Best Kept Secrets of Change Management: Build “Circles of Trust”

By Sarah Gasparick

It’s easy to explain the value of some of the classic aspects of change management – like providing timely learning opportunities for end users, or making sure to design a communications campaign. When we dig a bit deeper into change management best practices, pinpointing some of the magic behind the “secret sauce” becomes a bit harder to articulate – but we don’t like to shy away from a challenge so let’s give it a go!

Regardless of your job title, when it comes to assisting with change management efforts for a project one of the best things you can do is to leverage your “Circles of Trust.” What? Yeah, you read that right – “Circles of Trust.” We’re talking about the people in your sphere of influence who you’ve been developing strong relationships with long before this project was conceived.

People in your “Circle of Trust” will instinctively want you (and your initiatives) to succeed. Also, they should be honest with you about barriers they see to your path to success that may not be on your radar (i.e. they are willing to tell you if you have broccoli in your teeth).

Be a friend to make a friend

Ideally, every interaction you have with colleagues can be leveraged as an opportunity to build your “Circle of Trust.” Trust often takes time to grow, so we aim to nurture that trust every chance we get – whether that means holding the elevator, sharing a news article, or volunteering some of your talent to assist someone else with one of their initiatives.

Sounds lovely but maybe you’re frantically busy? Or maybe you’re really introverted and it sounds intimidating to dive deep into relationship-building? Hey, that’s okay! Realistically, we all have constraints on our time and energy for relationship and trust building, so we’ll let you in on our little secret: it is okay to be intentional about who to target for your “Circle of Trust.” Sketch out potential projects that are in the hopper for the next 6-12 months and ask yourself who you need to win over to “your side” for those projects to succeed.

Now that you have a few names (or departments) identified, dig into the real work of trust building by paying it forward. Ask yourself what you can do to help them win in their work in the next few months, then begin to engage them in conversations to see how you might be of assistance.

This doesn’t have to mean devoting hours of your week to your new buddy. Instead, consider some of the small ways you might be able to make a difference. Perhaps you can offer to give them feedback on a rough draft, test a workflow on a few members of your team, or offer to give them a warm introduction to a connection of yours who can help them reach their goal. Model for them what you hope they can do for you in the upcoming months, realizing that your seeds of friendship have just been planted, so we shouldn’t expect to see a favor in return right away.

Bringing your “Circle of Trust” full circle

One of our favorite examples of someone who had clearly made investments in building his “Circle of Trust” came from an IT Systems Analyst we partnered with a couple of years ago when his organization made the move to G Suite. As a member of the project team, this gentleman had been fairly quiet with us as a partner. However, when we met him onsite we were able to see him work his magic. When one particular VIP user was getting rather frustrated with learning the new tools, he quickly intervened to offer her 1:1 support time later on in the day after she had time to review some learning materials on her own.

In a flash, her mood turned around – his offer of support took her from frantic to feeling heard and supported. It was evident that he knew enough about her to know (and not guess) that this would be exactly what she needed, and she trusted his offer because she trusted him. She got to win, and he got to win in this scenario that could have been a real mess.

Whether it is spur-of-the-moment responsiveness, or strategic leveraging of your trusted relationships – the more you lean into your “Circle of Trust,” the more you’ll win when it comes to change management.

We’d love to hear your upcoming plans to build and maintain your sphere of influence. Share your favorite ideas in the comments section below!

Level Up Your Migration to G Suite with Transformation Labs

When employees are given a platform to innovate and test new ideas, impactful change can happen fast. That’s why here at Agosto, we fully believe in the power of the Transformation Lab to kick start meaningful change and get your company on track for exciting improvements in 2018. Interested in what that could mean for your organization? Read on to find out more!

The Basics: What is a Transformation Lab?

A Transformation Lab inspires users to innovate day-to-day business processes that may not have changed in years. We’ve learned over the last, nearly two decades that deploying G Suite is not just an IT project, but a human-centered project. With that in mind, we’ve found that the migration process needs to inspire people to accept, embrace, and take ownership over their new collaboration tools. The Transformation Lab is one key component to that goal!

Successful transformation requires more than just traditional change management. Users need to be empowered through the promotion of a collaborative culture and redesigned business processes. Agosto focuses on transformation at the intersection of your organization’s Technology (IT), People (users & culture) and Process (business processes and procedures).

Our Transformation Lab is a four-hour, Agosto-led event that allows your hand-selected team members to take ideas 

for improvements and turn them into real-world solutions. Agosto’s Change Manager will start by inspiring your team with real solutions to business process problems leveraging G Suite. Then, we will guide your team to identify opportunities to innovate business processes and workflows they deal with every day. Once your team has explored these ideas, they are directed to prototype actual, tangible solutions for one or two of their favorites. At the close of the lab, teams will walk away with actionable plans for their projects, and you will have a roadmap of potential initiatives for long-term innovation that your employees are invested in completing.

The Why Behind Transformation Labs

Opportunity & Impact

Transformation Labs are an opportunity to help your users imagine new and innovative ways to grow your business through Google tools you’ve already made a significant investment in. Successful Agosto G Suite customers are those who’ve embraced more than just Gmail and Google Calendar and sought true transformation by rethinking the way they collaborate and do business from a process level.

Customers that transform their company culture to continue to innovate on processes often see more competitive prices, lower cost, better operational controls, less risk, customer growth, and improved employee satisfaction.

Productivity

Moving to Google and the cloud opens up many opportunities to rethink the way things have been done in the past. Taking the opportunity to look at processes across the organization and re-engineering them to take advantage of your new real-time collaborative cloud capabilities often produces massive productivity gains, freeing up huge numbers of hours each week that can be reapplied back to the business!

User Satisfaction  

Employee satisfaction rises when employees feel like they have the right tools to do their jobs and then feel more productive with their daily tasks.

During the initial deployment of G Suite, users may have been trained on features and functionality.  Transformation Labs take this one step further by helping users actually apply these new tools to the work they do every day. It’s a more proactive approach to G Suite implementation that drives greater adoption for the tools IT has rolled out, and greater satisfaction among users who understand and appreciate the attention paid to optimizing their day-to-day workflows.

Interested in learning more?

This year due to popular demand, Agosto is expanding our Transformation Lab offerings, including a brand-new virtual option, an onsite option, and an onsite option with follow-up hours from our technical resources to help implement the projects your users created.

Not sure which option is right for you? As your G Suite partner, we will work with your team to make sure the Transformation Lab that you choose is the best option for your needs! Reach out to Agosto here to discuss scheduling a Transformation Lab at your organization.

How to Migrate to Gmail from Microsoft Exchange

Many businesses are migrating from Microsoft to Google, saying the reason they migrated was largely financial or logistical. Though potentially intimidating to consider a major company-wide migration, many are finding the migration easier than expected. Better, easier and faster data migration service with GSMME.

Why Make the Move?

There are several advantages to migrating to Gmail over Microsoft Exchange—beginning with price. Hosted Exchange averages $141 per user per year, while Gmail costs about $50 per user per year.

Larger companies in particular see a clear financial advantage migrating to Google over time.

Businesses are ensured consistent upgrades and innovations from the creative team at Google. With the all-encompassing Google for Work platform integrating all of your vital apps, workspaces, and communications in one place, lower cost is just an added bonus.

Over five million companies in the United States have migrated to Gmail, and over half of all Fortune 500 companies are on this list.

If your enterprise is considering the migration from Microsoft 365 and Exchange to Google for Work and Gmail, read on for a basic guide to this transition.

Due to the level of complexity with migrations, most companies use a Google Partner to handle the migration process seamlessly.

Many times it can even be done when it’s not business hours so there’s no interruption to daily work.

However, if you’re a small company and have a deep knowledge of technical migrations and the Microsoft and Google ecosystems, then the Migration Assistant might be right for you.

Google’s migration services support Microsoft Exchange servers so companies can avoid installing extra migration tools and complex programming. Google’s migration tool enables a smooth and simple transition.

Email, contacts, and calendars can all be migrated from Exchange to Google. You can migrate hundreds of employees’ data at once or migrate one individual at a time.

This process doesn’t disrupt workflow—employees may continue to use their mail, contacts, and calendars throughout the migration process.

To begin your migration, follow these steps:

1. User accounts. Register for Google for Work, and open the Admin console. Depending on how many accounts need to be created, you can add them individually or en mass. To create accounts one at a time, go to the “Users” tab in the admin console. Select the plus sign, and click “Add User.” Fill in the employee’s organizational unit, name, email address, and domain.

You can input a temporary password and additional contact information as well. Hit “Create,” and email user instructions to the new account holder. If you have a large number of accounts to create, consider using the Google Apps Directory Sync tool. You can easily transfer information such as profiles, contacts, and groups—but passwords aren’t included in this process, since they’re encrypted in the LDAP directory.

2. Configure Gmail. Once user accounts are created, configure your domain to deliver email. Setting up direct delivery to the mail servers is the easiest and most direct method. However, many opt to employ a dual delivery system for the short-term during transitions, allowing mail to be delivered to Microsoft and Gmail accounts for each user. Establish a secondary Google email address for each account holder that needs Microsoft mail forwarded. Configuring dual delivery can be helpful during transitions, but it isn’t a long-term solution.

3. Migration. You have a few options for migrating contacts and calendars, depending on data location. The Google Apps Migration tool for Microsoft Exchange is ideal for transferring information contained within the Exchange server. A similar tool is available for Microsoft Outlook, which enables each user to transfer his or her own data from mail and calendars. If information is stored on local machines, however, use the Google Apps Sync tool.

4. Training. Provide your team with needed information to delegate account access, create shared contacts, manage shared calendars, and move from public folders to Google Drive. Familiarizing employees with these features prior to the launch of Google for Work in your company will ease the transition and increase engagement.

You can use the Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook plug-in to give users access to their Google data through an Outlook client. Users who would like to retain a familiar look to their apps may choose this option. All data is synchronized, providing continuity while emulating your legacy system.

For The Times You Shouldn’t Do It Yourself

The migration from Exchange to Google for Work is made easy with Google’s Sync and Migration tools. If you tackle your move with a Google for Work Reseller and Partner, the transition is made even simpler and more comprehensive, whether you’re starting with on-premises or hosted Exchange systems.

Partner teams manage the transition from beginning to end. Coexistence between Exchange and Google mail and calendars during the transition is simplified, as they ensure all parties can communicate clearly and without glitches.

Your Partner team verifies that calendars can be overlaid and seen by users on both systems and that directories are properly synced.

While setting up mail accounts is relatively straightforward, incorporating mobile devices creates an extra level of complexity. Google Apps and Google Drive for Work provide real-time collaboration capabilities that should be leveraged right away.

A Google for Work Partner will provision each account, giving employees access to a full multi-device experience.

In addition to providing technical support, your Partner team takes the lead on training. By assessing your employees’ needs, the team can tailor webinars and on-site training sessions to fill knowledge gaps and boost interest in new systems. From start to finish, Google for Work Partners deliver a fast, efficient, and comprehensive implementation of Google for Work and its products.

Conclusion

Google for Work is extremely popular due to its ease of use, lower cost, and all-encompassing tools.

The transition is complex. Some companies prefer to do it themselves and like to be very hands-on.

Using a Google for Work Partner ensures a smooth process every step of the way.

3 Reasons Why You Should Choose Google for Work Premier Partner Instead of Going Direct to Google

In your company’s transition to Google for Work, you may wonder whether it makes sense to go through a Google premier partner or go directly to Google.

What’s the difference, and what are the benefits?

What is a Google Premier Partner?

Google for Work Premier Partners provides amazing products for an all-encompassing business solution. Their product suite has many solutions from email, collaboration, word processor, video chats, storage, intranet builder… and more.

But you already know that.

Think of going direct to Google as going to an auto parts store. You know your car. You know how to do the installation yourself and you have the time.

Going with a Google Partner is like going to a mechanic. You get services to make sure everything runs properly and you won’t stall out on the highway. Google partners provide clear and knowledgeable guidance with support from start to finish while implementing these tools for you.

Many businesses enjoy the benefits of working with a partner for an easy transition and to have Google product experts foresee situations for them and provide solutions to ongoing business challenges.

So, here are 3 things (among many others) you can get from a Google for Work Premier Partner that you can’t get if you go direct to Google:

Develop a Custom Strategy

Google for Work Premier Partners bring Google into your business in an efficient and knowledgeable way, from strategy, rollout, deployment, training, change management, and onward.

Before making changes, partners assess where your company is and where you want it to go.

It’s a tailored approach to make sure each Google product fits well with your business goals and your teams can adapt.

If you need a custom solution, some partners are experts in developing scalable products on Google Cloud Platform. Application developers guarantee that your company isn’t forced into a mold.

Your partner team will guide you through recommended Google products as well as suggested custom alterations. Once a strategy and product suite is settled upon, you’re guided through a seamless purchasing process. Google Partners handle all of the logistics, allowing you to focus on managing a single account.

Working without a Google for Work Partner, your business is left with a one-size-fits-all solution. Though Google for Work products are versatile, companies benefit immensely from customized solutions that maximize ROI and productivity.

Migration, Deployment, and Change Management

Choosing to migrate your company to Google for Work on your own can be time-consuming and interrupt flow of business.

Using a Google for Work Partner allows you to focus on work while they handle migration and deployment. With decades of experience, a partner team understands the requirements of each legacy system. They can deploy new products and seamlessly migrate your data with little to no impact on workflow.

Change management professionals are vital to the success of any major transition in a company. A lack of support and education can cause even positive changes to stall.

Your partner team will closely examine the organization, judging previous change patterns, methods that were successful, number of users, and the company’s needs. An implementation strategy is then tailored to fit the specific business.

Preparing users for the transition and determining an efficient and realistic timeline are a large part of successful implementation: downtime and redundancy are reduced while productivity increases.

Your partner team will conduct a series of trainings to ensure employees feel confident moving forward with a new system. Basic trainings cover the transition process and how to use new products.

Additional sessions are available to encourage user engagement. They’re conducted on site or remotely. A benefit of using Google for Work Partners is that every training is fitted to the client. Surveys are distributed and analyzed to determine the level of user confidence and the location of knowledge gaps.

As a result, employees feel heard, their concerns are addressed, and user engagement is heightened.

Internal marketing and communications trainings are conducted between Google for Work Partners and internal marketing teams.

Your change manager will discuss techniques to increase enthusiasm among employees adopting new platforms. Internal teams will be guided in communicating useful and energizing information throughout your company, enhancing adoption and engagement.

Maintain Support

After Google for Work has been deployed, your Google for Work Partner team remains with you each step of the way.

Account administrators are assigned to your company, ensuring ongoing technical support. Especially in the early days of a new system implementation, existing IT departments and account admins can feel overwhelmed by big changes.

Working with a partner removes that.

If you work alone, in-house technical support can inadvertently slow things down. By using a highly experienced team to complement your on-site support, both the transition and ongoing use of new platforms are made easier.

Ongoing trainings are also available to companies that use a Google for Work Partner. These cover a range of topics and are tailored to fit your business needs. Project management and coordination meetings are conducted at regular intervals. Each meeting addresses whether target timelines and objectives are being met.

Additional trainings can include case development. Every development training is designed for your particular company and its needs. Workflow requirements and business scenarios specific to your enterprise are addressed.

Your partner team will discuss how to streamline work and increase productivity in your field, leveraging Google for Work’s specific capabilities for your company.

Ongoing webinars and events keep your team informed of changes, updates, and helpful hints to maximize Google for Work’s applications.

Newsletters are also distributed frequently, containing tricks for better productivity with Google systems. If you find that your teams need further training in a particular area, your premier partner will create a custom 30-60 minute training session to be conducted remotely or in person. You can issue brief quizzes before and after each training session, assessing the effectiveness of each meeting. Additional training can be designed around continued knowledge gaps, and materials can be further tailored to your specific employee base. By providing your team with the tools needed to succeed, productivity and ROI increase.

Conclusion

Google for Work Premier Partner is a comprehensive and versatile suite of products that make the most of speed and efficiency in the cloud.

Optimize your investment in these products by using a Google for Work Premier Partner. With support from start to finish, these experts provide amazing insight, support, strategy, and knowledge throughout the entire process.

Going directly with Google can be a good solution for some small businesses who feel confidant doing a technical deployment. But for most mid to large-sized companies, product experts are required to guarantee a smooth transition.

Google Premier Partner for Your Business?

Agosto is a Tier 1 Google Cloud Premier Partner and cloud product development company. We partner with companies looking for a fresh perspective to work smarter with Google Cloud. Learn more about the services we offer, give us a call at 612.400.9563 or contact us here.

Premier Utility Services Improves IT Data Delivery with Google Apps

About Premier Utility Services:

Premier Utility Services (Premier) is a division of Willbros Group, Inc., (NYSE: WG) a specialty energy infrastructure contractor serving the oil, gas, refinery, petrochemical and power industries who recently made the move to Google Apps.

Premier provides damage prevention services which include underground utility locating, gas leak surveys, electrical services, contact voltage surveys, pole surveys and inspections, emergency management, storm assessment, sign assessment, along with quality assurance audits and operator qualification training. Real-time updates on its secure, online database allow visibility for all client projects. The Company’s call center is available 24/7 to guarantee project success and client satisfaction.

Challenge:

When Premier was acquired by Willbros, the Company’s IT management team was working with Microsoft Exchange. However, the system was not scalable enough to meet the needs of the quickly growing entity. Significant stability and reliability issues started causing business disruptions, so the Company’s technical staff began to investigate alternative platforms that could provide more reliability. Marc Makely, President of Premier, suggested the Company move to Google Apps. Premier was already working with Google Geo (mapping) tools, and Makely believed in the cloud and in Google’s powerful solutions.

Agosto and Google Solution:

Premier’s IT team engaged Agosto to help them work through a well-defined project and technical plan. Agosto migrated Premier’s mobile field workforce and corporate users across 22 states from Exchange 2010 to Google Apps. Additionally, Premier now has an email archiving and eDiscovery solution in Google Apps Vault.

Results:

Premier is working well together and the team is finding new ways to improve business using Google Apps. Makely and Jason Cradit, Director of Information Solutions at Willbros, and Chris Bartlett, IT Manager at Premier, shared the story.

“Premier’s former Exchange environment had so many outages, we had to do something,” said Cradit. “We were at risk of losing our ability to provide top-level service to clients. I was actually skeptical but our move to Google Apps went really well with Agosto’s help.”

Bartlett joined Premier just as the Company was transitioning to Google. “My background was in the legal and financial industries, so I had concerns. The cultural shift of moving users away from Outlook is tough, until you get to know the new functionality, efficiency and speed that you can get from Google Apps. It has also freed IT up, so we’re able to focus on more strategic activities.”

The Health and Safety team at Premier is excited about the use of Google Docs which allows for a step-change in live collaboration. Additionally, the field teams are working more productively because they can now securely communicate with other colleagues in real-time using any device, from anywhere. Premier also collects a tremendous amount of field data for their utility company clients. Cradit is excited the Company has started to use Google Sites (included with Google Apps) and inexpensive Android devices to almost immediately show clients their information.

“Our customers are highly regulated and required to take action on situations in the field promptly,” said Cradit. “We can provide them with map visualizations and actionable information so much more quickly than ever before, using equipment that’s not cost-prohibitive and tools that are easy to use. That means Premier is more efficient and our customers are more able to act quickly on their data. We find new uses for the platform all the time.”

Premier’s return on investment is already paying off.

“The investment in Google has been extremely positive,” said Makely. “Google is the platform that got us to start making positive changes across the board, and we are working now on migrating more and more of the business to the cloud. We have reduced our capital expenses and management costs and we’ve gained productivity. We’re still early in our deployment and are still discovering new ways to use Google Apps. We are even exploring using Google Glass for field collection. Really, we couldn’t be happier.”

Life After Outlook: How Change Management Impacts Google Apps Adoption

If you’re considering the transition from Outlook to Google Apps, ask your deployment partner if you need change management to make it a success. At Agosto, we know the answer is yes, and here’s why.

Humans are creatures of habit, therefore they are often resistant to change. Migrating to a new email and collaboration system is a major undertaking for any organization. Those organizations running Microsoft Outlook and looking to migrate to Google Apps will need to plan for resistance from some users.

Early in the project, these organizations will find they have die-hard Outlook fans among their users. While many of these fans have personal web-based email accounts, some even Gmail, the idea of leaving Outlook behind for their business life will cause push back. By assessing the reasons behind the push back, you will likely learn there are several factors. These might include lack of time, lack of Google Apps knowledge and fear that they will struggle in learning.

This is why change management is important. It provides a structured approach to the user-side of the Google Apps deployment. Ensuring that you communicate, educate and support effectively will make the transition easier for everyone involved. The time and effort given to change management before, during and even after the transition will be reflected in the ultimate ROI of the project.

Google has an excellent guide called “Going Google: A practical guide to change management for Google Apps adoption.” They report that with a solid change management plan in place, you’ll:

  • Increase user adoption, usage, and proficiency
  • Reduce risk related to acceptance of Google Apps by users
  • Lower costs related to unplanned disruptions to business operations

A few of the major points from the guide are list listed below:

  • Create a change management plan timeline: A timeline will ensure that everyone involved in the project will know what is happening and when.
  • Gain support and help: Engage senior management for support on the deployment. Human Resources can provide additional understanding of users. Marketing can assist with communication. Recruit power users as Google Guides. They will be excited about the change and have the ability to influence others. If you are using a Google Apps partner, look to their experts for guidance, they will help plan, manage and execute change management activities.
  • Communication: Communication and more communication. Spreading the word that we’re “going Google” can be accomplished in many ways. Popular ways include email, company newsletters and the company intranet.
  • Training: It is important to identify the needs of different user groups, some will need more training than others and some will need tailored training for their role. Provide training materials in different formats online, via printed handouts and in classroom sessions. Continue to support users with training resources after deployment.

Bringing in expert help on change management is a good idea. Google Enterprise Partners, like Agosto, have change management and training experts that have successfully guided many organizations in making the migration from Outlook to Google Apps. They have first hand knowledge of issues that can arise and ways to prevent or alleviate them. Contact us for more information.

Corel Strengthens Global Business with Migration to Google

About Corel:

Corel is one of the world’s top software companies providing some of the industry’s best-known graphics, productivity and digital media products. Boasting the most comprehensive portfolio of innovative software, the company has built a reputation for delivering solutions that are easy to learn and use, helping people achieve new levels of creativity and productivity. The industry has responded with hundreds of awards for innovation, design and value. Used by millions of people around the world, Corel’s product lines include CorelDRAW® Graphics Suite, CorelDRAW® Technical Suite, Corel® Painter®, Corel® PaintShop® Pro, Corel® VideoStudio® and Corel® WordPerfect® Office, Winzip, Roxio Creator, Roxio Toast and Pinnacle Studio. For more information on Corel, please visit their website.

Challenge:

Corel has reinvented itself over the years through an expansion of its offerings in the Graphics, Digital Media and Productivity space. The company’s management team recognized the need to adopt a simplified, yet scalable infrastructure on a variable cost model.

Agosto and Google Solution:

The company had already migrated from an on-premises CRM to Salesforce.com, and next identified Corel’s email and collaboration systems to move to the cloud. As a part of the evaluation process, the team looked at Google Apps and Microsoft 365. Corel’s Vice President Information Technology, Mark Fernandes, shared the company’s story about their migration to Google.

“We were already a Google customer, using Postini to manage spam and email security,” said Mark. “We were also a Microsoft customer, running on-premises Exchange. With extensive global operations, including in Taiwan, China, Japan, the Philippines, Europe, and North America, we have teams working 24/7. We reviewed both Google’s and Microsoft’s options for email, scheduling and calendar, and wanted to communicate better and reduce costs. We found Google particularly attractive, with Chat, Sites, Docs and the ability to collaborate.”

Results:

Mark described that the team was initially skeptical about whether Google was mature enough for an enterprise offering. Many of Corel’s employees were home users of Gmail, though, so there was a certain comfort level in making the migration to Google at work.

“Though we encouraged employees to go Google, one of our key strategies lives in giving people choices,” said Mark. “Some of our team members were glued to their Outlook clients, and GASMO (Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook) helped to ease the challenge of synchronizing email clients and created a common, seamless platform that enables our global teams to work from anywhere, at any time, from any device. We have had a lot of success with users starting on Outlook and eventually transitioning to full-blown Google Apps, taking advantage of Gmail, Chat and even Sites.”

Mark commented on the transition. “We were actually very impressed with the transition to Google Apps,” said Mark. “Our experience with Agosto was great. I like that Agosto focused on change management, bringing us the tools to support this major change for our business. Agosto was instrumental in holding our hands throughout the implementation, which we rolled out in a phased approach to our IT team and finally to the larger organization. We also involved our senior management team early, which I believe led to our success.”

One of the first Corel divisions to officially go Google was WinZip, one of Corel’s main divisions. During Corel’s transition to Google Apps, Hurricane Sandy threatened the northeast coast of Canada and the United States, where WinZip is located. Acting quickly and efficiently, Agosto migrated WinZip’s entire domain to the Google platform in under five hours.

Feedback from Corel team members is also positive.

“Our marketing and product development folks appreciate the increased ability to collaborate,” said Mark. “Using Google Docs and Sites enables them to manage content. All of our teams are appreciate the secure, easy, device agnostic access to their mail and content. We’re an organization that doesn’t prescribe a particular device so granting access anytime, anywhere, with no need for a VPN for our Android or iOS users. And Google’s archiving and ediscovery keeps us secure so we haven’t had to add anything.”

Mark also shared how the migration to Google has helped him meet his objectives to save on costs.

“We have successfully decommissioned three Exchange servers, which has saved on IT costs” he said. “Google Docs and Chat also save on communication costs, plus we are enabling employees to collaborate in real-time from anywhere, on any device. I’m really pleased with the results financially.”

Google Apps Manufacturing Case Study: Superior Industries

About Superior Industries

Superior Industries is a manufacturing company located in Morris, MN, with eight divisions located throughout the United States and with international distribution of its products. Superior’s divisions design, manufacture, market, and sell bulk material handling conveyors, conveyor components, fuel tanks, fuel trucks, fuel trailers, petroleum equipment and precast concrete products.

Challenge:

Since 2008, Superior has experienced spectacular growth. Acquisitions in particular have helped Superior gain a reputation as one of the fastest growing private companies in the United States with a growth rate of over 15%. The company has expanded its product and service divisions from two to eight, and its number of employees from 350 to more than 1,100.

Originally working off of one Exchange server at the company’s headquarters in Morris, recent rapid growth meant that the IT team found itself quickly without adequate infrastructure expansion capabilities. As a result, the company had to leave in place several legacy systems that it had acquired.

In addition to needing a common platform across the company, Superior, like other manufacturers, needed to provide access to shift and line workers who didn’t necessarily have a workstation or computer access 100% of the time. With the single Exchange server, licensing, accessibility and scalability were difficult and expensive.

Agosto Solution:

One of the companies that Superior acquired was using Google Apps. The IT team evaluated transitioning the entire company to Google Apps as a way to stabilize its infrastructure, hoping to save on costs and increase collaboration across its divisions and work sites. They turned to Agosto, a Google Apps reseller, to help implement Google Apps throughout the entire organization. Agosto also assisted in developing the training curriculum that Superior has implemented across the company.

Details and Results:

Agosto helped Superior to migrate and implement Google Apps entirely remotely, saving on both travel and training costs. IT Infrastructure Supervisor Russ Koehl shared how Agosto first helped Superior train a group of early adopter “Google Guides” that got up and running quickly positioning them to assist other users.

This was key to communicating that the change was positive and there were benefits for all users. Superior trained 15-20 people per session, both in-house and remotely via the web. Over the course of a couple of weeks, everyone at Superior was using Google Apps.

Working with a reseller has been invaluable, said Russ. “The transition to Google Apps has been so successful that we have returned to Agosto for extra assistance in migrating our newest acquisition into the Superior family of companies,” said Russ. “And working with our Agosto rep, Cat Bear, has been phenomenal. It’s amazing how much she has helped us to accomplish and how quickly she responds to our requests.”

Russ described how line workers are able to share kiosk-style terminals on the shop floor, eliminating the need for a computer for every employee who only needs to log-in occasionally. Using their own unique credentials, employees gain access to vital company communications, email, training and user documentation using the kiosks or even their personal mobile devices. “These are people with varying skill levels,” said Russ. “And no one has any trouble getting around in Google Apps.”

Russ shared how his IT team can now add hundreds of new users easily to the system, getting them set up and ready to log into Google Apps in minutes rather than the days it previously took. With no server upgrades to schedule, no desktop software patches to install or versions to manage, Russ and the team are able to work faster, eliminating the conflicts and downtime they previously experienced. They are also saving significantly on both software and hardware costs.

They continue to discover new benefits; Russ said, “Our marketing department can now easily access and contribute to the company intranet using Google Sites without needing to know code. We also use Google Hangouts just about everyday for fast, reliable video and voice conferencing, and our dispatchers rely heavily on Google Chat to save time.”

“If you would have told me before that I’d have our entire company, across multiple locations, transitioned to a new and better way of working so quickly, I would have said ‘no way’,” said Russ. “But the benefits of Google Apps are clear and our staff is really happy.”

Shared documents have really taken off, too, according to Russ. “We purchased Google Apps for its email and calendar, but if I was to tell the company that I was going to take away Drive, it just wouldn’t be possible. Everyone is now so used to editing together, in real time, from any location; Google is here to stay for Superior.”

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