The HLK Advertising Agency gets more done with Google Apps



Note: Today's post is from HLK's own Bill Lang, Production and IT Manager. HLK is a leading creative agency in St. Louis, Missouri. The firm works with great clients like the St. Louis Cardinals, Purina, MiTek, the United Way and many more. You can check out their great work here

Creative and account. Agency and client. Partner and peon. When it comes to our priorities and preferences, the differences are many. And epic. But there’s one thing on which we can all agree: Google Apps makes our working lives better.

At a basic level, Google Apps has been an improvement because it works well across Macs and PCs. We were previously using Exchange, and it just wasn't friendly to Macs. Actually, it was downright rude. Google Apps plays nicely with everyone.

We also saw a significant cost savings, which made our partners happy. Hosted Exchange cost us quite a lot for email. The cost-per-user of Hosted Exchange was expensive for our growing business, compared to Google’s cost-per-user of $50. (Anyone else smell a bonus?)

Even though we still have Office on most machines, being able to create, open and edit documents in a browser has even streamlined some of our most mundane tasks — it’s not all MadMen, people. It’s simple to share documents and keep track of the latest version. Our designers can import copy more efficiently. (Timesheets on the other hand…) And when we do internal surveys, the results are immediately organized into an easy-to-view Google spreadsheet. Pretty neat.

Beyond what’s already built in to Google Apps, we love the add-ons in the Google Apps Marketplace. We could shell out major chunks of change for existing software to get the robust functions we need, or bog down our developers and build them in-house. Instead, we get them from Marketplace. In fact, that’s the first place we look when we need something new. The add-ons already integrate with the other Google Apps we're using, creating a seamless experience with just one login for everything. This not only helps our own operation, it also helps us deliver information to our clients in real time. Real time?! They love that! So, we love that.

Bonus: The transition was painless. The team at Umzuzu, our Google Enterprise Partner, was very knowledgeable about the change management we’d need for a successful deployment, technical aspects of mail routing like DNS changes, and all of the other technical aspects involved in our environment. They helped us manage the entire migration process from Hosted Exchange to Google Apps and continue to support us when we have questions, help us learn about new features, and are always sharing tips and tricks. It couldn’t have been easier. Huzzah!

– Bill Lang, Production & IT Manager