Customer Story

Eaux de Vienne: Improving the flow of information with collaborative tools on Google Workspace

Water treatment facility

Eaux de Vienne chooses Google Workspace for faster email services as well as to enable its employees to work in the field and collaborate more effectively, saving time and improving operational efficiency.

Google Maps Platform results

Drafts meeting reports a week faster with Google Drive

• Improves communication with minimal interruption even in low connectivity areas, and faster email searches
• Supports productive employee collaboration and resource sharing with Google Calendar and Google Drive
• Offers centralized administration capabilities for multiple services, enabling the IT support team to work more efficiently
• Helps remote working with personalized virtual desktops delivered by Google Chrome Navigator and OS

“Mobility is key, as most of our 400 employees work on the ground, installing or repairing pipes and meters. They need handy and reliable tools to relay what they’re seeing to their team members.” —Vincent Murat, CIO, Eaux de Vienne

Do you know where the water in your tap comes from? Drinking water and sanitation are essential resources, and they require significant management and maintenance. In the Vienne administrative region (known as a “department”) in western France, a public sector partnership is responsible for the task of keeping water resources safe for private and public usage. Eaux de Vienne-Siveers looks after 80% of the department’s population, delivering drinking water to around 330,000 inhabitants and maintaining 9,400 km of pipes.

Eaux de Vienne divides the department into 10 territories, each with its own operations center, with the headquarters located in the departmental capital of Poitiers. “Each territory has one or several elected representatives and a local committee,” explains Vincent Murat, CIO at Eaux de Vienne. “This enables us to stay close to the towns we represent and react to local needs.” By sharing resources across its territories, the company is able to provide the best possible service, carrying out its duties of distributing drinking water, providing wastewater sanitation, and maintaining infrastructure.

For Eaux de Vienne to share skills internally and pool resources effectively, it needs to be able to easily disseminate information and collaborate across territories. If an issue arises in one part of the network, for example, it needs to be able to bring teams in neighboring areas together quickly so they can solve it. However, the company’s previous email system was slow and difficult to navigate, and accessing files remotely meant using a VPN. As La Vienne is an area where internet speeds are highly variable, Eaux de Vienne’s employees were left with a less-than-adequate service. So in 2017, it began to look for a new solution. Working with Google Cloud Partner GoWizYou, it chose Google Workspace as the right platform to provide the collaborative tools it was looking for.

“Mobility is key, as most of our 400 employees work on the ground, installing or repairing pipes and meters,” explains Vincent. “They need handy and reliable tools to relay what they’re seeing to their team members.”

Choosing a solution that meets employees’ needs

“With Gmail, you can find what you need almost instantaneously. We no longer waste time searching for information or on classifying emails just so we can locate them later.” —Vincent Murat, CIO, Eaux de Vienne

When you’re working remotely, it can be difficult to stay connected, especially with an unreliable internet network. “We were using a web-based email provider, but we found ourselves having to install email clients on machines to compensate for patchy server connections, which required additional administration,” says Vincent. Connecting with the office while working in the field was difficult, and for the administrative team, simple tasks took a long time. “Performing a search for an email could take 40 seconds, which really added up over a working week,” Vincent adds. Eaux de Vienne wanted a messaging solution that would not only work within the bandwidth available, but also provide enhanced collaboration capabilities.

Following a public tender process, it chose Google Workspace due to the breadth of tools it offers within one single platform. “We carried out some tests and were reassured that it would work within the bandwidth available,” says Vincent. “Functions such as being able to edit Docs and Sheets in offline mode also help to make distance working more effective.”

To make sure all its employees were on board with the change, Eaux de Vienne involved them in the process early on. “We invited a panel of users, including directors, administratives, and technicians, to be present at the tender presentations,” says Vincent. “There was a real ‘wow’ factor when they saw everything they could do with Google Workspace. They could see the potential for a big improvement in terms of performance and efficiency.” Members of this group then went on to become early adopters in the first phase of the rollout, receiving training to help them make the most of the tools.

In order to meet the needs of all users, implementation partner GoWizYou provided two different levels of training to accommodate employees’ varied needs and prior knowledge. “Our focus, as always, is on training and passing on our expertise,” says Patrick Le Roux, CEO and co-founder at GoWizYou. “We migrated over employees’ emails before the training so they could work with their own data, such as email, calendar, contacts, and documents, during the live training sessions,” he shares. “Employees have different levels of skill when it comes to using IT tools, and the initial training was one of the keys to helping them. Another key is long-term support, which we believe will enable them to really take advantage of Google Workspace tools.”

Providing a reliable email service that supports remote working

Between January and March 2018, Eaux de Vienne’s 400 employees migrated to Google Workspace. They can now easily access their emails via office PCs, or remotely via tablets and mobile phones, and can take their virtual desktop with them via Chrome Browser. “With Chrome Browser, employees can access their bookmarked pages and browsing history with a few clicks, and we use the Chrome admin console to configure things like whitelist extension easily and quickly, for enhanced security,” says Vincent.

With Gmail and Cloud Search, the email service is more reliable and finding an email is now quick and simple. “With Gmail, you can find what you need almost instantaneously,” says Vincent. “We no longer waste time searching for information or on classifying emails just so we can locate them later.”

Encouraging collaboration with shared calendars and files

“Because day-to-day IT operations are more efficient, we’re providing much more functionality for our employees. We’re supporting them to work from wherever they need to and to collaborate more effectively with partners, suppliers, and internally.” —Vincent Murat, CIO, Eaux de Vienne

On top of solving Eaux de Vienne’s email challenges, Google Workspace has transformed the way its employees collaborate. To arrange meetings, employees now send Calendar invites instead of picking up the phone and use Docs to define the agenda for participants. They also use Forms to make team decisions on resources such as meeting rooms. “We used Forms to create a survey so employees could be involved in choosing names for the rooms, each named after a river in the region,” says Vincent.

A group of 50 employees responsible for contributing to specific administrative projects has also been given access to shared Drives, which has enabled them to work in completely new ways. “We now use Docs and shared Drives to work on our administrative act documents, which detail the minutes of meetings and decisions taken,” says Vincent. “Each stage of the process is controlled by providing appropriate Drive and Docs access to the administrative staff and members of the management team who are involved.” Vincent estimates that this optimized process speeds up the editing process by around a week for each act, while making it more legally secure.

Simplifying administration to gain time and improve services

Eaux de Vienne also uses its Google Workspace accounts to manage access to Google Maps Platform. It uses Maps APIs, including the Geocoding API and Maps JavaScript API, to provide mapping functionality for its internal and external applications. “We use Google Maps Platform to provide the backgrounds for an application that displays ongoing works, as well as for internal tools such as a vehicle tracking application,“ says Vincent. “We chose it because of its reliability and superior performance, which help to deliver a fluid experience. On top of that, our team and clients find the interface familiar and easy to use.”

As user profiles, groups, and access rights can now be managed through a single platform, the Eaux de Vienne IT team is saving significant time on administration and operations. Eaux de Vienne previously needed a separate platform to manage its fleet of Android mobile devices. Now, devices can be managed using Google Endpoint Management from the Google Admin console and can also be wiped remotely if lost or damaged. “As some of our employees use their own mobiles to access work emails, it’s important to have that capability,” says Vincent. “We have more control now, and this gives us more confidence around our security.”

To further gain from the benefits of running Chrome OS from a centralized administration console, Eaux de Vienne is exploring the use of Chromebooks. “We already have one available for employees to use and plan to install two Chromeboxes in entrance and meeting rooms,” says Vincent.

With the support of GoWizYou, Eaux de Vienne is also considering expanding its use of Google tools to include Google Cloud. “We’re looking at App Engine and Compute Engine to host application servers, and we’re also considering using BigQuery to create a data warehouse,” says Vincent. “Those are evaluation projects for 2020 to 2021.”

“Because day-to-day IT operations are more efficient, we’re providing much more functionality for our employees. We’re supporting them to work from wherever they need to, and to collaborate more effectively with partners, suppliers, and internally,” he explains.

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

Deployment Partner (Google Workspace authorized reseller)


GoWizYou has been a Google Cloud partner since 2010 and specializes in the public sector. It brings Google Workspace, Google Cloud, and Chrome device solutions to customers, combining tech know-how with change-management expertise.