Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Editor's note: Our guest blogger today is Keith Evans, EVP Strategy & Process at Standard Parking, the leading national provider of parking facility management services. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.
At Standard Parking, we help people park their cars safely and quickly. We employ over 23,000 people across 4,200 facilities – that amounts to over 2 million parking spaces – across the country. To help serve our clients and customers better, we merged with Central Parking nine months ago to become the largest parking management company. In order to manage this large scale operation, we use Google Apps for Business to stay connected and consistent across our company.
Last year, we decided to replace our old Microsoft Exchange Server 2003. We needed a solution that focused on mobile and collaboration, and was cost effective and scalable. We looked at Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365, but never seriously considered 365 because of the cost alone. Upgrading our current on-premise system would’ve been nearly four times more expensive than going Google. Our CEO demonstrated his commitment and helped with our change management efforts when he told the pilot group during a training session, “If I can do this, you can do this.” With the help of Google Apps reseller MavenWave, we made the initial switch for Standard Parking in February of 2012.
After our merger with Central Parking in October of 2012, we had a highly distributed organization with employees at headquarters in Chicago and Nashville, as well as at thousands of facilities across the country. Google Apps let us move the entire Central Parking organization off of Exchange and on to our domain quickly – it was like we simply flipped a switch. We also created an intranet using Google Sites that became the company’s primary means of communication to employees, both old and new, during the merger. All departments have pages on the site for policies, procedures and other documentation. We also created an "Operations Playbook" that outlines the company processes. It's a great resource for employees, managers, and executives.
Google Apps gave the company a single platform for our 4,200 users to communicate with each other, maintain personal and shared calendars, and the flexibility and access that they didn’t have before. We’re a field-based organization, but remotely connecting to our old email system was incredibly hard. Employees had to connect to a VPN or use a non-intuitive Outlook web interface. Google Apps lets anyone log in to their email on any device at any time.
We want our business to be as simple and efficient as possible, so that our customers’ only worry is about getting their car in between the lines. We’ve gone through a lot of changes and growth over the past year, but Google Apps has helped us turn two companies into one, and keep thousands of garages under one technology roof.