Customer Story

Global Payments: Disrupting tools to foster innovation

Global Payments

Global Payments is staying competitive in the rapidly changing technology solutions industry by driving innovation and collaboration with G Suite apps and tools such as Google App Maker.

Google Cloud Results

Driving innovation and change management

• Saves hundreds of hours eliminating sequential revisions of presentations, spreadsheets, and documents

• Enables 10K+ employees spread across different teams in 23 countries globally to easily collaborate

• Allows IT to focus on business challenges versus productivity suite management

In October 2013, Jeff Sloan took over at Global Payments, Inc. as CEO. Among his challenges were to transform the company from a payment processing enterprise into a technology firm providing comprehensive software solutions. The goal was to help the company stay ahead of competitors in the rapidly changing financial technology industry.

Within a few years, Global Payments had transformed itself into a leading global payment technology company. For a corporation with 10,000 employees in multiple countries, this would not be an easy task. And it wouldn’t happen overnight. At a high level, the transformation would in part require Global Payments team members to think differently and to collaborate in ways that would foster innovation and accelerate delivery.

But how do you motivate thousands of people to think differently? For Andra Milender, Chief Technology Officer of Architecture and Engineering for Global Payments, a key motivator was to disrupt the tools employees used every day. “It’s like making someone drive a new route to work,” Andra explains. “Changing a routine usually means you have to think about what you are doing and find alternatives to accomplishing the task, achieving the goal. Changing your commute makes you think differently, drive a different path, consider new roads, and so on.”

“We wanted our productivity tools to be reliable, available, and more secure, and we wanted to attract talent. Mostly, we wanted to enable everyone around the world to work together as one team to improve collaboration and innovate more quickly. G Suite enables us to do that.” - Andra Milender, Chief Technology Officer of Architecture and Engineering, Global Payments Inc.

The same thing can happen when you change the tools employees use every day. When employees have new tools for email, scheduling meetings, writing documents, balancing spreadsheets, and putting together presentations, chances are, they’re going to start thinking differently. And that’s where innovation can begin.

Improving and changing the tools employees used became one of the top selling points that persuaded Global Payments’ C-level executives to migrate the workforce to G Suite. Global Payments also works to foster a one-team mentality among employees. This is not an easy task as the company has grown and continues to grow through acquisitions and, therefore, has team members from different corporate cultures who are used to working in different ways on different tools.

“Along with getting people to think differently, we wanted our productivity tools to be reliable, available, and more secure, and we wanted to attract talent,” says Andra. “Mostly, we wanted to enable everyone around the world to work together as one team to improve collaboration and innovate more quickly. G Suite enables us to do that.”

Avoiding time-consuming management

The first step in the Global Payments transformation happened several years ago when the company moved some non-essential apps from on-premises to cloud-based offerings. Over time, Global Payments continued to acquire vertical software entities and needed to integrate a myriad of tools, systems, and data centers. “Data residency, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and other regulations can be handled more easily in the cloud versus on-premises,” Andra says. “Improving our overall economics for a productivity software solution provided another incentive to move to the more affordable and flexible pricing of G Suite.”

“When we started looking at collaboration solutions, G Suite stood out,” Andra says. “With G Suite, we could get away from having to own, manage, and deal with a productivity suite ourselves. G Suite is used by the next generation workforce. And I was immediately sold on G Suite based on the productivity benefits I’d learned about from one of our partner vendors as well as other companies making the switch from legacy tools.”

The relationship that the Global Payments IT team developed with Google was another incentive to go all in with G Suite. “The personal attention given to us by the Google account and Professional Services teams went far beyond what I expected, especially from a company of that size. It is great that Google stands behind its product, and the Google team’s continued commitment to our success has helped ensure that we are getting the most out of our investment,” Andra says.

Building momentum with Google Calendar

“Data residency, GDPR, and other regulations can be handled more easily in the cloud versus on-premises. Improving our overall economics for a productivity software solution provided another incentive to move to the more affordable and flexible pricing of G Suite.” - Andra Milender, Chief Technology Officer of Architecture and Engineering, Global Payments Inc.

The G Suite migration began gradually. “Initially, we had 6 to 10 team members using Calendar and Docs to coordinate project activities,” says Andra. “Being able to collaborate like that was priceless. The success and enthusiasm of that small group of users gave us a vision for what could be possible with G Suite for the entire organization.”

From there, Global Payments pilot-tested G Suite with IT team members and select business teams. Based on that pilot’s success, the company decided to roll out G Suite to the broader workforce at once in a big-bang approach. The roll out date coincided with a total solar eclipse in 2017, prompting some team members to affectionately dub the G Suite rollout as the “G-clipse.”

Saves hundreds of hours

A majority of the Global Payments workforce — 80 percent — transitioned quickly to G Suite. “Most colleagues I talked to were ecstatic about the collaboration capabilities, particularly with Docs, Sheets, and Drive,” Andra says. For example, spreadsheet templates are now easily and widely available across the organization via Sheets and Drive. In the past, if someone had updated a spreadsheet template, those updates might not have been shared with everyone who needed that particular spreadsheet. In turn, this could cause team members to submit completed spreadsheets without all the necessary information, causing a lot of wasted time as employees reworked deliverables after becoming aware of a new version.

“Our finance team was able to put together department budgets across 20 different teams in 15 different countries with no need to copy, paste, and merge content. Sheets provides us with one standardized tool to accomplish the data gathering task efficiently,” says Andra. “One of our Sheets users saved 80 hours of time that would have been spent updating just one spreadsheet correlating submissions from several teams.”

Collaboration made easy

Global Payments has standardized on Hangouts Meet for video chat. “With Hangouts Meet integrated into a browser, our teams don’t have to switch to another application or device for video conferencing and instant messaging,” says Andra. “And they can meet using the device they prefer, whether it’s a mobile or desktop device.”

Given how quickly things happen at Global Payments Sites has also proven invaluable for sharing materials and information. For example, an HR team planned to have an internal website up and running by a certain date to share time-sensitive employee benefit information. But as that date approached, the site wasn’t ready to launch. So an IT team sprang into action. “We quickly created a Google Site so that different organizations could view the time-sensitive benefit materials that were relevant to them,” says Andra. “We never could have done that without the reach of the G Suite platform across our enterprise.”

“G Suite enabled the team to rethink daily processes and improve collaboration. The Google team played a large part in helping Global Payments transform the way we work.” - Andra Milender, Chief Technology Officer of Architecture and Engineering, Global Payments Inc.

Global Payments has also leveraged App Maker with G Suite. The tools are enabling teams at Global Payments to develop a variety of automated workflows that solve day-to-day business problems for the company. A couple of examples include assistance with automating end user access request management, application information repositories to augment operational asset, and service management tools and processes.

Enhancing reliability and security

G Suite has been highly reliable for the Global Payments workforce. “We’ve had only minimal service interruptions with G Suite, and that’s huge for us,” says Andra. “With our distributed workforce, there is never an optimal time to improve or upgrade tools like productivity software. Even with highly available, multi-site architected deployments of such solutions, maintenance windows can be impactful to someone. Leveraging the power of the cloud to run these solutions eliminates disruption and the overhead of managing the footprint, freeing up valuable and scarce IT resources to provide incremental value on business growth initiatives.”

The integrated security of G Suite apps is especially important to Global Payments. For example, the phishing and Data Loss Prevention (DLP) features of Gmail have enabled the company to begin discontinuing the use of various third-party email security tools carried over from its legacy solution. This will help simplify administration and lower overall security costs to protect Global Payments data.

Moving further into the cloud

Aside from providing new business tools and ushering the digital transformation that Global Payments sought, Google’s close collaboration and support has also been a big advantage, especially during the company’s big-bang G Suite rollout. “We couldn’t have pulled off a company-wide rollout of G Suite if Google hadn’t worked closely with us,” says Andra. “The relationship with Google has been awesome.”

Global Payments is laying the foundation for a larger, more comprehensive move to cloud computing. For example, the company is currently building an enterprise reporting and analytics solution for its 2.5 million merchants that leverages Compute Engine and BigQuery.

The shift into the public cloud is representative of Global Payments’ larger business transformation strategy. “It’s so important to challenge the status quo when needed,” Andra says. “As Global Payments continues to expand as a technology-enabled payment solution provider around the world, we needed to challenge our workforce to think differently about how we do business. G Suite enabled the team to rethink daily processes and improve collaboration. The Google team played a large part in helping Global Payments transform the way we work.”