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EAT takes on Google Apps

Tuesday May 31 2011

Food chain adopts cloud computing-based productivity suite to help meet its goal of doubling the size of its business

EAT has adopted the online collaboration and communication suite, Google Apps, to make it easier for its 1,700 employees to communicate and collaborate across its 100 stores, so improving the level of service it offers customers. 

EAT prides itself on serving “good, fresh, uncomplicated food” and wanted a simple, fast and uncomplicated IT systems to reflect this ethos and the adoption of the cloud-based Google Apps for Business productivity suite also accommodates the company’s desire to grow as users can be easily added at any time.

Tech pioneering continues in cloud

Having pioneered technologies such as an integrated chip & PIN contactless payment solution, as well as offering customers free Wi-Fi, a Twitter feed and iPhone app, the food chain is not afraid to adopt new initiatives and saw that cloud computing, where aspects of IT delivery are hosted online, could work for it.

Cesar Ramanauskas, systems engineer at EAT, explained in a recent blog entry on the Google Apps website: “In preparation for our goal of doubling in size, EAT migrated to Google Apps for Business, after more than a decade of using Novell GroupWise. We found the GroupWise upgrade process very costly and time-consuming, and because of long release intervals between versions our users had to wait years to access new features. We needed something better.”

He continued: “Our research for an alternative led us to Google Apps for Business. Its innovative approach to communication and collaboration, tied to its highly scalable and secure environment, was second to none. All the steps in this transition, from seamless deployment and migration to user training, were performed by the small in-house team of experts.”

Ramanauskas said he believed that the cloud was not just another buzzword, but was definitely where the future of productivity lives. “Outfitting our users with software that works in a web browser means there is less need to install and update local applications,” he explained. “Plus, it gives them extra flexibility to take their work away from their desks onto mobile phones, tablets and other gadgets.”

Supporting mobile enablement

Although Google Apps supports BlackBerry devices, EAT wanted to capitalise on the flexibility of Android devices with native Gmail, calendar, and the latest corporate and management apps, such as Google Apps Device Policy and Authenticator for 2-Step verification to manage risk and enforce tight security. This has meant that managers can access documents and orders while on the move, giving them the ability to oversee a number of restaurants while being based at just one.

“We kept the momentum and, in just one day, all users were migrated to new the HTC Desire Z,” he added. “Retiring BlackBerry Enterprise Servers in the process was a welcome saving on our infrastructure!

“Furthermore, with Google Apps’ on-demand capacity, we avoided the ever-growing capital and time expense of owning, running and protecting the servers ourselves. We also steered well clear of the upfront cost of building the infrastructure required to accommodate our aggressive expansion plans, without either wasting or having insufficient resources.”

Tagged as: EAT | QSR | foodservice | hospitality | Google | enterprise | cloud | productivity | apps | email | collaboration | communications | security | Google Apps