Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is Suresh K L, Chief Information Officer at Fidelity Bank Ghana Limited, a Ghanaian bank serving 450,000 customers across 45 branches. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.
Established in 2006, Fidelity Bank Ghana is the sixth largest commercial bank in Ghana—employing 1,200 people and serving 450,000 customers across the country. As the banking industry in west Africa continues to evolve, we’re seeing growth due to our aim to provide customers with a faster, simpler banking solution so they can focus on building their businesses and living their lives. We decided to move to Google Apps in March of 2013 because of the guaranteed uptime, high security, low operating costs, and the opportunity for better collaboration among our employees.
Our legacy email system would be down for countless hours—wasting time, decreasing performance, and compromising security. As a result of the unresolvable server outages before switching, employees started using their personal email addresses for official communication, which was against company policy. Our old system operated at 30 to 40 percent more downtime than Google Apps and I personally was losing about six hours a week from downtime.
Since Google Apps is cloud-based and updates automatically, we’re now saving 30 percent in operating costs per year versus our previous environment. The legacy email system required frequent costly upgrades and hardware maintenance. And, like many banks, the security of our account holders’ information is very important to us so we were impressed by the SAS 70 security certification for Google Apps Vault and we were comfortable with making the switch.
Employee collaboration from any device, regardless of location, was a big driver in our move to Google Apps. Many of our employees don’t have desk phones, so Hangouts—with the instant chat feature—have really helped the team stay connected. I’ve seen employees with 12 different chats open at once! Hangouts have reduced the number of meetings we have, allowing different stakeholders to collaborate without having a formal meeting. Before moving to Google Apps, we had major issues trying to access our email during trips abroad. We returned home with hundreds of emails and spent days just reading through them. With Google Apps accessible from anywhere, we can check our email inbox from virtually any device, boosting productivity and time savings.
Google Drive is helping our employees be more productive, and the transition was seamless. Since each user has 30GB of space, there’s plenty of room to have all of our documents and we can access our Docs, Sheets, and Slides from anywhere. We use Drive as our intranet—uploading everything from HR policies to compliance documents. We’re also creating microsites to serve as collaborative hubs for individual departments. For example, we have Google Sheets shared across branches and teams to manage our sales activity, our private and executive banking sales activity, our future business pipeline reports and collating weekly operational reports. Company-wide, we can attribute about 15 percent of time savings directly to Google Apps, but some individuals are saving even more time. Our head of ATM card management is now saving two days per week using Google Forms. Previously, she received 44 separate email attachments each week from various branches that she had to manually input into a master document. Now, those updates are collected using an automated Google Form that auto-populates the master Google Sheet.
Overall, I love seeing all the innovative ways in which employees are proactively using Google Apps to be more efficient and productive. We continue to explore new opportunities to leverage Google Apps to make employee collaboration and productivity better.