Project: Migration to Google Apps – Google Change Management

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September 10, 2015 · by Ray · Business Solutions, Project Management



I recently worked on a project to migrate from Lotus Notes and Microsoft Office  to Google Apps. Google Apps offered tremendous benefits, but it was a big change. Sometimes the success of the change hinges not on the change itself, but how it’s managed and the change management process that is outlined by Google was simple and effective.

Google provides a guide explains how to address user concerns, such as:

  • Why are we switching?
  • What happens to my old email and data?
  • How will I get up to speed?

It ensures

  • Faster adoption
  • Increased productivity
  • Greater return on investment

Get Ready, Communicate, Train

You’ll find many models for change management. Google use the simple one Get Ready, Communicate  and Train.

  • Get ready: Includes tasks to understand your organization’s culture and people, and the support they’ll need to make a successful transition to Google Apps. Typical readiness tasks include profiling your user community, sending a user readiness survey, and establishing a Google Guides program.
  • Communicate: Includes tasks to get your users excited about the switch to Google Apps. Typical communications tasks include creating a communications plan, launching an internal marketing campaign for the switch to Google Apps, and sending messages to users.
  • Train: Includes tasks to educate users about Google Apps. Typical training tasks include creating a training plan, launching a training site, and conducting courses. Historically users had never been trained on Lotus Notes and so expectation levels were low.

What changes are managed?

  • Product changes—Any new tool requires time to get users up to speed. Most users can start reading and sending messages in Gmail within minutes, but power users in your organization—executives or administrative assistants—may need more support or training.
  • Policy changes—Google Apps offers lots of new features, and your organization must decide how to use them. For example, if users can now access email on their phones, does this affect your mobile device policy?
  • Process changes—Some internal processes or procedures may change with Google Apps integrated into your environment. For example, if your organization used shared mailboxes to manage mail queues, you might update some processes to use Gmail with Google Groups.

The Google Apps Rollout Project Plan

For a Medium to Large company of 250 or more employees, a standard Google Apps transition is divided into four phases:

  • Phase 1: Core IT
  • Phase 2: Early Adopters
  • Phase 3: Global Go-LiveEach phase generally lasts about four weeks, although this varies with the size of your company and the specifics of your legacy system. The transition is usually complete within 90 days.During each of the three phases, you progressively configure more Google Apps features, migrate more data from your legacy system, and move more of your users to Google Apps. For a larger company then Phase 3 can have a number of sub phases as the employees are split into manageable sub phases. In this case phase 3 included 4 phases (Blue, Red, Yellow and Green).
  • Phase 4: Life After Go Live is about ensuring that adoption moves from Basic to Advanced as required by the user. This may involve more training and support.

Each of the phases  includes a project plan that will include Get Ready, Communicate and Train modules.

For more detail please read this document.




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