By Jeff Miller and Mariana McCready
Now that your business has switched to Google Apps, how can you maximize its value? Google’s cloud file storage system - Google Drive - provides a terrific opportunity. That is, if you can help users overcome certain business process behaviors that are somewhat ingrained.
Google Drive is a powerful collaboration platform that allows users to develop documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, and business forms. Once created, content can be shared with colleagues, customers and partners via Google’s cloud, which maintains all iterations of a document in a single location, eliminating the need to email and track multiple versions of a sales presentation, budget or expense report, for example. Simply, Google Drive is a low cost, high value business tool that significantly improves enterprise collaboration.
Nevertheless, paradigm shifts are never easy. Most of us used desktop-based tools like Microsoft Office early in our careers. And while the convenience of cloud-based systems from Google and others is boundless, some users are still struggling to make the transition.
Successful adoption of Google Drive within an organization depends on the ability of business and IT management to provide a clear message based on relevant data, highlighting successful use-cases and leading by example, and by providing a clear roadmap to roll-out training and phase-out older software applications. Following are five actions your organization can take to streamline this process and expedite adoption of Google Drive in the enterprise:
1. Communicate a clear plan
Users want to know what is going to change for them and how the change will affect their day-to-day activities. A training and change management plan is essential in moving users from one productivity suite to another. Your organization will need to consider such points as which users will co-exist with multiple productivity suites, and which users should move completely to Drive, what is the driving factor for change, and if adoption should occur organically or at once.
2. Provide training
Webinars, video tutorials, and onsite training will increase users comfort level with Google Drive. Training can be customized to coincide with the business goals of an organization and focused on what is different in Google Drive versus the features they are already familiar with from other productivity suites. Also, training can focus on organization-specific policies on naming docs, sharing, search, and how to organize folders in Drive.
3. Prepare a rich template gallery
An organization can provide carrots to users by creating a library for all important document templates. This will ensure that users have access and can keep their documents with consistent branding and format. For example:
- Link to templates from the corporate intranet site
- Let users know the template library is available for use
- Provide high-use documents like Meeting Agendas, Project Plans, Action Items Lists, Proposals and Statements of Work
- Make them look slick with corporate branding and colors
4. Lead by example
Senior business and IT management should use Google Drive for day-to-day activities to set the standard. Managers can create departmental surveys in Google Forms, share spreadsheets with their teams, create documents in Google Docs and share with teams.
To encourage adoption, leadership can also come up with an incentive program or contest to create excitement and get the attention of the workforce. Cool prizes can help motivate associates to find the most creative or highest use, of Drive.
5. Create a document library
Make important organization-wide documents and policies available in Google Drive and share with the entire organization by creating links from the corporate intranet. Also, organizations should educate users as to where they can find the most up to date information, for example in corporate handbooks, department and organization policies and procedures manuals, and associate training documents and videos.
These are just a few helpful tips for increasing the use of Google Drive. There’s much more to Google Drive than content creation and collaboration, but the first step is creating a plan to help users adjust to change in their business processes.
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About the author: Jeff Miller is VP of Cloud Migration Services at Cloud Sherpas. Jeff currently manages the team of employees responsible for Cloud Sherpas enterprise customers through their migration and transition to Google Apps. Mariana McCready is a Google Apps Collaboration Consultant for Cloud Sherpas.