Google Cloud Results
Unites 800 staff to collaborate over a single platform
• Enables employees from multiple timezones to collaborate in real-time using
• Integrates with third-party software and ERPs such as SAP
• Supports agile processes and information flow through seamless integration with existing workflows
“To support all of our employees we need secure, reliable technology that is available globally, easy to access, and supports different languages. It also needs to be compatible with a variety of hardware requirements while keeping administrative overhead and costs to a minimum. Google Workspace ticks all these boxes for us.” - Andreas Zeeh, CIO and CLO, RZB
In the last century, technology has not only transformed the way manufacturers source, supply, and build their products around the world; it has changed the way they work. In Germany, electrical engineering company Rudolf Zimmermann Bamberg (RZB) has spent the last 80 years leveraging technology to make possible its mission to “make the good even better, and the economic even more efficient.”
These high quality standards have through time defined the RZB way of working. It is precise, responsible, and solution-oriented. From incoming goods to production controls, from long-term tests to logistics and after-sales services, every step is strictly controlled, continuously optimized and, if the circumstances require, redefined.
Today, the family-owned company sells more than 200,000 electrical lighting products across almost every continent and aims to provide 360° Light Competence all around the world. To RZB, this means delivering new, intelligent lighting products made in Germany to a high standard, while operating a lean organizational structure to enable ongoing digitalization.
While most of RZB’s 800 employees are based in Germany, the firm has staff as far-flung as Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, and South Africa, working in a range of languages. It reaches its customers across a range of channels, including print and digital product catalogues, online websites, and apps. Critically, RZB also relies on digital tools to collaborate with its partners on a daily basis. So as the company continues to scale internationally, it identified the need for a set of tools capable of supporting its thorough, precise, and solution-oriented ways of working. That’s when, the company decided, it was time to search for a unified digital platform to better manage its collaboration and connectivity efforts around the world.
Faced with the need for a system that would support both internal video conferencing and real-time file sharing and editing with its customers, in 2019 RZB decided Google Workspace was the right fit. “To support all of our employees we need secure, reliable technology that is available globally, easy to access, and supports different languages. It also needs to be compatible with a variety of hardware requirements while keeping administrative overhead and costs to a minimum. Google Workspace ticks all these boxes for us,” says Andreas Zeeh, CIO and CLO of RZB, of the choice.
Uniting a global workforce with easy-to-use, cloud-based tools
“Thanks to the image and sound quality as well as the ability to share your screen, Google Meet is a game changer compared to our earlier video conferencing capabilities.” - Stephan Heller, IT director and project manager, RZB
One key motivation for RZB choosing Google Workspace is its video conferencing functionality. The platform used previously by the company lacked a robust mobile interface for live video chat, something that the sales team were keen to implement, as well as an integrated calendar function.
“Even pre-COVID there was an ever increasing demand for video conferencing software,” says Andreas Zeeh, RZB’s IT director. “Now, it is incredibly easy to invite people to a meeting and to find a date for all participants. The calendar function really helps by letting you easily see when your colleagues are busy. All the functions can be learned quickly and intuitively. It's really fun.”
Connectivity between Google Meet, Google Calendar, and Google Drive tools now makes it possible for all RZB personnel to communicate effortlessly with colleagues in any region and on any device. Quick, easy appointments can be made across time zones using shared scheduling via Google Calendar, while Google Chat’s group messaging functionality enables quick clarification of internal queries.
“Thanks to the image and sound quality as well as the ability to share your screen, Google Meet is a game changer compared to our earlier video conferencing capabilities,” says Stephan Heller, RZB’s project manager. “So are Google Calendar and Google Sites. These tools are what also helped us cope with COVID-19 as well as we did, by enabling us to stay in touch with all of our stakeholders, and to share knowledge and resources seamlessly across the company. For the first time, we can work effortlessly with our global teams and, ultimately, make decisions faster.”
Maintaining ERP integrations post-migration
One of the key criteria for RZB in choosing a new collaboration platform was the need for it to be compatible with its existing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, a SAP software used for managing business processes across the organization. “It was very important to us not to break certain workflows when integrating our SAP system with new tools that can facilitate information flow such as Google Sheets, our new spreadsheet application,” says Mr Heller.
To ensure a smooth migration to Google Workspace, RZB worked closely with Google partner Wabion. Wabion not only helped the company migrate from three different mailbox systems to Gmail, but also provided change management support throughout the migration. Critically, Wabion ensured RZB was able to secure the right ERP integrations by introducing the company to Nagarro, a digital product engineering consultancy based in Frankfurt. Nagarro helped RZB to build a number of proof-of-concepts, starting with the adaptation of custom ERP reports to Google Sheets. This helped to ensure that all workflows between the ERP system and Google Sheets continued to function, before embarking on a second proof of concept: the migration of the RZB IT department to Google Workspace.
After that, the company migrated all mailboxes company-wide to Gmail, a process which took around four months. This involved moving individual inboxes to Gmail and then training key users and employees on the new system. To ensure all employees were fully onboarded, RZB created group conversations on Google Chat, where employees could exchange ideas and tips for using Google Workspace. The company also used Google Sites to build internal web spaces to empower the new ways of working that these tools enable.
“The migration to Google Workspace was performed quickly and effectively by Wabion,” says Zeeh. “No matter how much experience our staff had with Workspace, they were able to get up to speed quickly, as well as receive additional support through online training courses via Google Meet.”
Building the foundations of global enterprise collaboration
“Only simple, fast communication can enable market-driven innovations. From our perspective, Google provides optimal support to us so we can bring these innovations to our customers.” - Andreas Zeeh, CIO and CLO, RZB
As it moves forward with its technology migration, RZB is now focused on the next step it wants to take with Google: setting up a global virtual telephone system to further improve internal and external communication across RZB around the world.
“The future is now, and only simple, fast communication can enable market-driven innovations,” says Zeeh. “Innovation is our most important driver. For us, that means more than just new products. It means new customers, partners, and new channels across the entire supply chain. We need constant innovation to ensure our independence and future security, and from our perspective, Google Cloud provides optimal support to us so we can bring these innovations to our customers.”
*Google Workspace was formerly known as G Suite prior to Oct. 6, 2020.