Composites One is the leading distributor of Composites materials in North America. The organization’s products include fibers, resins and a wide range of chemicals and accessories used in manufacturing. Its 32 distribution centers serve over 8,000 customers across North America and Asia, and the company prides itself in providing the best quality materials, exceptional local service and personalized support.
As Composites One continued its growth, personnel had expanded to approximately 400 employees in over 30 locations. The company used Novell Groupwise as its email and messaging solution for over 15 years, but continuing down the Groupwise path seemed like an increasingly costly obstacle. The organization used separate file servers in each of its locations, so that mail routed locally instead of traveling through the home network. All in all, Composites One utilized a highly decentralized mail system, and keeping up-to-date with Groupwise required imminent, major upgrades to all servers in all locations, license renewals and significant time and effort by the IT department. Furthermore, users were not even satisfied with the functionality of the Groupwise platform, and a large-scale IT change seemed like the best course of action.
With all these factors in mind, Director of IT, Hal Greene, began seeking a solution that would meet 3 criteria: a wide range of improved functionality, mobility capacities and major cost savings. A number of employees in Composites One’s IT group had had some personal experience with Google Apps and recommended the platform as a possible alternative. Hal then attended the 2009 Enterprise Summit and found that many IT executives gave very positive reviews of Google Apps for Business. For the remainder of 2009, Composites One’s IT team began discussing with Google and Cloud Sherpas a possible Google Apps migration, and eventually pitched the idea to the Composites One executive team.
A few months later, Composites One began a pilot phase with Cloud Sherpas by taking a group of 32 users (which encompassed the entire IT team) and having these key users experience Google Apps first. Cloud Sherpas also conducted admin and end-user training to accelerate the learning process of migrating to a new IT platform.
However, perhaps the most integral assistance that Cloud Sherpas provided was the application of the Cloud Google Migrator from Cloud Technology Solutions, the only tool to-date that can be widely used to migrate organizations to Google Apps from Novell Groupwise. Cloud Sherpas seamlessly transferred all of Composites One’s data to the cloud, and Hal Greene had this to say about the process:
“When it comes to this data, it’s so important to people; this is their work and what they’ve been doing for years, so it would’ve been unacceptable for them to no longer have access to this data. So it was very helpful to have Cloud Sherpas be there and help us through the migration process.”
The pilot phase was successfully completed within 2 months, and Cloud Sherpas maintained a co-existence system that allowed users to function from both Google Apps and Novell Groupwise. Composites One went on to migrate users in increments and aims to have all users on Google Apps within half a year.
With Cloud Sherpas providing mobile access to Google Apps, Composites One’s goals of moving to a platform with greater functionality, mobility capacities and major cost savings seemed to be fulfilled. As Director of IT Hal Greene concluded, “We’re really glad to be on Google Apps now, and to the extent that we ran into any confusion, the Cloud Sherpas team was very knowledgeable and very helpful. I did think that their role throughout the project was quite impressive.”