The Nielsen Company (Nielsen) is one of the world’s most well-known and respected marketing research firms, with operations in over 100 countries. Its 56,000 employees work to provide insights and data that give customers a better understanding of what people watch, listen to, and buy. Those insights are essential to companies in a variety of industries, including media and entertainment, consumer products, and retail, that must stay in touch with customers in a fast-changing marketplace.
To help customers get the information they need to increase ad sales and boost market share, Nielsen must empower its employees to collaborate across markets and global offices. The company saw an opportunity to improve collaboration by moving productivity apps to the cloud, allowing employees to work anytime, anywhere, and on any device.
“In keeping with our cloud-first strategy and digital transformation, we wanted to give our employees state-of-the-art collaboration tools,” says Kimberly Anstett, Chief Information Officer at Nielsen. “We knew that a global, cloud-based toolset would help change the way everyone in the company works and maximize the value we deliver to our customers.”
Nielsen wanted a productivity suite that it could support anywhere worldwide using the same processes. It also needed an enterprise-ready solution with a rich feature set, broad compatibility, and strong security. After acquiring a company that had successfully transformed collaboration using the Google intelligent apps for business, Nielsen decided to move all its employees to G Suite.
“It was clear to us that G Suite was built with enterprise security and workflows in mind,” says Kimberly. “As CIO of a data-driven company, I appreciated that Google understood our privacy requirements and how we need our information assets to be secured. I knew our business was in the right hands.”
Engaging business champions
From the start, Nielsen made sure that top executives and leadership from security, marketing, and communications teams were involved in the migration process. A series of workshops and immersive demos with Google brought the G Suite tools alive for key stakeholders, allowing them to experience the power of cloud collaboration firsthand. Enterprise IT also provided one-on-one training for executives and their administrative assistants to make sure they understood why G Suite was the right solution for Nielsen.
“It was critical that we have an executive champion in every business area to help us promote and support our G Suite migration,” says Kimberly. “Getting leadership involved early on helped generate excitement and build trust that G Suite would help everyone in the company be more efficient.”
“We saw our G Suite migration as an opportunity to help everyone in the company improve their productivity and strengthen our relationships with the 56,000 employees we support worldwide,” says Nerina Martinez, Technology Director at Nielsen.
Migrating 56,000 users in 6 months
“Moving 56,000 people onto G Suite in 6 months is impressive, and I attribute much of our success to our Google Guides as well as our relationships with Google and Maven Wave. We all worked together as one team to achieve a successful, non-disruptive migration.” - Kimberly Anstett, CIO, Nielsen
To prevent any disruption to the business during the G Suite migration, Nielsen engaged Maven Wave, a Google Cloud Premier Partner, for professional services assistance. Maven Wave brought a wealth of change management experience, helping Nielsen keep the migration on track.
“We had a great rapport with Maven Wave and worked hand-in-hand the entire time,” says Nerina. “They aligned their resources closely with ours and helped us craft an effective change management plan in preparation for our global launch.”
For multinational firms as large as Nielsen, changing the way employees work isn’t always easy at first. Nielsen approached change management carefully, using consistent messaging and focusing on leadership and employee engagement.
“Moving to G Suite was as much a change management effort as a technology shift,” says Nerina. “We appointed a full-time change management leader to work alongside the technical architect and project manager.”
Nielsen conducted a multi-phased approach, focusing on creating a culture of collaboration. The company identified several personas to target. These included general end users, administrative assistants, executive stakeholders, as well as core IT staff and help desk professionals. Nielsen onboarded this last group before other employees, since their workload would be most impacted by the change.
Employees who volunteered to be early adopters of G Suite got a head start using Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides to improve their workflows. At each of its global offices, Nielsen appointed Google Guides to help distribute marketing materials, raise awareness, and make sure colleagues could get fast answers to their questions. Nielsen went live with G Suite to its global community over a single weekend. To highlight the successful launch, Google Guides led celebrations around the world, wearing shirts in Google colors and waving flags to generate enthusiasm.
A month prior to launch, Nielsen conducted over 100 training sessions in 8 languages to help employees understand what they can do with G Suite. The company also provided resources such as recorded training sessions, a ‘Going Google’ site with links to helpful instructions and videos, and a quick-start guide to assist users in getting started on G Suite apps in 15 minutes or less.
“Moving 56,000 people onto G Suite in 6 months is impressive, and I attribute much of our success to our Google Guides as well as our relationships with Google and Maven Wave,” says Kimberly. “We all worked together as one team to achieve a successful, non-disruptive migration.”
Moving to real-time collaboration
Nielsen’s business continued uninterrupted while productivity surged. Employees adopted G Suite enthusiastically and embraced new ways of working. Google Drive fundamentally changed how Nielsen’s employees work together, allowing them to move from an email-based workflow to real-time collaboration. Because work was previously conducted on individual email inboxes, users were hungry to get a collaboration platform and Nielsen saw a 92% adoption rate for Drive shortly after its go-live date. Furthermore, employees now have a consistent and productive experience on mobile devices, Chromebooks, Macs, or PCs. As a result, Nielsen is accelerating time-sensitive communications.
“By enabling employees to collaborate and comment in real time on Docs, Sheets, and Slides using any device, we’re saving time every day with G Suite,” says Kimberly. “There’s no need to email multiple versions of documents back and forth, or be tied to a specific machine.”
Previously, teams working on presentations sent numerous versions back and forth. Then it was someone’s job to consolidate and merge the changes, which was a lengthy and error-prone process. When Nielsen began building decks in Slides, team members were excited that they could edit a deck simultaneously and see the changes in real time.
Nielsen IT, communications, and brand teams worked to create the Nielsen Template Gallery, making it easier for users to get started using Docs and Slides. As a result, all communications are now drafted in Docs, allowing all necessary parties to review, provide suggestions, and add comments prior to distribution. This was previously handled by sending drafts via email attachments. Using templates allows users to choose from email-friendly formats for internal and external use cases, while upholding the brand guidelines established by the brand team.
“G Suite gives us solutions that are so easy to deploy and use that we don’t feel any of the pain we previously experienced when deploying and maintaining employee collaboration tools.” - Kimberly Anstett, CIO, Nielsen
Making IT much more efficient
Because Nielsen’s enterprise IT staff no longer need to provide the same degree of support and maintenance that was needed for traditional desktop office software, they can concentrate on initiatives that move the business forward. Previously, one particular team had to collect metrics from more than 150 teams, which had to be captured in as many different spreadsheets. Creating surveys was likewise time consuming.
There was also a need for more automation in the work request process. Previously, the process involved back-and-forth emails to fill in multiple fields, which were tracked in a repository but that made it difficult to establish reporting. Now, with departments co-authoring Sheets and Google Forms capturing survey data automatically, teams are saving time and streamlining processes. One particular team is saving seven hours per reporting cycle. Using Google Sites, Nielsen can provide relevant metrics in a single location.
“G Suite gives us solutions that are so easy to deploy and use that we don’t feel any of the pain we previously experienced when deploying and maintaining employee collaboration tools,” says Kimberly.
Committed to innovation
“With G Suite, there’s always something new coming out that can benefit someone at Nielsen. Seeing associates have ‘a-ha!’ moments where they find a better way of working is exciting. We feel comfortable and aligned with Google because their commitment to innovation matches our own.” - Nerina Martinez, Technology Manager, Nielsen
As Google continues to enhance G Suite and add new features, Nielsen is making employees aware of how they can take advantage of new functionality to improve their workflows. Nielsen has adopted an agile mentality about the G Suite production environment, giving the company a different mindset on how to embrace digital transformation.
Today the collaboration between Nielsen, Google, and Maven Wave continues, with Nielsen providing input on product features to help further enhance future G Suite capabilities. Nielsen has also embraced Google App Maker to easily and more securely create custom apps on the same platform used by G Suite.
“With G Suite, there’s always something new coming out that can benefit someone at Nielsen,” says Nerina. “Seeing associates have ‘a-ha!’ moments where they find a better way of working is exciting. We feel comfortable and aligned with Google because their commitment to innovation matches our own.”