How one IT department turned Google Apps enemies into advocates


By Frank Hayes

The key to one company's successful shift from Lotus Notes to Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Apps was recruiting a group of power users--many of whom initially opposed the change--to become advocates for Google Apps among their co-workers, writes Matt Weinberger in a case study at CITEworld.

The 2009 migration was motivated by the existing Lotus Notes installation's inability to handle new platforms and mobile users at ad agency 22squared, but it was sparked by a Notes server crash that pushed the company to look at a newer version of Lotus Notes, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Exchange, Google Apps and Zimbra.

Google Apps came out ahead in testing, and IT eventually discovered that one employee was already using Google Apps to get the mobile support he needed. IT used signage, user training sessions and one-on-one meetings with executives to explain the move.

But the smartest thing the transition team did was to recruit some 30 employees to become advocates for Google Apps among users, some of whom had used Lotus Notes for a decade or more. And many of the loudest Google Apps advocates started as opponents of the migration.

To win them over, members of the migration team pulled them aside and made it as clear as possible what exactly the new platform could do for them.

"The result: When IT flipped the switch over Thanksgiving weekend and Google Apps officially went live, there was a comfortable buffer of users helping co-workers and colleagues get up to speed. Google Apps went from sounding like an abstract IT initiative to something that employees could get really enthusiastic about," Weinberger writes.

For more:
- see Matt Weinberger's article at CITEworld

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