A Specialist Birmingham-based commercial law firm has put in place a solution based on Google Apps for Business, implemented by Ancoris and Cloud Skills, to improve the way it communicates with its clients. Using Google Sites, the firm has created extranets that allow lawyers and clients to share numerous large documents with multiple parties in different locations easily and securely.
We previously used email to share documents which put a high load on both ours and our clients email systems explained Anthony, the firms IT Manager. We wanted to create extranets for our clients instead to help us collaborate more easily and efficiently with them.
In looking for a solution, the firm wanted a solution that was:
- Secure - to allow confidential information to be shared safely;
- Easy to use;
- Quick & easy to roll out - without requiring too much work from the internal IT team; and;
- Adaptable - able to match the branding and professional appearance of our corporate website.
The Firm recently worked with Ancoris to implement Google Apps for Business and Google Message Discovery to handle email archiving and as a backup for Exchange. When Ancoris suggested the firm look at Google Sites, which comes as part of Google Apps for Business, it quickly became apparent He says. Google Sites offer us everything we need in a very cost-effective externally hosted environment. Trying to achieve the level of security that comes as standard within Google Sites in-house would be very costly. We can rely on the stability provided by the Google backbone, and know that Google is constantly enhancing the solution.
As well as offering SSL encryption out of the box, the sophisticated user management within Google Sites enables the firm to set up multiple extranets for clients and makes it easier to manage access restrictions for users. Matching the look and feel of the firms brand was also straightforward, thanks to work carried out by Cloud Skills (specialists in Training Services for Google Apps, including training courses, eLearning tools and migration aids). Cloud Skills used its understanding of Google Sites to create a template that replicated the look and feel of our website very quickly Anthony explains. However, because Google Sites is so flexible in how the screens are laid out, we can still set up individual extranets structured to match clients specific needs without sacrificing our corporate branding.
As well as creating the template, Cloud Skills provided step-by-step instructions on how to create a new client extranet as part of the project documentation, and delivered web-based training to Anthony and a number of other key staff. It now takes us less than ten clicks to create a new site and apply all the necessary security settings he points out. Because Google Sites is menu driven, it does not require any particular technical skills, so new sites can be created by all staff within the business.
Anthony adds that the firm has been extremely impressed by the support provided by Cloud Skills. They understand Google Sites very well and were able to quickly translate what we wanted to achieve into a template he says. Their documentation and web-based training is excellent, and when we have contacted them with queries, they have been very quick to respond. The whole service they have provided has been very good and made working with them and achieving our aims stress free.
The work we did for the firm shows the flexibility and power of Google Sites to meet business users needs says Sue Fabre, Director of Cloud Skills. The philosophy behind Google Apps for Business is to simplify life for the IT team. We welcomed the chance to use our knowledge of Google Sites, our development expertise and our training and documentation services to help the firm get its secure, branded extranets up and running quickly without tying up valuable internal resources.
Anthony says the new extranets have been warmly welcomed by clients. The feedback we have had is that the extranet is very easy to learn and use and that it is a real time saver. We can now upload all kinds of documents very easily. Clients are immediately alerted by email when new content is added and are able to access the content instantly, no matter where they are. We and our clients no longer struggle with being able to open attachments or with having large documents bounced by email providers.
The extranets also provide storage and archiving for documents, with version control, while the full-text search capabilities provided by Google Sites make it easy for the firms staff and clients to find the data they are looking for. Because of the high level of security provided by Google Sites, the firm is also able to share financial information.
In addition, the firm is using Google Sites to share podcasts made using Google Video. A typical use would be to share a podcast of bespoke training provided for a client, so that staff who were not able to attend an in-house training session in person can catch up later online. Anthony explains, The security provided by Google Sites means we can easily yet securely share podcasts relating specifically to a clients business, as well as create and share podcasts of some of our generic training.
The firm now intends to offer extranets based on Google Sites to all its clients as part of its standard suite of services, whilst Anthony will look to exploit other aspects of Google Apps for Business, with Ancoriss support. Ancoris is very on the ball; they know Googles solutions very well; their technical support staff are very quick and helpful in their responses; and they have taken time out to understand our needs and to help us get the most from Google, he says.
Were delighted to be able to help customers like this law firm make the best use of the broad suite of applications within Google Apps for Business to improve the way they operate and the service they deliver to clients, says David McLeman, Managing Director of Ancoris. As this firm has shown, companies can rely on Google Apps for Business to deliver secure and reliable support for key business processes, at a fraction of the price and development effort of running a solution in house.
Download Case Study as PDF