TechCFO on Using Google Apps to Unlock Information, Increase Innovation, and Steamline IT

Uploaded by GoogleApps on 07.08.2009


JIM FOLLIARD: Hello there everyone, and welcome to
another TechRepublic webcast. Really do appreciate you
turning out and joining us today.
What we're doing today is looking at how using Google
Apps can really help you unlock information, increase
innovation, and streamline IT.
This webcast is brought to you by Google.
A couple ways that you can reach out to Google, one,
clicking on the logo, lower left-hand portion of the
player, also we have some links in the related resources
that will get you over to the Google Apps pages so you can
get more information about some of the topics in the
discussion that we're having today.
My name is James Hilliard.
I am your moderator for the event on board with
Really happy to be here for today's event.
And here's what we're going to be doing.
We're going to give you a quick overview at the
beginning here of what Google Apps is.
So if you're new to hearing about Google Apps, this will
give you a good overview of what the offerings are.
Then we're really lucky to kind of have a living,
breathing case study here.
We're going to be talking, and I'll get to the introductions
in just a moment, about some of the challenges that an
organization, TechCFO had, and how they worked with Cloud
Sherpas on a Google Apps implementation
and a solution there.
Then really we're going to open it up to Q&A for
hopefully the last 10, 15 minutes, and this is a great
opportunity to talk to some individuals who have gone
through the process and get an idea which you might be in
store for if you choose Google Apps for
some of your solutions.
That's an overview of what we're gong to do about 40, 45
minutes of content, and then, again, 10, 15 minutes of Q&A.
Serena Satyasai is with us from Google today.
She's a Product Marketing Manager.
And again, she's going to be sharing with us early on here
some of the Google solutions for IT.
So Serena, really happy to have you on board welcome back
to TechRepublic.
JAMES HILLIARD: As you can see on the slide here, really
user-centric technology for businesses.
That's a key to Google Apps, and I think you'll see that,
and again, ask questions about that as we go through today's
3,000 plus businesses are signing up
for Google Apps daily.
It's getting a lot of good attention out there in the
We're glad you took time to join us on the event and learn
a little bit more about that.
I mentioned that we'll be hearing from TechCFO, and with
us is Neal Miller who is a partner over there.
And again, you see they're an executive level financial
management consulting group.
Today, Neal's coming to us from their Atlanta offices.
They've got other offices on the East Coast as well as out
here in San Francisco, you can find more at
Neal, really do appreciate you taking time and kind of
opening up and sharing some of the challenges/issues you guys
had and the ultimate solutions you chose.
We're looking forward to it.
NEAL MILLER: Thank you, James.
Glad to be here.
JAMES HILLIARD: And Neal is in the same location today as
Michael Cohn, and Michael is the CEO of Cloud Sherpas who
really helped with that deployment of Google Apps for
TechCFO, so we're going to really be hearing what Cloud
Sherpas did for TechCFO, what they can do for others.
Again, Michael appreciate you taking time and joining us for
today's event.
MICHAEL COHN: Pleasure to be here.
I look forward to hearing from the customers on the call.
And again, really look forward to getting questions and
comments in, which you can do, lower portion of the player.
Type those questions into the ask a question box.
Just make sure you hit the Ask bubble.
We'll get you queued up.
Probably pepper some questions throughout the presentation.
And again, most of those questions we'll handle on the
back end during the Q&A.
Serena, what I want to do is get back into that agenda.
We want to give a brief overview of Google Apps here.
So I'm going to turn the floor to you for a couple moments so
we can see what the offerings are and get
people up to speed.
Thanks again so much, James.
We are really pleased to have you on this Webinar today, and
we're really pleased to have Michael and Neal here to
answer your questions.
We just wanted to give you a quick overview of Google Apps,
so you understand what we're talking about.
If you haven't already heard about Google Apps, it's a
suite of applications that provide messaging and
collaboration, security and compliance for your business.
It's built on the Google Apps platform, a cloud computing
platform which is available to you 365/24/7 without any
hardware or software necessary for your business to install.
We have in our messaging suite Gmail or Google mail for your
domain, and includes instant messaging, integrated chat
functionality, as well as a calendar functionality.
And our collaboration suite, really the focus of actually
today's conversation, we include Google Sites, Google
Video for your business, and as well Google Docs, which
include an online word processing spreadsheet and
presentations functionality.
Our security and compliance apps really come from the
acquisition of a company called Postini.
It provides an additional level of email filtering, the
flow of encryption options, and archiving discovery and
web security options.
This is Google Apps, which we provide, as I had said,
Software as a Service to your businesses.
So if you're an IT person, you don't have to worry about
hardware or software ongoing maintenance.

We also are really pleased today to have Cloud
Sherpas with us.
They are one of our Google Apps authorized resellers.
This is a new program that we have that is particularly
beneficial to customers because, as you can see with
this example with Cloud Sherpas, they can work with
really any types of businesses--
large companies, as well as educational institutions.
What they can do for you is really accelerate the benefits
that you would get with Google Apps, and also help show you,
as we'll see in today's example, different uses of
Google Apps that you may not have realized
that you could do.
Particularly, our Google Apps authorized resellers are
definitely capable in terms of helping you migrate your
Legacy messaging structures.
That includes architecture assessment, but also helping
you do any configuration, implementation, and certainly
change management and training.
As you'll see in this example with Cloud Sherpas, they've
done just that for TechCFO, and have also provided a lot
of support even post deployment.
Additionally, our Google Apps authorized resellers, such as
Cloud Sherpas, are able to provide additional custom
application development to help you extend what you might
get with Google Apps.
So for example, if you have additional functionality that
you want to include with Google Apps, you could have
Cloud Sherpas help build that for you on the Google App
engine platform.
Again, by building it on the Google Apps engine platform,
you won't need to buy any
additional hardware or software.
That would be provided for you through Google Apps engine.
If you have any more questions, of course, for a
partner like Cloud Sherpas, please put it in the player
and we'll get to your questions throughout the
presentation and at the end.
Without any further adiu, I really want to turn it over to
today's guest speakers.
That would be Neal Miller for TechCFO.

NEAL MILLER: Thank you, Serena.
Just by way of starting off, we'll talk about some of the
challenges that we're facing at TechCFO that led us into
this project.
The firm is founded and based in Atlanta, and we're a group
of serial Chief Financial Officers providing fractional
CFO services to early and emerging
stage technology companies.
We had grown rapidly since our founding in 2003, and entering
2008 we were 12 partners and over a dozen staff people in
two offices.
One of the things that we've always prided ourselves in
with our clients is saying that when you hire one of us
you hire all of us, and you basically get the collective
experience of all of the TechCFO partners.
The way that we had managed that when we were a smaller
firm was basically by talking to each other or emailing.
If one of us ran into a circumstance that we had not
encountered before, or we needed a document like an
audit committee charter or revenue acquisition policy, we
would send out an email to partners, asking our question,
and then within some period of time we would
start to get responses.
But as we entered 2008 we also had significant growth plans
and had expected that we were going to try to grow the firm,
add additional offices, recruit new partners, and we
knew that that process was going to get harder, but also
be more important.
And as we tried to recruit partners to join our firm, the
question is well, if I'm doing this, why
would I join your firm?
And our response is typically because you get to be part of
the collective group and share in our collective experience,
and you can also contribute to that.
But we had no tools to actually manage the
intellectual capital of all of the partners.
We also had situations where we had documents, especially
in our business, large spreadsheet models that was
our work product we would share with our clients.
Oftentimes, these are very large spreadsheets and we
occasionally had problems getting through email filters
with such large files.
That would occasionally become problematic for us, and so we
were also looking for ways to address that.
So that sort of frames the overall challenges that we
had, which was to try to be able to manage our overall
growth in a virtual environment.

So at the starting point, basically the first step that
we went through was to try to gather up the
intellectual capital.
In early 2008 we initiated a project where each of the
partners actually pulled together the information that
they had been storing in their past historical work.
We gathered all of this information together.
It was between 700 and 800 documents of
various shapes and sizes.
And our initial idea was to try to set this up in some
organized fashion in the public folders of our hosted
Exchange email solution.
We went through a project and set all of that up, and it was
certainly better than what we had, but it was slow, and
clunky, and it was very difficult to search.
And basically, you sort of needed to know what you were
looking for in order to find it.
We had things organized, at least, by topical folders, and
we broke it down as much as was feasible, but it was still
not simplistic to ask a question or put in a couple of
key words for search, and be able to find the document that
you were looking for.
So while a step in the right direction, our conclusion was
it really wasn't functional for what our
overall needs were.

So basically the next step in the process was to identify
this, and as we were doing our 2009 strategic planning, we
also were planning to open a couple of new
offices in early 2009.
We basically identified the need to
take this a step further.
And I was tasked with looking into the marketplace, what the
available solutions were out there from a technology
perspective, and come back with a recommendation.
It was almost literally a week after the strategy session and
this assignment that I attended a seminar at the
Google offices here in Atlanta that was hosted by Cloud
Sherpas, that was a Google Apps seminar.
I had become interested in the whole cloud computing
solutions as we all are through looking at new
opportunities for our client base to
save money on IT solutions.
I also came to realize that my 14-year-old son knew a lot
more about Google and their solutions than I did, and I
had better catch up with what was going on.
So I attended the seminar.
Got a good overview of the whole Google Apps solutions.
At the end of presentation, we broke up into hands-on
demonstration groups.
One of those demonstration groups was for Google Sites.
I saw how simple it was to set up a site under Google Apps,
to upload documents.
And I guess most impressive of all was the fact that once you
did that, you had the full capabilities of Google Search.
A lot of our documents our Word or PDF type documents,
some of them have technical accounting information, so the
ability to type in a few words of what you're looking for and
then immediately quickly be presented with a list of all
of the documents in the repository that meet your
criteria or meet your search was really very, very
So from that perspective, I took
that back to our partners.
I talked with Cloud Sherpas about what would be involved,
got a proposal from them, and took it back to my partners
and we decided to move forward.
To kind of run down, obviously, it was Google Apps
is a comprehensive suite of applications.
We are only immediately in our immediate need using the sites
part of that, but one of the things that was very quick to
realize was that the whole suite of Google Apps, both
from a capabilities and a cost standpoint, is a significant
capability for us, and over time, our expectation is is
that we will extend the use of the whole suite of
Certainly from a cost perspective we looked at a
couple of different solutions.
The Google Apps solution was really about a quarter of the
cost annually of what we were looking at from other
solutions, and that doesn't even include, again, the
ability to extend the use for Gmail and other of the
It was very easy to use, very intuitive.
The training for our whole staff team was done in about
less than two hours.
The implementation took place in a matter of a couple of
weeks, which actually really exceeded our expectations.
I think Michael and I collaborated through a Google
site on the project in the project plan, and after an
initial meeting, we had a few phone calls where we looked at
the structure, and within about two weeks, the
implementation was really ready to show to our partners.
We got a little bit of initial feedback from them, made a few
more changes, and we were ready to roll out.
So from the time we signed the contract to the time we held
our user training was less than five weeks elapsed time.
So it's given us a lot better way to communicate between our
partners and our staff, and working with Cloud Sherpas has
been a great experience.
JAMES HILLIARD: Neal, let me jump in here.
Before you guys chose, you obviously had said, the public
folders really wasn't functional for you.
Before you chose Google Apps, did you look
at any other solutions?
Anything else that Microsoft had to offer?
Anything else in the marketplace?
We scoped out a couple of other solutions, certainly, in
the environment that we were looking at, SharePoint
solution would have been something that we would look
at, and we did.
From a cost standpoint, it was dramatically more expensive,
and again, did not provide all of the feature capabilities
that we'll be able to ultimately take advantage of
using Google Apps.
So that was probably one of the other leading solutions
that we could have looked at.
But again, being a group of Chief Financial Officers,
we're certainly cost conscious, looking at the
capabilities that we needed, and the cost, that we felt
like this was the right solution for us.
JAMES HILLIARD: Keith, who's one of our users, wanted to
know what those solutions and vendors are you evaluated.
So I appreciate that, Keith.
Christian Scott and a few others have
already submitted questions.
I encourage folks to keep those questions coming in.
Again, we hope to use the last 10 or 15 minutes of today's
presentation and really go through as many of those
questions as possible.
Let's get back into the main part of the presentation
though now, and dive into a little more details about the
overall scope of this project.
NEAL MILLER: Thanks, James.
MICHAEL COHN: So as Serena had mentioned, this project was a
little bit different for Cloud Sherpas.
Typically, we are migrating enterprise messaging systems
for organizations with 500 to 1,000 to several thousands of
users from either Lotus or Exchange or GroupWise or even
Unix platforms, out to Google Apps.
In this case, we weren't tackling mail at all.
We were tackling a communications and
collaborations problem, and we were really only just rolling
out Google Sites.
So Neal and TechCFO explored the entire suite, and when
they saw the cost of the whole suite that included Sites,
they were comfortable moving forward with the entire suite
purchase, and are now planning a roll out of the rest of the
suite later in 2009.
So when we got started, we took a look at their existing
solution, at the public folder challenge.
And then once we had come to the fact that we were going to
build an online document repository in Google Sites, we
started some discussions on what else Google Sites could
do for TechCFO.
That's where the project grew a little bit from beyond just
the document repository to really being
the company of internet.
And also, TechCFO was very excited by the ability to
create Google sites for their own clients.
As Neal alluded to earlier, Cloud Sherpas kicks off a
Google site for every project that we do.
So when we get engaged with a large enterprise, we
immediately launch a Google site, we kind of have our own
template that we work with, and the entire project is
managed through the Google site where all of our
contracts and documents are there, we have
calendars on there.
We really use the tool, and eat your own dog food, so to
speak, as much as possible.
So when Neal saw that, they immediately saw how Google
Sites could be used to really augment the
TechCFO work product.
So the scope of our project was really in three parts.
One, we were building an internet for the company.
Two, we were building a document repository.
And three, we were going to train the TechCFO partners and
staff on how to deploy their own client sites.

So let's take a look at what we developed.
What we're looking at right here is a screenshot of the
TechCFO internet.
When Cloud Sherpas uses Google Sites for our client sites, or
when we use it for our own internet, we really try to
design that first page that a user lands on to be more of a
dashboard look and feel.
So when a user enters the TechCFO internet, they can
immediately see the shared TechCFO calendar.
And even though TechCFO hasn't yet adopted the rest of the
Google Apps suite, including Gmail and Calendar, they are
using currently a shared calendar to put company-wide
events and company-wide events on the calendar.
So we can get a snapshot of that when you
first hit the site.
There's of course, some intro text, and then you've got some
recent announcements that are being pulled up to the front
page in this dashboard.
The other pages that we built for the internet were
really around HR.
So we built out an entire HR section for TechCFO where the
HR department could house all of the
documents for new hires.
We've also got all of our enrollment--

benefit and 401K enrollment forms up on the TechCFO HR
site, and policies and procedures and
things of that sort.
Then last, we also built out a company internet--
I'm sorry--
a company directory inside the internet.
So as TechCFO partners continued to be added to the
company, as staffers change out, this company directory
gets updated and now everybody has a quick way of getting to
everybody else's contact information.
As a real measure of success, the internet was deployed
almost five weeks ago, and just in the last week, we're
still seeing that 50% of the users have logged in within
the last three days alone.
And 70% have logged in in the last week.
Now, granted, this is still a little bit early on, and we
have been pushing out communications to ensure
adoption of the site and so forth, but TechCFO has really
found this to be an excellent resource.
And the partners are now logging in to get information
pretty regularly.
So let's move on to the next part of the project is for the
document repository.
JAMES HILLIARD: Mike, I just wanted to jump in here and
just clarify a question we had in from Casey about the
repository, and wanted to know specifically, can people be
notified of changes to that website?
MICHAEL COHN: Thanks, James.
Yes, you can.
One of the functions that's built into Google Sites is the
ability to subscribe to either a site change or to subscribe
to a page change.
So if you are logging in to Google Sites, and you're only
interested in learning when, let's say there's somebody new
in the company.
So you can subscribe to your company
directory page changes.
Neal, on the other hand, is an administrator of the entire
internet, and he subscribes to site-wide changes.
So he gets an email notification when anybody has
edited the site.
That's a great functionality that when folks are
collaborating on a site, can be very useful.
and in fact, we'll talk a little bit more
about this later on.
But when Cloud Sherpas builds a Google site for our
customers, for a project management, and when TechCFO
partners build out a client site, we often recommend to
the partner and to the TechCFO client or to the Cloud Sherpa
customer, to go ahead subscribe to site changes.
That way we can keep up to speed when the
site is being updated.
JAMES HILLIARD: Sure, makes sense.
Casey, thanks for the question.
Again, we're getting a lot of questions coming in right now.
So I anticipate, guys, we're going to have a really strong
Q&A session.
With that, Mike, let me turn it back over to you.
MICHAEL COHN: Thanks, James.
So the real crux of the scope of this project was really
around the document repository.
As Neal had mentioned earlier, TechCFO had somewhere between
700 and 800 documents that were living in public folders
inside of a Microsoft Exchange instance.
You really had to know where information was before you
could go find it, which kind of defeats some
of the purpose here.
So Cloud Sherpas built a tool that we'll talk about in the
next slide, that essentially automated the migration of the
entire suite of documents up into Google Sites.
We migrated approximately about 750 documents or so, and
when the documents finally got into Google Sites, as Neal
mentioned earlier, the documents get fully indexed.
What that means is that when you're moving Word documents,
and Excel documents, and PowerPoint files, and PDFs
into this document repository, you can then run a search
using the search box in the upper right corner of the
screen there, and that search will search against the
content inside of all the documents.
So the documents get fully indexed and fully searchable.
What we're looking at here is a screenshot
of one of the searches.
So it's now become an incredibly powerful tool for
TechCFO to find what they're looking for very quickly.
The other thing that was important to TechCFO was, as
Neal mentioned, last summer the organization had really
institutionalized all of their IP into a document repository,
and they spent a good amount of time
building a site hierarchy.
So there were about 18 to 20 or so sections.
Each one of those sections had their ID and designation.
And files lived inside of those sections.
And using the Google Sites bulk file uploader that we
developed, we were able to really maintain the entire
site hierarchy.
And for those of you who are familiar with Google Sites,
and you know a little bit about the page templates, what
we did here was we developed a tool that was going to suck
all of that data out of a file repository and build out the
hierarchy in Google Sites using pages, file cabinet
pages, and sub pages to that file cabinets to kind of act
as folders.
This wound up being a huge time saver, really for TechCFO
and for Cloud Sherpas.
That's really one of the benefits that as an end user
you get when you work with an integration partner.
We've been doing large scale integrations for 15, 20 years
combined experience here, and if there's one thing that
integration partner knows how to do well, it's how to
automate manual processes.
So although Google Sites doesn't have a programmatic
interface to the application, there's no API currently that
allows us to write natively, if you will, directly to
Google Sites.
We were still able to automate the process using the skills
that we have as integrators to automate the entire process.

We also have this up on the Google Apps marketplace for
those of you who think you might be interested in it.
JAMES HILLIARD: Mike, let me ask you another question
coming here from Jeff wanting to know how long did the bulk
uploading take, and is there kind of an average time for
people based on the amount of documents, et cetera?
That's going to change on a case by case basis, depending
on how many documents you have, and really what the
average file size is of the documents.
In our case, these 700 documents got uploaded--
we started the process overnight.
I would imagine that that took no more
than four to six hours.
We had a dedicated P-1 line, there was nobody in the
office, so we had the full upstream, if you will, and had
it done by morning.
JAMES HILLIARD: Let me do a quick follow-up on that.
Is that kind of a best practice if
someone goes this route?
Do this during some off time, either initially over the
weekend, or do it during an overnight time period so that
you really can utilize the network fully, get things done
as quick as possible?
When you're talking about any kind of data migration, you
always need to make sure that you're not going to impact
your bandwidth, and not going to run into any issues there.
In our situation, we wrote our process during the day, and we
let the process run at night.
Because we were talking about really that many documents--
700 may sound like a lot, but we've moved much larger
organizations, and we've moved mail for those organizations.
So for example, we're currently working with a very
large educational institution that has 25,000 students, and
we're migrating mail for that organization from their
current Unix-based environment up to Google Apps, that's and
we're doing those migrations, of course, in batches and
making sure that we're using our bandwidth judiciously.
Again, keep the questions coming in.
We are getting Robert, Christian, Nashook, Chris,
Glen, Kevin, Glen, Charles.
Tons of people with questions in here.
So guys, you're going to have your work cut out for you.
We're going to continue on here probably another 10
minutes max on the formal presentation, then really get
to as many of these questions as possible.
So get your questions in early and often now so we can get
you queued up, and Michael, again, back to you.
MICHAEL COHN: Thanks, James.
So the last part of our project here was really
training TechCFO on how to build out the client sites.
Within just a matter of weeks of launching our Google Sites
solution, they've already got a handful of sites out, more
than a handful, eight client sites, and we're also seeing
internal staffers building out their own internal sites.
So the product is being used, and when you're making an
investment in new technology, adoption is
always very top of mind.
And in this case, we are seeing some great adoption,
and actually, Neal, you've got a quick story I think of one
of your clients who's using the site and just loves it.
NEAL MILLER: Well, yes, Mike.
A couple of stories actually.
One of my clients is going through a process where, as
many early stage companies do, where they are about to try to
raise some outside equity capital.
And they've engaged an investment banker to assist
them with that process, and so there's a whole diligence in
building the book process that requires a lot of exchange of
In anticipation of that, I had set up a Google site for them
for all of this due diligence information, and we started
bringing the documents from this client and putting them
into that site.
We organized it for financial results, corporate governance,
and a few other topics.
Once they had selected the investment banker, that
investment banker provided us a list of about 60 or so
different things that they wanted
information from the client.
I basically got the email addresses of the team members
from the investment banker, gave them access, secured
access to that site, and then basically turned them loose.
They were in town last week for a big meeting, and I just
asked them about it, and they said it really gave them a
leg-up in getting access to the information rapidly.
It was easy to download the big files.
They didn't have to worry about if each person had the
current version of the document because of the
version control that exists.
within Google Sites.
And that it was a very valuable tool for
them to help my client.
One of my other partners who I think was a little slow on the
adoption rate for all of this, I had to help him, sit down
and show him step by step how to set up his first client
site, left me a message just a couple of days ago saying that
he has already set up three sites for others of his
clients that he shares work product with them, they
collaborate between themselves, and that the
clients really see this as a very big
value-add from TechCFO.

So the very last part of the engagement with TechCFO was
all about managing the change in the organization.
When you're rolling out any new software, as I had
mentioned earlier, adoption is always very important and
making sure that your staff is properly trained is important.
So before we called the other project final and done, we did
a soft launch with some of the key
stakeholders, some of the partners.
We got their feedback, and then we deployed this to the
entire company.
We held an on-site training session here in Atlanta for
the bulk of the users, and then we also held a remote
training session for those users that
were not here in Atlanta.
And then Cloud Sherpa's also developed about a 15 page or
so training manual that is available, of course, on their
internet, on their Google site, somebody
can download it.
It's a PDF that really takes you through how to build your
Google site in a step-by-step process.
Then we also provided TechCFO with one of
our training modules.
Cloud Sherpa is, as I mentioned before, an
enterprise deployment partner for Google Apps, and so as
part of our regular work with other clients, we train them
on how to use the entire Google Apps suite.
We've recently developed a suite of training videos that
do deep dives into every one of the applications in the
Google Apps suite.
So now that 20 minute training video on Google Sites is now
also available on the TechCFO internet.
But while we were going through the training itself,
the feedback that we got from the folks in attendance there
was that wow, this is really intuitive.
We're talking about editing web pages and we're talking
about clicking an edit button and seeing a Wysiwyg editor,
what you see is what you get.
And editing Google Sites is very much like
editing a word document.
So when we had initially told the organization that you
would have the ability to build your own website, that
was, I think probably met with a little
anxiety from some folks.
Hey, I don't know HTML, I'm not quite sure how we're going
to do this.
But once we went through the process, we eliminated all of
that anxiety, and the TechCFO partners and staffers found to
tool to be incredibly intuitive.
So Neal, I'm going to turn this back to you and you can
tell us what TechCFO has gained.
Thanks, Mike.
Well, really we see this tool as a competitive
differentiator for us in the marketplace.
Really in two ways.
One is for prospective clients, being able to show
them, share with them, the tools that we can provide to
collaborate with them, to share work products, to store
work product.
Also, to basically be able to show them that we have a
repository of information that they have access to when they
engage TechCFO.
That we have hundreds of examples and documents, and
that when they engage us, they're not to be starting
things from scratch, but they will get the benefit of all of
our collective background and past in
work with other clients.
So we see that as a competitive advantage in the
For the clients we also see it as a competitive advantage to
us as we try to recruit and add new partners, because they
will also see the advantage of becoming part of that
collective knowledge base, and having access to that, and how
it will make their jobs a lot easier in there.
As well as the internet side of things will allow us to
much more quickly and simply bring on new partners and
staff, as we now have institutionalized
documentation for human resources, for onboarding, for
our profit sharing, pension plans, and the like.
As well as being able to just more rapidly share
We are a virtual company, and we don't really work out of
offices, we work out of our homes.
Well, we work at of our client sites, and so we're not
together that often, and this give us another mechanism to
better communicate around the firm.
I think as a next step, we also are looking at broader
deployment of the Google App suite, including the Gmail and
calendaring, and the other capabilities that
come along with this.
And certainly, we see it as a very cost effective solution
compared to what we are utilizing today.
And the analysis that I looked at again today, we are using a
hosted Exchange server for our email, and I think we have
identified that we can, for a year's worth of the Google
Apps licenses is less than what we would pay for two to
three months of our other solution.
So a big cost savings as well.
JAMES HILLIARD: And these days, who doesn't want to save
more of that money.
Hey guys, really do appreciate it Neal for opening up what
you guys dealt with and some of the issues
and what you chose.
Michael really I think clear explanation story of how Cloud
Sherpas works with customers, and specifically here, worked
with TechCFO.
On the screen right now are a couple of URLs.
These are also clickable over on the right-hand side of the
player under the related resources, so you can sign up
for that free trial of Google Apps.
Or again, talk to those enterprise deployment experts
over at Cloud Sherpas.
Click on those links, you can also click on the Google logo
lower portion of your player and that will bring you over
to the for Google Apps and you can get more
We do have a good 15 minutes or so here to go through
questions, and a lot of questions have been generated
for today's presentation.
So we're going to dive into those.
Keep your questions coming.
Questions that we don't answer, aren't able to get to
today, don't worry.
What we're going to do is we're going to forward it on
to our speakers and onto Google and we'll try and get
back to you with some email responses after
the event has concluded.
Let's scroll through.
We got a lot of good ones.
Let's jump off here with Kevin's question.
He wants to know do external clients, outside of the
domain, need to create Google Apps accounts or can they sign
in with their current email addresses?
Is that something you can handle, Michael?
MICHAEL COHN: Absolutely.
So you can absolutely share the site with somebody who's
outside your domain.
That's the whole point.
But it does require a Google account to login.
You don't need a Google Apps account, but you do need a
Google account.
And you can sign up for a free Google account with your own
email address.
So if you don't currently have a Google account, and let's
say that your email address is at your own company's domain,
you sign up for a free Google account, and then you
authenticate into Google Apps and you're off to the races.
JAMES HILLIARD: Pretty simple there.
Appreciate the question.
Let's get over to Mike's question here, and I think
Mike, I'll pose this one to you as well.
So Mike talking to Mike.
Is there a fair amount of configuration required before
indexing files to optimize the search success?

MICHAEL COHN: Nope, not at all.
We didn't do any optimization.
In fact, I'm not even certain that Google Site gives you
that ability.
However, the search results are all powered by the Google
search algorithms. What Neal has found, and I can really
let you talk to that, Neal, is that when you do a search, you
get quite a comprehensive set of results.
I think each document, when we load up new documents, we
don't do anything other than copy them up from our hard
drives on our laptops to add them to the repository as new
content becomes available.
The Google search capability just kind of kicks in.
It's just I think really probably the most powerful
part of the solution for us is the ability to either type in
a couple of key words, and particularly a lot of
materials that we have are technical accounting type
literature, so if somebody wants to know about accounting
for subordinated debt or revenue recognition, you just
type in a few words into the Google search and every
document that we have that references those topics is
brought up.
JAMES HILLIARD: And Neal, have you found that you had to
implement any type of internal policy of telling people how
often to upload documents or go back in and make sure maybe
if they found some other document that
needed to be uploaded?
Did you find that you to set any policies there, or did
people just kind of adopt this quickly and say,
hey, we just do this.
This is just matter of business now?
NEAL MILLER: I don't think we did anything formally-- we
haven't done anything formalized in that regard.
As Mike mentioned, we are about five weeks
in since our launch.
I do know as the administrator that there has been a good
amount of additional content that has been uploaded.

A lot of it is work product for clients, and we really
encourage people to set up these sites for a work
product, because it also provides us a hosted back-up
site for the work product, so that we don't have to worry
about keeping client information just on our
laptops, and what happens if the hard drive fails and
things like that.
So it's given us also a little bit of back-up capabilities by
storing the important work product on the client site.
I think over time we'll probably see how this goes,
and we continue to encourage people, as they have
additional information that would be
beneficial to everybody.
And then also as the administrator, I sort of
monitor some of these questions that come around the
firm with information or questions about do you have
this or do you have that.
And if there's a response with a document attached, I do a
quick check to see if that document is already in the
repository, and if it's not, I'm loading it up there.
But over time, I think people will take
that up on their own.
JAMES HILLIARD: One more question of this point from
Richard that's kind of talking to search wondering if you can
restrict your search to certain parts of the document

You just have to be a little smart about how you build your
internet on Google Site.
What we did was, so the search in the upper right corner will
search the entire contents of the Google site itself.
So what we did for TechCFO was actually we created three
different sites and sort of linked them together with some
good navigation.
But the internet exists on one site, and the document
repository exists in another site.
That way when you're in the document repository and
searching for a file, yuo're only searching the files in
that document repository.
The third site that we created was actually a very small
document repository that was only available for partners.
So kind of leaping ahead maybe to Christian's question about
implementing security for certain groups and
Currently, Google Sites does not have a concept of page
level security, but there is a concept
of site level security.
So we created, like I said, three sites.
One of those three sites has restricted access to only the
TechCFO partners.
So your Google search, again, only on an individual site,
and to answer the question about security there and
access, at current, there is only a site level security.
JAMES HILLIARD: Neal, let me just ask you.
Obviously, you're dealing with financial documents and you're
dealing with customer documents, how important was
security to you in your overall decision-making to go
with Google Apps?
NEAL MILLER: I think it was very important to us to make
sure that we understand the security capability.
I think we got very comfortable with I'll call it
the macro level security that existed within the Google
environment, the Google infrastructure, and the fact
that even though the information doesn't reside on
our own physical environment, we're OK with that.
Of course, we were previously using the hosted Exchange
solution, so I think we were comfortable with that.
I think the biggest issue for us was that as we provided
access or created these partner sites, to ensure that
there was adequate security that only the people that we
invited to join those sites or to have access to those sites
were able to have access.
And certainly, the same thing with our client information on
the client side.
So when we set up a client site, it's not made accessible
to everybody in TechCFO, but only the people that are
invited by that partner who sets that site up, which is
typically the client personnel, as well as the
staff that are working on that specific client engagement.
So nobody else from the firm even really knows that that
site exists.
So we got very comfortable with the overall security
capabilities of Google Sites.
JAMES HILLIARD: We're going to continue on
with a couple questions.
And just a moment here, first I want to remind people to
have your pop-up blockers turned off, and/or you can hit
the control C button--
hold that down right now, control C. I'm pushing out to
everyone a quick little survey.
What this survey does is gives us some feedback about
presentation and helps us continue bringing you great
webcast events here on TechRepublic.
So I do appreciate you taking a moment
to answer that survey.
Let's continue on now with some questions.

Bashu has a question--
a couple questions in here.
Michael, the first one, let's address this.
How long does a typical engagement take to migrate?
And he's saying in a scenario here, about 200 users of a
business, they're using some Legacy systems, they're moving
to Google Apps, and he's also referring to messaging and
collaboration solutions.
So do have kind of a ballpark?
I know each situation is unique, but average kind of
migration time for 200 users.
Well, first I'm going to answer by saying that every
situation is unique, and it really does depend on your
We've come across organizations with 200 users,
some of which have completely hosted environments, and some
of which have Legacy on-premise environments.
So that's really one of the things we have to look at.
But as a rough ballpark, let's call in about 6 to 8 to maybe
10 weeks to do your planning, do your configuration, get
your data migrated, if that's the case.
Not all organizations necessarily want to migrate
all their data for all their users.
It's really done on a case-by-case basis.
And then, of course, training.
And Cloud Sherpas doesn't say goodbye to a customer once
we've got you out into Google Apps.
We're there to help support you long-term.
So an engagement with a customer, I like to say
really, hopefully, does not end, because we continue to
answer questions as the Google Apps platform
continues to evolve.
JAMES HILLIARD: And Mike, there have been some questions
about training.
I believe Neal said in his part of the presentation,
training took but moments, and got people up and going.
What do you do at Cloud Sherpas in terms of training?
Do you send along some documentation?
Do you do any on-site training with people?
What's a typical training environment like?
MICHAEL COHN: You know, and again, there answer there is
really it's a case by case basis.
It depends on what the customer needs, and what
resources the customer has available in their own IT
From a training perspective, we have done everything from
Webinars where we'll get on a webinar just like this, and
have 50 to 100 to 200 people on the other end of the call
watching an online demonstration.
We've also recently created a suite of videos that really do
a deep dive into each one of the various
applications in the suite.
And then we'll also go on site as needed.
And with TechCFO, since they happen to be here in Atlanta,
we went on-site, met them at one of their regular partner
meetings, and simply did a demonstration of Google Sites
and how to use the internet to a captive audience that was
already there.
JAMES HILLIARD: Hey, let's do a little rapid fire if we can
on a couple of questions.
Folks, we've had over 75 or so questions come in today.
We're again, only going to touch a
small portion of those.
So a lot of these questions we're going to forward on to
Google and over to Mike and Neal as well, and try and get
some email responses after the event.
But a little rapid fire here.
Will Google authenticate using Microsoft active directory?
MICHAEL COHN: Absolutely.
This is a deeper integration that Cloud Sherpas does on a
regular basis, but there are tools available to essentially
keep your active directory and your users and Google in
JAMES HILLIARD: Let's jump over to Chris, is there the
ability for the text on the site to be multilingual, not
necessarily the documents, but the buttons, things like that?

MICHAEL COHN: You know what, to be honest I'm going to ask
Serena if she can hop in there and answer that question.
We haven't had an opportunity yet to work with anybody
outside of the US who required a multilingual site.

JAMES HILLIARD: And Serena, we'll just make sure you're
unmuted there.
Google Sites, as all of our Google Apps, are actually
localized in over 40 languages.
So the tool of our capability to create a site and edit a
site, et cetera, and then the information that you might
publish on a site can absolutely be localized in
French, German, Spanish, et cetera.
JAMES HILLIARD: Hey, Serena, obviously working in the cloud
is something that more people are looking at and evaluating.
Another question that came in earlier in the presentation
was talking about SLAs, and the Service Level Agreements,
and Google's responsibility to enterprise users.
Can you talk to that for a moment?
SERENA SATYASAI: Yeah, absolutely.
That's great.
Our Google Apps Premier Edition, which is the edition
we've been talking about, we offer a 99.9% uptime Service
Level Agreement, or SLA for all of our apps.
What that means is we are committing to our customers
that we are putting in place the processes and technology
such that you can access Google Sites
99.9% of the time.
We have had some outages, as people may be aware, for
example, with our Gmail application.
When we do have those outages, what happens is we actually
return money to our customers because we did not meet our
99.9% of time SLA.
However, we're always working to improve our performance
there, and hopefully in the next year we won't have to
return any money to anyone for anything.
JAMES HILLIARD: A good goal to shoot for, for sure.
Let's get back to a couple other questions here.
Again, we'll try and answer these rather quickly here.
Squeeze them in, as many as we can.
Judy is asking, can you set up a link on your corporate
website and pass in a login into a Google Site, kind of a
transparent login type of process.
Mike, is that something that people can take advantage of?
MICHAEL COHN: Absolutely, Judy.
You would accomplish that via a single sign on protocol
called SAML that Google Apps fully supports.
That's something that Cloud Sherpas does
on a regular basis.
JAMES HILLIARD: Smartphones are in many
pockets these days.
The G1 is out there, and others.
Ways to integrate Google Apps to these smartphones?
Is that something you're seeing more of, Mike?
MICHAEL COHN: Absolutely.
There are a few instances where we're rolling out the
messaging platform without addressing mobility.
And Google has recently released a bunch of new
features for Google Apps that makes this even more
enterprise-ready than it was previously.
So for devices like the iPhone and Windows mobile devices,
you connect to mail via iMap, and you connect to your pin,
your calendar into contacts via over the air, active sync,
wireless synchronization.
With BlackBerry there are a number of alternatives.
You can use your carrier's Biz service to automatically push
mail directly to the BlackBerry into its native
mail application.
Or Google has a suite of applications that you can
download directly to the BlackBerry to give you a more
of a Gmail feel.
There's a Gmail application that allows you to do more
Gmail functionality than you would get in your standard
native mail client on the BlackBerry.
But the short answer is yes.
All mobile devices are supported, and Google actually
has quite an extensive page at, I believe,
to give you a look at how they support all
different kinds of devices.
JAMES HILLIARD: Since you started the run of website
addresses, I'll draw the attention back
to the screen here.
If you want more information on Google Apps,
If you want to find out more about Cloud Sherpas, the
address there at
Again, I made those links clickable on the right-hand
side of your player.
We're going to keep the player open for a couple moments, so
you can do a few things.
One, click those related resources.
Two, download a copy of the slides as a PDF, if there's
anything that you want to review or go over.
They'll also give you, on one of those slides, you'll see
the website address.
So if you're in need of those types of services or know
someone that is, pass that along as well.
Final thing you can do from the player, click that email
friend link right below the slide.
What that'll do is send off an invite to a colleague.
That colleague can then register to listen to the
on-demand version.
And all of you that have attended today will get a link
back to the on-demand version.
So again, you can either review material, or if you
joined us late and you missed anything, you can catch up on
the portions that you missed.
I really want to thank Neal and Michael for taking time,
sharing your implementation story with us, and opening up
to us from Atlanta today.
MICHAEL COHN: Our pleasure to be here.
Thanks for having us, James.
NEAL MILLER: Thank you, James.
JAMES HILLIARD: And again, Serena, really happy to have
you back into TechRepublic.
Appreciate your time coordinating this event and
being with us and answering questions.
And Serena, I believe you're going to have some busy
fingers replying to a lot of our users, because we do have
a ton of questions that we were not able to get to.
So I'll wrap those up in a report, send them on over your
way and you'll be able do the follow-up that
you need to, OK?
Thanks, James.
Well thank you, everyone, for taking time to join us for
today's event.
Again, we do appreciate you taking time and tuning in.
For everybody at Google, as well as the entire
TechRepublic team, my name is James Hilliard and we will
talk to you down the road.