LifeWay Christian Resources, a nonprofit organization based in Nashville, TN, is one of the largest providers of Christian resources in the world. Founded in 1891, the ministries of LifeWay produce Bibles, church literature, audio and video recordings, church supplies, and internet services. The company also owns and operates 154 retail stores across the nation, as well as two of the largest Christian conference centers in the country.
For over 10 years, as LifeWay continued to grow and expand, the organization used Lotus Notes for messaging and collaboration for its 2,000+ users. However, as more cost-efficient and user-friendly platforms started to emerge, LifeWay began to investigate alternatives. As many other enterprises started their Google Apps migrations to decrease costs and increase collaboration, LifeWay considered making the switch. Another incentive stemmed from an inherent part of LifeWay’s business model:
As Jim Garrett, Senior Manager of Infrastructure & Operations at LifeWay, pointed out, “LifeWay has always had a large number of kiosk users, meaning that multiple employees would log on and off of shared computers within the organization.”
This system made working with Lotus Notes more cumbersome because the platform is generally designed more for individual usage on personal computers. With Google Apps, a user’s account, files, and contacts, are all accessible online, which is especially useful for enterprises and nonprofit organizations with kiosk users.
LifeWay decided to make the switch and intended to complete the entire migration on its own. However, it soon became apparent that a Google Apps specialist was needed to address various questions and obstacles encountered by LifeWay’s IT leaders.
LifeWay contacted Cloud Sherpas to discuss how it could improve its approach to the migration process. A few months later, the migration was underway, and Cloud Sherpas guided LifeWay through the migration of mail, calendar and contacts data.
The Cloud Sherpas project management team designed a custom process suited for LifeWay’s circumstances and infrastructure. The team then demonstrated and performed each step of the process with a pilot group of LifeWay’s users. LifeWay’s staff repeated the process for the rest of its user accounts. This approach led to a smooth and effective migration to Google Apps.
Another key service that Cloud Sherpas provided was the extensive analysis of LifeWay’s Lotus Notes applications. More often than not, businesses still on Lotus Notes remain on the platform because years ago, the business invested heavily in building custom, integrated Domino applications. In the analysis, our project management staff identified which custom applications could be transitioned or recreated within Google Sites, Docs or Calendars. For the remaining applications that could not be as easily replicated, Cloud Sherpas developed a plan for how to address each application on a case by case basis.
After the migration was complete, Cloud Sherpas provided three months of post-deployment support. During this time, Cloud Sherpas relayed updates and information to LifeWay as Google Apps made numerous advancements. Post-deployment support helps newly migrated organizations adapt more quickly and smoothly to the cloud.
LifeWay now has over 2,000 satisfied users on Google Apps, and is enjoying both the cost savings and improved user experience of the platform.
Jim Garrett voiced his support by saying, “Switching to Google Apps has helped our organization in a number of ways, and the interaction we had with Cloud Sherpas definitely helped us get there.”
Through its interaction with Cloud Sherpas, LifeWay was professionally assisted during its migration to Google Apps and was also able to make guided decisions regarding Lotus Notes applications that were integral to their business.