Enterprise Applications

Anatomy of Google Enterprise Customers: Pete Shorney, Global IT Operations Manager at Rentokil Initial

To gain an understanding of why and how many organisations are looking to Google to meet their everyday commercial needs, Martin Veitch talks to three customers: Pearson, TfL and Rentokil Initial.

Building a Google Shop

Pete Shorney, global IT operations manager at services group Rentokil Initial, has a relatively long history with Google Enterprise, having been among the first wave of large companies to deploy Google Apps at scale.

“In 2009 we were pioneers,” he says. “We were quite radical, not leading-edge but bleeding-edge, and I like to think we [Google and Rentokil Initial] have grown up together. What was ostensibly a consumer product is now being used as an enterprise system.”

Rentokil Initial is one of a number of companies that are becoming ‘Google shops’, building more and more of their core ICT infrastructure around Google’s growing set of properties. Shorney cites ongoing projects in Maps and Docs integration, replacing about 50 intranet sites with a single instance of Google Sites, improving the mobile experience for users and making use of Chat, Hangouts and Google Talk for communicating.

While many Google wins stem from the messaging and collaboration side, Rentokil’s transformation is more profound and more pervasive.

“We were never a huge consumer of email,” Shorney says. “We had grown through acquisition and the big business-case driver was consolidating onto one platform.”

It hasn’t all been plain sailing. There have been cultural challenges caused by the move away from traditional IT systems and management routines, or lack of communication over release schedules. Also, document exchange with some customers and partners sometimes means that users must revert to Microsoft Office. However, Shorney says that Google has also forced Rentokil Initial to be more creative with its use of tools.

“I have been called ‘old school’ and, having started in IT in 1980, it’s hard to unwind from that. One thing we’ve learned the hard way is to relax and go with the ride. You have to recognise that Google is not for classic IT or enterprise support. The biggest stumbling block is trust [in the services] but you have to think of Google Search and ask how many times you have not been able to search the internet.”

Rentokil Initial has been using Google mapping services for over three years for asset and vehicle tracking and other services. One division uses Android tablets. Overall, Shorney believes Google has helped change the way people feel about the company.

“In traditional IT you place a lot of emphasis on control and process but now we have our graduate programme trialling Google Hangouts for communications. [The Google adoption strategy] is seen as a draw for the company.”


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Martin Veitch

Martin Veitch is Contributing Editor for IDG Connect

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