Connecting the Philippines to better collaboration and innovation, with G Suite

About Globe Telecom

Globe Telecom is a leading full-service telecommunications company in the Philippines, publicly listed on the PSE (GLO). The company serves the needs of consumers and businesses across a suite of products and services including mobile, fixed, broadband, data connectivity, internet, and managed services. In 2019, Globe committed to UN Global Compact sustainability principles.

Industries: Telecommunications
Location: Philippines

Globe Telecom fostered digital collaboration, gained an innovation mindset, accelerated decision making, and created new digital experiences with G Suite.

Google Cloud results

  • Achieved 80% of target to go paperless, thanks to App Maker
  • Shortened average request approval time from one month to one week
  • Inspired team members to take digital ownership with app development
  • Accelerated idea generation and decision-making through Hangouts Meet
  • Bolstered security by migrating employee data storage to Drive

Deployed G Suite to 17,000 users within four months

As a leading full-service telecommunications company in the Philippines, Globe Telecom plays a vital role in connecting a sprawling archipelago of 7,641 islands and more than 100 million people. Building a successful enterprise is just part of the picture. Globe’s mission is to deliver the digital lifestyle to a nation brimming with opportunity yet also struggling with poverty and limited resources.

It’s an ethos rooted in malasakit, a unique Philippine concept that’s empathy, cooperation, responsibility, and caring all rolled into one. It’s the generosity of the worker who stays late at the office to help colleagues through a tricky challenge, or the dedication of the elderly couple who picks up debris in the neighbourhood after a typhoon.

Globe’s own malasakit is a marriage of opportunity and responsibility. The ambition is to spark a digital revolution for the Philippines that brings quality education, financial services, and healthcare to millions of people at the tap of a smartphone screen. The challenge is large in a society where less than half of Filipinos have internet access, only a quarter of homes have a broadband connection, and just one fourth of the population has a bank account.

To drive its vision, Globe knew it had to start at home. It needed to transform the company’s own digital culture before fostering a new digital culture for the Philippines. It turned to G Suite to enable this new identity, out of a belief that cloud collaboration tools such as Docs, Hangouts Meet, Calendar, Sheets, and Sites would unite Globe’s team in the challenge of creating digital connections for Filipinos. Globe is now the biggest user of G Suite in the Philippines, with 17,000 users across the organization.

“I've always believed that if we’re not digital internally, how can we innovate to help our customers outside?” says Pebbles Sy-Manalang, CIO, Globe Telecom. “Shifting our employees and their mindsets with G Suite to become truly digital in the way they think and do things determines how we serve our 90 million customers.”

“The bigger picture is that we want to be purveyors of the digital lifestyle for Filipinos. G Suite has changed our mindset, showing us that it's possible to do things better with the right tools.”

Pebbles Sy-Manalang, CIO, Globe Telecom

Fresh start for building a vibrant future

Six years ago, Globe built a house for its dream of "Philippines 4.0." The launch of Globe Tower, a new ultra-modern headquarters in Manila, was the foundation of Globe’s ambition to become a truly connected company, bringing many scattered divisions under one sleek roof. The vehicle for the transition was G Suite, the software enabler for the high-rise infrastructure. Together, both building and platform sent a powerful statement for Globe’s digital transformation.

“The choice to go G Suite signified the start of our digital transformation,” says Pebbles. “We timed it with relocation to the new building, because the move was all about new ways of working. We wanted to emphasize how important collaboration is for changing the way we work.”

Globe knew it wanted to launch its new digital identity on a collaborative cloud platform. It also wanted to ensure it was making the right choice, because the investment would shape workflows for thousands of employees. So it organized a competition between Google and another leading provider, and put the decision to a company vote.

The platforms were invited to demonstrate features of their solution on five different floors in the old office. Globe also included a site-creation challenge in which team members built 62 project sites on the competing solutions, working with features that required no prior IT background.

When the competition came to a vote, G Suite was the choice for more than 75% of participants. The primary factor was its powerful, easy-to-use cloud-based features: “Putting the decision to a vote paid off because we didn't have to worry about buy-in,” says Pebbles. “The decision was overwhelming and showed us that it was going to be a smooth transition.”

Globe succeeded in implementing G Suite deployment to its workforce of 17,000 in only four months. The company started with messaging and communication platforms including Gmail, Hangouts Meet, and Calendar, then moved to productivity and collaboration apps such as Drive, Slides, Sheets, Forms, and Sites.

Enthusiasm for App Maker to accelerate workflows and scale operations is rising fast at Globe. And usage metrics for core applications are growing 10% year-on-year, with Globe’s active usage rate for Sheets at 91%, and Drive at 80%.

“We don't have hard drives anymore. We don't use USB. Everything’s in the cloud. We wouldn't have managed the shift to a collaborative culture by only moving to Gmail and not fully adopting G Suite.”

Pebbles Sy-Manalang, CIO, Globe Telecom

Creative solutions for entering life in the cloud

One of the most striking successes in Globe’s journey with G Suite is an ambitious project to go “zero back office.” The aim is to eliminate all internal paper communications, for everything from expense approvals to gym reservations, by 2020.

Globe used App Maker to develop the team’s own application called MemoApp, using simple, intuitive tools that require no previous tech training. The automation app has facilitated approval of 21,000 requests to date, and shortened average approval time from one month to eight days. It has also brought cost savings and operational improvements.

“Sometimes a memo gets approved even within the day, all the way up to the CEO,” says Pebbles. “We started in 2016, now we’re around 70%–80% paperless. We don't have external hard drives anymore. We don't use USB. Everything is in the cloud. We wouldn't have managed the shift to a collaborative culture by only moving to Gmail and not fully adopting G Suite.”

In addition, G Suite allowed Globe to strengthen its security policies, adopting single sign-on and multi-factor authentication, mobile device management, content compliance, and other features. Drive has enhanced security by bringing all employee data storage into a secure cloud environment.

And Globe’s new collaborative ethos found an important friend in Hangouts Meet, which allows simple, intuitive video conferencing: “With Hangouts Meet, people suddenly realized it's so much easier to close an issue or come to a decision,” says Pebbles.

She grasped the full power of Hangouts Meet when she hosted a town hall on the platform. More than 500 employees joined the call as viewers, some from unexpected places: “You could see people commenting live. Some were saying ‘I'm in a cab right now, this is great!’” Pebbles recalls. “Seeing them do that remotely was a real eye-opener.”

“Employees now trigger their own automation. If they have backlogs, they say, 'OK, this is my area.' It’s no longer IT telling them what they need. They’re now the ones volunteering ideas and initiatives.”

Pebbles Sy-Manalang, CIO, Globe Telecom

Winning digital hearts and minds to reboot the Filipino lifestyle

The excitement Globe employees experienced logging into a town hall from a cab via Hangouts Meet, or building their own automation app on AppMaker, has fostered a new workforce culture that can potentially reach further into society.

“There's a bigger picture in how we want to be purveyors of the digital lifestyle for Filipinos,” says Pebbles. “At the heart of it, G Suite has changed our mindset, showing us that it's possible to do things better with the right tools.”

Besides making life easier for Globe workers, G Suite has also inspired team members to undertake digital initiatives, instead of merely viewing workplace digital transformation as a job for the IT department.

“Employees now trigger their own automation,” says Pebbles. “It’s no longer IT telling them what they need. They’re now the ones volunteering ideas and initiatives.”

Unlimited future with AI and machine learning

Globe is already looking into the next stages of its journey with Google, exploring features of Google Cloud that enable employees to unlock the power of data through visualization, insights, and storytelling. It plans to deploy AI modeling that combines the intuitive feel of Google Data Studio with the machine learning power of BigQuery.

“We see Google as one of our key partners with shared vision and ambition,” says Pebbles. “Globe isn’t just a consumer of Google products and services; we see it actively participating in making our vision a reality.”

About Globe Telecom

Globe Telecom is a leading full-service telecommunications company in the Philippines, publicly listed on the PSE (GLO). The company serves the needs of consumers and businesses across a suite of products and services including mobile, fixed, broadband, data connectivity, internet, and managed services. In 2019, Globe committed to UN Global Compact sustainability principles.

Industries: Telecommunications
Location: Philippines