Everyone is feeling the pinch at the moment and Blackpool Wyre & Fylde Council for Voluntary Service is no different. Project Manager Kim Wood decided to see what he could do to make savings and started to research tools that might help. He came across Google apps which had made a real impact on the way he and his team work.
Why did you look for this tool in the first place? What did you need help with?
I looked at Google to help us address some of the problems we’d been having with our server. It was really costly to maintain as we had to pay £300 a month to an external technical support company.
When the server went down everything went with it and it often took a long time to fix. This was happening increasingly often and we were getting very frustrated.
How did you find out about the tool?
A number of colleagues from other organisations had said they’d started using it so I did some research and decided that we’d move to a cloud system which meant we could get rid of the server.
What is this tool for?
It’s a ‘cloud’ operating systems so you can access email, calendar and documents from anywhere as long as there’s an internet connection. There’s also Google forms for surveys, Google sites and Google chat for instant messaging.
Why has this tool been useful to you?
It’s saved time and money, and has been particularly useful when trying to plan staff and volunteer cover for outreach sessions as anyone with an account can log in from any computer, see what’s happening and say when they’re available.
Is there any cost attached to using this tool?
Yes, there’s cost per user but it’s a lot less than maintaining a server!
Are there any online tutorials available?
Yes on Youtube, we used Youtube a lot in the early days.
Are there any limitations to using this tool?
One thing I’m not so keen on is Google hangouts (which is a bit like Skype) because I find it too clunky. Having said that, Google is developing all the time so I’ll keep trying it as they can be a really good way to save on the cost of travelling to meetings.