The guide will also discuss the appropriate level of effort needed – low, moderate, or high – to accomplish each step. The guide will then provide the links to the definitive documentation resources for each step. The goal is for you to know what to do when the times comes for the next step to be performed efficiently and correctly.
A transition overview for an organization transitioning with over 250 employees and fewer than 250 employees
A change management section detailing Core IT, early adopters, and Global Go Live (as each section handles the given topic within these three frameworks in mind)
A domain management section covering primary, additional, and sub domains
User account, mail data, and calendar migration information for keeping your mail, data, and calendars safe and seamless throughout the transition
Mail routing, mobile configuration, user policies, authentication / authorization, and post-transition topics
If you believed the personal load and cost of a transition would be too heavy, the Google Apps Technical Transition Guide for Business, Education, and Government will take what appears to be a complicated process and break it down to easy steps in three phases. Have no fear… the time to transition is here.
Transitioning from one system to another can be daunting on the IT team, the accounting department, and the managers and employees who face that transition after having learned another system for years.
While a major transition is not something companies look forward to in practicality, the results can be overwhelmingly positive. In the best situations, there is a plan in place that makes the transition as seamless and painless as possible for all. It should have a natural flow and it should not cause stoppages in productivity unless specific training is required.
What even the IT professional with an immense amount of knowledge and experience is looking for is a clear, concise, informative, easy-to-follow path to implementation.
Google has provided the Google Apps Technical Transition Guide for Business, Education, and Government to assist companies in their transition from another messaging platform such as Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps for Work.
Should We Seek Third Party Assistance in This Transition?
Absolutely! Google Apps partners have been trained in and have experience across the entire Google Apps for Work lineup. Aligning with a Google Apps partner can ensure your transition is efficient, smooth, and timely. Working with an experienced partner can be especially valuable if your current legacy system includes complex configurations not accounted for in the transition guide.
Three Categories for Each Task in a Google Apps Transition
Each task of a Google Apps transition will be classified in association with one of three categories: technical configuration, project management, and change management. Google suggests assigning one individual as project leader for each of the three categories.
- The technical configuration is often handled by your IT team. They will be responsible for the technical tasks and responsibilities required and associated with migrating your data and users to Google Apps from your existing legacy system.
- The project management should be assigned to someone who can organize people and departments. They will communicate the ongoing progress of the other teams within the transition. They will also coordinate the Google Apps partners, the change management coordinators, the IT team, and the management/executives so that everything in the transition runs on the allotted schedule.
- Change management will require someone who is a strong communicator as they will be responsible for corporate communication and educating your users affected by the transition. They will be charged with such tasks as distributing user documentation, posting company announcements, and organizing training courses for users.
Tips for the Pre-Transition to Google Apps Phase
When embarking on an important large-scale project, preparation for that project is often a key factor in the project’s success. Before you begin the transition and while you are planning, there are a couple of things you can do that will make your transition easier and more effective.
- Inventory – Understand exactly what you are moving, figure out the exact user count, and know which applications will be e-mail dependent. Incorrect information can lead to more man hours and much higher costs. Not knowing, for example, what other types of accounts may need a Google license (i.e. generic or shared mailboxes) can be time consuming to organize mid-transition.
- Staffing – It is best to have an executive sponsor that will ensure support from upper management at the highest levels. It will also be important for the team to have a key decision maker on board. Make sure you have the proper technical staff on board to implement those key decisions. Many larger organizations also deploy an internal project management team that will serve as a point of contact and an internal training/communications/marketing team responsible for training and communication.
According to Google, the guide is most applicable to companies with greater than 50 employees. If your organization has less than 50 employees, Google suggests reading the Small Business resources, which can be found in the GAFW Deployment Resource Center. In a smaller (less than 50 employees) business situation, your IT professionals may even be able to make the transition solely by using the Google Apps setup wizard.
Get The Technical Transition Guide for Google Apps as part of our free e-book pack called Going Google: From Planning to Deployment for 100 to 1000 users
Do not let the transition overwhelm you. Trust the guide and trust your Google Apps partner professionals who have successfully navigated many businesses, schools, and organizations through many transitions. You are making this transition for the betterment of your team and their productivity. Truth your instincts, set a schedule, and make the transition that will change the culture of your company.