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Global HR firm Randstad standardises on Google

Cliff Saran

Global HR company, Randstad, is standardising on Google’s cloud-based email and document collaboration platform as a replacement for Lotus Notes and Exchange Server.

Randstad operates decentralised IT with a thin layer of consolidated IT. Each of the 40 country it operates in runs its own systems.

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Email, which is part of the local remit, is predominantly based on Microsoft Exchange, but the company also runs Lotus Note for collaboration.

Hans Wanders, CIO at Randstad, said: “As CIO, I will set a standard, and let local companies do their own roll-out.” 

He hopes to have all businesses transferred to Google by Q1 next year. The roll-out will eventually include all 29,000 Randstad employees. So far, 8,000 employees in France, Japan and India have migrated to Google.

Hans Wanders expects to save money on internal storage, servers, backup and disaster recovery by using Google’s cloud infrastructure.

Looking at the benefits over and beyond datacentre operational savings, he said: “Google Hangouts and video conference is quite popular – for group meetings without travel.

He said employees were also using Google Drive to share online documents and spreadsheets with colleagues. 

“People can work on one [version] of the document across the globe, but Google will not replace Microsoft Office at Randstad,” said Wanders.

Wanders expects cloud-based email will become the norm. However, it is not suitable for every business. Even at Randstad, which is planning a global roll-out, the operations in China will not have Google, due to government restrictions. And while Randstad has worked on a global contract, which overcomes many of the issues that local countries may face with personal data moving across borders, Wanders leaves the implementation to individual operating companies. 

He said: "In Germany, for instance, an additional agreement with Google was necessary.”

Randstad selected Netherlands-based G-company to provide consultancy for the implementation and roll-out of Google.

Martijn Nykerk, senior consultant group IT at Randstad, said: “G-company provided knowledge and template and ideas.” 

He said the change of management has been the most important of the project that G-company contributed to. 

“In a project, 80% is about communications and change, while 20% is IT," said Martijn Nykerk. "You really should communicate often to the user population. Don’t wait until the end. Send out flyers and post new articles about the project internally.”

Commenting on the Google migration, Nykerk said the project is relatively straightforward: “A lot of the technology is implemented once, like setting up the environment and provisioning. This can then be used a template."


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