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Whether you're turning to Google because you need a productivity suite with access to more disruptive tech, or you've chosen G-Suite for its inherent reliability, the first step towards better IT is planning a successful migration.
G-Suite has become increasingly popular in recent years, particularly as new updates to Google's cloud make the applications more intuitive and effective. However, migrating to a new cloud can be complicated - no matter how much experience you may have in the digital world. After all, you need to make sure that you have all the right systems in place to support a smooth transition, and you have to be careful to keep on top of things like security.
To help you take the right first steps into your migration journey, we've put together these quick tips for planning a smooth G-Suite transition.
Step 1: Start by Finding your "Why."
The move to a new cloud system isn't simple. There will be times when you wonder why you've put yourself through the stress of moving from your old provider. With that in mind, it's a good idea to get the "why" of your migration ironed out in advance, so you can remind both yourself and your shareholders of what sent you to G-Suite in the first place. Some of the biggest benefits of migrating to G-Suite include:
An easy to use productivity suite that integrates with your favorite tools: G-Suite supports interoperability, hybrid cloud, and makes it easy to access your tools on any device. If you're looking for a simpler workflow, Google can help.
Affordable licensing: G-Suite has three different packages to choose from. The basic package is only $5 per user per month, and the most complex is $25 per user per month. Even if you go all-out with your productivity suite, you'll still be keeping costs low.
Improved productivity: According to one study by Forrester consulting, companies using G-Suite experience a 300% greater ROI regarding productivity - the numbers speak for themselves.
Stronger security: Google infuses all of the security services it relies on to run each day smoothly into G-Suite. In other words, you don't have to worry about privacy and security concerns when you've got Google on your side, with encryption, two-factor authentication and more.
Streamlined collaboration and communication: G-Suite doesn't just have the world's most popular email tool (Gmail) to offer when it comes to communication, you can also take advantage of Google Hangouts Meet and Chat too!
Decide which features and capabilities are driving you to G-Suite and use that information to keep yourself as motivated as possible throughout the transition.
Step 2: Consider Your Email Situation
With your goals and expectations for G-Suite in mind, it's worth thinking about your email situation, and whether you're going to migrate everyone into the same mail environment. Most people do decide to migrate fully into Gmail, as it means that they can have a professional-looking email system, complete with personalized domain-based email addresses.
What's more, Gmail continues to grow more compelling every year, with new features continually appearing in the enterprise market. This year, Google is experimenting with things like "Smart Replies" to infuse your email messages with artificial intelligence.
Of course, you don't have to switch to email. Google makes it easy to build your G-Suite experience according to your needs. You may decide to keep your email strategy the same and move only your cloud services and productivity tools to Google instead. Just remember that Gmail is the most popular email client for a reason.
Gmail offers industry-leading phishing and spam protection, which is ideal when you're worried about working with sensitive data over email. What's more, Google is consistently adding new abilities to the Gmail platform as an integrated part of G-Suite. You can even launch Hangouts meetings straight from a Gmail message.
Step 3: Know How You're Going to Handle the Cultural Shift
Company culture is one of the most essential features in any high-performing enterprise today. One of the major things driving the culture of any business is it's approach to collaboration. G-Suite was designed specifically to support better collaboration experiences. For instance, Users can work together simultaneously on files and view updates to their information in real time. What's more, Hangouts means that it's easy to chat while you're working together on a project.
One of the most compelling features of G-Suite is how everything works so seamlessly together as part of a unified hub for better business performance. However, you can only embrace the true power of the G-Suite if your employees are willing to adopt new collaboration features that they may never have considered before.
To prepare everyone for a significant culture shift, make sure you:
Offer any training required to help users get used to new G-Suite tools.
Publish training guides and materials that will act as an FAQ for your transitioning employees.
Don't roll out dozens of new tools at once. Consider introducing your team to new parts of the G-Suite one component at a time, so they get used to each new feature as it arrives.
Step 4: Prepare for your Data Transitions
Managing data is one of the toughest parts of a full G-Suite migration. Fortunately, Google does make things a little easier by offering a range of administrative tools and directory solutions to simplify the move. Once you've successfully finished setting up your new G-Suite account, you'll be able to look into each of the recommended tools that Google provides for migrating documents and files into your new system. If you only have a handful of data to relocate, then you can try Google's "Simple import option" for email, contact, and calendar events.
On the other hand, if you've been working on an alternative system to G-Suite for some time now, then there's a chance you're going to have much larger imports to work with. Fortunately, Google also has suggestions into which tools you should use for larger transitions. You'll be able to use either a single tool or a combination of tools to move your data, depending on where your information is coming from. For instance:
For Email: Google recommends using the data migration service. This allows you to easily migrate user mail into G-Suite through the admin console. Alternatively, the G-Suite Migration solution for Microsoft Exchange is available.
For Contacts: Google also recommends using the data migration service or the specialist G-Suite Migration for migrating contacts from Microsoft Exchange.
For calendars: To migrate your calendar data into Google, you can access the G-Suite Migration for Microsoft Exchange, or the Data Migration service that you used for both your contacts and email transitions.
There are also plenty of great ways to import data into G-Suite from an old Google Drive account, or directory data. One option is to examine some of the third-party tools in the G-Suite Marketplace that will help with migrating your information.
Step 5: Establish a Timeline and Plan
Once you've decided that you're ready to migrate into G-Suite, and you know what kind of tools you're going to be using to get the job done, it's a good idea to set out a plan and schedule for what you want to accomplish. Having a plan in place makes it much easier to track your progress in a migration, and it ensures that you won't forget about any essential details along the way too.
Think about how long you're reasonably going to need to migrate all of your users and data into the G-Suite. Keep in mind that the more users you have, and the more information you've collected over the years, the more time you'll need. Most experts will also recommend planning your actual migration over weekends, or during times when your systems won't be experiencing a lot of use. Migrating on the weekend also means that your users can start a brand-new week with their updated tools. A migration timeline might look something like this:
Week 1: Preparation
Week 2: Configuration and testing
Week 3: User training and change management
Week 4: Migration
Week 5: Follow up
Step 6: Get the Support You Need for Your Migration
Sometimes, smaller organizations with only a handful of productivity suite users will be able to manage their transition to G-Suite with little to no external help. However, if you're not fully familiar with the cloud, or you have a lot of information to migrate over, then there's a chance you'll need more assistance to ensure everything runs smoothly.
A G-Suite migration can be a very positive thing for you and your team, but you need a good plan in place to make sure that everything works as it should. In this case, the best thing you can do is get the help of a professional consultant to guide you through the migration and adoption process.
If you don't want to worry about going it alone with your G-Suite transition, the team at Coolhead Tech is here to help. Contact us today to find out more!