How Trade Me reduces IT maintenance with the help of Grab and Go Chromebooks
Editor’s note: Today’s post is by Alex Boolieris, Internal Systems Architect for Trade Me, the New Zealand online marketplace for new and used goods, motors, jobs and property. Trade Me is using Google’s Grab and Go with Chrome Enterprise, and Hangouts Meet to add self-service options for workplace technology.
From Trade Me’s earliest days in 1999, we’ve been a company that supports flexibility, like working from home or traveling among our Wellington, Auckland, and Christchurch offices. It’s a goal that we want to support with technology. For example, we work in the cloud as much as possible, and we steer clear of burdensome tech and complicated hardware. The Google Grab and Go with Chrome Enterprise racks, where employees can sign out and borrow Chromebooks, fit in perfectly with Trade Me’s work-from-anywhere culture.
One of our IT goals is to offer more self-service options for staff who need access to devices or tech support. With 600 employees and only four people on our desktop support team, we’re eager to add technology that works out of the box. That’s why we chose Gmail as our email system, and G Suite apps like Google Drive and Docs for everyday collaboration. Anyone can get up to speed quickly on G Suite without much help from IT, since most people already use apps like Gmail in their personal lives.
Before this, our loaner laptops weren’t exactly self-service—they were ThinkPads running Windows that took as long as 45 minutes to configure. This wasn’t ideal for employees who needed a quick replacement for a non-working laptop, or who may have forgotten to bring their laptop to work. It slowed down productivity.
To help, we opted to use Grab and Go, self service laptop racks available through Chrome Enterprise. Our partner, Dialog Information Technology, helped us add Grab and Go racks with Asus Chromebook Flip C302 devices to our three offices, with about five Chromebooks at each location. With Grab and Go, we can easily introduce cloud productivity to our employees by offering Chromebooks—we may look to add more Chromebooks in the future if our staff wants to use them instead of Mac and PC laptops.
What’s nice about these Chromebook Flip C302 devices and the PowerGistics racks is their healthy mix of durability and aesthetics; they can stand up to the wear-and-tear of being checked in and out. For example, some people like to cycle to work and don’t want to carry laptops from home to office, so they check out Chromebooks on a daily basis. This gives people more flexibility to pick up and drop off devices when they need them.
We also really liked the “set it and forget it” aspect of Grab and Go. The racks and Chromebooks need very little maintenance, so we can dedicate our time to other IT projects, like improving our online help center. All I needed to do was set policies for the Chromebooks, and we were up and running.
To extend our self-service plan to meetings, we use Chromeboxes and Hangouts Meet. Together, they easily integrate with other G Suite apps like Google Calendar, which helps us easily plan meetings, book rooms, and cut back on time spent troubleshooting video conferencing snafus. Our goal is to make all meetings self-service. In the next few months, we’ll begin using Meet for our monthly all-hands meetings which used to take up a good deal of time for our IT team to set up.
At Trade Me, we endeavor to help our employees work from anywhere on any device without waiting on IT, because when people are productive and happy, that’s the real win.