WHAT FORUM WANTED
Replace Microsoft Exchange platform
Access to mobile tools
WHY FORUM WENT GOOGLE
Instant messaging and video conferencing
Ability to work from any device, anywhere
Phased rollout over several months
Project change management and training
Fast employee buy-in and positive feedback
Forum Communications Company, located in Fargo, North Dakota, traces its roots back to 1878 and has been primarily owned by members of the same family. Beginning with newspapers, Forum has expanded to include broadcast radio and television, as well as digital publishing throughout the upper midwest. By giving information life, they have established themselves as a trusted, respected and reliable source for small and medium markets across the midwest United States.
Agosto provided Forum with Google Apps as well as with project management and extensive training for the organization’s 1100+ staff, across 43 domains, throughout the transition and deployment to Google Apps.
Following a change management plan that Agosto customized by working with Forum, the Forum team embarked on a phased rollout over several months. The first phase involved training a core group of IT personnel, the next phase was a larger group of early adopters, and then training began in earnest for all users during the final phase. Onsite training was available for special user groups like executives and their assistants, and over 20 training webinars were held during the rollout.
Forum and Agosto turned the transition into a fun event, using a large countdown clock in the middle of the office at headquarters to foster anticipation and excitement.
The early adopters became known as “Google Guides” and were outfitted with identifiable clothing. These guides were on hand to help answer questions or offer help to those who needed it, and other activities and treats help made it a festive event.
“Transitions can be intimidating,” said Mark. “As a media company, we needed to be up and running with the new system fast. Agosto helped us prepare for the change and we created an atmosphere of ease and fun as we moved to Google Apps. As a result, we got much faster buy-in from our employees and have had almost completely positive feedback ever since.”
Subsequently, communication and collaboration are thriving. Mark described the situation. “It used to be tough for our employees in the field to collaborate with their co-workers back on breaking news. With features in Google Apps like the instant video conferencing of Hangouts, our teams are communicating more smoothly. Google Drive allows our reporters and editors to work on documents together and to share photos immediately. These tools are helping us get the news out to the community accurately and quickly. With Agosto’s help and Google Apps, our work at Forum Communications is truly moving at the speed of the news that we’re covering.”