Say ‘Hello’ to Tim
Like most contractors, Timothy Boudreaux started his construction career, at an established company. After learning the ins-and-outs of the industry, he decided it was time to branch out on his own and founded North Lake Contracting in St. Paul, MN. A big motivation for Tim was to give other people the experience he’d had and provide jobs and a work environment that would set them on their way to starting their own companies.“Since North Lake’s beginning, my team members have risen through the ranks and the stars have gone off to start their own firms,” explains Timothy.
This reputation of investing in employees has helped North Lake Contracting attract high quality team members and grow rapidly. Finding a niche as experts in storm damage restoration and securing partnerships with big box retailers on new development construction, North Lake Contracting saw a boom.
However, this rapid growth forced North Lake Contracting to confront the challenges of scaling quickly, especially IT management & data ownership. The pace of growth led to deploying computers quickly and cobbling together multiple software applications, each requiring their own upkeep and yearly licensing fees, costing thousands of dollars each year. Microsoft Outlook was used for sharing calendars, personal email addresses were being used for work, and file sharing was relegated to a wall of folders at the office containing printed copies of documents and project files.
Over time Tim realized how detrimental it was for his employees to be using personal email & saving files to their work computers’ harddrives. As employees left the company, mission critical emails were gone forever as they resided in personal inboxes or on computers that could not be accessed as employees had changed the passwords.“I was paying an IT company over $600 a month to maintain about 20 computers”, explained Tim, “but I couldn’t even use them because we didn’t have the passwords.”
A better way to manage North Lake Contracting’s company data was needed. That’s when Tim reached out to Newmind Group and was introduced to Google Apps for Business. Initially impressed by how easy it was for him to manage, as a business owner, and maintain access to emails and files after employees depart, Tim knew he was going to be able to do much more with the toolset than just make sure he retained ownership of company data.
Faced with the choice of sticking with costly and cobbled together applications versus simplifying, lowering cost and increasing productivity with Google Apps for Business, the decision didn’t take long. North Lake engaged with Newmind Group to make sure experts were handling the migration of data into the new toolset.“The whole process took a few hours and I logged in and there was all my information,” recalls Tim. “I was able to pull the plug on all of my other software and licenses I was paying for and my monthly IT support too.”
As employees move on to pursue bigger dreams, their emails can be easily found via search when needed. Project files stored in Google Drive remain and aren’t lost to rogue laptop hard drives. Tim only pays for active accounts and can easily reprovision a Google Apps account to a new employee without hassle.
North Lake also found that Google Drive provided a way to share files quickly and collaborate on projects, allowing employees to spend more time at work sites, cutting travel time and getting projects done faster.“Now all of these documents are in Google Drive”, Tim explains. “So hey, ‘I need a professional roof evaluation form’ ...I don’t need to come to the office anymore. Just find it online and print it at home or edit it digitally.”
Tasks that used be completed after business hours are now possible on mobile devices and late nights at the office have decreased. Project managers utilize Google Drive to share pre- & post-project photos with team members to improve the customer experience, including faster & more accurate quotes.
In retrospect Tim has this to say about his Google Apps experience:“I leaned on my Google Apps Account and it functioned better than all the other stuff and all it required was a web browser.”