Editors note: Today’s guest blogger is Edward Hanapole, CIO, Kaplan, one of the world’s largest education companies headquartered in New York, NY. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.
At Kaplan, education is our business. Successful student outcomes are our yardstick for performance. We provide higher education programs, professional training courses, test preparation materials and assessment tools for K-12 students. The range of student services has grown immensely since our founding in 1938 as a test prep company that helped many young people gain access to university education. Today, Kaplan employs more than 25,000 people around the globe in over 30 locations and serves approximately one million students annually.
In our business, it’s critical that we stay up-to-speed on the latest technologies because technology based on rigorous data analysis yields the blueprint for how we can improve instruction and curriculum design, and it allows us to help our students attain their desired results in the most effective and efficient way possible. We want to give our employees the same web-based tools that our students are using at home, so we moved the majority of our employees to Google Apps in 2011. It’s not just Gmail that has changed -- Google Apps has significantly impacted our company culture. We now use Google+ Hangouts to hold a lot of our meetings. Even if I’m in the same office, I often prefer using Hangouts and a shared meeting notes document so I know people are actually paying attention.
We're starting to see great usage of Hangouts across our business. Greg Marino, CEO of the Kaplan Higher Education Group, uses Google+ Hangouts to stay regularly connected with his organization's Chief Difference Makers, employees from around the country who help drive employee engagement at various sites. He finds Hangouts convenient, simple to use and cost-effective. As time goes on, I expect usage to increase across our operations.
We are entering a beta test for a new online educational platform that will allow other schools, organizations, businesses and individuals to share information and knowledge with their audiences aligned with best instructional practices. This exciting, highly innovative solution is built on top of the Google engine.
We’ve also been working with Google partner, Genesys, to pilot new Chromebooks and Chromeboxes at our New York call centers. These new devices have replaced our PCs, helping speed up our workflows and avoid aggravating crashes. Through the pilot process, we’ve found Chrome devices to be much faster, simpler to use, and they require no set-up time and far less troubleshooting. We have the ability to leverage real-time, web-based communication, allowing us to do away with phones in our call centers entirely. This will improve our customers’ experience while saving us time, resources and money. Our long-term goal is to deploy Chrome devices across our 65 North American campuses.
The real potential is that Google Apps and Chrome OS devices give us the ability to introduce innovation to our students and employees on an ongoing basis with relative ease.