As one of the largest independent advertising agencies in the U.S., 22squared provides strategic marketing and creative services across multiple industries. Believing today’s consumer is far more influenced by what a brand does than what it says, the agency applies its proprietary Friendship Model to assess the relationship between brands and consumers and determine actions to optimize it. 22squared believes and has structured its business around helping brands to generate consumer advocacy as it is the currency of today and the future. With this intelligence, 22squared develops marketing and advertising that motivates consumers to advocate on behalf of a brand, leveraging the power of peer persuasion and ultimately increasing revenue.
Generating ideas and collaborating across multiple disciplines is key in a creative organization, especially when it can’t always be face to face. Emails zip back and forth amidst the ringing of telephones. Presentations and video clips are created, uploaded, and sent as the recipient then downloads, edits, uploads, and sends them back. For a company as fast-paced as 22squared, constant user complaints with the messaging system and server malfunctions prevented employees from making progress on their work.
22squared began to doubt that the situation could be improved while remaining on Lotus Notes, and employee sentiment towards the legacy platform was notably negative. Fixing and maintaining the platform were hassles for the IT department, and the rest of the organization frequently dealt with interruptions while working. However, along with the costs associated with moving from one system to the next, there were a few other impediments to change.
As Bill Seybolt, mail administrator of 22squared, noted, “One of our biggest issues was that we had invested in an integrated, Domino application that we heavily relied on to assign creative resources new tasks on existing projects. We were unsure if moving this application during the migration was possible.”
22squared needed to move to a messaging system that would not only eliminate technical issues during the day, but also embody the innovative, collaborative character of the organization. As part of a creative agency, the employees of 22squared were heavy Mac and mobile device users. Lotus Notes lacked full compatibility, particularly with MacBooks and iPhones. More seamless integration of Mac users was a key priority, and Google Apps seemed to offer a great solution to these issues. Once the organization decided to make the switch, Cloud Sherpas guided 22squared through a comprehensive migration.
22squared had mail servers in 2 separate locations, Atlanta and Tampa, and aimed to simplify its messaging platform into one central location: Google Apps. Through on-site activity in Atlanta and virtual engagements with the Tampa team, Cloud Sherpas successfully executed a full migration of mail, contacts, and calendar data. Cloud Sherpas also set up mobile access to Google Apps, so that the employees could access their messaging and collaboration platform at any time from their BlackBerrys, iPhones, etc.
The 22squared migration was particularly effective and successful due to both on-site and webinar training throughout the process. Our change management team conducted 5 training sessions per day during a full week of on-site training in Atlanta. In these sessions, groups of 10-15 end-users had a hands-on experience with Gmail, Google Calendar, mobility training, and other topics. Admins received their own customized training, more focused on managing the platform moving forward. Training for Tampa was equally effective, as we increased the amount of admin training via video-conferencing, and conducted interactive Q&A sessions.
Finally, regarding the custom Domino application that 22squared had integrated with its general ledger system, Cloud Sherpas investigated its features and recommended Google App Engine as the new application platform. The developers at Cloud Sherpas created a custom solution that used Google Apps APIs to access the corporate directory and integrated the new app with the IT system behind the company’s firewall. With the introduction of this solution, 22squared felt that all facets of the migration were covered.
Within two weeks, 22squared had successfully completed the migration process, and, based on the feedback, the employees were very satisfied. As IT consultants, our main goal with 22squared was twofold: to empower its end-users with superior messaging and collaboration, and to allow admins to focus on more strategic IT initiatives, rather than issues of keeping the platform running.
Bill Seybolt agreed by saying, “Every minute we experienced delays and complaints with Lotus Notes was a minute that could have been spent on better helping our clients. Now, not only are we on a system that’s a lot smoother and more intuitive, but our team is also very pleased with the collaboration that Google Apps facilitates.”
Read more about how Cloud Sherpas can help your company through a seamless Lotus Notes/Domino to Google Apps migration.