Google Meet saves 2,000+ travel hours per month
• Improves agility with employees able to work on Google Workspace at any time,
from anywhere, on any device
• Onboards newcomers in minutes with single sign-on and Chrome devices, speeding up the process by 90%
• Drives collaboration among teams with more effective, targeted communication through Gmail and Google Meet
• Adapts thousands of courses for online learning with Google Classroom and Google Meet during the COVID-19 crisis
“We had six different companies on six different IT platforms. If we were going to improve communication and drive collaboration, we needed to unite them all on Google Workspace and Google Cloud.” —Michael Horovič, Director of Digital and Data, EDUA Group
EDUA Group knows that our appetite for knowledge is limitless and that learning is a lifelong process. That’s why, between its six companies, the group offers courses across a wide variety of subjects to people of all ages and backgrounds in the Czech Republic. “We can offer training in whatever you want to learn, from languages to manufacturing to management skills, all the way from early infancy right through to old age,” says Michael Horovič, Director of Digital and Data at EDUA Group. “It’s helped us become the biggest private educational group in the country.”
EDUA Group employs 2,200 tutors to teach 55,000 students annually all over the Czech Republic, with a combination of e-learning techniques and in-class lessons. The group has been one of the pioneers of e-learning in the country, which has helped it to expand its customer base to include companies as well as private individuals.
Until recently, the Group’s several companies, each with a specific focus, operated separately with minimal interaction. In 2017, however, the group decided to align them more closely with each other, but that proved as much a technical challenge as a human one. For Michael, the solution came with Google Workspace and Google Cloud.
“We had six different companies on six different IT platforms,” he says. “If we were going to improve communication and drive collaboration, we needed to unite them all on Google Workspace and Google Cloud.”
Cloud-based productivity for maximum efficiency with minimal upkeep
EDUA Group has built itself up through a combination of innovative teaching techniques and smart acquisitions. While this leads to impressive growth, it can also make it harder to quickly integrate new companies who have already established their own culture and ways of working. By 2017, the group had decided it needed to make a concerted effort to bring its companies together and hired Michael to lead the project.
“At the time, 99% of our infrastructure was in on-premises servers,” says Michael. “Then the email and office productivity platforms were all different from company to company, so communication was very difficult and collaboration almost impossible.”
The only reliable method of communication was via email, and that often led to lost documents or long and confusing threads with multiple copies of the same document. At the same time, with physical and finite exchange servers, workers’ email accounts were restricted to 300 megabytes. There was no centralized disc management system, so if a device was lost or damaged, documents could be lost forever.
To get around the limitations of the existing tools, employees would use personal messaging apps or file storage accounts. “There was a whole shadow IT system that we couldn’t monitor or back up,” says Michael. “It was a nightmare to manage.”
EDUA Group needed a cloud-based solution that would minimize management overhead for IT while maintaining the same standards of technical performance throughout the group. In early 2018, it began working with Revolgy, a leading Google Cloud Premier Partner with a stellar reputation in the country. “If you spend enough time in the IT industry in the Czech Republic, you hear Revolgy’s name come up time and time again when it comes to cloud technology,” says Michael.
The first task for Revolgy and EDUA Group was to analyze the situation as it stood: what were the challenges and what was needed to solve them. It was very clear that Google Cloud, and Google Workspace especially, would be the best and most efficient solution for EDUA Group’s needs.
With more than 10 years’ experience with Google Cloud and Google Workspace, Revolgy took the time to craft a carefully customized change management scheme for all of EDUA Group’s employees in addition to the technical preparation. As Bohuslav Dohnal, founder of Revolgy puts it, “We know that a tool is nothing without the right skill set to use it. For a project like this to work, you have to have both the technological and human elements working hand in hand.”
After making sure it was properly prepared, EDUA Group rolled out Google Workspace in mid-2018 in a series of carefully managed stages. First to its IT team, then to early adopters throughout the group, and finally it went live for all employees. The Group was pleasantly surprised by how quickly and smoothly it went. “I’ve seen companies take months, even years to make this kind of transition,” says Michael. “We did it, with Revolgy’s help, in just a few weeks.”
Bringing a dispersed organization together with Google Workspace
“We’re spread out all over the country, so I used to have to take meetings in different offices. With Google Meet, we’ve saved thousands of hours in travel every month. It’s my favorite product.” —Michael Horovič, Director of Digital and Data, EDUA Group
Among the many products included with Google Workspace, the one with the most immediate impact was Gmail. EDUA Group employees no longer have to waste time deleting unwanted messages to stay within their limits. However, Google Chat and Google Meet enable staff to connect in quicker, clearer, and more effective ways so inboxes don’t become clogged and unwieldy.
Workers can also store important files and documents in Google Drive and never have to worry about losing them if they lose their device. Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides mean that people can simultaneously collaborate on one file; instead of multiple copies of a document, there’s one true, up-to-date version. Meanwhile, Google Sites has proven to be an easy to understand and powerful tool for building websites, even for non-technical staff. “It’s so simple, it’s just drag and drop. Our main website is built with Google Sites, but also our marketing, HR, and finance departments built their own internal sites, without having to ask IT for help or hiring external web developers,” says Michael.
“Google Classroom has been absolutely vital in keeping the group going during the COVID-19 crisis. Teachers can effortlessly keep all their materials in one place, with students able to access the course wherever they are.” —Michael Horovič, Director of Digital and Data, EDUA Group
One of the main attractions of Google Workspace is the ability to work on any device, any time, anywhere, which was perfect for helping EDUA Group’s many different companies and departments stay productive on the go. It has also led to a positive culture change across the Group, where employees can sit anywhere, not just at their desk, leading to a more lively office environment. Meanwhile, flexibility for home working has now opened up as well, as Google Workspace keeps everyone on the same page whether they’re in the office or at home.
Soon after the migration, it worked with Revolgy to further standardize and simplify procedures across the company by rolling out Chrome OS devices, which also reduced hardware costs. “Chromebooks and Chromeboxes are incredibly easy to manage and for people to operate,” says Michael. “They just get it, open it, log in, and away they go.”
Revolgy and EDUA Group also migrated the various companies’ infrastructure to virtual machines run with Compute Engine. “The great thing about Google Cloud is that it takes care of so much of the overheads for us,” says Michael. “We can spend our resources on making newer and better courses instead of wasting them on maintenance.”
EDUA Group now uses the single sign-on feature in Google Workspace to onboard new employees in minutes instead of days, a 90% improvement on its previous onboarding process. Getting an employee started with its host of Chrome devices takes just five minutes. A clear technological standard with effective communication channels has helped bring the group’s companies together and improved efficiency.
“We’re spread out all over the country so I used to have to take meetings in different offices,” explains Michael. “With Google Meet, we save thousands of hours in travel every month. It’s my favorite product.”
Taking hundreds of courses online to help students keep studying
The ability to stay agile and work at any time, from anywhere, on any device became absolutely crucial for EDUA Group in March 2020, when the COVID-19 crisis shifted the Czech Republic to a state of lockdown and quarantine.
Google Classroom and Google Meet have been core technologies of EDUA Group’s e-learning platforms, but with the restrictions imposed by the crisis, the Group has relied on them to an unprecedented extent. “Google Classroom has been absolutely vital in keeping the group going during the COVID-19 crisis,” says Michael. “Teachers can effortlessly keep all their materials in one place online, with students able to access courses wherever they are.”
Using Google Classroom, EDUA Group was able to convert hundreds of its courses into fully online modules within a few days. In just a few weeks, it plans to convert thousands more courses to continue serving its students even as they face the most severe restrictions seen for generations.
For Michael, the move to Google Workspace and Google Cloud couldn’t have come at a better time. “If anyone were to ask me for advice about moving to the Cloud, I’d tell them first of all to find a good partner, like Revolgy and Google Cloud. Then I’d tell them to focus on change management. Finally, I’d tell them not to be afraid. The world is changing, and changing fast. A cloud-based infrastructure helps you keep up with that change and stay on top.”
*Google Workspace was formerly known as G Suite prior to Oct. 6, 2020.