Lore Chapman, vice president of IT solutions and integration for Lahey, says the organization chose to implement G Suite after an in-depth analysis of available options. “Whenever we’re looking at any type of solution, we have a structured system selection process,” she says. “After conducting that assessment, Lahey recognized there was a strong alignment between our requirements and the features that Google offered.”
Cloud Migration Timelines Match Provider Needs
Once G Suite was selected, the Lahey team worked to migrate its existing systems to the new solution on an accelerated timeline, completing the move in just 91 days. “We felt it was very important to bring the systems all to parity and not have this drag on,” says Thompson. “We didn’t want any part of the organization to feel like it was being left out. The people at the back of the order, if you let it lag too long, they may feel like they’re not getting as much attention as they would like.”
“Email is such an integral part of what most people use every day,” adds Elizabeth Cooper, director of IT communications and engagement for Lahey. “Extending the implementation period would have drawn out the timeframe before the entire organization could collaborate with each other.” During the migration, she notes, some calendar invitations had to be set up in multiple systems to ensure they were seen by all parties. “The quicker you went, the better off you were.”
The move, Thompson says, required significant work around identity mapping. “That was probably the single largest bit of prep work,” he says. “If you’ve done that well, the migration goes fairly quickly and smoothly.”
By contrast, Comanche took its time rolling out G Suite. The hospital was still under an enterprise agreement for its on-premises solution for another 15 months, and the organization used the overlap period to work out kinks (for example, portions of certain financial reports didn’t transition well to Google Sheets cloud software). “That gave us the ability to roll this out slowly and not have to do everything in a big bang,” Wellman says.
Better Connections Drive Adoption Among Staff
At Eliza Jennings, some departments have just one team member at each of three sites, and those teams have been early adopters of the chat and videoconferencing features of Office 365.
“We’ve deployed webcams to a lot of our more active users, which enable them to conduct ad hoc meetings from their desk and still have that face-to-face experience,” Cole says.
At Lahey, the IT department set up Google resource benches at different sites to help employees learn to use G Suite. But Chapman says that many users have taken to the collaboration suite all on their own.
“We really focused on mail, calendar and contacts,” she says. “We wanted to keep the change as contained as we could. And the organization just organically adopted the rest of the functionality. They figured out how to chat via Hangouts, and use many of the other collaboration tools. The tools are intuitive, and it was really exciting to see people motivated to learn on their own.”
At CCMH, Wellman focused on rolling email out first, and then began encouraging employees to adopt the other collaboration tools included with G Suite.
“The very first year we rolled it out, the emphasis was on Gmail,” he says. “That made the transition a little easier. Then we started building up the excitement about the new applications. People started figuring out that they could use Docs and Sheets really easily.”
The hospital’s accounting department uses the Google Hangouts chat feature extensively, and Wellman says that other departments are adopting more collaboration features as time goes by. Some employees are using Hangouts to videoconference with vendors and other external contractors. Meanwhile, administrators have also discussed using the tool to support the delivery of telemedicine.
“Someone told me, ‘I’ve talked to this guy on the phone for two years, but now I see him, and he sees me, and it feels like we have more of a connection,’” Wellman says. “Anytime you can put a face with a name, it helps build a relationship. Now, we’re able to do that more and more.”