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How Google Cloud partners are supporting customers during COVID-19

May 28, 2020
Carolee Gearhart

VP of Worldwide Channel Sales and SMB Sales, Google Cloud

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Against a backdrop of continuous change, I’ve been struck by what remains constant—our partner ecosystem and customers are teaming with us across various industries and geographies to help people in incredible ways during this time. Together, we’re helping hospitals acutely impacted by COVID-19, retailers and grocers address dramatic shifts in consumer behavior, employees rapidly adjust to working at home, and IT teams ensure critical systems stay up and running. 

Over the last few weeks, I’ve witnessed many individuals across Google Cloud and our partner ecosystem working hand-in-hand to collaborate, innovate, and do what is needed to help our customers. In today’s post, I will share a few examples of the agility and ingenuity across our partners and customers that have inspired us in recent weeks. 

Helping healthcare providers address the pandemic

At the onset of COVID-19, healthcare and life sciences organizations faced strains upon their workforce, supply chains, and IT systems, and were tasked with keeping people around the world healthy. Below are just a few examples of how Google Cloud partners have helped these important organizations keep key teams connected and leverage data in their responses to COVID-19.

  • In São Paulo, our partner Loud Voice Services helped Hospital das Clínicas develop a voice assistant that manages the flow of scheduling appointments, exams, and medication administration using Google Cloud’s Speech API. This service helped Hospital das Clínicas respond virtually to certain requests, helping to reduce crowding in its facilities each day and improve safety practices for its patients and staff. Said Hospital das Clínicas Corporate Technology Director, Vilson Cobello Junior, “This project will allow the prioritization of the most critical patients who needed to be evaluated in person.” 

  • Our partner SADA worked with HCA Healthcare to develop the COVID-19 National Response Portal, helping healthcare providers across the country share important data on ICU bed utilization, ventilator availability, and COVID-19 cases. “The National Response Portal is unique in the combination of data and technology it will bring together,” says Michael Ames, Senior Director of Healthcare and Life Sciences at SADA “The goal of the collaboration between SADA, HCA Healthcare, and Google Cloud is to provide the tools necessary to understand, manage, and end the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

  • Google Cloud partner Maven Wave, an Atos Company, helped Amedisys, a leading provider of home health, hospice and personal care, build a chatbot using Dialogflow, the conversational AI platform that powers Contact Center AI, to allow employees to self-screen and report symptoms of COVID-19 through a simple voice interface. The chatbot can also provide Amedisys employees with up-to-date information on COVID-19, helping promote the safety of both patients and employees.

Supporting public sector responses to the pandemic

During the pandemic, governments and public sector agencies around the globe have been tasked with maintaining and expanding critical services, such as unemployment benefits and insurance, while keeping employees safe. We’re proud that our partners are providing key solutions and support to these public sector customers, including: 

  • 2020 unemployment claims in the State of Illinois are five times greater than the claims filed in the first weeks of the 2008 recession. To help the state manage this increase in inquiries, Quantiphi and Carahsoft, two Google Cloud services and software partners, used Google Cloud Contact Center AI to build a 24/7 chatbot capable of immediately answering frequently asked questions from people filing for unemployment. So far, this chatbot has been able to process and respond to over 3.2 million inquiries from filers, allowing the state to provide necessary information quickly and effectively to those in need of government assistance.

  • In the UK, Google Cloud Partner Ancoris helped Hackney Council, a government authority in East London, migrate to G Suite to help increase collaboration among its employees. When London began sheltering in place, the Council’s new collaboration tools became essential to the Hackney community. “In the first week of working from home, we saw a 700% increase in the use of Google Meet, which staff were using to work collaboratively in teams, even when apart,” says Henry Lewis, Head of Platform at Hackney Council. This enabled the Council to continue delivering its residents and businesses a wide range of essential services, including waste collection, housing assistance, and social care.

Helping educational institutions stay connected and accelerate research during COVID-19

In response to COVID-19, educators have had to quickly enable remote or work-from-home scenarios, while researchers quickly looked for ways to apply cloud computing capabilities to their search for effective therapies. Many universities began implementing technologies from Google Cloud and from our partners to enable remote work and to help accelerate important research, including:

  • Google Cloud and our partner Palo Alto Networks are enabling faculty, students and staff at Princeton University to stay securely connected to on campus resources, even when off campus. Palo Alto Networks partnered with the university's Office of Information Technology to replace a legacy VPN solution with Prisma Access on Google Cloud, a solution that can secure remote access to the university community’s resources. Now, over 2,000 members of the university community are actively engaged in teaching, learning, research and administrative opportunities in a secure and scalable manner while being away from the Princeton campus.

  • Harvard University built VirtualFlow, an open-source drug discovery platform on Google Cloud, using our technology partner SchedMD’s Slurm platform to help accelerate research on COVID-19 treatment options. Now, Harvard is able to speed and scale up its testing of compounds to more quickly identify promising therapies to enter clinical trials.

Enabling financial services firms to support their clients

Financial services firms have had to maintain uptime and reliability of critical infrastructure while providing important products and services to their customers and the economic system at large. Our partners around the world are helping many of these institutions leverage Google Cloud technologies to do so.

  • In India, CMS Info Systems, a cash and payments solutions company, developed a program to provide cash to seniors at their homes. The company leveraged our partner MediaAgility’s Dista platform, built on Google Cloud and Google Maps Platform, to automate cash logistics workflow, provide real-time visibility of operations, and pick-up and deposit confirmation. This partnership will allow CMS Info Systems to ensure safe availability of cash and essential services for their more vulnerable customers during shelter-in-place procedures.

  • Google Cloud Partner Injenia helped Italian financial services provider Credem leverage G Suite and Google Meet to ensure business continuity during the pandemic. The bank is using collaboration tools like Drive and Docs to help employees adapt to the work-from-home environment around the country. Credem is also using Google Meet for seamless video conferencing to engage with its customers remotely accessing the bank’s consultancy. 

Supporting companies in retail, media, and other industries

Many businesses, especially retail firms, telecommunications organizations, and media companies have had to address rapid shifts in consumer habits. To manage these shifts, it was critical to keep important teams connected, to leverage data to meet their customers’ needs, and ultimately to maintain business continuity. We’re proud that many of our partners have been key to helping these customers.

  • Due to the pandemic, TELUS International, a leading provider of customer experience and digital IT services, quickly transitioned tens of thousands of its employees to a work-from-home model. Many of these employees typically log into a desktop to access company software to connect with customers over voice, email and chat. Google Cloud Partner itopia helped TELUS International deploy a fully-configured virtual desktop environment in just 24 hours, allowing employees to remain connected and provide much needed service support to their clients. "Working with Google Cloud and itopia allowed us to transition key parts of our workforce—securely, globally and resiliently—all while keeping our team members engaged in what will certainly become part of the ‘new norm.," says Jim Radzicki, CTO, TELUS International. 

  • In Belgium, DPG Media, a leading media group in Benelux, wanted to limit the number of producers in their studios, while empowering them to create content from home. Google Cloud Partner g-company helped DPG Media migrate to G Suite to make this possible. With Google Meet, radio DJs can now facilitate the same fluid conversations between hosts during a broadcast, even with everyone working remotely in their home studios.

  • Grocery delivery wholesaler Boxed has seen increased demand for their goods and services during the COVID-19 pandemic. With essential supplies quickly coming in and out of availability, they needed a highly scalable database platform to manage their real-time supply chain and traffic levels. They collaborated with Google Cloud partner MongoDB to migrate their data to MongoDB Atlas on Google Cloud to help increase the scalability of their database and meet rising demand.

  • In Germany, our partner Cloudwürdig helped Burger King Germany roll out G Suite for its corporate employees, enabling them to more seamlessly work from home and maintain consistent operations across more than 700 restaurant locations. In fact, all of Burger King Germany’s internal meetings are being hosted over Google Meet during the pandemic. "We're big fans of Google Meet. The speech quality is good and it's helpful to be able to see every participant,” says Oliver Mielentz, Senior Manager IT, Burger King Deutschland GmbH. “This is extremely helpful these days.”  

Looking ahead

I’d like to extend a heartfelt thanks to the many people behind the scenes across our partners, customers, and within Google Cloud who are working together to enable business continuity in so many key areas of our communities today. As many of us are juggling more than we ever have before, on both the personal and professional front, I’m especially struck at how our partners and customers are stepping up to the current challenges at hand. 

Within our team, our commitment to you is stronger than ever—we’ll be right there alongside you, every step of the way as we help move businesses, and the world, forward.

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