- Training & Change Management
- North America
Jason’s Deli is a family-owned chain of fast-casual restaurants that focuses on serving healthy and delicious deli favorites quickly. The company, which was founded in 1976, employs over 6,000 people in 226 retail locations and 7 corporate offices across 29 states in the U.S. In August of 2008, Jason’s Deli ranked #1 in annual sales in QSR Magazine’s Top Ten list of restaurant groups with under 300 locations. The company has also been on the cutting edge of health trends in their industry, pledging to remove all trans-fats from their menu in 2005, and all high fructose corn syrup in 2008.
Jason’s Deli had been using an open-source Cyrus IMAP system in conjunction with various POP3 clients like Outlook and Thunderbird. In addition, their LifeRay portal served as a central hub for the entire company. Both of these systems were beginning to impair productivity as they encountered constant problems and were difficult to maintain. The company also found itself seeking a better solution for an increasingly distributed and often traveling work force.
Jason’s Deli needed a messaging and collaboration solution that reduced IT maintenance on their end, provided a more reliable and flexible alternative to their LifeRay Portal as a company intranet, and offered a better mobile experience for their employees. The platform’s ability to grow with the company was also a crucial decision point. Jason’s Deli wanted the new intranet to be heavily used by employees as a way to share information and access company-wide materials.
Jason’s Deli investigated a number of options, including on-premise and hosted Exchange and SharePoint, upgrading their current platform, and Google Apps. The decision team generated a list of 34 business and functional requirements for the new platform, and ran each platform option through a Total Cost of Ownership assessment. Google Apps was the clear choice for Jason’s Deli due to its TCO, expandability through the Apps Marketplace, effortless upgrades, and proven and verified security and reliability. The Jason’s Deli team particularly thought that Google Apps’ mobile integration, directory integration, basic workflow utilities such as forms, and the responsive and easy to use interface were all huge advantages over the alternative solutions.
Jason’s Deli then worked with Cloud Sherpas on the deployment approach, and selected a group of users to pilot Google Apps and test its fit for the company. During this period, Cloud Sherpas helped Jason’s Deli to migrate 14,000 documents, set up dual-delivery for the pilot group, and test mass email and migration. Once Jason’s Deli committed to the full migration, they began to develop training and change management initiatives with Cloud Sherpas. Kevin Verde, CIO of Jason’s Deli, was highly complimentary of Cloud Sherpas, “We chose Cloud Sherpas for their experience and successful track record after a recommendation from Google. Ultimately, Cloud Sherpas was an essential part of the successful migration to our new intranet.”
With expert guidance from Cloud Sherpas, Jason’s Deli began creating a series of pre-deployment videos, how-to documents, and other change management assets that would help their employees effectively transition to the Google Apps for Business platform. Full employee buy-in would be crucial since Jason’s Deli was moving their whole messaging and collaboration system to Google Apps.
Jason’s Deli completed a successful Google Apps migration of 1800 users, as well as a successful re-creation and improvement of their intranet on Google Sites. The extensive training and change management initiatives were extremely effective as employees have been very happy with the Google Apps platform. In a post-deployment company survey, 91% said they “consider Google Apps an improvement over the previous solution”, and 77% consider it “easy or very easy to use”.
Jason’s Deli’s Google Apps users love the new intranet, as evidenced by their frequent and well above average use of Google Sites on their domain. The following chart shows the percentage of Jason’s Deli users that access each particular Google Apps option over a 7 day period compared to all Premier Edition users.
Google Apps also helped to reduce administrative burdens on the IT department. October 2010 help desk tickets were less than half of last year’s, when the LifeRay portal was in use. By using Google Analytics to track employees’ use of the new intranet, the IT team is able to identify high-traffic areas and make more strategic and anticipatory IT decisions, rather than waiting for problems to arise.
Jason’s Deli is also looking forward to using more and more of the Google Apps platform as they learn how it can best serve their business. Verde informed us that the company is looking to use App Scripts for simple workflow-type apps, expand functionality through the Google Apps Marketplace, and further integrate with more Google services such as VoIP.
Jason’s Deli came away from the migration experience with a few key points of advice for other companies looking to move to Google Apps:
- Training is key – attempt to over support and over train
- Docs usage will happen organically, even if you do not plan on it – be prepared
- Prepare change processes in advance – including communication to your users
- Even the most diehard Outlook users can love searching and not sorting
- An integration partner is helpful – especially if they provide additional management tools
The company is looking forward to the continued evolution of both the platform and their use of it. They believe that Google Apps is truly a solution that will grow with Jason’s Deli over time and continue to exceed their needs and expectations.