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Google Apps helps AGI Shorewood with post-merger integration

Posted by Ed Crocombe, IT Director – Europe, AGI Shorewood

Editors note: Today’s guest blogger is Ed Crocombe, IT Director – Europe, AGI Shorewood, a global packaging company with more than 4,000 employees worldwide. He will be part of a customer panel this week at the Cloud Computing World Forum 2012, June 12-13 in London.

I’ve done three major email migrations in four years using Google Apps for Business. In 2009, the first involved migrating 15,000 users from Microsoft® Exchange and Lotus Notes® to Google, which let us consolidate multiple email systems into a single platform. The second two migrations were in response to changes in our business. In 2010, our then-parent company spun our business into private ownership, and AGI Media was bought by a private equity firm. As part of that process we had to move 1,100 email accounts from our parent company’s Google account to a new one. We worked with Google Apps Authorized Reseller Promevo, and we got it done in just a few weeks.

Our third migration was earlier this year when we merged with Shorewood Packaging, our main competitor. They had 1,100 users on Microsoft® Exchange. The legal terms made it challenging for us - it put restrictions on what we could do before the deal closed and meant the Shorewood team had to be on the new system almost immediately after completion. Google Apps enabled us to do this - it scales up very easily. We were able to add 1,100 new users without buying or installing any new infrastructure, and the migration was easy on the technical side. We spent about a month on communication and training users before the deal closed and we were able to get everyone onto the new system within 24 hours. It’s a huge thing to deliver in just one day but we did it.

Google Apps was incredibly helpful in managing the process. We put project management documents, user feedback and checklists on Google Docs so that everyone could update them collaboratively in real time. It proved useful during the go-live.

For us, the big benefit of Google Apps is its flexibility. As a business, we’re going through significant change in a challenging market. We need something that is completely scalable up and down without having to make huge investments in infrastructure. Google Apps provides this dynamic flexibility – and I’ve got the three migrations under my belt to prove it.

Join Ed, other Google customers and Google executives to learn more about Google Enterprise at the Cloud Computing World Forum 2012 in London on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.