Boost your online collaboration skills. Embrace cloud-based collaborative solutions. The future is now! | University of St.Gallen MBA

Boost your online collaboration skills. Embrace cloud-based collaborative solutions. The future is now!

12 Dec 2022

Valeria Politti & Michael Brenzel

Michael Brenzel is a ‘Zoogler’. A Zurich-based Googler (of course!). His title is Chief Workspace Evangelist. “I look into the future of work,” he told me. “I monitor what’s happening in the market, conduct my own research, and engage with IT and HR leaders to exchange perspectives on collaboration productivity.”

So, what is the future of work? I asked. “We’re living it,” replied Michael, with a smile. “The Pandemic has led to the future arriving ten years early! Hybrid work is the new normal. Online collaboration has been thrust into the limelight. And now, we’re just getting to grips with the associated challenges, such as sustaining motivation among remote workers, solving office occupancy issues, and supporting relocation requests,” he added.

As the Evangelist for Workspace, Michael spreads the gospel on why Google is building this “known to be cool environment” using its own technology. “We have more than three billion users, using a product like Gmail. The next generation of workers have grown up using our free consumer-based products such as Gmail, Google Docs, Sheets, etc., and mostly through their browsers. As a result, companies are using the cloud-based Workspace to attract talent, while benefitting from efficient collaboration solutions.”

I imagine attracting talent is not a huge issue at Google. However, its high diversity standards, as Michael informed me, are not easily met – even more so in Switzerland, where the unemployment rate is already so low. “As a consequence,” Michael explained, “we’re focussing a lot of energy in retaining and developing existing talent but also investing in new talent through apprenticeship programmes.”

Potential new recruits are normally put through a series of interviews, with ‘Googleyness’ being one of four attributes besides job-related knowledge and general cognitive ability being tested. “It’s Google’s way of ensuring a cultural fit,” Michael told me. “Among other things, we look for people that thrive in ambiguity, challenge the status quo, value feedback, and care about those around them.” 

It’s reassuring to note how closely the main talking points of this interview – the importance placed on recruitment, the attributes sought in new talent, and the focus towards Cloud-based solutions – tally so well with other trends we’ve uncovered in this series.

Michael Brenzel is Chief Workspace Evangelist at Google, Zürich.

Valeria Politti is Head of Corporate Sales, Traditional Sectors, Google Cloud, Zürich. We are delighted that Valeria is joining as a member of our newly formed University of St.Gallen “Future Skills Advisory Board”.