Customer Story

PGA of America: Seeing green with modernized collaboration


PGA of America migrated its communications suite to Google Workspace with the help of 66degrees to improve business performance through lower CapEx/OpEx spending and higher member engagement.

Google Workspace Results

Improves end-user satisfaction and improves business performance

• Eliminates unauthorized account access with bolt-on SSO and MFA capabilities to prevent ransomware attacks
• Improves document collaboration efficiency by removing versioning issues through real-time Docs
• Reduces OpEx spending while improving user experiences through 70 percent reduction in Help Desk tickets
• Reduces IT costs 30% and workforce demands by eliminating internal corporate networks and extra servers
• Unlocks potential of data analytics and automation through new cloud-based IT approach to better understand opportunities and needs

“Everything we were worried about when making this change, from confused end users to growing pains and adoption, ended up being completely smooth thanks to 66degrees.” --Kevin J. Scott, Head of Technology, PGA of America

As organizations focus on modernizing collaboration across internal teams and with customers and partners, the use of cloud-based tools is on the rise. PGA of America, a not-for-profit association with 28,000 golf industry members, faces the same communication and collaboration challenges impacting most organizations today: creating frictionless and secure user experiences.

“We knew that rethinking how we communicate and work together had to be a core part of our digital transformation and Google Workspace helped us do that securely by default,” says Kevin Scott, Head of Technology at PGA of America. “Between our nationally distributed workforce and our members who rely on our email platform, a more dynamic, easier-to-use environment was essential to our future of secure, collaborative work”

When still using its legacy collaboration tools, PGA of America encountered ongoing user-experience issues that required a lot of support. The organization believed it would be less susceptible to cybersecurity attacks if members and employees were using a more secure collaboration solution.

With the goal of modernizing its approach to collaboration and communication to better serve PGA of America members and employees, the organization migrated to Google Workspace with support from Google Cloud Premier Partner 66degrees.

Driving toward modern IT

Migrating a collaboration suite that hundreds of dispersed workers and tens of thousands of members rely on every day can be problematic, potentially resulting in unanticipated downtime and costs. To avoid this, PGA of America worked with 66degrees to ensure a smooth roll-out that prevented issues post-migration.

“We knew we needed to replace our previous collaboration suite and move to Google Workspace as an integrated solution, but dealing with costs, rollout, and other important issues were unfamiliar to us,” says Kevin. “66degrees educated us and gave us the confidence to carry out this major migration in a way that suited our goals.”

66degrees was particularly supportive when it came to change management, providing training and workshops to help the organization better understand Google Workspace. In addition to onsite user education, 66degrees provides a continuous learning portal for all PGA of America employees and members so that everyone knows how to take advantage of capabilities in the solution.

“Working with 66degrees felt more like a partnership than a contracted vendor,” says Rhiannon Wilhelm, Product Manager and Change Management Lead at PGA of America. “The 66degrees project team displayed solution-driven responses, accountability when things got tough, and positive attitudes throughout this journey. Their ‘teamwork’ approach was greatly appreciated.”

The partner also helped migrate PGA of America to Google Workspace without disruption or loss. As PGA of America was coming from a highly fragmented IT environment with several datastores, 66degrees helped consolidate and shift file management directly into Google Drive.

A hole-in-one: Moving to SaaS

“Now that we’ve switched to Google Workspace, we use single-sign on and multi-factor authentication to dramatically and more securely improve employee and member access to our tools. Our users immediately saw the benefits.” -- Kevin J. Scott, Head of Technology, PGA of America

The decision to move to Google Workspace was also driven by a desire to leverage Software-as-a-Service tools that offer more benefits and fewer challenges than traditional approaches to IT. For example, PGA of America wanted to offload some maintenance, management, and support demands from IT staff to free them up for more strategic activities.

For the organization, one of the most compelling features of Google Workspace is the ability to use security-by-design features to enhance user experiences and better protect internal systems. By moving to a cloud-based collaboration platform, PGA of America saw an opportunity to strengthen their security posture.

“We came to realize that traditional, on-prem IT networks can be more vulnerable to attacks,” says Kevin. “Now that we’ve switched to Google Workspace, we use single-sign on and multi-factor authentication to dramatically and securely improve access to our tools. Our employees and members immediately saw the benefits.”

PGA of America also uses Okta as an added layer of security to provide a natural flow between Workspace, Workday HCM, and other business applications.

“By becoming a more SaaS-driven organization, we got rid of our VPNs, closed down all data centers, and stopped using outdated servers,” explains Kevin. “We saved money and eliminated headaches right from the start, but the true advantage is the fresh and innovative approach we can take to transform in ways that better support our members.”

Moving IT management to the fairway

“Google Workspace has changed how we work together inside and outside our organization. We are better able to enable our members to share the great game of golf with all who want to learn through virtual instruction via Google Meet, consistent scheduling, business data tracking, and ultimately staying closer with customers.” -- Kevin J. Scott, Head of Technology, PGA of America

Thanks to training support from 66degrees and powerful collaboration tools in Google Workspace, PGA of America now realizes the benefits of modernized IT. Public relations and marketing staff no longer worry about which version of a document they are editing, as real-time collaboration in Google Docs provides instant visibility.

“Having consistency in our digital toolset while also improving productivity in the way we work enabled us to sunset multiple tools and inefficient business processes,” says Rhiannon. “Having a new streamlined tech suite, we were able to work together better than ever in a remote setting as the pandemic took hold. It's hard to imagine working without Google Workspace now.”

With the new collaboration solution in place, speed and performance issues have been relegated to the past, while the costs of managing the IT stack have dropped dramatically. Users enjoy the ease and power of Gmail to stay connected without privacy concerns or security risks. Meanwhile, Google Sheets is helping PGA of America—from IT to accounting to marketing—better manage their data and generate insights.

Since beginning to use Google Workspace, Kevin and his team have seen a 70% reduction in support tickets.

PGA of America has also begun exploring BigQuery and other Google Cloud data solutions. In one case, the organization combined the power of BigQuery with Google Sheets to provide powerful business insights that were unavailable in its legacy ERP system. This opened the doors to further exploring the BigQuery capabilities and encouraged PGA of America to examine other approaches to automation.

PGA of America hopes to use Google Cloud analytics tools to better understand its workforce technology utilization, identify opportunities to tighten up file sharing permissions, and optimize finance, identity automation, and provisioning through BI.

“Google Workspace has changed how we work together inside and outside our organization,” says Kevin. “We are better able to enable our members to share the great game of golf with all who want to learn through virtual instruction via Google Meet, consistent scheduling, business data tracking, and ultimately staying closer with customers. It’s transformed how we work and empowers end users to do more on their own.”

About 66degrees

66degrees, a Google Cloud Premier Partner, believes great engineering takes heart. The company empowers technologists to master the cloud with an end-to-end approach to security, infrastructure, app development, and day-to-day collaboration.

About Okta

Okta, a Google Cloud partner, provides single-sign on, multi-factor authentication, and other security tools to accelerate technology adoption while mitigating privacy risks.

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