Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is Mr. Saleh Al-Sagabi, Information Technology Director at Spimaco, a Saudi Arabian medical and pharmaceutical business, which develops, manufactures and sells pharmaceutical products and medical appliances. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.
As one of the leading Saudi Arabian pharmaceutical companies, Spimaco works tirelessly to register new products with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the fastest time possible. Previously, this involved a team of a hundred people from across the world creating, accessing and editing thousands of documents individually. This meant staff were spending an hour a week inputting into documents, sending them as attachments for others to edit and merging changes from multiple contributors. Across the organization, this added up to 52,000 hours a year spent on managing different versions of the same document and combining changes from individuals.
We’d heard about other large pharmaceutical businesses, Roche and Genentech, moving to the cloud-based communication service Google Apps so we understood its collaborative potential. As an experiment, we decided to offer 50 of our staff access to Google Apps and found that, all of a sudden, teams were no longer wiping out several hours a week on making changes in attachments, sending these to colleagues and merging changes into a single document. They were using Google Docs to work together in the same document simultaneously, seeing each other’s changes as they typed and sharing ideas, comments and feedback instantly across multiple countries. This really showed us the potential of Google Apps for teamwork and collaboration.
Not only is our information easier to access from anywhere but it is also more secure. Having used Lotus Domino since 1998, we ended up with over four terabytes of confidential data that needed to be managed and protected by our own teams. This was both time-consuming and challenging. Today, by storing everything in Google’s data center, we benefit from the cutting edge security Google can offer and, if needed, can remotely wipe accounts or devices. Our employees can also see exactly who has access to a document and whether they can edit it or not - all without complex file sharing processes, which used to take IT at least an hour a day to manage. We’ll soon be adding Google Vault to help us further with archiving, e-discovery and improve the information governance capabilities.
We've also cut our IT costs by 75% by moving to Google Apps - that's hundreds of thousands of dollars we can spend developing better medical solutions instead. More importantly, we now have a more productive, better connected, more collaborative workforce. As the largest company in Saudi Arabia to make the move to Google Apps, it is great to think we’re leading the way for others in our country.