Whirlpool Corporation moves to Google Apps to build its “winning workplace"
"Google Apps is a simple solution in many ways, but the features are actually very sophisticated, enabling us to surround our business processes with the right tools to connect people."Mike Heim, CIO of Whirlpool Corporation
Can you tell us about Whirlpool, your business and your decision to move to Google Apps?
Whirlpool is in a very competitive market. We’re the world's leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances with 68,000 employees and 66 manufacturing and technology research centers around the world. We market Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Amana, Brastemp, Consul, Bauknecht and other major brand names to consumers in nearly every country around the world. Our products are very different globally, but the design principles and the ability to scale depend on our ability to interact and move at pace.
One of the challenges we face is the need to innovate faster. We believe Google Apps is critical to helping us do that — to collapse geography and take the best of the global ideas and apply them locally. Google Apps is a simple solution in many ways, but the features are actually very sophisticated, enabling us to surround our business processes with the right tools to connect people. It allows us to unleash the talent in the company, without a lot of IT support, which is very helpful. The move to Google Apps isn’t just a change in IT strategy, it’s a shift in our company culture. We need to think, share, and move faster to bring our products to the marketplace.
Can you tell us about your vision for cultural transformation and how the move to Google Apps plays into that?
We are becoming much more of a customer company in terms of how we think and act. We want to move to where the consumer is headed, not where they are today. This isn't always easy because we operate across so many locations internationally. I believe that our future success depends on our ability to build strong relationships and share and work together across the team. We spend lots of time building trust and sharing, so we can stay true to our mission. We believe Google Apps is helping us break down our geographical barriers and work together quickly, from anywhere—keeping us on track to help build what we call, "the winning workplace."
What will make Whirlpool thrive in the years to come?
I think that comes down to product leadership. Great products and great brands create desire in the marketplace. The challenge is being able to sustain the excellence at an increasingly rapid pace. We have global competition and our ability to innovate is critical. We need to focus on bringing products to market sooner and at the level of quality our customers expect. It’s also key for us to accelerate the process of collecting customer insights, so we can provide the best customer service at scale. Creating new ideas is critical to the success of our business in the coming years.