Colgate-Palmolive moves to the cloud with Chrome Enterprise and Google Workspace
Editor’s note: Today’s post is by Roger Lim, IT Manager of Collaboration Infrastructure Development, and Jim Arcure, Director of Infrastructure Development, both with Colgate-Palmolive, the multinational consumer products company. Colgate-Palmolive is in the midst of a multiyear project to create a collaborative, flexible work culture, leveraging Google Workspace and Chrome Enterprise.
Colgate-Palmolive Company is a caring, innovative growth company reimagining a healthier future for all people, their pets, and our planet. Focused on Oral Care, Personal Care, Home Care, and Pet Nutrition, and reaching more than 200 countries and territories, Colgate teams are developing and selling product offerings essential to society through brands such as Colgate, Palmolive, elmex, meridol, Tom’s of Maine, hello, Sorriso, Speed Stick, Softsoap, Irish Spring, Protex, Sanex, Filorga, eltaMD, PCA Skin, Ajax, Axion, Fabuloso, Soupline and Suavitel, as well as Hill’s Science Diet and Hill’s Prescription Diet.
Colgate-Palmolive has been accelerating growth and delivering meaningful innovation and attracting new and diverse talent in areas such as ecommerce, innovation and digital. That speed and agility comes in large part from the Chrome Enterprise tools that allow the business to move faster and stay competitive.
Changing out software and hardware for 30,000 employees in 70+ countries is a massive project. Early on, we chose Chrome Enterprise as our partner. We had to move away from our dependency on legacy platforms, software, and devices if our business was going to thrive. We knew cloud-based tools like Chrome and Google Workspace would do what on-premises solutions can’t—ease the IT workload while keeping employees happy and productive.
Why we’re escaping legacy apps and embracing the cloud
We don’t want Colgate-Palmolive’s size and geographical breadth to get in the way of people working together and maintaining its strength in global teamwork. That’s why we’re replacing bulky, hard-to-maintain, on-premises applications and software with cloud versions that everyone can securely access in a web browser.
As an IT team, we thought about how much work time we spent installing, updating, and troubleshooting software (up to 30 percent of work hours during big upgrades!). As we were looking at ways to work together better, we had our eyes on the cloud revolution—and, specifically, Chrome Enterprise and Google Workspace.
First step, switch to a new browser
Back in 2016, our IT team partnered with SADA, a Google Cloud Premier Partner, to move everyone to Google Workspace and away from legacy productivity applications. Once you start Google Workspace adoption, it’s time to take a closer look at browser options.
We chose Chrome Browser for several reasons. It updates automatically, so we could cross lengthy upgrade tasks off our list. An even bigger benefit is that Chrome Browser’s management tools, data protection, and malware detection are all built in. We anticipate a lot of synergy here by leveraging these features and having our users go all Chrome.
Chrome Browser also gave us tools to manage and grant access to apps across our multi-platform device fleet. We call Chrome Browser Cloud Management our “golden nugget” because every browser gets enrolled automatically in browser management.
It’s now much easier to push out new extensions and apps (and allowlist or blocklist them) compared to the time-consuming process of using our existing desktop policy management settings. The ability to easily manage extensions is a huge benefit since it enabled IT to provide new and safe functionality to our end users.
Next, share new ways of working together
Our IT team wants workers to see the benefits of Google Workspace and Chrome Browser on their own, but sometimes we have to guide them toward the finish line. At the beginning of the project, we developed “Going Google” tools to notify users to consider Google Workspace when opening legacy applications that are no longer needed.
As Chrome Enterprise and Google Workplace became our primary productivity tools, it was also important to ensure our users did not fall back on old habits. Our “Going Google” tools gave our IT organization the ability to not only notify, but turn off specific legacy apps per user. Though IT could easily restore access to these legacy apps on a temporary basis, we have seen a significant dropoff in these types of requests over the past few months. Our goal is to give Colgate people a gentle and consistent reminder that we will be a Google Workspace-only company. By taking these active and decisive steps, we ensure that our users and teams are migrating to Google Workspace today.
To that end, we’ve provided lots of support. We use over 1,000 Colgate “Google Guides” around the world who run on-site classes and webinars on Google Workspace, and are available for one-on-one help, as well as roughly 700 “Google Gurus” who are savvy early-adopters and can lend a hand to colleagues with questions about Google Workspace. Our training classes and webinars are playing to packed houses, and we’re scheduling sessions that focus on specific skills, like a class about using Google Sheets attended by 250 people via Google Meet.
Finally, start rolling out new devices
If we can get everyone at Colgate-Palmolive working in Google Workspace and Chrome Browser, then offering Chromebooks is another natural fit: Chromebooks and the Chrome OS are built for the cloud world we want to work in. We’re pilot testing about 200 Chromebooks for employees, mostly in our customer development department. The Chromebooks are in high demand in challenging locations because they’re easier to deploy for new hires. When employees eventually get back to their offices, we are eager to expand Grab-and-Go racks for people that need a temporary loaner. These Grab-and-Go racks in our New York City and Piscataway, N.J. offices will provide another way for people to test drive Chromebooks.
Two hundred-odd years after Colgate-Palmolive started doing business, we’re excited about the modern focus of our workplace tools. The Google tools that allow us to collaborate also allow the company to succeed well into our third century.