Scotts Miracle-Gro sell about $2.8 billion in lawn and gardening care products and services annually. A move to Google App has saved time, budget and centralised their storage needs as well as improving collaboration and efficiencies across three continents.

Greg Hohenbrink, Enterprise IT Manager, Scotts Miracle-Gro, said:

Scotts Miracle-Gro was founded in Marysville, Ohio, in 1868 as a premium seed company. By 1940, the company reached $1 million in sales and expanded to 60 associates. Today, we have more than 10,000 associates across North America, Europe and Asia, and we sell about $2.8 billion in lawn and gardening care products and services annually. We manage the entire supply chain, from raw materials to shipping, and we’re always looking to streamline the process to become faster and more efficient as the company expands.

In 2012, we took a good, hard look at the IT department and realized that associates spent too much time managing files, folders and emails. We were using a combination of Exchange 2007 and 2010, with teams using a mix of products for cloud-based storage that made our processes disjointed and cross-team collaboration difficult. Our associates needed a platform to be efficient with documents and information. We spent a year evaluating productivity suites with an internal focus group of 100 associates. The overwhelming majority wanted Google Apps and, with help from a Google partner, we made the move quickly and smoothly.

We’ve seen organic adoption and satisfaction with Google Apps across the company. Most people were already familiar with Gmail, Docs and Drive, so collaboration happened naturally with teams of associates working in the same document instead of saving different versions on the server.

We’re now able to centralize our storage needs with Drive. Most teams use Docs, Slides and Sheets, while relying on Word, Excel and Powerpoint as needed. Since Drive supports all file types, we can store and share everything in one place. We’re seeing growth in adoption of the Drive desktop sync client, which lets associates drag and drop files into a folder in their home drive and have it automatically sync with Drive on the web.

With Drive, we can access all of our files and documents on the go. Recently, I was at an event and my colleague needed me to edit something immediately. I was able to find and open the file through my smartphone and address his concerns on the spot. In the past, I would have had to find a computer, VPN in, and fumble with a log-in. Thanks to Google Apps, what used to take half a day now only takes 30 minutes.

Hangouts is spreading across the organization as well. Our engineering team uses it twice a week to hold video calls with a developer in Hawaii. They also appreciate being able to share code in the same screen. Using a Chromebox in his office, our CIO holds daily standups with the Business Transformation leadership team, which makes videoconferencing quick and easy.

We’re also building applications on top of Google App Engine, which has been surprisingly easy to pick up. Our first big application was a CRM app, which we developed and rolled out with our sales force in a relatively short timeframe. With App Engine, we’re able to support this application without having to think about any of the underlying infrastructure.

For more than a century, Scotts Miracle-Gro has used innovation to help consumers create beautiful, healthy lawns and gardens. With Google Apps, we continue to find innovative ways to empower our associates to support this mission.

Story courtesy of Google Enterprise blog