Google Keynoter at ITEXPO Says Digital Whiteboards Have Changed Collaboration

By Erik Linask February 12, 2020

When we talk about digital transformation, there are many potential strategies, but there may be nothing better than hearing the story of its own digital transformation from one of the most recognized names in technology.  That’s exactly what Kate Matsudaira, Google’s (News - Alert) director of tech engineering did when she took the stage for her keynote at ITEXPO 2020, part of the TechSuperShow in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

It’s a strategy that helped Google grow from 3,000 people in the early 2000s and a focus on search engine results, to more than 85,000 employees in 50 countries with an entire suite of business solutions to help support other businesses’ transformation efforts.

“The question, really, was, ‘How do we make our nearly 100,000-person multinational enterprise have the speed and feel of a startup?” Matsudaira asked.

She explained that, ultimately, it was about bringing people together:  “We spent a lot of time on remote collaboration and understanding how to empower employees.”

Video has been touted as the next big thing in business communications for the better part of the past decade – without that prognostication really coming to fruition.  But, based on what Google has done, that is changing.

Matsudaira said video-first meetings have become a critical part of the Google culture and helps create better engagement and increased productivity.  It makes sense, considering the distributed nature of Google’s global workforce.

Virtual whiteboards also have become a critical part of the collaborative culture, driving engagement and highlighting a pervasive video conferencing experience.  Employees are able to truly feel productive in their meetings, whether they are sing Google’s own technology, or participating on tablets or smartphones.

“Virtual whiteboards have been a complete game changer,” Matsudaira said.

There are other things that Google is doing, like using AI for collaboration room utilization.  That includes looking at meeting invited declines and understanding when meetings are scheduled for larger rooms than necessary – and then automatically re-booking them.  It also have created a room efficiency dashboard to show business leaders how well their collaboration facilities are being leveraged.  Matsudaira says these features will soon be part of the G-Suite solution – which is also part of Google’s transformation journey, of course.

Ultimately, the idea is to drive usage and collaboration among work groups to facilitate better engagement and results.  That’s what every company strives for, and finding the right tools to foster teamwork and efficient workplaces is key to any business’ success.  Not every company will grow to have Google brand recognition – but every company can use its successes to fuel their own digital transformation.

Edited by Erik Linask
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