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Google Cloud Next ‘20: OnAir and in the Cloud with Maven Wave – Productivity & Collaboration Week

Last week, Google kicked off Next ‘20: OnAir with Industry Insights week and an opening keynote full of exciting product announcements. For more on BigQuery Omni, Confidential VMs, and other product launches, check out last week’s OnAir recap blog. This week, we’re diving into all things productivity & collaboration.

With so many companies moving to G Suite to enable remote working throughout the pandemic, this topic feels more pressing than ever. For all things surrounding enterprise collaboration, keep reading for our Q&A with Jeremy Kojima, Deployment Practice Lead at Maven Wave.

Q: G Suite was designed with human impact in mind. What’s the latest with G Suite – how is it helping our clients navigate quarantine?

Enabling remote work with an unprecedented level of simplicity for the non-technical end-user is what G Suite is all about. Although many of our clients’ core business has been impacted by the quarantine, we’ve yet to hear of any instances where they feel their collaboration technology is holding them back.

Google has stepped up the pace of G Suite innovation to help navigate the current environment, such as releasing Meet enterprise-level video conferencing capabilities at no charge. This, in turn, has allowed Maven Wave to help existing and new clients rapidly transform their way of working in order to maintain and even enhance operations.

Q: Can you share a specific example of this in action?

A great example of this is how we’ve been able to work with several healthcare providers to enable HIPAA-compliant telemedicine with Google Meet. For many providers, telemedicine jumped practically overnight from being on their long-term plan to being an immediate need. We’ve helped providers adapt their workflows to incorporate Meet in as little as a weekend, and even collaborated with Google and Epic to integrate Meet into one of the most commonly-used clinical management systems in the marketplace.

Even more important than getting the technology to function is enabling the human beings who need to use it. In this case, we had to consider how to rapidly and remotely train legions of doctors and nurses – who may have spent their entire career operating in an in-person clinical model – as well as the general public.

Food for thought: if we can help an 85-year-old retiree connect with a healthcare provider with G Suite, then there isn’t a single worker in your company we can’t reach. 

Q: Enterprise collaboration is top of mind, more than ever, for many professionals. Can you share some ways that Mavens are navigating working in virtual environments? What are your best remote work tips?

Mavens are used to being highly mobile. We have high expectations of ourselves to be productive whether we’re working from a customer’s boardroom, an airport lounge, our company headquarters, or our home offices. There are countless tips we’d love to share, and here are some of my favorites:

  • When working remotely, establish a morning routine… and never work in your pajamas! This will help you mentally change your frame of reference between home and work responsibilities.
  • Plan your workspace like a YouTube creator would. Video conferencing is de rigueur these days, so make sure you have a dedicated spot in which to work that’s relatively quiet and has a simple background. And don’t forget about audio quality! A good headset mic is worth its weight in gold when it comes to your professional image.
  • But don’t always sit at your desk. Move around! Try answering emails from the patio, or conduct your next 1:1 check-in from your kitchen. The kinetic nature of working in an office is something we often take for granted.
  • Reduce meeting overload by making the most of all available tools beyond video conferencing. Mavens are heavy users of Google Chat and the real-time shared editing functionality within Google Drive. 

For example, rather than hold a meeting to divide up responsibility for a deliverable, we can share an outline in Google Docs, tag authors to each section, add comments – and we all share the same view of the document as it evolves in real-time. When we want to talk through something, we hop into Chat, which can be turned into an impromptu Meet video conference should it warrant deeper discussion. A pre-scheduled meeting is our last resort in this scenario. This flexible way of working leads to faster, better quality work.

Q: Many people are talking about the future of the enterprise workplace and wondering what offices will look like in a year. What are your thoughts? 

There is a very good chance that we will see companies scale back their office footprint while supporting more workers in a remote capacity either full- or part-time. Correspondingly, we’ll likely see an increase in desk hoteling and even temporary workspaces replacing permanent office locations, so all this suggests the typical worker will be more mobile than ever before. Physical boardroom meetings, conferences, training, etc. may also transform into partly or wholly remote sessions, so video conferencing will continue to be a focus.

All of this will influence IT decisions, such as the types of devices that are provisioned to users, BYOD policy, the physical design and layout of offices and conference rooms, and even the manner in which users and devices are authenticated on your network. In short, we believe there’s never been a better time to consider the cloud.

Q: What are some of the biggest security challenges organizations are facing? How does Maven Wave integrate security measures into enterprise G Suite deployments to address these concerns?

The topic that’s top of mind for us right now is network authentication and access. Most companies have seen a surge in remote working, and those that are using technologies like VPNs and/or tying authentication to physical network locations are seeing a tremendous strain on their infrastructure. So, to reframe the problem, how do we meet a company’s internal security requirements, regulatory obligations, and so forth, with as little friction as possible for the end-users and with as little performance impact as possible?

We have some ideas of course, namely cloud-based IAP such as G Suite’s native capabilities or certain 3rd party products. But as consultants, it’s extremely important that we learn about our clients’ unique challenges, culture, infrastructure, and operating environment in order to come up with the best plan and toolset.

To achieve this, we always insist on a highly collaborative approach. We invite – indeed, expect – the client’s internal subject matter experts to have a seat at the table with us as we assess and design the G Suite rollout. This absolutely includes the information security team, who we recognize as a critical stakeholder in every engagement.

Q: Maven Wave holds a Google Cloud Partner Specialization in Enterprise Collaboration. How does this benefit customers?

Having this specialization means you don’t have to take our word for it – it shows we do have the experience and expertise to help with the biggest, gnarliest collaboration challenges out there!

I also want to highlight the word enterprise in that certification. You don’t become one of the largest organizations on the planet without taking on immense complexity in your operations, systems, and structure. We understand that, and having this certification means we’ve demonstrated that we have the flexibility, scalability, and talent to cater to an Enterprise’s unique needs.

Maven Wave’s Suggested Sessions for Productivity & Collaboration Week

  • Work Beyond Borders: How to Use G Suite with Microsoft and Your Favorite Third-Party Applications

Be sure to check back on our blog next week for another insightful edition of Google Cloud Next ‘20: OnAir and in the Clouds with Maven Wave. Week 3: Infrastructure will take a deep dive into how Google Cloud’s infrastructure enables enterprises to solve problems faster, more securely, and at greater scale.

July 20th, 2020

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