- Google Apps Migration
Tait Radio Communications is a global leader in designing and delivering radio solutions that are the right fit for a variety of industries including public safety agencies, government services, utilities and urban transport providers. Across the world, users of Tait products and services are better able to protect themselves and the public, be more responsive and more efficient.
While several corporate functions are based in Christchurch, New Zealand, the company prides itself on its international customer base and global support network. The company works with a network of sales and support offices, dealers, system integrators and consultants that spans the globe.
Tait Radio Communications had a massively diverse technical infrastructure. With a number of different mail servers and calendaring systems, integration of these basic services across Tait’s global offices was difficult in most cases and impossible in others. The diverse infrastructure also meant that constant maintenance and upgrades were required for all these varied systems.
“We had a number of mail systems that we wanted to streamline,” said Tait Radio Communications Group Information and Environment Manager, George Elder. “We had people around the world that did maintenance on each location, but the biggest cost was the upgrades to servers and the licenses.”
Furthermore, the cost of poor communication was an intangible, yet very real, problem that caused frustration for end-users. Missed meetings and lost emails were troublesome barriers to company communications.
While the cost of the legacy systems mounted, Elder knew that the cost to the company would be much greater if data were ever lost.
Tait is headquartered in Christchurch, NZ, a city that is no stranger to earthquakes and the damages that earthquakes can cause. Elder said the company looked towards cloud solutions in order to mitigate risk in the event of an earthquake or other natural disaster.
Although Elder explored other options, he ultimately decided that “Google was the way to go” due to Google’s strong reputation, security features and 100% cloud model.
“We asked Google a lot of questions about the cloud,” Elder said. “We looked at their security statements and we knew that Google could provide a more secure environment than we could.”
Tait performed a cost savings analysis and discovered that Google Apps would allow the company to effectively streamline communications without costly upgrades and constant maintenance.
“We found that the cost to run Google Apps would be very close to the costs we currently had, but as soon as we had any software or hardware upgrades for the existing systems, then the cost changed dramatically,” Elder said. “Google Apps stood out as the clear winner.”
Tait Radio decided to pilot Google Apps with Cloud Sherpas to solidify the decision to switch messaging and communication platforms. Groups of employees in varying levels and positions across the organization used Google Apps for several weeks and ultimately decided that Google Apps was the best fit for Tait Radio.
“After piloting Google Apps, we knew it would work for us, so we decided to go for it,” Elder said.
Tait then worked with Cloud Sherpas to develop a project plan and deployment strategy.
“Cloud Sherpas helped to define Tait’s vision around Google Apps,” Elder said. “We felt very confident about migrating to Google Apps with the help of the Cloud Sherpas team.”
Cloud Sherpas migrated Tait Radio’s hundreds of global employees to Google Apps during the months after the pilot, and provided training for end-users, administrators and Google Guides before, during and after the migration.
“Cloud Sherpas training really helped us to take advantage of the entire Google Apps platform,” Elder said. “Employees who had personal Gmail accounts now view Google Apps in a whole new light and newcomers feel that the platform is extremely intuitive.”
Since switching to Google Apps, Tait Radio Communications has been able to discontinue expensive maintenance on legacy servers, effectively cutting costs for locations across the globe.
“I think the standardization across the board has been a major benefit. We don’t have to deal with different systems and we do less internal work managing mail,” Elder said. “The work needed to manage mail systems has gone completely.”
Elder said that end-users have enjoyed shared calendars, as scheduling meetings is no longer a headache.
“Employees can now easily book meetings,” Elder said. “Video conferencing has also been a huge benefit for us, and a number of people have indicated how great it’s been to get mail from everywhere. There are huge benefits in Google Apps for the mobile user.”
Google Apps’ 100% cloud model allows employees to work from anywhere with an Internet connection, and ensures that information is safe— even in the event of a natural disaster.
Christchurch experienced two devastating earthquakes during the past year, resulting in hundreds of lost lives and millions of dollars of damage.
While many Christchurch businesses lost servers and data, Tait Radio Communications was able to continue working through the crisis.
“The mail system stayed up the whole time and we used the system for communication during those times of confusion. In effect, having Google Apps meant that whilst a number of companies lost communication entirely, Tait Communications continued through those tough periods. Even during evacuations, our employees can continue to work,” he said. “In fact, after companies realized the amount of vulnerability they had at the time of the earthquakes, we’ve seen a wave of businesses looking to move to the cloud.”
A survey of Tait employees showed an extremely positive response to Google Apps. Elder attributed Google Apps’ success to the platform’s inherent ease-of-use, user familiarity with Google and Google Apps training.
“I think the training that we set up with Google Guides was a major success factor,” Elder said. “Google Apps has been and continues to be a positive experience for our employees and our company at large.”