Just Eat, an online take away food service, was launched in Denmark in 2001. Since then the company has grown its workforce to 1,000 and generates nearly £700m in revenue per year for the restaurant industry.
Just Eat's head of IT services Martin Russell, who joined the company two and half years ago, tells CBR that the heavy growth and acquisitions had disrupted its IT services. At the time, Just Eat used a mixture of Microsoft's on-premise and hosted desktop applications.
"The company was using an on-premise email solution, Microsoft Exchange, which wasn't built with scalability. It also had no rules around mailbox or controls in place," he explains.
"It was very difficult to manage and it meant I had to get up very early in the morning."
Russell looked at using another on-premise system as well as co-location services that would run the Exchange server in a hosted data centre.
"But we found that running on-premise was taking up a lot of maintenance time...and with co-location, we'd still have to run the server ourselves," he says.
Russell decided to move to the cloud and thought about using Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) before settling with Google Apps for Business.
"Back then, it wasn't the product that it is today. It was very restricted when it came to what the apps could do and it also would have meant a complete Windows refresh," he explains.
The company started moving its users onto Google Apps in February 2012.
"I used Gmail at home and I wanted to see how it could be used in the corporate world," he adds.
After sending out a questionnaire, the company identified 100 employees in the business already familiar with Google's products.
"We nominated them as Google guides so they could help colleagues get used to the new business...We gave them one-to-one training, Google T-shirts and had lunch with them," he says.
The rest of the employees were given an Internet training kit, which included guidelines on calendar apps, mobile devices and other Google apps. They also received "fun and quirky" videos and a weekly Google Tip of the Week newsletter that told users how to enable lab tools, turn caption keys on and move images directly from the internet.
"We only intended to use it during the migration period, but the feedback was so positive that we got requests to keep sending it out," he says.
The new email application means the IT team can spend less time running the email and back up system.
"A massive overload has gone. We don't have to worry about how it's hosted, backed up and restored and there's much higher Availability that I could never produce," he says.
Instead they can spend more time on the website and future products, helping Just Eat to meet its business goal.
The company also uses Google Hangouts, a video application, for international conferences and Google+, a social networking platform, for internal collaboration.
Commenting on compatibility issues with users, created by using Google Docs, Russell explains:"If someone from the finance or legal department, which are traditionally Microsoft based, with a special need, we would definitely accommodate them by purchasing copy of Office or whatever service required."
Although Google Apps has cost more than its previous system, nonetheless it has given the IT greater visibility into IT costs.
"With our on-premise solutions it was very difficult to understand costs. We knew our licensing costs but it was very difficult to understand the soft cost elements. It cost us more but for a better service," explains Russell.
Just Eat's call centre uses an on-premise Cisco Solution, but Russell believes that it could be replaced with a suite of Chromeboxes or Chromebooks. These are lightweight laptops that access cloud applications through the Chrome browser rather than using a local operating system.
"I am pleased but I can never be satisfied because of the speed we're growing. Last month it was suitable, but in three months it mightn't be. You have to insure that systems grow within three months," he says.