Pearson Unifies a Global Workforce with Google Apps and Lucidchart

Pearson is a leading provider of business and educational materials. Learners of all ages, from high school students to working professionals, rely on the company’s innovative services.


CHALLENGE: This traditional company required a cutting-edge productivity suite that encouraged collaboration and supported Pearson’s growing presence in the tech world.

SOLUTION: As a modern alternative to expensive desktop software, Pearson developed myCloud, which is integrated with both Google Apps and Lucidchart.

BENEFITS: Google Apps enabled streamlined sharing, collaboration, and access to third-party solutions, while Lucidchart offered an easy-to-use tool for visual communication. Employees reported increased efficiency and ease of use, especially when working with a geographically edispersed team.

Challenge

Founded in 1844, Pearson has long been a stalwart of the learning community. The company’s historical expertise in publishing and education is a natural fit with Pearson’s core objective: to help people make progress in their lives through learning. Many experts are aware that Pearson owns brands like Penguin Random House and The Financial Times, but they might not realize that Pearson is now prospering in the digital space. The company’s top executives often describe it as a technology leader, rather than a publishing or education behemoth. And with 48,000 employees in over 60 countries, Pearson required a flexible, yet powerful system for enabling communication and collaboration across its workforce.

Solution & Results

Lucidchart + Google Apps

Leaders at Pearson were torn between Microsoft and Google—which one was the right choice for such a large and diverse workforce? They eventually decided that business units would make the final decision, with Google Apps made accessible from a proprietary service called myCloud.

Pearson had two objectives when offering Google Apps to its employees. First was a goal of improved collaboration that would better suit a global, digitally-focused brand. Just as important was the second goal: to attract top talent to the organization. Graham Calder, CTO of Technology Operations, said,

As we moved into that software and services world, the nature of our workforce—and the nature of the talent we needed to drive the company forward—was changing. So we still needed lots of creative people, but the creation needed to move from physical goods into the creation of software. At that point, you’re looking for a different type of person who has different needs from the tooling.

To that end, myCloud was born. Designed as a secure framework for accessing cutting-edge tools in the browser, it’s built on a Google Apps framework and available to all Pearson employees. They simply use the single sign-on function through their company email addresses. Upon login, workers can access dozens of cloud-based tools. After two years of testing, myCloud was offered to every business unit in Pearson, resulting in high adoption rates across the organization.

Much of myCloud’s success is due to its integration with the standard tools of Google Apps—Drive, Docs, Sheets, Gmail—along with the addition of helpful third-party tools like Lucidchart. All of these applications contribute to a marked improvement in efficiency and collaboration for employees. The use of Google+ Hangouts in particular has saved time and money, as well as encouraged employee-led adoption of the tools they most enjoy. Mr. Calder said,

The adoption rate of Hangouts was amazing, and it was very much a viral adoption. People would see others using it or suggest that others use it…My own team is across many continents and operating in many time zones, and the way that they bring themselves together to achieve certain outcomes is the use of Hangouts. They complement that with Google Drive, the ability to share, and the ability to do that in real-time. So while much of the focus tends to be on Google as an email platform and as a calendar, the big benefits and transformational outcomes that we get are through adoptions of new ways of working and new ways of communicating.

You see the evidence of this in our phone bills; if you look at the usage on our phone lines—we have tens of thousands of them—the average utilization now on a fixed phone line in Pearson is one call per day, for less than four minutes. It’s really dropped off dramatically, and much of that is down to Hangouts replacing phone calls and conference calls.

Pearson employees also found benefits that went beyond Hangouts. Online applications require fewer iterations and support simple sharing and automatic saving—all of which creates a stress-free working environment. Rose Marsh, Senior Business Assistant at Pearson, said,

I was having a conversation with my housemate yesterday, and she said she was working on a Word document, forgot to save, and lost it. But you don’t have that with Drive—everything’s saved, and everything’s really integrated as well. The beauty of Google and Google Apps is that you don’t really notice that you’re using a lot of these products, because they’re so integrated. So I don’t think about the fact that I’m chatting with a colleague on Google Chat while updating a document on Google Drive, or working on a Lucidchart document. It just feels quite natural, and if I have a meeting and I need to use a Google Hangouts, then that feels normal, too.

Thousands of employees enjoy the integration between Lucidchart and Google Apps on a daily basis. In addition to building and sharing key documentation with Google Docs, Spreadsheets, and Presentations, they use Lucidchart to harness the power of visual communication. In the words of Neha Datt, Digital Product Manager at Pearson, “The one area where Lucidchart offers something that we don’t get from the other Google apps is the ability to draw and represent our ideas in a really easy-to-use way.”

With Google’s single sign-on feature, the unique benefits of cloud-based tools are available with one click. Like her colleagues, Ms. Marsh was pleasantly surprised at the simplicity of finding and using Lucidchart. She said,

Lucidchart came up as one of the apps in our app directory that we have as part of myCloud. I’d been looking for a piece of software that I could use to map out some of the service and library processes that we use. What’s so special about Lucidchart is that it does look great when you show something to other people. Actually, you can customize it to suit your audience, so when I’m talking to marketing, my process map might look quite different from when I’m talking to the sales team.

Not only did Lucidchart provide a way to attractively draft processes and flows—a difficult feat in itself—the enterprise licensing model made it a snap to integrate. Mr. Calder explained that by offering a domain-wide license, Pearson could pay a fixed fee. They avoided the mess of monthly invoices and the hassle of provisioning individual licenses, while enabling Lucidchart for every Pearson employee who wanted it.

Benefits

The combination of Lucidchart and Google Apps gave Pearson an adaptable toolkit for seamless collaboration and communication. In a matter of minutes, employees around the world can receive and offer feedback to their colleagues, supervisors, clients, and partners. This solution helped Pearson transform into a truly modern company, with the talent and tools to match.

Our software is simple to learn and easy to manage. Collaborators will love the ease of team projects with Lucidchart, and you’ll appreciate the workweek hours returned to you—no need to troubleshoot or chase down files when you’d rather be leading, working, and growing.

See for yourself why Pearson and other top companies are making the switch to Lucidchart on Google Apps.