Toll Group to go Google

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Toll Group to go Google

Poaches Woolworths project manager.

Logistics giant Toll is laying the foundations for a company-wide shift to Google for Work, which will see all 40,000 of the multinational’s workers equipped with a Gmail account and Google productivity apps.

The ink has barely dried on the new project, which will eventually replace 20,000 Microsoft Office accounts with the Google alternative.

Toll Group CIO John Ansley told iTnews the IT team was currently bedding down a timeline for deployment and a structure for which of Toll’s numerous business groups to tackle first. Once that’s done, he expects the actual deployment to take less than a year.

“We are organising the logical timing to transition each group, and whether we go by geography, by business, by worker type,” he said.

“We’ll be rolling it out to roughly double the number of people we were able to reach with Microsoft.”

The cloud-based nature of the productivity suite means workers in warehouses and transport hubs who were previously unable to access an email account will now be more connected into the organisation.

“Access to desktops and laptops was hindering Microsoft takeup,” Ansley said.

“But now they can access Gmail on any device they like. You can deploy Google for Work to any device as long as we tell people what their Gmail ID is.”

Leading the push is Toll’s new head of cloud technology Mark Pearce, who also helped roll out Google tools to 26,000 Woolworths employees in 2013.

The retailer later additionally opted for a move to Google’s Chrome operating system for desktops and laptops - a path also to be traversed by Toll.

But unlike Woolworths’ mass rollout of 8000 Chrome OS devices, Toll won’t undertake a large-scale deployment.

“Any new staff members - if we don’t have a laptop or desktop around - would go to a Chrome device,” Ansley said.

“But we’re not looking at it being a big replacement thing. We’ll continue to use the assets we have for their useful life, and as they come to end of life, they’ll be replaced by a Chrome device."

Excel-heavy users will still have access to the Microsoft software through Toll’s ongoing licenses, Ansley said, but he expects the requirements of the majority of the company’s workforce will be satisfied by Google Apps.

“In particular we want people using Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides. We’re also looking at what else we can do in terms of collaboration, and what we can do with Hangouts.”

Ansley touted the move as the latest step in Toll’s “cloud-first, cloud-fast approach”, following from its shift to the hosted Workday platform for HR and SAP Simple Finance.

The company also recently dipped its toes in AWS waters by shifting its disaster recovery and back-up platforms for the Toll global forwarding business into the public cloud - and Ansley is currently “playing” with AWS, Azure and Google Compute for potential use in other areas of the business.

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