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Johnston Press set to transform its business, with a little help from Google Apps

Posted by Ashley Highfield, CEO, Johnston Press

Editors note: Johnston Press, one of the UK’s leading local newspaper publishers, has just announced a bold plan to transform its sales operations. Today’s guest blogger, CEO Ashley Highfield, has been discussing what’s in store.

Johnston Press is a major publisher of quality local newspapers and local Internet sites in the UK. It owns 230 local newspapers - most of which hold the number one position in their respective markets across the UK and Ireland. At JP we base our publishing philosophy on local service to local communities and we pride ourselves in delivering unique content across a variety of channels, always with the view that “content is king”.

Today, we’ve announced that Johnston Press is embarking on a new plan to transform the advertising sales operation - introducing new solutions and ways of working.

One of the major pillars of this plan is Google Apps for Business - which will be adopted by our employees as their core email system, allowing them to work together in new ways. Google Apps will allow our employees to access their information at any time, from anywhere and will enable them to work more efficiently as a team, no matter where they are.

We will also equip our 1,500-strong sales team with the Salesforce.com customer relationship management system (CRM), which will be integrated with Google Apps for Business. More than 800 non-office-based sales staff will be given iPads to allow them to work remotely and stay in touch when on the road - significantly improving their sales effectiveness at customers’ premises.

This initiative will help drive innovation by making it incredibly easy for JP’s sales executives to communicate, collaborate, and share business information. I see the move as part of the creation of a new social enterprise that places our regional newspapers at the hearts of their communities.