Increases number of video conference-enabled rooms from 10–12 to 200
• Improves internal perception of skills and service delivery of IT team
• Gains ability to collaborate in real time across multiple countries
• Helps enable workplace flexibility across the organization
A proud New Zealand success story, Xero is a beautiful, easy-to-use platform for small businesses and their advisors around the world. Founded in 2006, the company today has over 3,000 staff based in 20 cities around the globe.
Before Google Workspace, Xero ran traditional workplace software before moving to a cloud-based version of the same product. However, as it expanded, it began investigating products that would meet its longer-term needs.
Garrett Cox, Client Support Team Lead, Xero says, “As our business grew, we looked to deploy a technology stack that would meet our requirements.
“This meant finding software that allowed our people to collaborate and be productive across all the regions we were operating in.
“Our goal has always been to provide technology that just works. We’ve got stuff to do, so we want our technology to enable us, not get in the way.”
Alignment between Google and Xero
Xero began transitioning its workforce across to Google Workspace and saw adoption accelerate organically as people embraced its collaboration features. “Teams at Xero love the ease of use of Google Workspace and how seamlessly all the applications work—for example, how Docs enables multiple people to jump in and out of documents at the same time to edit and update,” says Dan Bowden, Client Support Team Lead, Xero.
“With all staff provided with a Google account, the inclusion of useful apps such as Drive and the cross-functionality of all its apps has meant that for many of our staff, Google Workspace can be a one-stop shop for their business needs.”
Xero founder, Rod Drury, says, "Employees found it so liberating to move their work from ‘my own laptop’ into the secure Google Cloud. Everyone just feels freer because they can work wherever they want, on any device, and not worry about losing documents."
Easy to pick up the skills
The ease of use and intuitive nature of Google Workspace means regular users can easily pick up the skills needed to use the apps effectively. “We’re technology people and Google Workspace makes sense to us, but even somebody who comes across from using another workplace product can become an expert in Google Workspace in a short time without any training,” says Bowden.
A new video conferencing system
“Use of Google Meet hardware is through the roof. Our workers are embracing the ability to walk into a room, connect quickly and easily to a meeting, and enjoy responsive, professional support. We spend less time supporting these 200 meeting rooms than the 10 or 12 we had with our previous video conferencing equipment.” —Dan Bowden, Client Support Team Lead, Xero
As Xero grew, the team knew they needed to find a new video conferencing system. The business had 10 or 12 units operating globally—one or two per office—that required significant investment to keep running.
Xero staff who booked rooms for video meetings had to work with third-party managed conference bridges on which it was difficult to share content and collaborate. “We were experiencing inefficiencies such as paying to keep third-party support team members on hand during global meetings involving multiple participants—to ensure they could fix issues that arose during these calls,” says Bowden.
Other issues included a lack of integration between the calendar product being used at the business and the meeting software—forcing staff to locate links to video calls provided in messages separate to meeting calendar invitations.
“Thanks to Google Workspace, including Google Meet hardware, we can now record and livestream video meetings—as well as provide the support ourselves.” —Garrett Cox, Client Support Team Lead, Xero
Following a comprehensive review, Xero decided on Google Meet hardware for a range of reasons, including seamless integration with apps such as Calendar. “We conducted a proof of concept and installed Google Meet hardware in one or two in each of our offices around the world,” says Bowden.
“Based on the hugely successful outcome of the trial, we went all in and installed Google Meet hardware in every single meeting room we had—close to 200 rooms globally.”
Google Meet hardware is now one of the most frequently used products within the business and the number of meetings compromised by technical incidents has fallen. “Use of Google Meet hardware is through the roof,” says Bowden. “Our people are embracing the ability to walk into a room, connect quickly and easily to a meeting, and enjoy responsive, professional support. We spend less time supporting these 200 meeting rooms than the 10 or 12 we had with our previous video conferencing equipment.”
Utilization levels have climbed to a level that the business is now looking to extend the deployment of Google Meet hardware to about 50 small phone rooms and potentially freestanding booths within its offices worldwide.
Bowden, who manages a team distributed across Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, describes the experience of using Google Workspace as “incredible.”
“Seeing updates instantly while I’m on video calls, using Sheets and Docs and generally collaborating with people in different countries is a brilliant experience,” he says.
Xero has also integrated Calendar with its internal communication tool, so meetings appear in both apps.
Critical workplace application
“Google Workspace is helping us pave the way for more effective collaboration and communication—and ultimately a more connected business.” —Garrett Cox, Client Support Team Lead, Xero
Bowden and Cox say Google Workspace plays a fundamental role in enabling teams to perform in their roles, collaborate, and communicate effectively. “Thanks to Google Workspace, including Google Meet hardware, we can now record and livestream video meetings—as well as provide the support ourselves,” says Cox. “There is very little we have to do.”
Bowden says “What’s impactful with Google Workspace is its ability to record a version of a meeting that can be shared with people who can’t attend or want to revisit it later,” he says. “People can join halfway through the meeting if they want and either watch it from that point or from the start. We also can invite someone remotely to share slides and present. Just recently, we’ve also started allowing people to share prerecorded, high-definition video content.”
Since moving to Google Workspace, the internal perception of the Xero technology team has also improved. However, with better experience comes higher user expectations, which Cox and Bowden say the team welcomes.
“We have confidence in our ability to deliver a consistent, reliable, scalable service with Google Workspace and Google Meet hardware. “Google Workspace is helping us pave the way for more effective collaboration and communication—and ultimately a more connected business,” concludes Cox.
*Google Workspace was formerly known as G Suite prior to Oct. 6, 2020.