Sylvaine Smith talks through the steps that Google Chrome Enterprise has taken to aid partners in moving their customers remote working environments
1. What is the biggest challenge that your partners (VARs, MSPs, etc) have faced during the mass shift to remote working, and how have you helped them combat these?
The global pandemic has impacted every aspect of the supply chain, which made it difficult for partners to respond to customer demand. What has been very impressive is to watch how our partner community has pulled together. We witness partners helping each other out and building new partnerships to help customers in their time of need. Business is always extremely important, but watching our partners step back and review their priorities has been such a rewarding experience.
From our side, I am lucky to have such a great OEM team who tirelessly worked with each of the device manufacturers to manage logistics, timeframes, customer expectations and support prioritising orders when required. As and when we go back to some form of business as usual, I think my team and our partners can give themselves a well-deserved pat on the back and be proud of how they all stepped up to support our customers.
2. How has your own business had to adapt to continue meeting the demands of the channel and end-users?
It's a new situation for all of us, but I think that we are very fortunate to have a team that is accustomed to working remotely. We use our collaboration tools like Google Meet all the time, so the impact on productivity was less severe than many of us had expected. This enabled us to quickly focus our efforts and resources on supporting our partners and customers.
3. What has surprised you most about your channel partners over the last two months?
I've been really proud of how quickly our partners have been able to respond to customers' needs. We have been receiving very positive feedback from customers about how their Chrome partners stepped up and helped them out when they most needed it. All this, whilst managing the challenge for their own families, friends and business. It was really impressive and one of the really positive things that has come out of an adverse situation. For this we are really thankful, and I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank the great teams of people that make our partner community the best.
4. Is there a project that you've worked on over the last few months that you are particularly proud of?
The "new normal" now requires most employees to work remotely and we want to do our part to help partners and customers all stay connected, productive and secure. I'm proud of what we're doing in terms of enabling businesses with information to help them during this challenging time. A good example would be our remote work toolkit that we launched last month and received extremely positive feedback from our partners and their customers.
5. What do you expect to be the long-term impact of our new working from home culture, on both the channel and working culture in general?
Most industries had to empower entire workforces to work remotely practically overnight. For instance, Hackney Council is using G Suite, Google Meet and Chromebooks with Chrome Enterprise to keep their team of 4,000 staff connected as they work remotely. We expect all businesses to think about refreshing and enabling the best fit infrastructure and technology for remote working in the near future. We are already seeing an increased demand for Chromebooks in both education and business sides. In order to enable working and learning from home, we have also made Google Meet, our premium video conferencing product, free for everyone, with daily meeting participants surpassing 100 million users.
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