Project Stories Accomplish an incredibly huge project with teamwork:
Implementation of G Suite™ into a major SPA

Corporate Business Project

In autumn 2018, a major specialty store retailer of private label apparel (SPA) which operates globally announced that, as part of its workstyle reform, it would implement G Suite, a cloud service from Google, into its communication platform for all employees around the world.

This G Suite implementation is to switch over from other company’s cloud service implemented a year and a half ago. The surprising gist of the order received was that SoftBank, Google’s partner company currently in charge of operating the existing cloud service, would fully support this project for switching over to G Suite.

This project involves an unparalleled number of licenses. It was necessary to assess the scope of impact upon implementation, repeat simulations of the switchover, and identify preparatory work and implementation support necessary for migration.

Taking advantage of its knowhow as G Suite Partner of the Year in Japan, Softbank has formed a project team to make a success of this unprecedentedly large project. All team members are joining forces to take up this challenge.


    Enterprise Business Unit 2nd
    Corporate Sales Division Sales Division 1
    Sales Department 1 Section 2
    2013 New Hire

  • Shinsuke Uchida

    General Manager
    Enterprise Business Unit
    System Engineering Division Strategy Expert Division
    Cloud SE Department
    2002 New Hire

  • Kousuke Nasu

    General Manager
    Enterprise Business Unit
    System Engineering Division SE Division 1
    Cloud Gateway Services Department 2 Section 3
    2011 Experienced Hire

  • Yoshitaka Sugiyama

    Enterprise Business Unit
    Enterprise Operation Division
    Operation Service Division 2
    Solutions Service Desk Department 1 Section 1
    2011 Experienced Hire

Episode.1 Launch of the G Suite implementation project full of unusual features

“It is extremely rare that such a large number of members across multiple departments get together for one single project,” recalls Shinsuke Uchida, the project manager. The above-mentioned major SPA had brought multiple departments responsible for production, logistics, shop management, and other operations together in one place, thereby proceeding with a workstyle reform project to ensure that all the departments constantly collaborate with each other to accelerate business deployment. In February 2018, as a trigger to further accelerate this reform, the idea of implementing G Suite surfaced. With a high expectation to make communication among employees around the world more smooth and speedy, the SPA consulted with SoftBank dealing with digital transformation for corporate customers.

Usually the implementation of G Suite with 10,000 or more licenses is treated as a large-scale project. However, this project involved an extraordinarily large number of licenses. Further, at that time this customer was using a cloud-type groupware provided by other company. As a matter of course, these two services have clear differences in functionality, and their usability, specifications, and user-interfaces also differ significantly. It can be said that these differences make this switchover meaningful. However, this switchover to G suite would impact not only the customer’s communication platform but also its entire IT infrastructure. In order to enable the customer to make an official decision to implement G Suite, the project team needed to assess what impact the switchover would have, calculate how much it would cost, and present the estimated cost. Although the cost was supposed to be presented just as a ballpark estimate, the preliminary calculation should cover not only the scope of services provided by SoftBank but also the scope of services provided by other companies the customer would consider for combined use. Accordingly, it took two months to estimate the total cost for the switchover.

The sales representative is Mai Yuasa, who had just been appointed to be in charge of corporate customer accounts. To conduct the assessment of the scope of impact and the estimation of total cost, both essential for Yuasa to prepare a request for proposal (RFP), in addition to three principal members including system engineers specialized in G Suite, the company appointed a project manager and full-time specialists of relevant fields, such as operational design, network, global affairs, and mobile. And then, a large project with more than ten members in total was launched.

Episode.2 An enormous amount of cost calculation work with prerequisites and the scope of impact ever changing

In April, Kosuke Nasu, a system engineer in charge of G Suite, was stationed at the customer’s office almost every day to continually communicate the specifications and characteristics of the G Suite service as well as points to note when implementing it. Meanwhile, team members at SoftBank were sorting out additional requests from the customer Yuasa brought back each day as necessary tasks for the switchover to G Suite. This was because the customer asked her to identify the scope of impact and necessary tasks for the switchover to G Suite as reference information to formulate an RFP. The RFP formulated by the customer based on the information was delivered to candidate service providers in July. However, we found the subsequent preparation of specific proposals much more difficult. There were many items whose cost could not be calculated without asking subcontractors for help, resulting in a tremendous amount of emails exchanged. While the project team was in the process of preparing proposals, new conditions were relentlessly added one after another. The addition of new conditions caused the scope of impact to change, and then documenting them in detail and presenting the resulting document to the customer caused additional requests to come in. As gargantuan work was continuing with no end in sight, the team members repeatedly brushed up proposals while adding prerequisites one by one. Strangely enough, under such tough conditions, the team never lost its vigor.

Episode.3 Relationships of trust among employees and with the customer create true value.

Despite the limited time left before the submission due date, all the project members worked together to compile responses to the RFP as a proposal document and submitted the fruit of their hard work to the customer on time. The details of the proposal created by the team satisfied the customer, leading to the announcement of the largest-ever implementation of G Suite. The most decisive factor in this success is that SoftBank set up a project team mainly composed of the members who calculated approximate cost and the members engaging in the building and operation of services being offered, while utilizing the knowhow obtained from the development of a communication platform for the opening of the customer’s new office eight years ago and the knowhow from the migration to a cloud service implemented a year and a half ago. With a deep understanding of the customer, all the team members kept an eye on fields other than their own and were willing to take time to exchange views.

As a result of frequent visits to the customer, Nasu built a strong relationship of trust. He went a step further and drew out information that cannot be elicited without such a strong tie with the customer, playing an important role in increasing the accuracy of proposals. He recalls that openly communicating the weak points of G Suite enabled him to further deepen the relationship of trust.

The proposal document submitted this time could cover the areas of services offered by other companies, but that would involve additional man-hours other than those for the G Suite implementation and unnecessary one-time expenses. As a result of considering what should be priority from the perspective of the person in charge of this project on the customer side, the team was able to offer an efficient implementation plan with waste thoroughly eliminated.

Episode.4 Attitude to meet requirements, sense of ownership beyond fields

As the G Suite implementation project is ongoing, the teamwork is increasingly growing stronger so that all the team members to help and complement each other beyond fields to solve problems if they arise. When asked where the sense of ownership comes from, the members unanimously answer with a smile, “We don’t have any option but to cope with problems together, do we?”

The team members never say the reasons why they cannot do something. They accept requests from the customer whenever possible. Meanwhile, they make a positive response so as to meet customer requirements as much as possible, while clearly conveying what they cannot do, saying, for example, “We cannot score a perfect 100 here, so let us off with a score of 80,” and “It is impossible to cover all requirements with operation, but we can accept your requests if you are fine with these conditions.” Through such communication, they can win trust from the customer and hear a comment like, “Fine, if you at SoftBank insist.”

Yuasa confesses that she was anxious when the project was set up. But now she is so positive and finds great pleasure in working with her teammates. All the members voluntarily step in fields outside the scope of their responsibility. For example, a system engineer says that he has done a task in the area for which a sales representative is responsible. As all the team members pay attention to the progress of the project and support each other, the sense of unity has been growing stronger.

In November, this project entered the practical phase, such as conducting a trial of changing operations using G Suite functions at major shops in Japan. “The project goes into high gear once the operation service is completely developed. More flexible response will be needed going forward,” says Yoshitaka Sugiyama, the section manager in charge of this project, bracing himself for future development. However, this team whose members support each other with a sense of ownership should be able to overcome any challenges.

G Suite: A cloud-type groupware offered by Google. G Suite makes basic functions that are optimal for business, such as Gmail™, Google Calendar™, and document file sharing accessible from anywhere there is an available Internet connection, regardless of device types.

Google, G Suite, Gmail, and Google Calendar are trademarks or registered trademarks of Google LLC.