This week, Damson Cloud CEO Fintan Murphy was lucky to grab a chat with the team at Cloudshed in their home city of Leeds. Across the interview we chat about the business with founder and director Jordan Hughes, with some added insights from sister and business partner, Lauren. Access the full interview at the top of the page, and don’t forget to follow Damson Cloud for more discussions on changing the way we work. Enjoy!
Kicking off our discussion, we talk about the professional backgrounds of Jordan and Lauren before they entered the realm of Google training. Jordan founded Cloudshed back in 2014 after building extensive experience at an advertising agency who “made the move to Google”. The Business Apps Trainer then evolved into the position of ‘Google Trainer’, where she worked for two years along with other Google Partners. “We understood there was a gap in the market for what I was doing. I started to think that we could do this full-time, and here we are,” recalls Jordan.
Lauren, meanwhile, completed university study, and when offered an opportunity to join her sister, she jumped at the chance. The pair spent a lot of time in London before spreading their operations outwards, especially towards the north of England. “There’s a lot of work in the north, and lots of Google Partners up here,” says Jordan, highlighting the plentiful training opportunities offered by remote working.
The Rise of Remote Working
For Jordan and the team at Cloudshed, there has been a substantive shift towards remote working in recent years: “Everyone’s been practicing what we’ve been preaching: video calling, collaboration – even chat and training via video calls”. For Lauren, that initial challenge focused around delivering those training services to the highest possible standard. “We have to gauge what level people are at in terms of navigating the browser and things like that. The feedback has been amazing so far,” she adds.
According to Jordan, increasing numbers of companies are beginning to come round to the benefits of remote working: “It cuts on costs, it cuts on travel and it means that workers don’t have to gather in one location for training. It can also fit around people’s work patterns a lot better”. For the team at Cloudshed, longer training sessions tend to be more popular, with a more broken down, segment-driven approach tending to yield better results.
How has Google Training evolved for Cloudshed over the years? Jordan reflects on the pre-2014 days: “Back then, it was a harder sell. There weren’t as many like-for-like replacements for what people were already using”. Similarly, Lauren recalls her early days delivering advanced sheets training. “In some cases we may have recommended sheets for some things, and Excel for others. However, now we’re telling people to check this stuff out. Even with Gmail, we admitted that Outlook was a great product. Now, with scheduling emails and other awesome features, it’s a no-brainer.”
The Growth of Google Tools
Lauren’s first encounter with gmail was at university, when the system was introduced overnight. “We really didn’t get to use that collaborative functionality. Because people didn’t show us, we didn’t really know about those features. Now, in hindsight, we know that the training element is actually one of the most important bits.”
The introduction of Google tools across educational institutions and workforces is reaching an international saturation point, having its own potential impact upon the work of companies like Damson Cloud and Cloudshed. “These are the future workers coming up, and we’ve been training a lot of academies and doing the Google for Education side of things. It might sway their decision on where they want to work, and what tools they have at their disposal,” claims Jordan.
“People who make the move to Google after working with Microsoft for a long time don’t tend to realise how user-friendly Google really is,” adds Lauren, “and because it’s so user-friendly, they’ll be utilising so much more features – more than we used at that time in our lives whilst using Microsoft. When someone first asked me about tracked changes, for example, I didn’t actually know what they meant.”
Challenges continue to remain in allowing customers to see the real value and potential of comprehensive and professional training. Jordan highlights that within any organisation, there tends to be those few individuals who fully buy into the value of training – and those other individuals who require more persuasion.
The Value of Google Training
Training is crucial in the world of Google products. But when, and at what size should a company or organisation decide that training is right for them? “Even with a small business, it’s good to have that guide, that champion that’s really going to drive change, and people will go to that person,” says Jordan. “So, for a small business, that’s fine. Meanwhile, for a larger organisation, you may get better results with a full team working on it. It’s good to spread these people across the business, allowing employees to ask questions and allowing us the opportunity to get some real feedback,” she adds.
What drives companies to Google? According to Jordan, it may be because of a personnel change, where a senior member of staff may have seen the real value of Google. In other cases, it may be a focus on cutting costs, or even a focus on carbon footprint reduction. Of course, collaboration and remote working are also driving factors behind the widespread success of Google products. Lauren adds that cyber-security is another huge benefit, citing an example of a client who had lost all of their data in a hacking attack.
Internal communications is becoming a key differentiator for many of the businesses that Damson Cloud and Cloudshed tend to work with. They want to effectively communicate their culture and what kind of organisation they want to be – and tools such as Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) and Happeo are allowing these companies to lead the way in doing that. Whilst Cloudshed do work with a range of Google Partners, they do have a special focus on their work with individual clients. Their work has taken them all over, from New York and Mumbai to the cities of Belfast and Dublin. Keen travellers, the team at Cloudshed are eager to see where their work takes them next.
More About Damson Cloud
Damson Cloud would like to send on a massive thanks to Jordan and Lauren for taking some time out of their busy schedule to speak with us about their work with Cloudshed. Those looking to find out more about Cloudshed can follow the team on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter using the @cloudshed handle. We wish their team all the best of luck and we look forward to seeing where they go in the future!
As a longstanding member of the Google Cloud Partner program, Damson Cloud specialise in bringing people and ideas together through new ways of working. We champion change management and digital transformation using some of the internet’s most trusted solutions, including Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), Happeo and Jamboard. To find out more about our services, check out our library of tutorial videos or our blog.