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Transitioning from Microsoft Office to G-Suite in 6 Easy Steps

Since its introduction, G Suite’s cloud-based approach and simplicity has won over millions of businesses. Google says that more than four million organizations are paying G Suite customers, up from two million a couple of years ago. It’s success has been a wake up call for Microsoft and the catalyst for significant changes in Office which has long been the dominant productivity suite for enterprises.

Moving to G Suite Apps is not just about changing software. In fact, the technology aspect might be the easiest part of the whole migration process. What companies often underestimate is the impact it will have on their people and the amount of time and effort needed to get everyone comfortable and productive. Applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook are the foundation of many businesses' everyday workflows. There are well-worn paths that employees have collectively in terms of workflow and processes, plus the broad array of personal experiences, biased and willingness to change.

There are 6 keys to successfully making the transition as painless and effective as possible.

Key 1 - Leadership Must Embrace the Opportunity

Forward-thinking leaders see the process of switching to G Suite as a strategic opportunity for transformation rather than just a tactical tool upgrade or cost saving move. This mindset sets them apart and provides a catalyst for moving their organizations forward. It’s a chance for everyone to reconsider how they work and move away from old ways of doing things that are simply in place due to inertia.

However, there’s often an interesting dynamic in the C Suite when it comes to G Suite. While most executives are able to rationally evaluate the pros and cons of migrating from one platform to another, they can also be resistant to change. Senior management tends to be older and more likely to have a long history using Microsoft. In addition, their admins often manage multiple email accounts which can magnify some of the frustrations of having to rely exclusively on a browser-based interface. Companies need to make sure that executives and their staff are fully committed to the change and will be seen as examples, not holdouts, when viewed by the rest of the organization.

Key 2 - Anticipate Areas of Resistance

Resistance can be both rational and irrational. Those who rely on the more advanced features or use customized macros to get their jobs done have valid concerns about changing tools. You should proactively work with them in advance to identify the impact change may have on them and identify ways to effectively address them.

However, others may resist due to personal preferences or fear of change. While not rational, they are just as real and can be very difficult to overcome. Acknowledge their issues and make sure that they feel heard and that their needs are being considered. Employees accustomed to the old way of doing things must see the benefits to both the company and how it will impact their specific role and workflows.

Key 3 - Don’t Use a one-size fits all approach.

All users are not created equal. Overlooking the importance of the individual can lead to poor adoption and unhappy users. Recognize that people are very different in terms of their personal experiences with technology. They also vary in terms of their comfort with change and ability or willingness to learn new ways of doing things.

Employees feel like they have the right tools to do their jobs and then feel more productive with their daily tasks. Be willing to meet people where they are and provide options that allow them to work the way they prefer to work.

Step 4 – Use a Phased Approach

Migrating to G Suite takes time and care. Unless you have a very low number of users, it’s unwise to migrate every account at once. In fact, even for smaller companies, an all at once transition is probably not the best approach.

Organizations should perform a staged migration to G Suite to minimize the impact on the business. G Suite can effectively coexist with Office applications during the migration period. Organizations can start by migrating specific services to G Suite such as email and then work their way through the rest of G Suite applications.

This allows you to get some early wins to establish momentum. Migration should happen in waves. If possible, break up your migration into at least three stages. We suggest starting with only a handful of employees that represent less than 10% of your users. start with a pilot subgroup of users who will have the easiest time adapting.

Be sure to leave ample time between each stage to troubleshoot any problems discovered during each phase which will help you avoid repeating mistakes and minimize future headaches.

Key 5 – Use Proactive and Clear Communication

Effective communication results from clear and consistent messaging that is relevant to both the entire organizational and individual users. G Suite is not just tool or tech change, but represents a fundamental change for the business. In addition to communicating the strategic vision, you must also tell people how it will impact their day-to-day workflows and give them the guidance needed to success. Don't just assume everyone will figure it out.

Key 6 – Offer Kiwi for G Suite as an Alternative

Not everyone is comfortable with making a sudden transition to having to access everything using their browser. Kiwi makes G Suite a better product by adding new functionality and providing a native Interface. This not only allows users to get even more from G Suite, but also provides a simple alternative to make G Suite more usable for resistant employees

Kiwi provides the familiarity of a desktop application while allowing everyone in your organization to take advantage of all the benefits of the cloud. A recent analysis of Kiwi for G Suite users revealed a significant increase in the amount they use key G Suite apps. In fact, we saw a +74% increase in overall editor usage (Docs, Sheets and Slides) and a huge +140% rise in Google Drive usage.

These findings demonstrate that Kiwi can help companies achieve dramatically better adoption of G Suite among employees by delivering a more familiar and user-friendly experience when compared to using these same apps in the browser.


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