5. GoGoogle!!!

So we flipped the switch on Friday at 5PM and off we went.

There are a couple things I want to mention leading up to this to kind of reinforce some of the points made previously.

I received a panicked e-mail from one of my Schleprocks at 4:45 on Friday indicating that she just found out about the system change at 4PM and was wondering why we were doing it and when Information Systems staff was going to move everything over for her.

Information Systems staff made several laps around our headquarters building on both Thursday and Friday asking folks if they had any questions or concerns.

Once we confirmed the change was made for our mail records, we started monitoring traffic to the Google system.  We worked with the vendor to make sure things were functioning properly behind the scenes for about 90 minutes.  Everything seemed groovy. Continue reading ‘5. GoGoogle!!!’


4. Don’t Panic

OK, so we are now two days from our go live date!  Yay!  Scary stuff.

Technical Perspective

Now is the time when you try to remember what you forgot and forget what you remembered.  In short, it’s “what if” time.  What if this happens?  What do we do?  How do we do it?  Who do we call?  How do we communicate it to users?  You want everything to go exactly as planned, but it rarely does.  Things are forgotten along the way, thus, the trying to remember what you forgot.  Not recalling everything you did each step of the way and every decision you made on a project constitutes the forgot what you remembered reference.

Despite implementing new tech projects for nearly 20 years now, there’s always that anxiety as you lead up to the go live for me.  These last few days to stew until things actually change are tougher for me than the planning and after go live.  I love the conversations with staff and vendors that go into system development and setup.  I love the training phase.  And, since I long ago accepted that things will go wrong on every project, I’m okay with scrambling for a while after go live to rectify any situations that occur.  It’s the whole remembering what we forgot and forgetting what we remembered that gets to me.

Staff Perspective

So, two days out and more training to occur today.  Staff perspective falls into three general categories:  Yay!  Huh? and Why me?


Usually, these are the folks most directly involved in the project.  They have been in from the start and realize the opportunity that new systems provide.  In most cases they evangelize, the project to their co-workers and it turns into a Breck commercial for most of the organization.


These are the people in your organization, that never read anything that is not directly relevant to them and are thus unaware that there is a change that will take place.  Despite best practices in communication to staff on the project, some folks are still unaware of what exactly is going to happen when we go live.  These people have obviously not read the repeated announcements or watched the entertaining videos about Going Google!  Shocking, right?  These are the users that are in a panic this close to go live because they don’t know what’s going on and have not done anything proactively to prepare for go live.  This is the most aggravating of the three groups here to both the co-workers and IT staff.

Why Me?

If you remember the Flintstones, you may remember Bad Luck Schleprock.  Everything bad always happened to him and he was more than happy to tell you all about it.  Schleprock would be the nom de technologie I would give this group.  Three major subgroups are the “we’ve always done it this way” folks, the people in your org that complain about everything and the “I’m afraid of computers” gang.  I’ve written off the complainers (white noise) and the “we’ve always done it this way” folks.  There’s no helping the latter group because they just don’t want to be helped.  I love the “I’m afraid of computers” folks because there’s still hope for them and many of them, while afraid of computers, secretly want to learn more about them.  These are the folks that, if you help them use computers on one project their use of computers, will improve in all instances where they use computers.

And now for something completely different….

Did you know that Pintrest is now the number three social media site on the web?  Just behind Facebook and Twitter.  I pulled up a slide from NTEN Executive Director Holly Ross’ social media presentation in Nashville in 2009.  The slide had the logos for about 80 different social media sites.  Think they were on it?  They didn’t even exist at that time.  That’s right, Pintrest!!!   Who knew?

If you are interested in Pintrest, the NCE Social Media blog has a link to a tuitorial.

3. Getting Set

Well the first round of staff training finished up today.  These are not mandatory sessions.  The GoGoogle Team felt there was no need to make them mandatory and what can you really do if folks don’t show up?  Turn off their e-mail until they go to training?  Much better to refer them to the help materials on the GoingGoogle! Support Site and folks in their department that attended the training, right?

So we had two hands-on sessions on Friday in our Training Room (14 attendees), with an option to attend remotely live via WebEx (1).   We had to setup an adjacent room to handle the overflow on one of these sessions so that ended up as a demo session for staff (11).  We also had a pure demo session today at another site (7).  Folks also have the opportunity to view a recorded WebEx of a session (11).  So that’s 44 folks so far.  Good start.  Including the previous training for the GoGoogle Team that’s about 60 users trained (20%)

A few interesting observations… Continue reading ‘3. Getting Set’

2. Getting Ready

As we’ve prepared to implement Google Apps here, we borrowed plenty of things we tried on previous projects to make this one a success.  Here are five examples.

1. IT is a team sport

We created a team of ten people plus the IT group from most areas and levels of the organization. This team meets weekly for about an hour. We started about two months prior to our GoGoogle date. This group discusses the configuration, access, communication and training on the project. It provides us with an organization-wide perspective and presents points of view we would not have considered prior to implementation had this been an IT or Exec level only group. This cadre of folks, the GoGoogle Team, serves as project champions and liaisons back to their areas providing updates, listening to and addressing concerns and make the project visible. Continue reading ‘2. Getting Ready’

1. Backgrounder

Our organization first adapted a web-based e-mail system in 2003.  With a small IT staff and lots of sites, it was difficult for us to maintain a traditional environment where each user had to have a mail “client” configured on each computer they used.  Much of our staff moved from site to site and thus used multiple computers.  That’s a ton of client setups to maintain.  There was also the issue of have to access the mail server which was located at our main office.  Back in 2002-2003, connecting over 60 locations back to a main office location was not very cost-effective.   Continue reading ‘1. Backgrounder’

We’re Going Google

I’ve always been a believe in “cloud computing.”  As a not-for-profit, we are always looking for ways to save money, increase flexibility and meet the needs of staff.  ACHIEVA started using cloud computing technology in 2003.  We’re about to take the last step on this journey and move our file service to the cloud on Google Apps.  But Google Apps is more that just putting your word processing documents and spreadsheets on the internet.

If you’d like to save money for your organization, it could mean this.

If you’d like increase collaboration between employees at different locations, it could mean this.   Or this.

Want to improve communications between your employees?

Sure, these are idealized versions of what you can do with Google Apps, but what can it do for you in a practical terms?

So, as we go through this process, I hope to try to document here the highs, the lows, the good and the bad.  Google Apps has the potential to transforms the way business operate.  And while projects like this are always a challenge, we think it’s time to GoGoogle!!!

November 2017
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