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ICOM Productions pushes the eLearning envelope with Google Apps

Posted by Jared Tabler, Vice President of Operations at ICOM Productions

Editor's note: Our guest blogger is Jared Tabler, Vice President of Operations at ICOM Productions, a Calgary, Alberta-based eLearning company. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

ICOM Productions is a 100-person company focused on helping companies better engage and develop their employees by freshening up their training programs. We pride ourselves on being progressive, young and vibrant; we encourage our employees to question old habits, push the envelope and change the way we teach and learn every day.

When I joined as VP of Operations less than a year ago, I was shocked by how our progressive mentality clashed with our old, slow and unreliable technology. We were using a piecemeal technology solution built around Microsoft® Exchange that made everyday processes disjointed and inefficient. We wanted employees from each of our three offices to be able to collaborate on projects, but the process of emailing versions back and forth and editing them in silos wasn't quite the collaboration we were looking for. We knew we needed something better, but upgrading to the newest Exchange Server would have cost us a fortune and still leave us three years behind the latest technology.

It turned out that our forward-thinking employees were pushing the envelope with technology on the side, too: they'd started using their personal Google accounts at work. They were sharing files through Google Drive and creating project hubs with Google Sites. Over the next few months, we talked with our employees and Agosto, a Google Apps Reseller, and we came to a clear conclusion: moving ICOM to Google Apps was the best path forward. In the Fall of 2012, Agosto partnered with our technical team to put a migration plan in place, and 30 days later, all 100 employees were on Apps. It was the fastest IT implementation I’ve ever done.

Google+ Hangouts have completely revolutionized our recruiting process. Instead of relying on phone screenings, which don’t really convey a candidate’s personality, or flying people to Calgary, which is expensive, we use Hangouts, which cost nothing and bring each prospect’s character to life. We like to do group interviews via Hangouts to see how people think and interact - group collaboration is huge at ICOM, and you get a good sense of that over video conference. Our candidates love that we’re using new technology and we love that we’re still getting the same valuable insight about our candidates.

Google Apps has helped us be more efficient, more forward-thinking and more cost-effective. It’s also helped us strengthen the ICOM culture we pride ourselves on - being creative, asking thought-provoking questions and working as a team. All of this, of course, means that we’re getting better at what we do: helping other companies teach and train their employees more effectively. Just like what Apps has done for us.