Google Cloud Results
Streamlines work with Google Workspace versus on-premises alternative
• Promotes collaboration and mobile productivity, including faster sharing of best practices, in a competitive retail landscape
The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company was founded in 1868 and is a leader in lawn and garden brands sold to consumers through retailers. Its workforce of over 5,500 associates is dispersed globally to drive $2.8 billion in sales.
The company was faced with the challenges of serving a business with ongoing acquisitions, changing channel dynamics, and a highly distributed workforce. This is the reason the company’s IT team wanted productivity and collaboration solutions that would help support growth worldwide.
When it came time to upgrade its existing on-premises mail servers, the company decided to go with Google Workspace. “We would have had to replace our on-site mail servers and upgrade the software. We were able to save by switching to Google Workspace,” says Senior Analyst Michael Lockwood at The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company.
Partner Onix, with its responsive service, helped Scotts make the transition. Onix is a Google Cloud Premier Partner that resells the entire Google Cloud portfolio coupled with world-class professional services including lift and shift, application development, and DevOps.
“Having a knowledgeable partner like Onix means a lot to us,” says Michael. “We can reach them easily and they are excellent at getting back to us right away. Knowing they have a close relationship with Google helps us quite a bit.”
Promoting mobility to grow sales
“We’re seeing the value in effortless file sharing and collaboration with Drive. Plus it makes traveling easier. You can just log in from any device at your destination and you’ll have your files at your fingertips.” - Justyn Clevenger, Senior Analyst, Collaboration, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company
Today, the company’s associates use Gmail and other Google Workspace tools. Previously, employees used VPN to access email remotely. Now the highly mobile workforce can access Gmail on any device, without VPN, enhancing productivity for corporate employees and field staff alike.
“Our retailers demand excellent service from our merchandisers, who are in the stores making sure displays are set up correctly,” says Collaboration Manager Justyn Clevenger at The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company.
Email storage limits of 25MB per user are a concern of the past. Michael says, “Our associates like Gmail because it’s easy to use. And they don’t have to drop what they’re doing to purge old emails upon suddenly hitting a storage limit, since there’s unlimited storage with Gmail.”
Employees appreciate the convenience of Drive as well. “We’re seeing the value in effortless file sharing and collaboration with Drive. Plus it makes traveling easier in that you don’t need to carry a laptop. You can just log in from any device at your destination and you’ll have your files at your fingertips,” says Justyn.
In addition, with the company’s use of Drive File Stream, employees had fewer worries about losing important data if a laptop is damaged or stolen. A handful of employees experienced ransomware issues in the past and a couple hundred lost files in an antivirus encryption.
“It’s hard to put a value on a solution that prevents devastating loss of data,” says Michael. “The more secure backups we get with Drive are vital to preserving the important work our employees are doing. This is critical for protecting the company’s intellectual property and fostering workstream continuity.”
In addition to the Google Workspace tools, the company is phasing in Chromebooks with virtual desktop infrastructure for some employees.
“Our staff really likes how light the Chromebooks are versus traditional laptops, as they weigh less than two and half pounds,” Justyn says. “People can’t believe how thin they are, yet still so powerful.”
Michael agrees that Chromebooks offer great aesthetics, as well as enterprise-class performance, excellent security, and ease of management benefits.
“The new Pixelbooks and Samsung Chromebook Pros have a professional look and are solid, enterprise-level devices. We value the enhanced security that’s baked into them, such as the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip,” he says.
Chrome Browser provides a great user experience that’s consistent across Mac, PC, Chromebook, Android, or iOS devices.
“The web-enabled apps our developers build look and run great with Chrome Browser, no matter what type of device our associates might be using,” says Justyn. “We notice Chrome runs faster, plus applications and extensions launch easily. The automatic updating is great for IT. We don’t have to do much troubleshooting like we used to.”
Favorite Chrome Browser features at the company include the clean interface, search bar, keyboard shortcuts, and the ability to have bookmarks follow them.
“Chrome Browser helps create that seamless transition from working in the office to working remotely or at home. It promotes productivity for our business,” says Justyn.
Working together in real time
“Adopting Google Workspace just makes sense. It’s intuitive and everything works together so seamlessly across Google Cloud Platform. The ease of management, enhanced security, and cost savings are all important advantages as we work to evolve in a changing landscape.” - Michael Lockwood, Senior Analyst, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company
“The way the apps are integrated as part of Google Workspace, our employees can collaborate without technology getting in the way. As information is developed, edited in parallel, and shared across R&D, Marketing, and other teams, cycles are accelerated because working together in real time is so much easier,” says Justyn.
Forms is becoming the standard survey tool at the company, instead of third-party survey software.
“With Forms, our HR team can send out a survey and have results feed into Sheets in real time. It’s a breeze to quickly collect and analyze feedback,” he says. “Forms also works well for company events where we need to easily tally different choices attendees can make.”
Teams are sharing work projects with their colleagues using Sites.
“You don’t have to be a graphic designer or know how to code HTML. It’s a snap for our teams to create a nicely presented web page with Sites. It’s a much more engaging way to share projects our teams are working on,” Justyn says.
The company has made a number of acquisitions in recent years, and Google Meet is often one of the first ways employees joining the fold meet the headquarters team. Whether in an acquisition situation or everyday operations, employees use Google Meet almost exclusively because the technology is so simple and helps eliminate travel.
“Adopting Google Workspace just makes sense. It’s intuitive and everything works together so seamlessly across Google Cloud Platform (GCP). The ease of management, enhanced security, and cost savings are all important advantages as we work to evolve in a changing landscape,” says Michael.
Seeding innovation in new channels
The company has developed mobile apps running on GCP to pursue opportunities in the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) market. Apps integrated with the new Scotts Gro 7Zone Controller and Gro Water Sensors allows farmers and consumers to use a smartphone to monitor the moisture in soil and control the irrigation system.
“We have a lot of innovative projects that our developers are excited to contribute to, even more so when they learn about the cutting-edge Google technologies they get to work with in order to bring these initiatives to life. It’s helped us attract top DevOps and engineering people,” Michael says.
Internally, the company has rebuilt its intranet on App Engine to rave reviews for its ease of use and up-to-date functionality, plus cost savings of an astonishing 97 percent versus the prior platform the company used.
“A lot of the new apps we’ve introduced use Firebase and Angular, plus Cloud APIs provided by Google to connect things,” says Michael. “We’re also using Big Query and Google Analytics to leverage our data so we can apply those learnings with solutions that help our employees and customers flourish.”
*Google Workspace was formerly known as G Suite prior to Oct. 6, 2020.