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Google Apps Implementation
By Vivek Sawhney, VP & Chief Information Officer, YAI
Google Enhancing Efficiency and Productivity
Productivity is the combination of intelligent planning and focused efforts. Staying productive at work can be a challenge, so one has to opt for products carefully. YAI recently migrated from Domino Lotus Notes to Google Apps in November 2014.
We had three key objectives email (including calendar and contacts), build out an effective intranet and social networking platform. Google Apps is integrated into our Active Directory infrastructure to facilitate the creation of accounts and password management. The implementation provided users with increased storage capacity (a point of frustration on the Domino platform) and easier access across mobile devices.The implementation of Google Apps means no dedicated resources for the management of the platform. More importantly, there is no longer a need to provide backup solutions for these services, a cost benefit from a resource and services perspective. It eliminates the on-site risks associated with storing and managing data. From a compliance perspective, the risks for data loss are greatly reduced due to hardware failure, prohibitive retention policies (cost constraints), or an individual employee. Migrating to a cloud-based solution means it is platform and device “agnostic.”
“The implementation provided users with increased storage capacity and easier access across mobile devices”Given the plethora of mobile devices, user experience in terms of ease of connectivity and support is much more favorable. Collaboration takes on a different meaning where stakeholders work together in real time. With a platform like Google Apps, users have the opportunity to leverage a familiar tool-set (documents, spreadsheets, presentations) from anywhere on any device, and to work simultaneously with that colleague on the same document in real time. Google Apps (sheets, docs) is a key component of the platform that can result in considerable amount of savings versus having to purchase Microsoft licenses for similar apps. Finally yet importantly is the ‘search’ engine. The search functionality is fully integrated within the plat-form and provides a very powerful tool to the end user community. Post-Google Phase and successful Implementation Password management across the Lotus Notes application was previously handled manually. We employed SSO within the network but it did not work outside the network. Being able to use Google Apps Directory Sync greatly simplified password management across all users’ computers and devices and eliminated the redundancy when creating accounts across Active Directory and Notes. Collaboration Implementing multiple platforms (Domino; Yammer) to support collaboration was not an effective strategy in the long run. Google’s ease of use, extensive productivity tools, such as Drive and Docs, Sheets, etc., portability across devices allows a cohesive and seamless system to increase collaboration and productivity. One of the keys to deploying Google Apps successfully across the organization was a Project Team that included Cloud Sherpa’s and the YAI Communication departments. The implementation of Google Apps should not be treated as an IT initiative. The expertise that Cloud Sherpa’s brought to our team was a key for our success. Secondly, making training available through many different approaches (on site, e-learning and webinars) went a long way in accommodating staff members’ schedules and hence their enthusiasm and positive feedback through the entire implementation.