November 12, 2021

Making Cobry a more sustainable business – the hurdles and the wins

Welcome to the latest instalment of the Cobry Cafetiere of Cloud Knowledge. In this edition we are discussing one of Cobry’s core values - sustainability, and the journey we are going through to become a more sustainable business. Often, we connote sustainability with the environment. Whilst this is an important element of sustainability, it is a concept which, in fact, goes much further beyond just the environment. So, before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s start by discussing what it means to be sustainable. 

What is sustainability? 

Sustainability itself has no single agreed definition. However, most point to a balance between the environment, the economy and society; and treating these in such a way that will preserve them for future generations. This means that sustainable development should not only concern itself with fighting climate change or preserving the environment but also with ensuring a fairer, healthier and more resilient world for those in it. 

Perhaps the most robust definition of sustainability can be drawn from the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These goals, agreed upon by the United Nations, span across society's most pressing challenges from climate change to poverty, inequality, peace and justice. It is hoped that if we can achieve each of these goals by 2030, then we will have ensured a better future for generations to come. The beauty of these goals is that they are so varied. This means that every business and individual can contribute to them in their own unique way and as a society we can work towards one common goal.

How Cobry are becoming more sustainable

Sustainability is central to everything we do at Cobry. We want to use our position as a business to take meaningful action and create real change. We have recently embarked on a project through which we have assessed how sustainable we already are as a business and how we can become more sustainable, in line with the UN’s 17 goals. Thus far, it has been an eye-opening process. We’ve learned so much about sustainability and how, as a business, we can make a positive impact.

Cobry's Sustainable wins

It’s always good to start with some wins, so here are some insights into some of the goals that we were (unknowingly) already working towards. 

Goal 3 - Good Health and Wellbeing. At Cobry, we have many initiatives and benefits in place whose purpose is to support the team's wellbeing. Access to a company-provided Calm subscription gives us the opportunity to practice mindfulness and look after our mental health; whilst the Cobry Book Club provides us with any book of our choosing which we can kick back and relax with.

Goal 4 - Quality Education. Continuous professional and personal development is central to everything we do at Cobry. We are encouraged to regularly use some of our working hours to upskill or learn something new that will help us continue to progress and draw enjoyment from our roles at Cobry. 

So, what's next?

Of course, there’s always room to do more and do better. We have already begun working towards meeting more of the goals and have some exciting plans up our sleeves!

One initiative that we are particularly excited about is the ScotlandIS Critical Friends programme which we will be joining. The programme aims to bridge the IT skills gap by pairing industry experts with local high schools who can advise on study topics and provide resources. By having a dedicated contact, the hope is that students will be inspired to choose computing science subjects and even go on to pursue a career in the field. 

This is just one example of how we’re working to become a more sustainable business and we can’t wait to continue to do more amazing things!

We believe that, as a business, it is so important to act and to draw attention to the sustainability issues that we are facing as a society. We hope that by sharing our journey, we may be able to help partners, clients and individuals to do the same. 

October 29, 2021

Google Cloud Next: Cobry’s Highlights

Google Cloud Next is an annual summit, held by Google, which celebrates the achievements of its customers and partners, and announces Google’s plans for future innovation. This year's summit took place recently and, as you can imagine, there were so many exciting things mentioned that we just had to shout about. We decided to pick the brains of each Cobry Department and have gathered what we believe were the show-stopping announcements. Firstly, we address the elephant that’s in everyone's rooms. The new world of work and how Google is supporting customers in sailing these changing seas. 

Fuelling collaboration in the future workplace 

As work was changing rapidly before our eyes, Google's focus was on providing solutions and tools to allow users to work from anywhere. Now that these are sturdily in place, thanks to Google Workspace, Google is turning its attention to Collaboration equity. 

Prior to the Coronavirus Pandemic, work, for most of us, meant travelling to a physical office location. During the pandemic, remote work became essential and we all had to familiarise ourselves with working at home and communicating virtually. Now, as we begin to move to post-pandemic, hybrid work is surfacing as a popular trend where organisations are implementing a mix of both in-office and remote work. 

Whilst this is an exciting new approach to work, it doesn’t come without its challenges. For example, team members may find it more difficult to participate in meetings to the same level of their colleagues, depending on whether they are there virtually or physically. 

In order to combat such disparities, Google has been working hard to develop innovative products which will allow employees to fully embrace new ways of working. For example, Companion Mode in Google Meet is a new feature which is designed to seamlessly connect virtual and in-person attendees by giving everyone advanced participation tools. 

The feature provides everyone, no matter their location, with interactive tools such as live captions, polls or hand raise, whilst leveraging the best video conferencing and audio capabilities. The idea is that colleagues in the same room together can connect visually and audibly to the meeting through use of a Google Meet kit. Meanwhile, enabling Companion Mode on their personal devices to connect and collaborate with remote colleagues. 

Empowering all users to build their own solutions

Continuing with the theme of the new working world, Google recognises that modern work requires employees to switch between contexts and tools more than ever before. Therefore, during Cloud Next, Google announced the brand new integration between AppSheet and Gmail. 

AppSheet is a no-code application development platform which tightly integrates with Google Workspace. It allows users to build apps and transform business processes. The beauty of AppSheet is that it is no-code. Meaning that you don’t need to have any development knowledge in order to create and deploy a valuable app. 

Now that AppSheet integrates with Gmail, Google is providing employees with even more opportunity to streamline processes, work more efficiently and regain time previously taken up by manual tasks. For example, users may create processes where budgets or holiday requests can be approved or create asset management systems directly from Gmail. This is an amazing new innovation which further enables organisations to customise their use of Google Workspace. Building a platform which satisfies their unique needs.

Making data sing, no matter the cloud

Each cloud has its own unique advantages. Understanding this, savvy customers have been adopting multi-cloud strategies in order to reap the benefits of each cloud. This, however, can cause some friction when users want to analyse data which sits across various clouds. Traditionally, to do this, you would have to move, or copy data from one cloud to another. Resulting in an extremely clunky and inefficient process. 

At Cloud Next, Google announced the general release of BigQuery Omni which will solve this problem for millions. Big Query Omni is a data analytics solution that enables you to access data across Google Cloud, AWS and Azure. This means that you will be able to gain critical business insights all from the same user interface. As well as use the same BigQuery APIs and standard SQL. In addition, since BigQuery Omni is powered by Anthos, you won’t have to manage the underlying infrastructure, you can just get straight to querying data. 

Data accessibility is pivotal for organisational decision making across organisations whose criticality will only become stronger as multi-cloud adoption increases. Therefore, development of BigQuery Omni by Google will provide customers with unparalleled support in gaining business insights and making transformative decisions. 

Building a more sustainable future, together

To round things off, we’ll take a look at a topic that is central to the culture and goals of Cobry - Sustainability. 

Google has already accomplished great sustainability feats, such as the use of 100% renewable energy and being carbon neutral. Now, it is pledging to use its unique position to help others do the same. It will do this by developing innovative solutions that will empower organisations all over the world to measure and reduce their environmental impact. During Cloud Next, Google announced its newest sustainability innovation - Carbon Footprint. 

Carbon Footprint is a product which provides customers with the gross carbon emissions associated with their use of Google Cloud. By logging into the GCP Admin Console, users can find such information and use it to measure, track and report on their own gross carbon emissions. Of course, net Google Cloud operational emissions will remain zero. With such strong reporting opportunities, organisations are able to demonstrate progress towards climate goals to employees, customers and boards. As well as uncover insight into how they can further develop sustainability efforts. 

This announcement is really just a drop in the ocean of all of the amazing sustainability initiatives that Google carries out. Nonetheless, a hugely exciting one as it provides customers the opportunity to understand their own emissions and do their part in the fight against climate change. 

So, as you can hopefully see, a lot to celebrate and a lot to look forward to this year with Google, and of course with Cobry! There’s nothing we love more than to help customers get the most out of cloud technology and apply it in a way that will positively impact business as well as the world around us. If you’d like to find out more about how we can support you in implementing the Google tools, please get in touch.

October 22, 2021

5 Google Calendar features that will transform your work schedule

For many of us, our calendars are the lights navigating us through our world of work. They tell us where we need to be, when we need to be there and what we need to be doing. Understanding this, Google has been adding great new features to the tool that will make schedule planning simple and speedy. These great Google Calendar features are the topic of conversation in the latest episode of the Cobry Cafetiere of Cloud Knowledge. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the Cobry team's favourites.

Collaborating in Google Calendar

As ever in Google Workspace, the collaboration capabilities available within Calendar are second to none. You can share your calendar, view those of your colleagues and even manage secondary calendars, should you need to. At Cobry, we find that having access to one another's calendars enables us to easily schedule meetings whilst respecting our colleagues’ other meeting commitments. Essentially, It means we can spend more time doing valuable work instead of playing the game of ‘does this time suit you?’ ping pong that we all know too well!

Setting your working hours 

Whilst this seems like a simple feature its impact is mighty. Within Google Calendar settings, you are able to define your working pattern which can be viewed by your colleagues. Once you’ve set your pattern, you also have the option to auto-decline meetings outside of these hours. Meaning that, if someone invites you to a meeting at a time that you don’t work, it will automatically be declined with a note sent to the organiser explaining why. 

In addition, working hours in Google Calendar can be synced to other Google tools such as Google Voice. Therefore, if someone calls your number outside of your working pattern, the caller will be automatically forwarded to your voicemail. This feature helps you to clearly define the line between your working and non-working hours, which for many has become slightly blurred as a result of remote work; and more importantly, stops you working when you shouldn't be!

Set your working hours in Google Calendar

Creating recurring events in Google Calendar

Using the recurring events function in Google Calendar is a great way to streamline the process of creating meeting events and reduce the time spent doing admin tasks. Whether you have meetings which recur daily, weekly or at an even more granular period, you can easily specify this in Google Calendar and eradicate the pain of setting up multiple meetings. 

Recurring Events in Google Calendar

Calendar Resources

Calendar Resources are a feature within Google Calendar which, if set up in the admin console, enables users in your organisation to book shared organisational resources such as rooms, equipment or company vehicles. For example, organisations using a 'Hot Desking' strategy for hybrid work may want to add their desks as calendar resources. Employees can then check desk availability in the resources calendar and book when they'd like to use one.

Additionally, admins can generate reports for calendar resources to understand how employees are using them, what’s most in demand and when. Thus, enabling important strategic decisions regarding business resources to be made.

Google Calendar Insights 

To round off this episode of the Cobry Cafetiere, we have one of Calendar's newest features - Calendar Insights. The feature allows you to see a breakdown of metrics related to meeting events. For example: the average number of hours per week spent in meetings or on which days you attend the most meetings. This is a really exciting development in Google Calendar - or scary if you spend a lot of time in meetings! At Cobry, we have been using the information given to us by Calendar Insights to evaluate how our time is distributed at work and what we can do to ensure we are using our time as effectively as we can. This is yet another amazing feature from Google that has helped us transform the way we work for the better.

Hopefully it's clear by now that Google Calendar has an abundance of features that are designed to help users work better together, maintain a good work-life balance and win back some valuable time. All of these initiatives will support teams whether they work in office, remotely or in a hybrid environment.

If you want to find out more about Google Workspace for your organisation, get in touch!

September 30, 2021

Why You Should Adopt a Hybrid Model with Google Workspace.

With the COVID-19 pandemic and the advancements in technology this has provided, a new way of working has become all the more possible. This blog aims to provide an insight into why Google Workspace is the perfect suite of collaboration and productivity tools to harness a Hybrid Model and therefore make the process of working from home, the office or anywhere for that matter any different or less efficient an experience.

So first, let’s set the scene.

What is Hybrid Working?

Put simply, hybrid working is a model in which employees split their time between the office and working remotely. The intention of this is to provide some flexibility for workers, making a work-life balance more easy to achieve and all the while not hampering organisational productivity. Some organisations may have this split between home and office working set fairly rigidly, whereby employees work from home half of the week and at the office the other half. Other organisations may allow their employees to simply choose which days they’d like to come in or not. The important thing to remember is there’s no right or wrong way to organise this split. 

That being said, there are fine margins for error when it comes to the tools at employees disposal. 

With that in mind, let’s look at some of the innovative Google Workspace features that can be harnessed to ensure hybrid working is seamless.

Google Workspace Hybrid Model Features.

1. Setting your availability in Google Calendar.

Let’s start with the basics. You work from home and you work in the office. But how are people going to be aware of this? This could be important for a plethora of reasons. Let’s say for instance you’re looking to host a meeting, or someone’s looking to invite you to a meeting. They may be able to meet you face-to-face if you’re in the office but know if you’re working from home you won’t be able to. 

Previously, there was no easy way to indicate this. With a new hybrid model geared update to Google Calendar, this once problematic situation is mitigated. Take a look.

Indicate at the top of your calendar where you'll be working from.

That’s not all though. For the avoidance of any potential confusion or a colleague turning up at your front door for a face-to-face meeting - when accepting an invitation for a calendar invite, you can indicate whether you’re joining virtually or in person.

2. Spaces - Your Place for Hybrid Model Collaboration

What were once ‘Rooms’ in Google Chat have been supercharged, becoming a hub for all of Google Workspace’s key principles; collaboration, communication, efficiency. This has been done through the power of tight integrations between Workspace’s innovative collaborative tools such as Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Meet and Tasks. 

Here’s an example. Your team is working on a new project and has started collaborating on a strategy document. They want to be able to communicate as they collaborate all the while in real-time. With spaces, users are able to still access their chat as they would in a ‘Room’ format, but can also collaborate and edit a Doc/Sheet/Slide all at the same time in the same tab.

This is such a powerful new addition to Google Workspace. It can be done from home, in the office, on your desktop or one your phone. It truly encapsulates how Google Workspace will help organisations fully harness a Hybrid Model.

3. Google Meet - Making Meetings Unified in a Hybrid Model

You can imagine it can’t you? Or maybe you’ve even experienced it. You’re in a meeting, some participants are in the office, some are at home, one person’s in a coffee shop having a double macchiato. It’s disjointed, it’s chaotic, it’s inefficient.

Google has put a lot of work into ensuring that when you’re in a meeting it’s a unified experience that goes without a hitch, irrespective of location or device. Rolling out in November, we’ll see Companion mode appear in Google Meet. 

With Companion mode, users can host or join a meeting from within a conference room using their laptop while taking advantage of the in-room audio and video all the while avoiding that terrible feedback you often get when someone else in the room forgets to mute their microphone or speaker. 

Additionally, this functionality lets users share content or see presentations on their own device, access the meeting chat and whiteboard, initiate and vote on polls, or post a question in Q&A, just as can be done from home. To ensure that users have greater choice over how they participate in meetings, live-translated captions will be available in Meet and through Companion mode some time by the end of the year!

Conclusion

We’ve listed 3 key features here that can help enable your organisation to collaborate efficiently and effectively with a hybrid working model. Whilst this is undeniably impressive, what’s even more impressive is that Google Workspace’s underlying principles have always supported the ability to work from anywhere on any device. So although some of these hybrid working features may be recent, they are being added on to foundations that have always supported the key principles of this working model.

If you’d like to find out how you can get started with Google Workspace and harness its ability to facilitate a hybrid working model or maybe you already use Workspace and want to get more from it, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

September 17, 2021

Get the most out of Google Workspace with Cobry’s Transformation Labs

What is a Transformation Lab?

Transformation Labs are an essential part of Cobry’s weaponry in the fight against ineffective moves to Google Workspace. Migrating to Google Workspace is a major change for any organisation and Transformation Labs are one of the tools we use to manage this change and ensure your business gets the most out of the move. 

What exactly is a 'Transformation Lab’, though? Well, to put it simply, it is a meeting shared between Cobry and a few key stakeholders in your organisation where we work together to overcome a challenge you have been facing using the Google Workspace tools.

A Transformation Lab is a very targeted exercise in that we focus on only one particular business challenge. We review this challenge by looking at the methods you are currently using to overcome it and identify improvements that could be made by employing the Google tools. 

There really is no limit to what can be achieved with a Transformation Lab. To give you an idea though, some successes could be the automation of workflows using Apps Script or even improved data visualisation with Data Studio. The Transformation Lab is your oyster! That’s what they say, right?

What happens in a Transformation Lab?

Since every organisation is unique, with unique systems and processes, every Transformation Lab is different. Clients are often pleased to find out that there isn’t much prep to do prior to a Transformation Lab. Instead, we do all of the work collaboratively throughout the meeting. 

During the session, we will get to know the challenge you are facing and work together to find the best possible solution. This set up means that you - the client - are very hands on with the solution and have a key stake in deciding what is best for your organisation. 

It’s not all hard work though. Transformation Labs are also the perfect opportunity for us to celebrate what the organisation has already achieved through their move to Google Workspace and use these learnings to fuel further innovation and transformation.

Who should attend?

As we said, no Transformation Lab is the same and so there is no correct answer to this. It totally depends on what you feel is right for your organisation. However, from our experience a good mix is those with a key stake in the move such as business executives, transformation advocates and members of business units that will be directly impacted by the result of the Transformation Lab.

Why should you participate in a Transformation Lab? 

There are so many benefits to undertaking a Transformation Lab compared to your bog-standard support. Firstly, its face-to-face setup means that we can communicate in the most effective and efficient way, elevating the possibility of misunderstandings. Moreover, throughout these sessions we truly get to know your business and your goals, which, in turn, enables us to develop highly bespoke and effective solutions. 

Secondly, Transformation Labs are a great gateway to understanding how your business operates and the type of processes you have in place. By knowing this and undertaking some Transformation Labs, not only can we improve some specific systems and processes, but we can also develop a roadmap for continued innovation and transformation. 

Finally, by working closely with Cobry, Google Workspace experts, you will ensure that you are using your new tools to their full potential and, thus, will get the most out of your move to the platform. 

Conclusion

To conclude, moving to Google Workspace, for many, is a totally different way of doing things. That’s why Transformation Labs form a huge part of our approach to change management and support. They enable us to deeply understand your business needs and you to totally embrace the change and get the most out of Google Workspace.

If you are a client and want to find out more about our Transformation Labs; or you’re looking to move your organisation to Google Workspace, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

August 27, 2021

Become a more sustainable business by moving to the cloud

The UK government has urged businesses to adopt cloud technology in a bid to reduce their carbon footprint, given that the cloud is vastly more sustainable than traditional tech solutions such as on-premise servers. By moving to the cloud, businesses will be able to meet the goal of halving their carbon emissions by 2030. 

However, most organisations report being only 20% through their journey to the cloud. Considering this, we’ve written this article to help you address any questions you may have about moving to the cloud and understand what this means for your business' sustainability. Before we get into the nitty-gritty, though, let’s start with what we mean by ‘the cloud’. 

Businesses have been challenged to half CO2 emissions by 2030.

What is the cloud?

The cloud, in essence, is all about storing and communicating with data over the internet, instead of on your computer's hard drive or a server in your office. While you may not realise it, you’re probably using the cloud already.  

The likes of Facebook, Netflix and Spotify all run on the cloud, alongside millions of other organisations across the globe. The cloud is not just for large multinational companies, however, and every business no matter the size or sector can benefit from moving to the cloud.

Cost savings, increased reliability and security and, of course, a more sustainable business operation are just some of the advantages to be reaped from adopting a cloud-first approach

How can moving to the cloud make my business more sustainable?

If you’re not on the cloud then you’re probably managing and processing data on a local server. This traditional tech solution, however, consumes mammoth amounts of energy and greatly increases carbon emissions. This is due to the large amount of space needed to house complex machinery and the - usually far - distance from its power source. 

Cloud data centres are often built in optimal spots, close to power facilities. Additionally, a more efficient hardware set-up means that data centres use less energy to serve more organisations.

Google, renowned as the greenest cloud in the industry, is two times more efficient than typical enterprise data centres. It was the first major company to become carbon neutral in 2007 and each of its cloud regions now run on 100% renewable energy. Google isn’t stopping there, however. It aims to be carbon-free by 2030 and is committed to continuing to lead the way and enable everyone to be part of the climate change solution.

Business sustainability doesn't stop at the environment, however: there is also an emphasis on economic development through improved performance. The cloud can help with this too by enabling organisations to reduce costs and operate more efficiently. For example, on Google Cloud, you only pay for what you use. This means that when there’s high demand for your business you can easily scale up and increase your Google Cloud spend. On the flip side, when there’s less demand you can be assured that you won’t pay for unused services. What's more, Google can do all that for you so you don’t even have to think about it.

Google Cloud has hundreds of solutions

Which cloud solution is best for my business?

From Infrastructure Modernisation to Data Analytics, AI and Machine Learning, there is so much you can do on the cloud. The sheer volume of possibilities, however, can be overwhelming. Throw in multiple cloud providers and it’s understandable why businesses have been relatively slow in adopting a cloud-first approach.

The best cloud solution for you will fully depend on your unique business needs and goals. The best way to get started on your journey to the cloud is by speaking to the experts. When you book a discovery call with Cobry, we will get to know your business and your goals and will support you in mapping out your unique cloud journey. The result will be your digitally transformed, more sustainable business.

If you'd like to find out more about how to become a more sustainable business (among many other benefits) then don't hesitate to get in touch!

August 20, 2021

3 Reasons why Cobry’s Tech Support is like no other

At cobry, we approach tech support very differently to what you might expect from any other IT provider. This is mainly because we don't consider ourselves as an IT provider, but as a business that helps other businesses to work better and manage change through cloud technology. Throughout this article, we will explain to you three of the reasons we believe that our approach to support is like no other. Let's get started...

We care about your goals and tailor our support to suit these

We believe that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to tech support. Each organisation is unique, with unique goals and unique requirements. If you choose to be supported by us, we’ll start your journey by asking a few key questions designed to let us understand what you want to achieve with technology in your business. Once we know this, it gives us the ability to map out your journey and tailor our support to your organisation's specific needs. 

For example, if you’re looking to ensure that your employees get the most out of the Google Workspace tools, Helpdesk support and training sessions could be really useful. Or, if your goal is to drive change throughout your organisation, then our transformative support such as Innovation Councils or Transformation Labs will help you achieve just that. 

Our support is not just fixing things when they break…

It’s easy to assume that tech support is somewhere you go if your tech isn’t working. While this is partly true, at Cobry, support is so much more than that. We don’t just fix what’s broken, we support and assist users to get the absolute most out of their technology. 

How do we do this? We categorise tickets into two types: support and assistance. Support tickets refer to technical issues or bugs a user is experiencing. Meanwhile, assistance tickets refer to users who are asking for help or advice on how to do something using the Google Workspace tools. Google’s tools are so effective that only 10% of tickets raised are due to a technical issue or bug. This means that 90% of the time, our team is supporting and guiding users on how to enhance their use of the tools and improve day-to-day processes. So, it's clear to see that at Cobry we don’t just fix things that are broken - because they rarely are. Instead, we work closely with you to help improve your business and achieve your overarching goals. 

Our support team are humans, treating humans like humans!

When you raise a support ticket on Cobry’s help desk, you can be assured that it will be dealt with by a real-life human. You will never be subjected to the frustration of talking down the phone to a robot who doesn’t understand your accent - with more than a few Scots in our team it’s understandable that we don’t like these! Instead, your ticket will be passed on to one of our experts and the 3-stage journey to resolve will begin.

Stage 1: Request Received

In this initial stage our team receives your ticket and will make contact to explore the issue further. 

Stage 2: Processing the Issue

Secondly, our team will investigate the issue and evaluate all potential resolutions. 

Stage 3: Issue Resolve

Finally, our team will explain the solutions they have found to you and will provide you with knowledge and support that could help with similar queries in the future. 

At Cobry, supporting our clients and helping them work better is our number one priority. And that is reflected in the way we offer support. We take the time to understand your goals and tailor support to them. We go further than simply fixing what’s broken by helping you improve processes and get the most out of the tools. And finally, we ensure that the person supporting you is always a person. And not only that, a person who is eager to work collaboratively to find solutions to your organisational issues or processes.

To find out more about how we can help you reach your goals, get in touch.

August 6, 2021

How to create and analyse surveys effortlessly with Google Forms

It’s that time of the week again where the team at Cobry get together with a nice warm brew and discuss all things Google Cloud. Over the course of this article we’ll provide you with some of our favourite tips and tricks to create powerful surveys using Google Forms. Before we get to that though, let’s take a look at the question types you can use in Google Forms.

Google Forms Question Types

There are various question types available which you can use to create a custom and specific form. These range from long or short text based questions, multiple choice and linear scale. Not sure which question type to use? Worry not! Using AI, Google will assess the question you have asked and suggest the best question type to add to your form. These various question types will allow you to create an engaging and varied survey.

Visualise questions with images and videos

Aside from question types, you can also customise a Google Form by including images and videos in your descriptions and questions, as well as answer options. To do this just hit the image or video icon and select the file you’d like to use. 

And don’t forget to hit preview mode before sending your form out! This allows you to view it as your respondents would and even fill in a mock form. Using this feature is a really great way to ensure a high quality user experience. 

Google Forms Response Validation

Whilst the design and content of our forms is hugely important, what’s even more pivotal is that it’s content elicits the data you need. However, as our minds all work differently, you can never be sure that everyone will interpret a question in the same way. To help combat this, Google has embedded response validation into Google Forms. By using this feature, you are able to set parameters or rules for questions (such as numeric values only or maximum word count) which will help you collect valid and accurate data as well as cut down time spent formatting data post collection! 

Export Data from Google Forms

Speaking of post data collection… Google Forms integrates tightly with the rest of the Google ecosystem. This means you can export your findings into the likes of Google Sheets or data studio. From here, you have the potential to do almost anything with the data - create tables, analyse it as a chart, heck Cobry could even help you connect it to Google Apps Script and build an app with the data! To unlock this potential, all you have to do is hit the Google Slides icon under the response menu. Or, if you just want a quick glance at results, Google Forms automatically depicts responses in either bar or pie chart format.

Google forms data export

By making use of multiple question types and including images or videos, you can easily create an interesting and engaging Google Form. Meanwhile, features such as response validation and integration with Google Sheets means that data analysis has never been so effortless.

As you can tell, there’s so much you can do with Google Forms. We could go on and on but truly the best way to understand its potential is to try it for yourself. If you think this sounds great, you'll really love the rest of what Google Workspace has to offer. If that's piqued your interest, get in touch with us here at Cobry. You can either fill out the form below to leave a quick message or book a discovery call if you're ready to start your journey to the cloud!

July 30, 2021

Organisational Project Management with Asana – Everything you need to know!

In our latest blog, we are discussing the Project Management tool Asana. Project management is a difficult and delicate process, even more so as we have all become distributed teams. Luckily, Asana has a range of features and benefits that are designed to allow teams to succeed no matter where they are.

What is Asana? 

Asana is a project management tool that is designed to aid organisations deliver successful projects. The tool was introduced in 2008 with the aim to allow teams across the world to work effortlessly together. 

Asana Use Cases 

Asana’s flexibility is one of its key benefits. This means that its features can stretch to fit the needs and workflows of any team. For example, Asana has a range of project views available (timeline, board, list or calendar). These allow teams to customise the way in which their projects are displayed depending on priorities and requirements. 

At Cobry, our various departments make use the tool in many different ways:

Timeline View

Cobry’s technical team uses Asana’s timeline view to create migration projects. The timeline view allows the stages in each project to be split into individual tasks and given deadlines to meet. Also, you can create dependencies or criteria to meet before a task can begin. This means that a rule will be set up that requires a task to be completed before the next is started. In addition, Asana will send collaborators in that project reminders about upcoming deadlines meaning that the project will remain on track. 

Asana Timeline view

Board View

Cobry’s Marketing team makes use of Asana’s board view to keep track of our blogs. Using this view, we can drag and drop blog topics into different sections depending on their status. This allows us to keep track of the progress of blogs and plan marketing content accordingly. 

Asana Board View

Portfolios

Portfolios allow teams to monitor the progress of projects and initiatives in real time. Our development team uses this in order to keep track of the various development projects they are working on. Using portfolios, the team can assign priority to projects, add status updates and visualise the progress of projects. All of these great features mean that projects remain on track and under control, with the ability to quickly and effectively assess their progress and success. 

Asana Portfolios

Asana’s Features 

Asana hsa a wide range of amazing features that enable successful project management and facilitate communication and collaboration amongst teams. Some of Cobry’s favourites are: 

Task Assignment

Asana allows you to assign tasks and subtasks to yourself or other members of your team. Your tasks are added to your "My Tasks' section which keeps them at top of mind and makes them actionable. This is a great way to avoid losing or forgetting about tasks as a result of using traditional communication tools such as email or chat. In addition, Asana allows colleagues to communicate and collaborate with one another within the comment section of tasks. Therefore, communication in relation to the project remains together and provides one source of truth for the task at hand.

Asana brings the work to you 

When using Asana, you’ll never have to worry about forgetting tasks or missing deadlines again. Asana brings the work to you by sending you notifications and reminders about upcoming tasks and projects. Therefore, you don’t need to rely on manual work management techniques. Instead, you can focus on what really matters - getting the work done. 

Workloads

The workloads section in Asana allows you to see the workloads of the members across your team. Therefore, managers can easily see their teams workload and avoid people becoming overwhelmed or underworked.

The Benefits of Asana

Unlike traditional Project Management software, Asana adapts to the way you work. The tools flexibility and range of features can be moulded to suit the processes of any organisation and any team within your organisation. Thus, no matter how you use Asana, you can be assured that its use will steer your work towards success. 

Finally, Asana allows you to trial the tool in small pockets of your organisation without having it to deploy it across the business. This means you can try out the tool and decide whether it works for you.

At Cobry, we use Asana every single day. If you’d like to learn more about Asana and how we can help implement it in your organisation, get in touch.

July 23, 2021

Supercharge your use of spreadsheets with these handy Google Sheets tips

Spreadsheets are arguably one of the most commonly used tools across organisations. As such, there are many players to choose from. However, none quite match up to Google Sheets in our opinion. The ability to seamlessly collaborate in real-time and enhanced user features mean that a Google Sheet transcends being just a spreadsheet and serves as a powerful application that will induce success. To show you what we mean we've listed a few of our favourite Google Sheets tips that will help you supercharge your use of spreadsheets.

Use filters to easily work with your data

Filter views allow you to quickly and easily filter your dataset based on various conditions such as sell contents, value, colour and more. To use them, all you have to do is navigate to the ‘Data’ drop down menu, select ‘Create a filter’ and specify the way in which you would like to view your data. This enables you to work more productively and focus on only the data important to you! In addition, you can save filters and reuse them when you return to the data without starting from scratch.

Google Sheets filters

Prep your data for use with Google Sheets cleanup suggestions

Cleanup suggestions use AI to detect potential errors, anomalies or duplicates in your data that would distort the results of analysis. In order to make use of this wonderful feature, simply go to ‘Data’ then ‘Cleanup Suggestions’ after which a popup with clean up suggestions and data insights will appear. This tool is a must for anyone working with data as it converts a traditionally tedious and time consuming task into one that can be completed in the click of a button!

Google sheets cleanup suggestions

Use the explore function to analyse your data

The explore function is a real favourite throughout the Cobry team. Using AI, the tool generates insights into your data which you can use for analysis. It also suggests charts and graphs which you can add to visualise data. If this wasn’t enough, you can even ask the tool questions about your data to which it will provide answers and the working to your question. With the explore function, even novice Google Sheets users can perform valuable and sophisticated data analysis. 

Google Sheets explore

Create apps from Google Sheets with Apps Script

One of the fundamental uses of apps in business is to make data more accessible, useful and actionable. By combining the use of Google Sheets and Apps Script (Google’s low code application development platform), you can create an app from one of the most commonplace data repositories - a spreadsheet! This powerful duo enables you to connect Google Sheets with other tools in the Google Workspace ecosystem and build powerful applications with minimal coding required. 

These are only a few tips that can help you supercharge your use of Google Sheets. There are so many more features that make Google Sheets the most powerful spreadsheet platform in the market. From features that take the pain out of analysis to integration with development platforms, Google Sheets provides you with all the potential you need to achieve great things. All within the modest spreadsheet. 

If you're looking to transform the way in which your organisation works by implementing powerful tools such as Google Sheets; or want to find out more about Google Workspace get in touch!

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