Customer Story

ThoughtWorks: Delivering Software Solutions from the Cloud to Clients

ThoughtWorks

ThoughtWorks maintains operations without interruption during the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to Google Workspace and a cloud-first strategy that supports collaboration across its entire workforce.

Google Cloud Results

8,000+ people use Google Workspace across 48 offices in 17 countries

• Enables employees to serve clients without interruption during the COVID-19 pandemic
• Supports ‘business as usual’ collaboration when most employees are working remotely
• Helps employees maintain a work-life balance during the pandemic
• Makes it easy to access internal knowledge using powerful cloud search technology

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in early 2020, ThoughtWorks was able to continue serving its clients without interruption. The technology consultancy deployed Google Workspace more than a decade ago and its employees have been using Google tools on projects and remain productive while working remotely.

“While there were changes when the pandemic started, the core approach of how we work together was already established. Google Workspace served us really well in that transition,” says Andy Yates, ‎Head of Strategy, TechOps at ThoughtWorks.

The ability to conduct ‘business as usual’ was critical to Yates and his colleagues. Founded in 1993, ThoughtWorks has more than 8,000 employees in 17 countries, with clients in various industries including automotive, financial services, healthcare, retail, and travel.

These clients use ThoughtWorks solutions to streamline operations, improve access to information, and accelerate the creation of new products and services.

A decade of collaboration and innovation

“We’ve always relied on Google Workspace to work and collaborate remotely. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, we were quickly able to move more activities and projects online, safe in the knowledge that we had an infrastructure and applications familiar to our employees.” -- Andy Yates, ‎Head of Strategy, TechOps at ThoughtWorks

Starting with the introduction of Gmail and Google Calendar approximately ten years ago, ThoughtWorks today uses the entire Google Workspace product set across its organization and has more than 9,000 licenses and end users. From key productivity tools like Google Docs and Sheets to collaboration with Groups, Chat, and Sites, Google Workspace is an integral part of how the company serves its clients—and ThoughtWorks, as a Trusted Tester, has become central to the way Google Workspace evolves.

“We’ve always relied on Google Workspace to work and collaborate remotely. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, we were quickly able to move more activities and projects online, safe in the knowledge that we had an infrastructure and applications familiar to our employees,” says Yates.

Use of Google Workspace apps grew substantially. For instance, in the space of one month, the number of Chat rooms grew from 1,000 to 10,000 rooms, with one million messages a week. “We’ve always used Google Chat heavily, but we saw a bunch of new rooms and groups popping up,” says Yates. “Topics included advice on remote working, tips for mental health, as well as jokes, memes, and other lighthearted topics, that helped bring people together.”

World-class search and seamless integration with third-party tools

“We’ve always used Google Chat heavily, but we saw a bunch of new rooms and groups popping up. Topics included advice on remote working, tips for mental health, as well as jokes, memes, and other lighthearted topics, that helped bring people together.” -- Andy Yates, ‎Head of Strategy, TechOps at ThoughtWorks

As remote working became the norm, employees at ThoughtWorks benefited from the growing integration of Google Workspace with popular project management and other online tools. This means they can now add Gmail and Calendar appointments to online project management boards and integrate all the information in these boards back into Docs or Slides. “When we choose third-party tools, the ability to integrate with Google Workspace is now very important,” says Yates. “The growing number of compatible applications means that we have many opportunities to enhance the core functionality of Google Workspace.”

Google Sites also played an important role at the start of the pandemic. “When lockdowns kicked in, we needed a place where we could update global and local information rapidly and crowdsource helpful information from employees,” says Yates. “We also set up a Remote Working Hub, where we added advice for employees who were spending more time working from home and providing services to clients remotely.”

Yates and his team also benefited from the work of Google partner LumApps, whose intranet platform is tightly integrated with Google Workspace and Google Cloud Search. “At the beginning of 2020, we relied on this platform to communicate out to our employees,” says Yates. “They were also able to search quickly and easily for the latest news and other materials relating to the changes taking place at this time.” Integration with Google Cloud Search meant that employees could search both Google Sites and the intranet simultaneously.

Constantly improving application features and integration

“During a crisis, it is easy to slip into more of a hierarchy, where people rely on formal company structures for decision-making. We strive to maintain a more equitable structure. Google Workspace plays an important role in how we remain decentralized during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s something that we are immensely proud of.” -- Andy Yates, ‎Head of Strategy, TechOps at ThoughtWorks

Being part of the Google Alpha Bundle means that ThoughtWorks can suggest enhancements to new applications and test early versions of features. ThoughtWorks was one of the first businesses to request the ability to split working hours and to block out repeating days on Google Calendar for when people take vacations. Now a live feature of the Calendar app, it helps ensure that people can take breaks without having to dip into email or manage other notifications.

Yates also benefited from the expertise of Pythian, ThoughtWorks’ Google Cloud Premier, MSP, and Specialization Partner, as the pandemic progressed. “Pythian was especially helpful during the acquisition of two European businesses in 2021, onboarding 250 new colleagues into Google Workspace in just a few weeks,” says Yates.

Overall, the move to Google Workspace and a cloud-based model has driven down costs and made the business more flexible, not only removing the need to invest in hardware but also simplifying management and support. New offices can be opened quickly, with just internet connections rather than needing to be equipped with servers and IT support staff as the legacy platform would have required. Empowered staff can work collaboratively from anywhere, using a familiar set of tools that require minimal training.

“It is fundamental to the mission of our business that we are decentralized, and our employees have the freedom to innovate to benefit our clients,” says Yates. “During a crisis, it is easy to slip into more of a hierarchy, where people rely on formal company structures for decision-making. We strive to maintain a more equitable structure. Google Workspace plays an important role in how we remain decentralized during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s something that we are immensely proud of.”

About LumApps

LumApps is a digital workplace solution with more than 4 million users globally. LumApps, a Google partner, works closely with Google to integrate innovations and build the best intranet platform for Google Workspace users.

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

Deployment Partner (Google Workspace authorized reseller)

About Pythian

Pythian is an IT services company and Google Cloud Premier, MSP, and Specialization partner. Pythian provides end-to-end services for all Google Cloud solutions, including Google Workspace, to leverage the power of data, analytics, and the cloud.