About the client
For over 5 years now, TechOcean has been a ‘hub’ for a team of specialists-engineers to design and create machines and electronics of different sizes – from tech gadgets to parcel lockers.
The company operates in three main areas:
- Constructing next-generation devices used in robotics, automation, electronics, and mechatronics engineering – designed and made to order,
- Research, development, production, and distribution in the field of visual quality control of assembly lines,
- 3D printing and a specialized online store with 3D printing resources – 3DReaktor.pl
TechOcean manages the entire process of device creation. The company creates conceptual models, prototypes, and makes sure that each product makes it mass production. All this is possible due to the fact that the team consists of only 35 members and thanks to the cloud-first strategy, applied consistently since the very start of the company.
The main challenge
Workflow in a tech startup in line with the cloud-first strategy.
Cloud-first is a business trend to avoid making investments in redundant infrastructure and local software – and focus on flexible and scalable cloud-based solutions instead.
It’s fair to say that 100% of our data is in the cloud. If there's anything we keep offline, it’s only single files of some special software, in the middle of the projects we work on. The process of closing of a project always involves archiving all data in the cloud.
The solution to the problem
The founders of TechOcean got used to using Gmail and Google apps back in their college project days so they were eager to implement the business version of these solutions in their company. At first, the Google Apps for Work suite (renamed later to G Suite, now known as Google Workspace) was the only fully cloud-based set of office business apps available in the market. But the emergence of other solutions did not change TechOcean’s decision – the company still keeps most of its business files and data in Google’s cloud.
Google Workspace is not the only cloud service used by TechOcean. For internal communication purposes, the company uses Workplace from Facebook, and the software for its products is based on Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.
TechOcean, as a startup built in the cloud since the very beginning, quickly became the leader of its industry. The fact that there were many companies operating for a much longer time and with larger teams didn’t stop it from succeeding. How does Google Workspace affect the everyday workflow of the company’s engineers?
Gmail – the main channel of communication with external parties
Although the internal communication at TechOcean takes place in groups on Workplace from Facebook, the standard exchange of email messages with multimedia attachments still works best when communicating with clients, partners, applicants, and suppliers. The strategic use of aliases and email groups makes it possible to adapt inboxes to the current requirements of each project.
Google Sheets make it easier to work and collaborate with clients
TechOcean makes use of Google Sheets to send BOMs (bills of materials) to clients. A BOM is a complete list of resources, sub-assemblies, components, and parts required to manufacture a product ordered by the client – including a price estimate of the product. Since Google Sheets is a web application, the shared files may be corrected and modified in real time simultaneously by the client’s team and TechOcean’s specialists. It’s the quickest possible way to reach an understanding when arranging the details of a project. Also, Google Sheets save the history of all changes made to files on an ongoing basis so there’s no risk of losing the outcomes of your work.
External integrations increasing the service’s potential
The work at TechOcean is office work but not every electronic detail can be presented using text and tables. That’s why the team uses special software and other cloud solutions compatible and integrable with Google apps. One of the tools used quite frequently is Draw.io – an app designed to draw flowcharts online, with the drawings saved automatically in Google Drive.
Google Drive – the command and control center to manage electronic documents
TechOcean takes great advantage of the unlimited storage space on Google Drive, provided under the Enterprise plan. A project manager creates a separate Shared Drive for each project and gives access to all individuals involved in a given project. This way, both the employees and the clients have permanent access to the progress of work.
Continuous development of Google’s services in response to users’ feedback
TechOcean has been using Google apps consistently for many years so the team has had the opportunity to witness the evolution following a path set by the market and the community of users. This is one of the many advantages of Google Workspace – each month, its users discover new features and benefits.
An example of a feature that has recently made it easier for the engineers to work jointly on projects is the option to share single folders in Shared Drives. The workaround they would make use of earlier involved creating folders for external parties in Drives assigned to individual accounts. But for some time now, they have been able to conveniently share the most important folders related to particular projects with clients and keep the draft versions only for the sake of external appearance.
User-friendly console and collaboration with a Google Cloud Partner
TechOcean’s CEO has four G Suite domains under his control – and all work impeccably. He spends almost no time on administration, except for a few tasks connected with onboarding new employees. The effective onboarding procedure in place keeps the time required to handle it to a minimum. Experiencing no difficulties, TechOcean takes advantage of FOTC’s support only occasionally. So why has the company decided to work with a local Google partner?
FOTC was the first such partner who offered a good price and solid technical support. We’ve never had any major problems with Google Workspace, but we could always call and consult them about some minor issues related to configuration management.