Garantia Seguros is a fast growing insurance company headquartered in Luanda, Angola with 3 main branches in Cabinda, Lubango and Luanda – Coqueiros, having Angolan and Portuguese shareholders. It uses Google Apps as the heart of its communication and collaboration strategy right from the beginning of its operation.
Lourenço de Almeida , the General Manager at Garantia Seguros and one of the persons directly involved in the decision process, tell us about their adoption of Google Apps :
We made the decision to adopt Google Apps with the support of TopSolutions, a Google Apps reseller and a trustworthy cloud solutions system integrator with an extensive experience in migrating businesses to the cloud.
It took us less then a month to make the decision and TopSolutions guided us trough an efficient and quick setup, making us comfortable with the entire process.
Our main motivations for advancing with Google Apps were:
to outsource our email and documents infrastructure with a simple and reliable UI,
to maximize the service uptime and anti-spam effectiveness,
to be able to search fast within thousands of messages and documents,
and above all, to get more then 60 apps for a great price.
We had around 3 months to activate and make operational an insurance company in Angola from scratch, so the implementation speed and the ease of use was a must have. Today, even the less experienced user have no need for specific training (getting at the most on the job training), starting right away using online email and shared docs. In fact we have a very inclusive and collaborative work environment where even users with low computer literacy find no difficulties with Gmail and Google Docs adoption, being among the biggest Google fans.
Although some of our employees were already private Gmail users, the Google Apps were effectively presented to us by TopSolutions. And after that, we felt that Google Apps would provide exactly what we needed in terms of a greatly simplified service for our users and the accessibility that our mobile users require. In fact high mobility is one of the requisites of our teams, not only in the Angolan National territory but also in Lisbon, Portugal or when we need to recruit extra work force.
Angola is actually one of the fastest growing countries in the world but still have a significant number of challenges when comes to setting up an IT infrastructure for a company. First of all Luanda is the most expensive city in the world, where technical resources are scarce and consequently have always prohibitive prices. Basic IT services can easily reach prices of $260 per hour (yes you read right, per hour!). Besides that, the Internet connections are poor and the power supply conditions are insufficient and uncertain.
Being aware of these constraints, since the beginning we have defined that the most critic components of our IT infrastructure should be remotely managed by reliable third-parties as SaaS or ASP (even for the core insurance apps). That decision allow us to focus in the insurance activity, without loosing time and money managing on-site hardware and software, but still having access to great solutions with an outstanding uptime level.
Google Apps have a great performance and reliability even with slow Internet connections, as Google have an highly optimized data transfer process. And most of all, in the event of a power failure or an Internet connection outage, we know that our data is safe and that our servers are up and running in the cloud, receiving emails from our clients and still accessible anywhere on any device.
Regarding privacy and security we are certain that our data is always safer with specialists like Google, Amazon, … which have huge dedicated IT/Security teams and highly redundant infrastructures, compared to an on-site IT infrastructure maintained by us.
From a day-to-day perspective, we have a user friendly solution with a great email search capability which make our users life easier. Real time collaboration in Google Docs and email sharing as work methods, helps us significantly when building proposals or customer presentations. The vast majority of our users only access Google Apps trough the web interface, and that simplifies our IT activity once the solution is always up to date and requires no maintenance from our side. This fact, by it self, frees up our IT staff to support all the internal departments and to manage and keep operational our local infrastructure (iPBX, Desktops PC, printers, scanners, Internet connections, routers and so on).
In the end employees are happy because they can coordinate people and easily collaborate with their co-workers anywhere in Angola or in other countries. Even with occasional external workforce, we frequently give them access to temporary accounts where we can instantly share the relevant files and info, making them productive from the first minute.
Google Apps help us achieve our objectives faster, more efficiently and with greater success, being a key element of our growing business.
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