Google Cloud Results
Enables seamless team collaboration during the pandemic
• Share documents securely with 100+ freelancers from around the world with
• Enable more accurate reporting with Data Studio
• Set up internal and external meetings quickly and easily with Calendar and Meet
• Improve HR processes with Sheets
“We used Google Workspace from the time we launched because we knew that having an email account with our company name can help give us more credibility. It was one of the easiest platforms to adopt quickly due to the intuitive interface.” -- Changnoi Kunjara, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Cloud & Ground
From learning about the latest organic food vendor in the neighborhood to up-and-coming Thai artists, Cloud & Ground has established itself as an online magazine that covers news around local craft and creative culture, while supporting better living alongside homegrown brands and talent.
Founded in 2017, the startup was co-founded by Changnoi Kunjara, a 15-year veteran within the media industry and Zcongklod Bangyikhan, an established Thai writer. “Our intention was to find a space for the local community in the changing media landscape to encourage better living,” says Kunjara. He explains that by telling meaningful stories through vibrant pictures and quality videos that speak to the audience, he hopes to contribute and create a better community as a whole, by encouraging people to live better. The startup also organizes local events and festivals, including the annual Thailand Coffee Festival, one of the largest coffee festivals in Southeast Asia that aims to promote the Thai coffee industry across the supply chain.
To realize its mission, Cloud & Ground works with a wide range of freelancers from around the world for its publication, and liaises with local vendors for events. It has been using Google Workspace as its key platform for collaboration across its different projects. “We used Google Workspace from the time we launched because we knew that having an email account with our company name can help give us more credibility. It was one of the easiest platforms to adopt quickly due to the intuitive interface,” explains Kunjara. Starting with a basic package, the startup now uses Google Workspace for Business for enhanced capabilities.
Keeping track of business operations with accurate reporting
Cloud & Ground has 36 full time employees and 20 regular freelance columnists who regularly contribute to its publication, together with more than 100 writers around the world who send articles for publishing. With the pandemic in 2020, the entire Cloud & Ground team started to work remotely. Since the publication has always been hosted in the cloud, the content creation aspect of the business was not affected.
However, the events side of the company had to adopt new ways of working when it came to organizing events. “Instead of having an on-site event like we usually did, we had to run a virtual event via social media,” says Kunjara. In just two weeks, everyone was onboard with the new plan and moved all communication channels online. Given that the startup runs independently without a dedicated IT support team to keep costs lean, this was no mean feat. “We also created a new business unit to run an online shop, selling products like books and local crafts to ensure we could sustain ourselves as a business while continuing to do our part for the creative community.”
As a small business, having a dedicated finance or admin team would be too costly. But the management at Cloud & Ground realized they needed a powerful tool to help keep track of the many concurrent projects it runs. In a bid to overcome this challenge, Cloud & Ground worked with Demeter ICT to find a solution that would provide a clear and accurate overview of each project.
“Demeter ICT advised us on how Google Workspace could help manage the administrative aspects of the business without the need to invest in expensive software. They were patient to answer any questions we had and would work through our concerns one at a time,” explains Kunjara.
With the support of Demeter ICT, the team uses Data Studio to keep track and develop its management platform. For accounting purposes, Data Studio can put together accurate reports on sales projection and withdrawals, which are the most common expense reports.
Administrative processes made simple
“With Sheets, everyone involved in a project can see the big picture and pull out the details they need. It also updates in real time, so everytime colleagues add data, it’s immediately reflected for other team members to see. This has made operating a business much more efficient, as we can make more informed decisions.” -- Changnoi Kunjara, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Cloud & Ground
Cloud & Ground uses Gmail for its daily communications and Sheets as its primary platform to manage its day-to-day workflow. From tracking sales, monitoring projects, to running commission processes, the team inputs every piece of information they have in Sheets for easy tracking. This has been particularly helpful during the pandemic, where all employees have been working remotely. “With Sheets, everyone involved in a project can see the big picture and pull out the details they need. It also updates in real time, so everytime colleagues add data, it’s immediately reflected for other team members to see. This has made operating a business much more efficient, as we can make more informed decisions,” says Kunjara.
The team also uses Calendar regularly to schedule meetings and check-ins with one another. As employees are able to share their calendars with the wider team, they can check that everyone required for a specific meeting can attend, even before sending the invitation. This is particularly useful when working with team members located in different timezones. They would schedule these meetings on Meet, which is quick and easy to do since Gmail, Calendar, and Meet are integrated, saving them hours that would otherwise be spent checking on each other’s availability.
To track the success of an event, the team uses Forms as its primary data collection tool. During registration, attendees are asked to fill out details to gather information which can then be analyzed for targeted marketing campaigns. The feedback collected can also be used as learning points to improve future events they organize.
Versatility and flexibility with Google Workspace
Working with a wide range of professionals in Thailand and around the world, Cloud & Ground needs a platform that is compatible with a range of different operating systems. “Some people work on Windows platforms, while others may have Apple devices. We found that Google Workspace was the answer for seamless interaction regardless of the tools they use,” Kunjara shares.
Drive has been another win for the Cloud & Ground team, especially with the unlimited storage space it provides. This is particularly so for the publication side of the business, where freelancers need to send large video and image files. Instead of using third-party sites as a solution, Drive provides an added layer of security that protects company copyrights. Access can also be controlled on Drive, and having everything in one place makes it easier for freelancers and the Cloud & Ground team to collaborate and work on multiple projects without losing track.
Improving human resource practices to grow the business
“If we want to grow into a medium or large corporation, we need to first focus on the internal system. Having a partner like Demeter ICT that specializes in business transformation, along with the powerful tools Google Workspace provides has really helped guide us in making our company’s management more systematic.” -- Changnoi Kunjara, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Cloud & Ground
From communication, collaboration, to project management tasks all being managed on Google Workspace, the startup is now looking to improve the human resources (HR) side of the business. “We’ll be using Google Workspace to keep track of employee data in a more systematic way. This includes making note of employee benefits, and every individual’s start date in a more orderly fashion,” says Kunjara.
On the editorial side, Cloud & Ground plans to leverage Google technologies to find new ways to improve the way it uses data to improve reach and engagement for its publication. “If we want to grow into a medium or large corporation, we need to first focus on the internal system. Having a partner like Demeter ICT that specializes in business transformation, along with the powerful tools Google Workspace provides has really helped guide us in making our company’s management more systematic,” says Kunjara.
*Google Workspace was formerly known as G Suite prior to Oct. 6, 2020.