Google Cloud NEXT '17 - News and Updates

Insider’s Guide: How to Upgrade to G Suite Seamlessly (Google Cloud Next ’17)

NEXT '17
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(Video Transcript)
AMAR RAOL: Welcome on the Google Cloud Next. It's a pleasure to see you all. Hope you guys had a really good morning. Was that exciting, the keynotes? Yeah? The Googlers were not allowed in, so I have to rely on your reaction here. Thank you for coming to our session. My name is Amar Raol. I'm from our professional services organization here in Google Cloud. It's our team's responsibility to help our customers come onto our platform as successfully as possible. So I'm joined today by Heather Traher, who's from our user research team, and also Flint Waters, also on our professional services organization. And what we want to take you through in this next hour is a typical journey that our customers go through when they're moving from a legacy environment for messaging and collaboration onto G Suite. So I wanted to give you a very in-depth overview of what that journey looks like, how we actually bring customers in successfully, what are the strategies and the tools that we and our partners actually employ when we're working with our customers, and try and give you some comfort on how to make that transition happen if you yourselves were considering a move to G Suite.

Heather will actually take you through how we engage with the long-term, once you're onto our platform, and Flint will kind of give a eyewitness account of his transition when he was the CEO of the State of Wyoming. So let's get started. I think one of the key things I want you to understand is we've been doing this for a very long time. I've been with Google now for over five and a half years, deploying customers onto our platforms for both G Suite and GCP. These are exclusively customers who are on G Suite. Now they're certainly evaluating other parts of our Google Cloud, but you can recognize some of these logos. These are very large, complex, multi-national organizations. Not a single one of them is a digital native. Right, it's not just a Snapchat or a Spotify. These are traditional customers who were looking for transformation in their business and how they collaborated with each other, how their staff worked with each other, and what sorts of tools they can enable their staff with in their move to the cloud.

So I want to give that idea that this is no longer a domain. G Suite it is no longer a domain for small companies, SMBs. We work with very large organizations in that transition and certainly, you can do this too. So let me take you through what a typical journey would look like and what are the strategies we employ to help customers like this move to our platform. So our whole approach rests on two main concepts. That it's not just an IT project and we want to be with you for the long period. You can't change mindsets in a short amount of time and we want to be a partner with you for the long haul. So let's dive into these two specific concepts and that will make up our methodology when it comes together. So first, when we actually deploy the G Suite set of tools with a large customer, we go with the tried and true process of people, process, and technology, and make sure that we address each of those concepts. So the technology bit is the technical components to actually flip the switches into bringing your staff into the cloud.

That could be the messaging environment. So if you start now, you go from a legacy messaging environment to using Gmail as your primary corporate email system, and also our collaboration tools. So using Docs, and Drive, and Hangouts. So I'll cover that in a very specific way and how we actually do the technical rollout. The people component of this is the changed management. This is how do you make people aware of the change that you're about to deploy, how do you communicate, how do you train them and the options and the strategies that you use there. So I'll go into that in a little bit of detail as well. But the important piece that we've evolved our methodology into is that third bucket, which is the process. We didn't just want to deploy the technical tools and then cut and run. We wanted to work with our staff at organizations and make sure that they were applying those tools effectively in their everyday business processes. That's a very important concept for us and we have a number of strategies to go deeper into that, so I'll talk to that as well.

And together, we feel that if you address all three of these components, the organization that's looking for that true transformation can really reach those goals. That second concept was around the long-term. Our methodology does not stop at the technical deployment. We want to work with you for the long haul. So in that, our approach actually includes things how do you measure how successful you are in Google? What sort of impact are you having? What sort of access can we give you to our road maps and our future vision for the tools, and how can you apply them back into your organization? So we'll talk a little bit about that as well. So when you bring these two concepts together, you in fact, get what our methodology actually is for deploying G Suite at medium to large customers. Certainly, all of these concepts can be scaled to small businesses as well. But this is a deep methodology. There's lots of detail behind it and I'll take it through just some key concepts in each of these.

I'll focus on the middle three, the people, process, and the technology, and we'll go through that very quickly. So the technology component. I'll work my way up. The toolset is a deep platform. It's a very important concept that if you are evaluating a move to G Suite, it is not just a messaging move. We're not just talking about mail and calendar. We're talking about a number of tools that are available to you now once you come onto that platform, and it's an important concept to think about because there's lots of opportunities around the legacy environments that you can displace if you were to come onto a platform this rich. So you see on the left there, when we work with our customers, we're be talking about not only mail and calendar, but how they manage contacts, how they get access through mobile, the Docs, and Drive, and the collaboration suite. These are the productivity tools that are made available. The communication tools that are also available through Hangouts.

The method by which you access using Chrome and so on. So those are also there. The platform also includes our e-discovery toolset as well, which is Vault. So if you have environments right now that need to do discovery and compliance, you can achieve those goals using the G Suite platform. We also have options around data loss prevention, how you actually authenticate with the toolsets. So there's lots of detail there that you can evaluate on whether you want to use Google's authentication, or if you want to use your own SSO, or a third party. Those are there if you want to use two factor authentication or keycards. These things are made available to you using the platform. So it's a very flexible platform and we make sure that its clear to the team that this is a fully cloud environment. Right? Its much easier to deploy, maintain, and manage. All of these tools here, in fact, all work in the browser. There's nothing for you to install except for that browser. Now, we've supported all the major modern browsers here with our toolset.

Also, if you think about the concept of the data that you're generating when we're talking about messaging and productivity, when all of that data is in the cloud, you actually have a more comprehensive data management solution as well. So when you need to do compliance all your data is– you're actually doing compliance on the data where it's being created and where it's being stored. You don't have to shimmy things around in multiple environments to create some of that logic for your policies. So that's an important concept as well. So think about the G Suite environment as a full suite of tools that go well beyond just mail and calendar. OK? The other thing is that when you're coming onto our environment, we want to make sure that you're aware of all the things that our teams will actually take it through for that migration. These are the 10 topics that we will cover during a migration to G Suite. Our partners and Google will work with you on each of these topics, and if you're a medium sized business or a large, complex organization like the logos that I spoke through, these are essentially, the technical work streams that we will go very deeply into as we do this migration.

So the point here is that you should feel reassured that yes, you will have applications in your current environment that rely on mail. We will talk through those through an integration work stream. You'll want to know OK, how do I get to these systems with mobile devices? How do I set up my mobile fleet in my environment? We'll talk through that in the mobile work stream. How do I set up the policies, and make the lawyers happy, and address compliance issues? We'll talk through that in the Vault work stream. We'll set those policies up. So if we can tackle these 10 items with you, this is a successful transition to the cloud with G Suite. I want to zoom in a little bit now that we're talking about the technology component. I want to zoom in on the middle piece here, which is the enablement piece. This is the part where we actually do the technical move to G Suite. We do it typically in three steps, core IT, early adopters, and global go live. And these three steps are very methodical, especially when it comes to the messaging component.

So what I mean by that is in the core IT phase of a typical G Suite deployment, its very front loaded in terms of the technical work that needs to happen. We set up our authentication process. We set up how we are provisioning users. We set up our strategy for deploying the tools to mobile. We'll also bring a small fleet of users into the platform as quickly as possible, without really affecting your current environment, typically just forwarding mail over to G Suite. But when we get to early adopters, this is our practice run. We actually bring in 5% to 10% of the organization to become advocates for this change that you're engaging in. And we call them early adopters. When these folks come on, we actually test the technical environment that we set up during that core IT phase. It's the early adopter phase that we also switch the MX record, if you are doing a messaging rollout, to Google directly. That means all your mail now starts flowing to Google, and those folks who remain in Google, those 5% to 10%, the mail will stay there, and the rest of the folks, they will get forwarded back to your legacy environment.

So it's a step process. It's a phased deployment into our environment. What's important about this early adopters group as well, is that it tests out your training and your communications plans as well. This is that dry run for when the rest of the organization comes in. You're also building advocates that help your supported environment scale. Right, so when the rest of the group comes in, you'll have somebody in the office within arm's reach that you can ask questions to. Finally, we have a global go live. This is where the majority of the organization will come in at the same time. We try to minimize ideas around phase go lives. So this is contrary to typical IT deployments where we do multiple, multiple phases. In fact, we try and limit it to these three phases, if not four, and the reason for that is we want to bring users into the G Suite environment who work together, to minimize something called coexistence. Which means if you have a foot in two different environments, how will they work together when it comes to calendaring?

We have tools to bridge that gap, but we don't want that to be a long-term solution. So we try to bring people in as quickly as possible. We've had go lives as upwards of 90,000 users coming into our environment on the same day. So let's talk about the people component of this. We talked through the technical components of that switch, but what does that change management look like? And I always say that a move to G Suite, two-thirds of it is the people component. It's the change management side of things. So this is our approach for how we handle change management. I'm going to work on the right side first, which is the communications in training, and if there's nothing else that you remember, it;s the word diversify. When it comes to creating a change management plan for your staff at the scale that we have been talking about, diversifying your communications plan and diversifying your training plan is super important. People hear and see things in different ways that resonate with them.

People will consume training in different ways that resonate with them. Some folks will like a setting like this and want to be trained in person, and others just want to sit at their desk and do it in a self-paced mode. So we want to make sure that your plans for a move incorporate that diversity. We also want to do a bit of organizational analysis to understand who are the users in your organization that will be most impacted by switch to G Suite. We pay special attention, for example, to admin assistance. . They use the tools, especially the messaging collaboration tools, very differently than typical staff may. And we've paid special attention on the training and the communication with them, even being shoulder to shoulder with them on important days when they're switching to our environment. And also sponsorship is super important. When we're talking about a large organization like you saw today, at Verizon or Colgate-Palmolive. Having that top down sponsorship to say, this is why we are moving to an environment like Google, this is what it means to us as an organization, is super important.

But there's a small nuance. Sponsorship also includes the bottom up. Getting your staff involved in the process. You don't want to dictate to them that, hey, you're moving to a new environment, tough. You want them involved in that process and I'll talk to you in this next slide about what that means. We have a program called Google Guides and what it is it's an old change management best practice around creating change agents, and we call them Google Guides. It's a fun thing to do. And in that early adopter phase I talked about earlier, we typically recruit a set of Google Guides. And these Google Guides are growing into the environment, a month or more earlier than the rest of the staff, and they're given the opportunity to train on the toolset, and start using it in their business workflows, and advocate for the change that's happening. These are typically folks who are using Google in their personal lives or they've used it at a previous job. They're very excited about the move that's to take place and they want to help their own team members make this transition successfully.

So we pay special attention to these Google Guides and make sure that they're deployed out to key offices and environments so that they can help us scale our transition. Of course it's, super important that when you move to Google that you make it fun. This isn't a typical upgrade of your operating system or your usual upgrade of your last environment. This move is exciting. I have never had so much fun in this sort of an IT project as I have in deploying G Suite. Go lives have cupcakes and parties. I remember a DJ booth once. You can make this a lot of fun and fit the culture that you want to move into as an organization. So I wanted to make sure that you understood that we have tons of tools behind this methodology to help you make this transition. Not only Google, but our partners as well. They've built on top of the base that we've created and we make it super easy for you to make that transition. So for example, we have kickoff templates and presentations that you can use to actually get the change rolling.

Even for your communications planning we have posters and template emails that you can use during your communications outreach. In fact, last year we bought a company called Synergize so that we could make self-paced training available to you for free within the tool set. So when you have thousands of users or even hundreds of users, you don't have to bring all of them into a room to do direct training. You can give them self-paced tools as well. We even have a cool little program for our top customers called Admin Gurus. Because I mentioned that we pay special attention to admin assistants, we bring admin assistants from Google who know how to work in our environment and bring them to go lives so that they can work with admin assistants at other organizations. So you can expect for example, Verizon and Colgate-Palmolive will have access to those folks as well. We also have a very deep learning center. So if you wanted to learn specifically about the features and functionality of our tools, individuals can go there and learn more about that.

So all these tools are available to you and our partner ecosystem has built on top of this with their own added flavor to help you with this transition. Let's talk about the process piece. I mentioned that this is a new concept that we've been working on for a few years and it's deeply important to us that we don't just give you a new set of tools where you continue to do the old set of business processes. You may not do the same workflow the same way when you have a new set of tools, and we recognize that, and we want to help you with that transition. And that's really what we're trying to do when we address the business process side. We recognize that an organization that's moving to G Suite has deep strategic goals in that move. It's no longer about just saving money. They want to speed their operations, or they want their staff to be more innovative, they want to increase communication, breakdown silos. But you can't just tell your staff to go forth and be innovative.

It just doesn't work that way. So what do you need to do? You need to focus and target on the core behavioral changes that you're looking for at scale. I put three examples up here. When I was working with PWC, when they were moving, one of the conversations that we'd been having was how do we move from a conference bridge and meeting ID culture to a video culture? Right A lot of folks would walk around with laptops with tape on the cameras. I don't know if any of you do that here. But how do we move to that? At Google, we actually do 60,000 video conferences every day, and we're not our biggest customer. So we have customers who do more than that even on our platform. But how do you get into that zone? And that's a key behavioral change that we have to influence. The point about using the real time documents in Google Drive and the editors that we have, that really allows you to get to insights faster. You may actually have a workflow right now that requires an analyst creates a document, they check in that document to a central environment or a repository, someone else checks it out, they make edits, they check it back in.

Well, can we help you there change that workflow to be more real time? And that's something that our tools can help with. The point about mobile is interesting too. We're of course, all in mobile. We're all in a mobile environment right now, but if all you are doing is checking your mail and calendar or mobile, you're not getting the most benefit out of it. What are the possibilities of the business processes and workflows you can influence if you could actually contribute content through mobile, or take surveys through your mobile environment, or add to presentations with mobile, or even give the presentation with mobile? I should have done that. So these are options that you might think about and how they might transform your business if you think about mobile a little bit differently when you have access to tools like G Suite. One of the ways that we try and influence this behavioral change is a tool we have called the Transformation Lab. It's a workshop. It's a working session where I like to say we spend half the time listening and then the other half of the time working shoulder to shoulder with an organization staff to envision how you would apply Google tools to their existing business process.

So for example, we work a lot with organizations that you may have a HR department in your organization. If we were to do a Transformation Lab with the HR department, think about all the business processes that they currently engage in that could benefit from a tool like G Suite. I remember we did one with a large group of HR folks and they came up with the terrific idea of doing interviews using Hangouts, and that's something that we took for granted. I never even thought to just bring it up because we do interviews using Hangouts all the time at Google, but this particular organization did not. And so they decided to switch their second round interviews to use Hangouts. And what that allowed them to do is save money on scheduling the right interviewee with the right interviewer, bringing multiple panels together so they could now expand how they did interviews, not just one on ones, but they could create panels now as well. So it just changed the approach to that particular business process.

So with the Transformation Lab, I I'll give you another example here. We worked with Brigs and Stratton. We brought in a few folks from the manufacturing team who are responsible for their processes out on the shop floor. And they had an example where what would happen is when there was a question about a particular part or an assembly, they would have to stop the belt, go over and research it in a bunch of binders, and then ask somebody or call somebody if they needed help, and then come back and then restart that process. And that was a very expensive, error prone, safety hazard type of business process. So what we helped them with is someone in the Transformation Lab came up with the idea of let's create a Google site. Now, creating a Google site in G Suite is super simple. It does not require IT to go in and set up servers for you or set up environments, you just go ahead and create it. So that the person with the best knowledge can create a site very easily. So he created a Google site, and he started scanning some of the manuals that they had, and put that on Google Drive and linked it into the site.

So then he went a little further. He created access to that Google site on the shop floor itself using a Chromebook. Now he didn't have to go to the back office to look content up, you could actually just go to the Chromebook, do a search on Drive for particular part numbers, because we OCR in Drive, and look up those instructions very quickly. I actually had one customer in a Transformation Lab who used this exact same scenario, but they went a little bit further. What they did was they got the manufacturing teams to put a QR code stickers on their parts. And the reason for that is everything in G Suite is a link. It's an awesome feature. So a Google Doc is a link, a Hangout is a link, an individual sheet in a spreadsheet is a link, and you can link to these things directly. So when this individual started putting stickers on their parts, when they sent maintenance staff over, they could scan the QR code, which in fact, was just a link to the specific instruction manual for that part.

And that saved folks from having to lug binders and suitcases over just to figure out exactly what might be wrong. So think about those business processes that could be innovated on. You might just not do them the exact same way if you had a new set of tools helping your business. The other thing is, we can't do Transformation Labs with all 10,000 people at an organization. That can take some time. We'd certainly hope you'd do that, but we want to help folks at scale too, and there are things that we call scale solutions that can be deployed. So I'll give you some examples. Organizations do a lot of project management, especially knowledge workers. So it's very easy for you to create a project management template in Google Sheets and make that available to your whole domain so that anyone can look up in Drive, project management, and come up with lots of different project management templates, or any template that you can set up for them. Another template would be your corporate template on Google Slides.

You now have the ability to create a corporate branded template so that folks aren't starting from scratch when they're firing up a new tool. You may have templates for proposals or templates for working with vendors. These all can be converted and brought into the environment to make it super easy for your users to adopt. Google Sites as well. You can create templates with your corporate branding on how to create a site that has your corporate branding and then inspires users on how to use it properly. I work with the state of Colorado and they use this to great effect in saving money on publishing sites, both internally and externally using Google Sites. If you're struggling to think about what business processes you can impact using G Suite, we tried to make that a little easier for you. So I mentioned the HR use case, but there's lots of areas within your business that you can impact. So we've created a website, a public website, that you can go to, even with your mobile phones now.

G.co/transformationgallery, and you can look up all the different business processes that you might think differently about if you were to use a G Suite tool. These are all learnings that we've gathered from doing hundreds of Transformation Labs and we decided to publish them out so that we can inspire other teams that might be interested. So definitely check that out. So I want to hand off to Heather here to talk to you about the long term process and how we like to stay engaged once you're on the platform. Heather. HEATHER TRAHER: Hi, everyone. So you've seen a little bit about the planning and the change management that goes into moving to G Suite, and so now I'd like to just walk you through what happens after you deploy. Like Amar was saying, this is not a cut and run relationship. We really want to stay with you and work with you for the long haul. And in addition to unlocking the benefits of collaboration and other features for your end users in G Suite, we also want to unlock ways to help you show that the choice you made to transition to Google is paying off.

So we want to make sure you're are able to see when and how people are working better together in your organization and really show the impact of these new tools. And if you see there's some things you'd like to improve as you're making the transition to G Suite, or even just about the products themselves, we really want to make sure that you have the opportunity to give us that feedback so that we can make things go better. Now as your users are adopting G Suite, it's critical to measure the impact on both the users and on your business. You had a goal that you set when you decide to go with Google, and we want to make sure you can measure your effectiveness, and we think about measuring this in terms of these three buckets– adoption, collaboration, and impact. Adoption is pretty straightforward. Simply, how many of your users are utilizing the applications within G Suite, and are those uses numbers for non-Google tools going down? So for example, you could measure Hangouts adoption as compared to web sharing or a dial-in bridge tool.

For collaboration, how are your users engaging with each other and the applications? Are they creating content natively in G Suite? Or are they're still using it more as a storage drive? Are people sharing content and collaborating with each other, and really, which features are taking off and having an impact in your business? Which brings me to impact, which is once you know your users are in the products and engaging, how is this really impacting your bottom line and the users day to day experience? So here you're going to want to look at the productivity, collaboration, flexibility, and where people are getting their work done, and the device are using to get that work done, and even innovations in how they feel they are doing their jobs. So you're going to find a lot of that data in the C panel. You can also leverage the reporting API, and analyze data in BigQuery, and create visualizations in Data Studio. For that rich use case and satisfaction data I was mentioning, you could turn to Google Forms and create a survey to really understand how your end users are feeling about the tools.

Are they feeling as though they're working faster? Are they proud of the workflows that they've developed? We've observed in a lot of customers that we've worked with, that on average, employees have felt they've saved upwards of two hours a week once they switch to these tools, which in aggregate is actually quite a big deal and it can be a great data point for you proving the case of going Google being a success. Amar said it, I'm going to say it again. We're here as your long-term partner. So when you go live with G Suite, you're added automatically to a community of your peers, the Cloud Connect Platform, where you're going to meet other customers who are trying to solve similar problems, as well as meet Googlers who are going to interact with you there on a regular basis. Our teams also provide opportunities for networking and problem solving through in-person meet-ups, through advisory boards, and opportunities to try out new features and provide early feedback.

We have user research programs, early access, trusted tester programs. And we want to come to you to learn as much as we can about your use cases and have your needs really influence our product roadmap. I want to take a minute to talk a little bit more about our user experience team. That's the team where I spend my days. So across G Suite we have a large team of both qualitative and quantitative researchers who are embedded on the product team. They work day to day with design, engineering, and product management teams, and really the goal is to have them function as the voice of our users or our customers as we're designing and executing our new features. Our teams really focus on understanding the needs of a range of enterprise customers and feeding that information back into the product roadmaps. So we really want to spend time with you to hear about how we can best help you with our products. I'll take him in and mention some of the common research methods that we might use with you if you were to participate in something like this.

So the first one is field research. You can imagine this as a sort of day in a life exercise, or even a fly on a wall type activity where Google researchers and other Google staff will come on site, spend time with you, observe people in their natural work environment, whether that be a knowledge worker, whether that be somebody on the shop floor, and really just become familiar with the key workflows and use cases for your business. And those might be use cases where you're already using Google products, or those might be holes in our offering right now, and we can sort of get a sense for what's not working for you and bring that back to the product team as well. We also do a lot of end user surveys. These are targeted, simple surveys just to help learn more about the scope and size of use cases, or interest in potential features that are being considered for our roadmap. Once we have an idea that we think has legs, we want to make sure that we do not go off and build something without checking with our customers and making sure this is really hitting the need that we had in mind when we started developing it.

So we're going to do some concept testing. Sometimes this is as simple as showing you sketches and just having you talk it through with us. Sometimes we may have something that's more of a high fidelity mock up and get your feedback. And then once something is committed, it's on the roadmap, we know it's going to be launching, it becomes really critical to do that one on one, really hands on usability testing with you and make sure that these things that we are used to looking at, are really as easy to use as they should be before they get out in the market. So a two-way relationship with Google is going to lead to less time on support issues for you and it's going to lead to better solutions for everybody in our enterprise community. So there's lots of different channels for your feedback. We've spoken about the connect community and user research. There's also the Trusted Tester Program, which is going to allow you to look at products and get sort of a sneak peek and live with things over a period of time before they launch to the larger population.

Something new that we've recently kicked off is our Enterprise Customer Research Panel. So this is something that's going to allow you and the end users at your company to have opportunities to give really regular feedback to Google on how you work, what you like to see in our products, and again, early feedback on product ideas. This is something that's a little bit more formalized than some of the activities that I mentioned earlier. And so, we'd love to have anyone who might be interested, contact us, sign up to participate so you can try out some of these things that we've gone over. We really do just want to spend time with you, understanding your needs. Not everybody works like Google and we want to be smarter about what we can be building. This is a program we started scaling in Q4 and we're ramping up day by day. And so, with that, I want to hand it over to Flint, who can give you a bit of a first person perspective on his experiences going Google with the State of Wyoming.

FLINT WATERS: Great. Thank you. Go ahead. You have the next– oh, there we go. I'm Flint waters. I was the CIO for the State of Wyoming for five and a half years, and Wyoming was the first state to deploy Google. And I wanted to have this image of cowboy because really nothing instills a view of technical innovation more so than the cowboy. Right? Nothing? Tough room. All Right, one of the things that we took on in the State of Wyoming was we have these vast IT silos structure throughout all of the agencies. And in many cases, an agency in state government is its own empire. So department of health, and transportation, and corrections, and the law enforcement groups, the attorneys. They all ran their own IT stacks and in various stages of decay. Almost nothing was modern. Almost nothing was up to date. In fact, the day that I walked in, brand new job of CIO. I had retired from the state a few years earlier. I ran the Internet Crimes Task Force. So I ran high tech crime investigations rescuing kids.

And when Governor Mead got in, he asked me to come back as the CIO. The day that I walked in, they handed me a Windows laptop and a BlackBerry, and they said this is the norm. This is how we do business. And I said well, that's OK, but I'm far more effective on a Mac. And you could hear the hush fall over the building. It was like [GASP]– this gasping across [INAUDIBLE]. I said, so I'm going to need an iPhone. And the prior CIO had already contracted with Google to bring in G Suite. They were just deploying. In fact, the week I started was their first rollout for doing adoption. And the governor tasked me with going in, doing some research, figure out if this was a smart move, that this was good for the State of Wyoming, and how could we leverage this to really make a difference? His critical focus was impacting quality of life for citizens. And we had done a lot of work in the past trying to achieve that goal through technology. So that was his directive to me. And we dove in and started looking, and I made quite a few pretty good sized mistakes early on.

There were a lot of challenges we faced, and none of them were technological, at least none tech related to Google. The tech went really easy, but we had not really expected what was going to happen with regards to the user adoption, to the scope and potential of what we could do with these tools, and I had not properly engaged some of the most important innovators within state government. Now, as we took off down this road, before it was over, we consolidated all of IT, we brought all those servers out of the hallways and out of the individual stacks within agencies. We brought all that in and created an enterprise IT agency. We did that in about 18 months. When it was done, we closed our data centers. We actually shifted so that folks could operate any time, anywhere, from any device. That was a big lift. It was an interesting challenge to take on, but it also really helped cement the relationship, the partnership that we had with Google. And I'll just give you a few examples. When we first announced what we were doing, the training work that we did on the front end, it was about email and calendar.

And there were like 13 email systems around the state. There was no central directory. There was no single sign. We started from way behind zero. So there were a lot of pretty heavy lifts that we had to take off from the beginning, and I didn't really expect what was going to happen in terms of some of the more innovative additions we had on our team that they would start doing inside Google. So if you take on this journey, I would definitely look at that outline that they talked about for adoption because it would have made a lot of difference for us. One of the things that I wish I had done, I wish I had gone through and worked out my retention schedules in advance. I wish I had gotten rid of a lot of the old information that was laying around, instead of going in and going to all the work to load it, get everything built in the enterprise, and then have folks say OK, great. Now can you have it delete anything that was two years old? OK. I spent a lot of time doing that. I should have prepared ahead of time.

I really should have engaged– let's see, how do I say this correctly? Within every IT organization, there were experts. They weren't necessarily IT experts, but they were folks that had invested in themselves and were the best in their agency at leveraging the tools they had. And I didn't properly engage those folks early on and I should of. Now, when I went to directors and I said who can be Google Guides, well, they gave the enthusiastic. They gave us the folks who were anxious to move forward, which was helpful, except some of the most impactful users that could change our percentage chance for success were the folks who had such a high stake in their knowledge of how they use the existing tools because they had made themselves valuable to their organization. And when we walked in and said these are the tools we're moving to, it was almost as if I had taken something from them. It was almost as if I was depriving them of that investment in themselves. And I learned from that.

It blew up because these same folks could be the ones that could find the most vehement reasons why they couldn't use this, why they couldn't use that. It didn't matter what it was. It was, this is what we know how to use and how are we going to engage it. The other piece is I failed to calculate how much the folks around me, my IT staff, had a vested interest in the existing solutions. So for an awful lot of them, the status quo was validating. It was job security. It was almost a measure of their worth to the organization and I needed to make sure to engage effectively with them to win them over. And so, there were a lot of things that we kind of shifted how we went about this business, and I started going out and meeting with the detractors, with the folks that were just certain this couldn't work. We started running grassroots trainings, and I would personally go in and sit down with anyone in the agencies that wished to attend, and we would talk about how they had established and completed their workflows on the ground.

And right up on the front I would apologize to them for not properly acknowledging what they had invested in themselves to make the state successful. And in doing so, I was able to get a fair number of them to kind of engage in an acknowledgement that the potential existed with these tools to scale to degrees they had never seen before. And I asked if they would, please join me in researching if there was potential in here to reinvent how state government worked, and we dove in and did that exactly. A couple of examples. I had this compressed digital video box on my desk that was like $18,000, and every cabinet had one for communicating with the governor's office. It hadn't been on in like three years. We were spending over a million a year maintaining the bridges in the systems for those devices. And by working with Google, I actually got the opportunity to go out and meet with some of the product leads on pipeline and learn about what was coming from Google. So before it was even publicly announced, we were able to hear about what they were doing with– at the time it was called GVCs, and then it was Chromebox for Meetings, and some of the capabilities that those devices brought to the table for us.

So we completely reinvented how we engaged. The governor is an example. He wanted to go overseas for Thanksgiving and provide dinner for the troops. We had a lot of National Guard members that were deployed overseas. He wanted to reach out to me with them, but the formal budget press conference for the governor's office was overlapped. It's scheduled at the exact same time, and he had the idea to leverage the technology as a force multiplier. So he went ahead, he went overseas, he handled the dinners with the troops, and he just stepped into a little side room at an airport in the Middle East. We put him in front of a Nexus 7 and put him on the big screen in the formal conference room. And he did his press conference. He looked in the eye of the press. He greeted everyone. He handled the press conference and the release. He even announced that he was running again for the next term as governor and then he went back to doing what he did. And that type of shift was something we never expected when we adopted and moved towards G Suite.

Another mistake that I think I made is I thought of G Suite as a product line instead of as an ecosystem, and there was so much there that we could do. So much there that we could build on. Before long, we stopped developing thick client apps on the ground and in our data centers. We started building against Google's cloud. We started building on App Engine, which allowed me to build dynamic applications that continued to improve as we used them, which was contrary to the state's normal design. It had been before that where you had a problem come forward, you went through the two year process to do budget, you bought a physical server, you threw it into a data center, and then you started building the solution. And once you rolled it out into deployment, it began to decay that day. By moving forward and starting to build dynamically against the cloud capabilities, we found that as Google improved products, as improved security, as they continue to evolve, our products built on the top of them, also continue to rise.

That's a big cultural shift to get people used to. Those were things that I kind of had to take on from a people perspective to empower us to make the most out of what we could do. But by the time we were done, as I said, we consolidated IT. We closed our data centers. We started investing back in those folks, those folks that were originally reluctant because they thought you're taking their jobs away. Because if you move to the cloud, why do they need someone to take your cooling? And why do they need someone to install servers? We were able to engage with them, manage the communication, and convince them that we were going to invest back in them. And so I started doing cybersecurity initiatives and training folks on cybersecurity. I started raising the skill sets so that they could manage far more deployments because I had the cloud capability, and I got them out of the power and cooling business. Eventually, they came to realize that their resume was so much more impactful because of what they could do very quickly and how they could deliver for us.

It was a big deal. So much so, that the governor's efforts to deliver IT as a quality of life issue were highly successful. We deployed 10,000 users across our enterprise, all of the executive branch. We did 100%. We actually achieved an environment where we had security protection and certifications on the data centers that our data went into. We hadn't before that. We deployed 100,000 user license for all students in the State of Wyoming. We rolled that out so that if you were involved in education, your district could get free licenses for all the folks, all the students, the parents, the alumni, the teachers. We rolled all that out as well. So much so, that even the governor's state of the state address was led out of the chamber between the Senate and the House as a YouTube live event. When he did his energy policy release, that was a Hangout on air at the time, where people could actually type in questions. Citizens could engage in typing questions. We closed about half of our meeting rooms in our buildings and we moved to Scrums.

Because if you give a government employee an hour of schedule in a meeting room, it doesn't matter if you're done for 10 minutes. They will sit-in that room for an hour because they don't have go back yet. We changed that. We kind of changed the expectations. We allowed them to work from anywhere. We put the Chromebox for meetings and Chromecasts in all the hallways and started doing standup meetings, Scrums. And normally a Scrum you'd use in an agile development environment. We started doing Scrums for business management as well. So we started doing them just for managing team leads. We were in an old junior high school. It had great big wide hallways, so we put in these high standing tables, and all the white boards and the displays up, and then you could just walk through a meeting. So the network team would be designing what we were building our for our backbone. You could stop in on the server team and hear what was going on and give input. The day I started, the President of the Senate was champion building a $40 billion data center for the State of Wyoming.

The President of the Senate, well, he's a very powerful man and I had the privilege to go in front of him and say with appropriate respect, Mr President, I think that might not be the best idea. It will be great. I'll have this beautiful corner office in this massive single point of failure, and I'm not sure that's good for us in the long run. I got a smart bump for that one, by the way. When it was done, instead we invested in the backbone and we rolled out an IP Version 6, 100 gig backbone throughout all of Wyoming and closed our data centers. And we moved so that the student, the professor, the teacher, the state employee, whoever had the next brilliant idea, I didn't have to know who they were going to be. I just had to know that they were going to be sitting in a point where they had the capacity, they had the bandwidth to deliver it, and they could build it directly to the cloud, and that was huge for us. Now, there's a whole bunch more that happened during the course of that.

One of my data centers blew up. I had another one that they tore the walls down on the side of. I have a four o'clock session, so here's my shameless plug. I will tell the whole Wyoming story during that, but I ended up being such a believer in what it empowered for governor of Wyoming, that after my term, I asked for his permission to pursue Google. And so a little over a year ago he gave me permission. We separated the authorities so that I was no longer reviewing anything related to Google, and I started pursuing a position with Google because I'm a disruptor. I'm one of those folks that likes to go in and break things, and it got to the point that we had evolved so much in Wyoming that my deputy CIO was spending a lot of her time just keeping me from wandering the halls, terrorizing the villagers. And I knew it was time to go on and do something else, and so I pursued Google so that I could come here, and I now work in professional services. I'm not in sales. I'm in professional services.

So I help governments impact quality of life for citizens and it's been a huge success for us, but there were a lot of things I didn't anticipate, and across the board they were related to people, not technology. as

 

Read the video

Working in teams has never been easier than it is now with G Suite’s Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Sites. But it can be daunting to move an entire organization to a new product suite. In this video, Heather Traher, Ritcha Ranjan, and Amar Raol share some migration success stories, including best practices and learnings. Whether you’re a prospective customer, a new customer or an experienced Docs user, this is a great opportunity to learn how to move to G Suite and take collaboration and productivity to the next level for your organization.

Missed the conference? Watch all the talks here: https://goo.gl/c1Vs3h
Watch more talks about Collaboration & Productivity here: https://goo.gl/q3WbLc


Comments to Insider’s Guide: How to Upgrade to G Suite Seamlessly (Google Cloud Next ’17)

  • 👌

    INNOVAXIONES March 9, 2017 1:29 am Reply
  • stopped watching when the girl started reading

    Николай Каретников March 9, 2017 7:48 pm Reply
  • Now that i am at the end … I kinda wish i did something else. The QR code was the only thing i got out of this!

    DrSiB0T March 15, 2017 1:46 am Reply

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