Globe Telecom: Automating business processes and enhancing collaboration with AppSheet + Google Workspace

About Globe Telecom

Globe Telecom is a leading full-service telecommunications company in the Philippines and 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

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Globe Telecom is automating business processes, fostering digital collaboration, gaining an innovation mindset, accelerating decision-making, and creating new digital experiences with Google Workspace and AppSheet.

Google Cloud results

  • Created 141 business process automation apps to enhance efficiency
  • Reduced audit report times from two weeks to one to two hours
  • Accelerated idea generation and decision-making through Google Meet
  • Bolstered security by migrating employee data storage to Google Drive

Reduced business process turnaround time by 79.8%

As a leading full-service telecommunications company in the Philippines, Globe Telecom (Globe) plays a vital role in connecting a sprawling archipelago of over 7,600 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 pick up debris in the neighborhood 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.

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 Google Workspace and AppSheet to enable this new identity, out of a belief that cloud collaboration tools such as Docs, Google Meet, Calendar, Sheets, Sites and no-code application development would unite Globe’s team in the challenge of creating digital connections for Filipinos. Globe is now the biggest user of Google Workspace in the Philippines, with 17,000 users across the organization.

Fresh start for building a vibrant future

Several years ago, Globe launched Globe Tower, a modern headquarters in Manila designed as the foundation of its ambition to become a truly connected company, bringing many scattered divisions under one sleek roof. One of the vehicles for the transition was Google Workspace. The building and platform combined represented a compelling digital transformation.

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, Google Workspace was the choice for more than 75% of participants. The primary factor was its powerful, easy-to-use cloud-based features.

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

"We've always been on the lookout for grassroots innovations among our employees at Globe. It is something that we're very keen on cultivating for our people. AppSheet gave us this flexibility—the perfect tool to mine these innovative minds. It allows us to quickly execute and transform how business is done and improve how we serve our customers."

Carlo Malana, Chief Information Officer, Globe

Accelerating business process automation with AppSheet

Globe’s adoption of AppSheet, the intelligent, no-code platform that enables teams and individuals to create workplace apps, helped accelerate the organization’s digital transformation program. “We use a lot of manual processes to serve our customer and are embracing digitalization as a business to embed software within those processes or using software to create end-to-end processes,” explains Francis Pugeda, Head of Emerging Technologies, Globe Telecom.

The telecommunications business completed an AppSheet hackathon in Q2 2020, with Google Cloud supporting the initiative with pro license codes, coaches to help train employees, and judges of the event. “We conducted a no-code hackathon program as our adoption strategy,” says Lesley Anne Haro, Emerging Technologies at Globe Telecom. “We invited all our employees to join, conducted workshops, then we gave them eight weeks to complete their application on top of their usual workload.”

Post the hackathon, Google Cloud ran an enterprise workshop to assist with the deployment of AppSheet, provided a success manager and account manager, and supplied AppSheet documentation and ongoing premium support.

Google Cloud Premier Partner EPAM assisted with training of hackathon participants and in the transition to developing critical applications in AppSheet.

“The success of the no code hackathon made a very good impact in showcasing our employees, the winners, and the applications they built using AppSheet,” says Lesley Anne. “We believe we were able to get those early adopters to [provide] their insights and support for our program.”

With AppSheet, Globe initially plans to democratize app development by enabling employees to build apps to automate internal processes without support from the business’s IT operation. This enables Globe to centralize costs and implement internal automation processes not previously prioritized or accepted when business cases were submitted.

“AppSheet enables employees to build and iterate apps and, best of all, since they are typically the end user of an app, they understand precisely what they need; there is no need to pass information from business analyst to project manager to developer,” says Francis. “The agility to create business process automation is the significant value we see for AppSheet.”

"We've always been on the lookout for grassroots innovations among our employees at Globe,” adds Carlo Malana, Chief Information Officer at Globe. “ It is something that we're very keen on cultivating for our people. AppSheet gave us this flexibility—the perfect tool to mine these innovative minds. It allows us to quickly execute and transform how business is done and improve how we serve our customers."

“Now, a skilled citizen developer can deliver a complex app in two to four weeks and a more straightforward app in a week or two.”

Francis Pugeda, Head of Emerging Technologies, Globe Telecom

Business-process-automation app build times slashed

Based on a review of 25 launched apps, Globe has reduced its business process turnaround time by 79.8%. “Prior to deploying AppSheet, we had to create a business case to justify the development of each app and then prioritize the work,” explains Francis. “Going from prioritization to production would take about three to six months, depending on the complexity of the app. Now, a skilled citizen developer can deliver a complex app in two to four weeks and a more straightforward app in a week or two. There is less of a need for testing and less of a need to create documentation—we can shortcut directly from idea to development.”

With AppSheet, Globe citizen developers can capture information including dates, locations, names, and other fields and derive insights using graphs and charts to track progress. The organization can also combine all graphs and charts into a single dashboard view. They can also take advantage of AppSheet’s support for location data such as longitude and latitude, addresses, and map pins to provide location displays in their no-code apps.

Furthermore, they can use the machine learning capabilities of the product to build richer, more intelligent apps; for example, a hackathon team used AI and machine learning features to deliver competitive customer-experience speed test estimates using AppSheet’s predictive model. They can also use spreadsheets as a common, easy-to-use data source for apps, whether that be one worksheet, multiple worksheets within a single spreadsheet, multiple worksheets in multiple spreadsheets, and even a mix of worksheets with other data sources such as database tables. The Workflows feature in AppSheet enables developers to automate activities such as templated emails and triggering web hooks to send notifications via SMS based on different triggers.

Furthermore, AppSheet integrates seamlessly with Google Workspace, allowing employees without coding backgrounds to change the way they work. For example, they can create AppSheet apps directly from Sheets, eliminating the need to search a drive for the correct data sources.

With AppSheet, the team created an app to enable customers to reserve time slots to attend stores, enabling them to complete their visits quickly and efficiently.”

Francis Pugeda, Head of Emerging Technologies, Globe Telecom

Automating cell site maintenance

The deployment of AppSheet enabled Globe’s engineers to automate processes for maintaining the cell sites used to deliver mobile phone networks. The app integrates site locations and relevant details with Google Maps so engineers can easily drive to each site and check historical information in order to perform maintenance, upgrades, and other activities efficiently. Further, Globe’s audit team has created an app to automate the capture and processing of financial information, reducing the time needed to create reports from two weeks to one to two hours.

Globe has expanded the number of no-code apps developed using AppSheet from 59 created during the hackathon to 350, 141 of which have more than five users each. Those 141 applications each support different teams’ automation activities. From the five-day enterprise workshop run with Google Cloud, Globe trained 450 employees, 180 of whom are now app creators. The business aims to continue building skills internally through training and workshops delivered via its Globe University campuses and to collaborate with Google Cloud to enhance its capabilities in areas such as monitoring.

With democratization of app development well underway, the business plans to adopt a federated approach. “We want to create AppSheet champions for each group within Globe, to provide support for citizen development of applications within that group,” says Francis. The business plans to initiate this process for the 16 groups—including the network technical, channel management, and finance groups—within Globe in Q2 2021 and complete by the end of the year.

Globe is already establishing an AppSheet community and identifying employees who are enthusiasts in no-code or AppSheet development. “We plan to come up with programs to incentivize these enthusiasts and others to foster continuous improvement,” says Francis. “The final objective of federation through AppSheet is to enable Globe workers to undertake their own business process automation. This means enabling citizen developers to use APIs and other tools to integrate with goal systems such as our customer relationship management systems.

“We aim to integrate all our platforms and enable rapid prototyping through AppSheet.”

The telecommunications provider aims to enable 2,000 employees with AppSheet and expand most of its usage from basic spreadsheets to machine learning and other capabilities.

The coronavirus pandemic that prompted lockdowns in the Philippines required Globe to adapt quickly and at scale—and AppSheet helped the business make the necessary adjustments. “Our store specialists had challenges managing customer visits during the pandemic,” says Francis. “With AppSheet, the team created an app to enable customers to reserve time slots to attend stores, enabling them to complete their visits quickly and efficiently.” Furthermore the telecommunications provider’s human resources team automated a process that enabled employees to claim internet, electricity, and other resources required to work remotely during the pandemic.

Creative solutions for entering life in the cloud

Products such as AppSheet and Google Workspace are key to Globe’s “zero back office” project. The aim is to eliminate all internal paper communications, for everything from expense approvals to gym reservations.

In addition, Google Workspace allowed Globe to strengthen its security policies, adopting single sign-on and multifactor 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 enabler in Google Meet, which allows simple, intuitive video conferencing.

Unlimited future with AI and machine learning

Globe also uses the features of Google Cloud to unlock the power of data through visualization, insights, and storytelling.

The business has a dedicated team using BigQuery for data analysis to support its enterprise office group and marketing services hub, while Google Data Studio enables employees and groups to track performance for everything from completion of mandatory tasks to organizational KPIs. “We are moving away from slide-based presentations for monthly and quarterly reports to dashboards that provide near real-time information and a single source of truth,” says Francis.

With Google Workspace and Google Cloud, Globe is working with a business that is actively helping make the telecommunication provider’s vision a reality.

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

Contact us

About Globe Telecom

Globe Telecom is a leading full-service telecommunications company in the Philippines and 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