adoption form with an online version using Google Forms. With Google Workspace at its heart, the RSPCA is more ready than ever to take on new challenges and continue its work of rescuing, rehabilitating, and rehoming or releasing hundreds of thousands of animals every year.

“We might be nearly 200 years old, but we are a modern workforce,” says Moynihan. “As a welfare organization, we pride ourselves on being an inclusive, dynamic, innovative place to work and Google Workspace is a key part of that.”

*Google Workspace was formerly known as G Suite prior to Oct. 6, 2020.

Google Cloud Premier Partner

About CTS

One of the largest dedicated Google Workspace partners in Europe, CTS has helped more than 50 million users migrate to the cloud over the last 10 years.