By David Politis
Making the switch to Google Apps comes with lots of questions, from both skeptical executives and wary users. But the transition to Google Apps from your legacy system doesn’t have to be a bumpy one. Using the myriad sources available, organizations making the move to Google Apps can alleviate headaches and trepidation. And once your company has made the move, it’s important to make sure that users are using Google Apps to its fullest. We’ve included our top five resources to help your organization migrate to Google Apps successfully and use the platform efficiently.
Using Google Apps’ very own help site to train your users may be painfully obvious, but we’ve found this useful resource often goes unnoticed. Google has put a great deal of effort into building out the site, which houses information regarding everything from navigating the control panel to setting mobile device policies to understanding account billing. The site even includes the Google Apps status dashboard, which alerts users to any and all service disruptions and a guide to authorized Google Apps resellers (which we’ll get to later).
Boost eLearning is a Google certified Enterprise Partner providing tailored solutions for organizations embracing Google Apps. Boost provides step-by-step training through online learning sessions and custom deployment resource sites. The company even offers a specific training course for Administrative Assistants, who often manage delegated inboxes and multiple calendars. Boost’s hands-on approach means your users will be able to operate in Google Apps quicker and with less help from your IT staff.
You could say Lynda.com is the original help site. Around since the 90’s, the content generating how-to site features literally thousands of videos on every tech-related topic under the sun from Adobe to Blogger and everything in between.
Lynda.com carefully selects and vets instructors who create video series broken down by category, chapter and subchapter. Lynda.com’s Google Apps videos are not only informative and easy to follow, but make moving to and sticking with Google even easier. With clients like Coca-Cola and even Google itself, Lynda.com is a reputable outlet that can fulfill your organization’s training needs.
Google Gooru is a video tutorial and help site solely focused on Google Apps. The “Gooru” comes out with a few videos and articles per week depending on the number of Google Apps updates released during that time. The videos usually last around one minute and each highlights one very specific action in or aspect of Google Apps. The to-the-point videos make it easier for viewers to later replicate the action on their own.
The Google Gooru covers topics like Spreadsheets, Admin Tasks, Calendar and even Google Drive, plus videos are broken down by level of difficulty for easy navigation. Plus you can sign up for a weekly Gooru newsletter, detailing the latest updates to Google Apps, keeping you and your users abreast of any and all platform changes. And if you see a topic the Gooru hasn’t yet covered, he gladly takes video tutorial requests and questions.
For a small organization, making the move to Google is simple. Conducting a few self-lead in-house training sessions should be a good jump start, but for large organizations that need to migrate thousands of users and millions of emails and documents, outside help is needed. That’s where Google Apps resellers come in.
Google Apps resellers act as outside consultants, reviewing your organization’s individual needs and designing a customized plan to start the migration. And once you’ve completed the migration, a reseller can help add and integrate third-party apps and provide ongoing advice and change management solutions, like training sessions, webinars and more.
There are over 4,000 Google Apps resellers to date, so picking the right reseller can be tricky. Choosing a reseller that is part of Google’s Authorized Resellers program is a great place to start, and from there, you can narrow your search down by geographic region, cost and customer reviews.
For many organizations, embracing the cloud starts with a move to a cloud-based messaging and collaboration platform like Google Apps. The switch can be tricky, especially if your users are more comfortable with on-premise legacy software, but setting up proper channels for support and change management will enable a smooth transition and take much of the burden off of your IT department.
About the Author
David Politis is the founder and CEO of BetterCloud, the leading provider of enterprise class management and security tools in the Google Apps Marketplace. Follow David on Twitter @DavePolitis and BetterCloud@bettercloud.