December 4, 2020

Google Apps Script – Automate your Workflow

Welcome to the latest edition of the Cobry Cafetiere of Cloud Knowledge. Our weekly dose of cloud, company knowledge and - of course - caffeine! Join us on our mid-morning break and learn as we do. This week's topic of discussion - Google Apps Script. 

What is Google Apps Script?

Google Apps Script is a development platform included within Google Workspace that makes it fast and easy to build custom solutions that integrate with apps such as Gmail, Docs, Sheets and Drive.

Google Apps Script

Apps Script uses JavaScript programming language which makes it really easy to use if you have fundamental programming knowledge. The platform exists completely in Google Drive, meaning there is nothing to download or configure and no infrastructure to maintain - Google takes care of all of that. 

Why Use Apps Script?

Google Apps Script allows you to simplify your day-to-day routines, and automate workflows that would have previously been tedious to do. By automating these tasks and processes, organisations can save money, time and effort, and can focus on what really matters. Additionally, using Apps Script to automate workflows reduces the possibility of human error.

Cobry uses Google Apps Script to allow Workflow Automation

How does Cobry use Apps Script?

At Cobry, one of our core principles is the value we add for our clients as their Google Workspace Partner. We provide high quality service by identifying challenges faced by an organisation and finding the best solution to resolve these challenges.

By listening to the unique needs of our clients, we understand the day to day operations and processes of their business and how they can be improved. Oftentimes, our experience tells us that the solution to the challenges faced by our customers lies within Apps Script, and we are more than able - and happy - to provide this solution. 

Cobry's Folder Generator

Our Folder Generator is a great example of how Google Apps Script can automate workflows. It's a user-friendly web app that allows users to generate a folder structure at the press of a button. This is then replicated to create standardisation across the company Google Drive. Thus, saving the organisation precious time and effort.

Interested in what else we can do? Have a look at how Cobry can help you automate workflows.  

To sum up, Apps Script allows organisations to automate workflows and ultimately, save time, costs and efforts. As our very own Managing Director, Colin, puts it “Workflow Automation through use of Google Apps Script is exactly the future style of working that everyone should be aspiring to".


Ready to transform your systems and processes? Get in touch and we’d be happy to help. That's all for now. See you back here next week for the next instalment of the Cobry Cafetiere of Cloud Knowledge.

November 20, 2020

Migration – The Cobry Cafetiere of Cloud Knowledge

Migrating to Google Workspace | The Cobry Cafetiere of Cloud Knowledge

Bored of insignificant, at-home coffee breaks? You no longer have to be, because you now have the opportunity to join ours! Each week, our team gets together for the Cobry Cafetiere of Cloud Knowledge, a break dedicated to learning all things cloud technology. From individual apps to complex subjects, we discuss everything we know, and now we want to share our expertise with you! So get ready to quench your thirst for knowledge as well as coffee - this week we’re talking all things Migration! 

What is Migration? 

Migration involves hoovering up all of an organisation's legacy data and moving it to Google Workspace. This includes emails, calendars, contacts and files. Migration is optional, with some organisations choosing to move to the cloud with a blank slate due to messy and disorganised current systems. Want to learn more about moving to the cloud? We have loads more info here

Migration is moving all data

Why Migrate?

So, why bother migrating then if it is not essential? It is the Cobry way - we migrate to minimise disruption. By starting with familiar data, we can ensure users have the best possible experience with Google Workspace. This means they can learn to use the new tools available to them without the challenge of also rebuilding their working environment. 

Cobry’s approach to Migration

It is our belief that users should not experience the migration - they should experience the tools. Essentially, employees should log out of their old system on a Friday evening and by Monday morning they return to all of their same data - just in a new workspace! Whilst there are some nuances, all of our migrations follow this structure:

Cobry's Migration Timeline

There are lots of tools to tackle migration. The tool we choose depends on multiple factors, but primarily are:

  • Migration Speed - This is how fast items transfer from the source to the destination. Different tools are coded differently so they all migrate at different speeds.
  • Configurability - This is how configurable a tool is. Sometimes the client has some very specific requirements that we have to fulfill so configurability is pivotal in some situations.
  • Data Source - This is the most important factor when deciding a tool. Here, we consider where the data currently lies. This could be local, on the server, or on the cloud.

Once the migration is complete, that does not mean our partnership has to be. Our approach is to build trust and lasting relationships through adding value and tailoring Google Workspace to your exact needs. 

So there you have it, a whistle stop tour of all things Migration. Keep your eyes peeled for next week’s Cafetiere of Cloud Knowledge.

October 1, 2019

How to Move your Organisation to G Suite

G Suite is rapidly becoming the go-to office suite for enterprises thanks to its intuitive interface and collaboration tools.

Although Microsoft Office remains the leader in terms of volume of users, G Suite has made massive inroads into Microsoft's dominance with the number of paying businesses that have made the move to G Suite having doubled in only two years.

The shift in business approach to their office suite can be explained in the fact that G Suite was born in the cloud and therefore did not come with any legacy programming or architecture. This, in turn, enabled the platform to innovate with highly collaborative tools such as Docs, Sheets and Slides. Gmail, the world's most popular email client, is the preferred choice for younger employees over Outlook and has, if required, complex email filtering and labelling functionality ensuring your inbox becomes more manageable.

Allied to this G Suite is device agnostic which means that employees can use their hardware of choice whether it is a Mac, PC or indeed the increasingly popular choice of a Chromebook - Google’s operating system of Chrome OS

A further, less heralded, factor in its increasing market share lies in Google’s drive to crack the education market. G Suite for Education, which includes apps like Gmail, Google Drive, Docs, Sheets and Slides as well as Calendar, Jamboard and Meet, began in 2006. As of January 2019, 80 million educators and students worldwide use the Education tier along with 30 million Chromebooks. This strategy will, in essence, mean that students will already be familiar with the tools G Suite brings to the table.

So what are the steps to shift your organisation from your current solution to G Suite?

Leadership Buy-In

The first step to any successful migration has to be that the project needs to have decision-makers on board from as high up the organisation as possible using and engaging with G Suite. 

However, the challenge will be in getting these senior employees to try something new, as they will likely have been in the Microsoft world for some time. This group of people will need to see the benefits of the move to G Suite, but their buy-in is crucial to the success of the project.

Often projects fail when there is a lack of time allocated at the planning stage by key influencers, this must be avoided at all costs as planning is key to a successful deployment. 

Humans Don’t Like Change

As a general rule, human beings do not like change, getting taken out of our comfort zones or trying something different. We get set in our ways and become closed off to the idea that another way could be better and lead to benefits.

It is a crucial part of the project that evangelists are recruited, team members who can shout out and embrace the benefits of the change. These will be the cheerleaders and will have the most influence on colleagues at the coal face.

Tailor Your Approach

The benefits of making the move to G Suite will be different to each department within an organisation so when engaging, tailor the approach and training. Each tool within G Suite will have a greater impact on some departments than others. 

For example, the Finance department, typically the most resistant to moving from Excel to Sheets due to the complex nature of formulas, will need to buy into the migration of their work. 

Another example of having a different approach would be with the executive administrator or PA’s who manage multiple inboxes and calendars. The interface and settings will look different in Gmail and Calendar to Outlook and will need different deployment instructions. 

Focussing on touchpoints that affect the users in their day to day tasks will help ensure a smooth rollout and better adoption.

Phased Roll Out

No matter the size of the organisation or if spread over a number of different locations the best rollout will be a phased approach.

As well as migration issues, resources will need to be deployed for user knowledge gaps, training and problem resolution. So with all of that to be managed, migrating per department or location could be a good bet.

Most importantly, communication with stakeholders is key. Users will become frustrated and disillusioned if they are not kept in the loop with key milestones and project wins. Here the client evangelists will play an important role in this as they can amplify updates and help heal pain points within the user base.

Contact to Move to G Suite

As official Google Cloud Partners, Cobry has deployed G Suite and migrated organisations of all sizes throughout Scotland and across Europe. 

If your organisation is considering making the move to G Suite, or has already set up their account but would like some help with device management, or any other aspects of G Suite, please get in touch via the details below – we would be delighted to have a chat.

info@cobry.co.uk | 0333 789 0102

July 24, 2019

Cloud Telephony: Voice of the future, today.

Organisations are now adopting the latest technology to streamline a range of business administration and processes, one of the latest being Cloud Telephony. 

Cloud Telephony, such as Google Voice (an additional G Suite service), comes with many benefits over the more traditional on-premise solutions, however, one of the benefits rarely touched upon is the ability to ease day to day administration and consolidate offices in different locations.

Imagine being able to control onboarding/offboarding at the press of a button ensuring company security or indeed cutting hardware costs due to the cloud management involved in modern systems. This is especially true for organisations that have merged or acquired companies running on different systems and then had to try to integrate with their own.

For some companies, in this scenario, the acquisitions happened years ago and the enterprise has been living with the pain and expense of a tangle of diverse systems for a long time.

Companies that are looking after multiple locations with on-premises PBX have to contend with the fact that different locations could be running disconnected systems of different ages with different capabilities. Systems may not even be from the same vendor. Capabilities may be lost to interoperability problems. Productivity may be lost to inefficient communications. Getting every location onto a single standard may look close to an impossible task, but this is where cloud-based telephony really begins to shine.

The Advantages

Cloud telephony allows the consolidation of equipment and allows IT managers to benefit from standardised capabilities and total interoperability across locations. When system upgrades happen, they happen everywhere simultaneously, maintenance can be outsourced to your IT provider (such as Cobry) and fewer resources are required to understand and use systems across the business. 

Processes can also be standardised for greater efficiency and in most cases, you are able to reuse Cloud-ready hardware to reduce costs. Simply put, for businesses who want phone systems working together across multiple locations, cloud-hosted telephony systems present a much simpler and cheaper option to implement and maintain.

For users, the ability to keep in touch, everywhere and on any device connected to the internet, enables a freedom not previously enjoyed, while your phone number follows you across these devices - low battery on your phone, no problem, use your laptop/tablet instead. Integrations with other services such as Hangouts Meet and Calendar, if Google Voice is chosen, ensure smooth and productive communications. 

Further advantages also include no limits to adding new users, email transcription, spam call blocking, auto-attendant functionality and ring groups and best of all controlled from a single administration console.

Switching to Cloud Telephony

If your organisation is large or complex, making it hard to warrant an immediate switchover, you can take a staged approach. You are able to start with a cloud-based system at one location or department as part of a larger deployment. This is a clever, phased approach to phone system migration that’s gaining more steam among businesses that don’t want to replace all at once.

Still, some IT managers feel safer maintaining hardware that’s nearby, with the belief that the system may be pretty robust. It’s easy to run down the hall to a server closet if something goes wrong, right? But on-premises PBX systems are also dependent on forces outside a company’s control, an electrical grid outage, an Internet outage, a fire, burglary or severe flooding. Business continuity and disaster recovery is an often overlooked benefit of cloud deployment in general.

To Summarise

However you decide to approach upgrading your telephone system, one thing is clear, hosted communication is rapidly becoming the norm for businesses regardless of size, vertical or site complexity and shows no sign of slowing down.

Contact

As official Google Cloud Partners, Cobry has deployed G Suite and Google Voice for organisations of all sizes throughout Scotland and across Europe. 

If your organisation is making the move to G Suite or is now considering adopting Google Voice, please get in touch via the details below – we would be delighted to have a chat about how we can help.

info@cobry.co.uk | 0333 789 0102

April 4, 2019

G Suite Billing – Everything you need to know

Update 07/04/2022: G Suite is now Google Workspace - however, the information below still applies.

G Suite was designed with simplicity in mind, as Google’s mission statement is “to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

This extends not only to the apps being used on a daily basis, but also to managing your G Suite billing and account from the Admin Console. Most of your company details, security settings and payment options can be managed from here, including; company profile and logo, new users, password resets, primary contacts and security settings.

However, there are some key settings that cannot be amended from the Admin Console, for which you will need the help of either Google Support or a Google Cloud Partner. In this blog, we’re going to cover all of the administrative tasks involved with managing a G Suite domain, such as billing, company details, new and suspended user accounts and switching currency.

G Suite Payment Methods

Google accepts payments for service subscriptions in more than 230 countries using major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. In some locations, you can also pay by direct debit from a bank account.

The exact payment methods and currencies you can use depend on the country you select when you first set up your G Suite domain. You can see the options available in the UK below and the rest of the world via this link.

United KingdomBritish Pounds Sterling, U.S. DollarsBank account (direct debit)*Credit or debit card*Only in British Pounds Sterling and with "Business" tax status

If the payment method you want is an accepted form of payment, but does not appear for your country, contact your Google Cloud Partner, or get in touch with us at info@cobry.co.uk and we would be happy to help you with this.

Google Cloud Partners are also able to accept different payment methods, such as bank transfer. If this is your preferred payment method, you can get in touch with Cobry to arrange an update to your G Suite billing.

G Suite Billing plans

When setting up billing for your G Suite account, you can choose between 2 different payment plans, detailed below:

  • Flexible Plan - You’re billed on a monthly basis for each active user account.
  • Annual Plan - By committing to a year of service, you can gain a discount for a minimum number of licenses.

Adding More G Suite Users

Regardless of your payment plan, you can add new users to your account as and when required. This will lead to an increase in your payments to cover the new licences. However, when using an annual plan, you can not remove user licences until it's time to renew your contract.

If you need to add new users, you can either purchase licences from your Admin Console if you’re in a contract directly with Google, or you can ask your Google Cloud Partner to provision the licences and create the user accounts for you.  

Renewing Your G Suite Annual Plan

It’s recommended if you have an Annual Plan with Google that you set up an automatic renewal so that you don’t forget to renew and end up with a service interruption. Alternatively, you can switch to a Flexible Plan at the end of your contract which will renew on a monthly basis and allow you to add and remove users as required, at any time.

If you have an agreement in place with a Google Cloud Partner, then you may have more options in terms of renewal, such as an annual commitment - paid monthly. This brings all the benefits of locking in a lower price but also helping cash flow by paying monthly. If this is something of interest, you can contact Cobry via info@cobry.co.uk to arrange.

Suspended G Suite accounts

If you’re contracted directly with Google and your automatic payment fails, you will have 30 days to update your payment method or your service will be suspended. When this happens, you can lift your suspension by paying your balance.

If your licences are provided by a Google Cloud Partner, then they may have different terms and conditions. For example, Cobry provides businesses with an invoice and flexible billing options to lower the risk of account suspension.

Update G Suite Business Address

If your business has moved since you set up billing for your G Suite domain, you can update the address in your Admin console. (See next section below for updating Country and Currency).

  1. Use an administrator account to open the Google Admin console.
  2. From the Home page, go to Billing.
  3. Next to your subscription, click Actions > Access billing account.
  4. Under Settings, click Manage Settings.
  5. To the right of Business name and address, click Edit.
  6. Update your business address and click Save.

Changing G Suite Account Currency and Country

When you first set up, choose your country and currency carefully, as you can not change these selections by yourself.

To update this, you must contact your Google Cloud Partner, or if you don't currently work with a Partner, you can complete our customer transfer form via the button below and we will update these details for you.

Please note that as a UK Google Cloud Partner, we can only do this for customers looking to update their accounts to a UK address.

Google Cloud Partner Benefits

If you don’t currently have a Google Cloud Partner in place, there are definitely good reasons to consider partnering. Some of which can be found below.

  • Expert Advice
  • Best Practice
  • Admin Help
  • Licence Discounts
  • Staff Training
  • General Support
  • Workflow Design
  • Help with new features

As Scotland’s number one Google Cloud Partner, with particular expertise in G Suite, Cobry helps organisations make the move and prosper in the cloud every day. We are always happy to speak to new organisations looking for help and advice on G Suite; whether you’re in the early stages of considering the move or have been using it for a number of years, you can get in touch via info@cobry.co.uk

Contact

If you would like to find out more about managing your G Suite domain, or you’re interested in having Cobry manage it for you, you can get in touch with us at info@cobry.co.uk and we would be delighted to have a chat.

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