Five tips to support the adoption of Google Apps (guest post written by Duncan Farley, Ancoris)

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    Happy Wednesday all,


    Today I'd like to give a big thank you to Duncan for sharing his tips and insights into increasing adoption of Google Apps. Duncan is the first guest writer from one of our partner organisations and he has a wealth of experience and knowledge to share below. Thanks Duncan!




    Avoiding change is not an option but how we approach, support and embed change as digital leaders most certainly is!

    Duncan Farley profile picture.jpg

    Hi everyone, my name is Duncan Farley and I am the Head of Business Transformation at Ancoris, one of Google’s premier partners in the UK and I’m excited to share some of my tips for driving change and transformation with you today.

    Type ‘change management’ into Google and you’ll be presented with over three million results. Here I'd like to share five overlooked tips that support change management, business transformation and the adoption of Google Apps.

    1. Controlling the controllables

    The first thing we all need to accept is that some things are beyond our personal control. Perception, however, is absolutely something we can influence and the perception of change is often considered a step into the unknown and therefore something to be afraid of.
    At the beginning of a recent transformation workshop with a large Google customer, one of the Directors commented “at the end of the day, Google is just a search engine”. This was their perception, and with them being a senior stakeholder within that group, I knew their perception was going to be influential.
    It is important to keep skeptics close to you, as winning them over is worth its weight in gold. A successful transformation lab will help to influence perception. The very same Director became one of our biggest advocates and even went as far as positively influencing a colleague who claimed that Google may not work for them.
    Key first steps:

    • Write down your objectives and related actions
    • Highlight the actions you can directly control or influence, and focus on them

    2. Finding the echo

    The biggest hurdles to implementing change are people and process, not technology. It therefore comes as no surprise that a change program can be won or lost in environments where colleagues regularly convene, such as the staff canteen. The echo within an organisation comes from someone whose voice carries weight, someone who is respected and is followed by their peers. This could be someone at any level of the organisation, so it is important to identify them early.

    A recent example I have of ‘finding the echo’ was the communications officer within a smaller organisation. This person was highly respected by the project sponsor and peers. They had little exposure to Google Apps previously, so we supported their adoption of the tools and demonstrated tangible benefits to improve current business processes. They went on to discuss these benefits with colleagues over lunch throughout the next few weeks.  This significantly helped to win the hearts and minds of other employees within the organisation.

    Key first steps:

    • Locate those with an ‘echo’ within your organisation
    • Identify opportunities for the ‘echo’ to use Google Apps to improve business processes

    3. Refining your growl, bark and bite

    Some people are harder to convince about change than others. Having a three step approach to implementing change, can be really important in bringing everyone along on the journey.
    Here is an example of a three step approach I use which I’ve named the ‘growl, bark and bite’

    1. Growl: Organisational wide communication program that supports the adoption of Google Apps
    2. Bark: A personalised follow-up message, to the disengaged employees to reinforce the initial communication
    3. Bite: Escalation to a senior sponsor advising that their support is required to meet delivery milestones

    It is very easy for the actions of a few to impact the entire change program. Agreeing your three step escalation approach will certainly improve your chances of meeting your milestones.

    Key first steps:

    • Agree a three step escalation process between your project lead and sponsors
    • Chase outstanding actions before deadlines to remain on track

    4. Nurturing a FOMO environment

    It is estimated that over 50% of us suffer from the ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ (FOMO). For those who choose to change at the speed of a glacier, harnessing FOMO can be a great way to speed up adoption. We recently harnessed a FOMO atmosphere by building a portfolio which showed the impact of change within the organisation. This simply compared the business processes before and after adopting Google Apps.

    Building a portfolio of positive changes that other colleagues can relate to, significantly increases the desire to become part of the transformation.

    Key first steps:

    • Record the before, after and impact of adopting Google Apps
    • Work with your communications team to promote the impact of change (adding quotes from users where possible)

    5. Make change stick

    Beliefs can both limit and enable. Henry Ford once said “The man who thinks he can, and the man who thinks he can't, are both right. Which one are you?”
    Embedding change is not a 'light switch' you turn on and off. You have to commit to it and believe in the destination.  If you, as a digital leader, don’t believe in it, how you can expect others to?

    One of the most useful ways to make change stick is to build a 6-12 month roadmap that is aligned to the organisations priorities and supports the adoption of Google Apps.

    Key first steps:

    • Review the Google Transformation Gallery for some inspiration
    • Prioritise your top processes to explore and improve
    • Build a 6-12 month roadmap to support the implementation of these new processes

    In summary, business transformation offers the possibility to turn something that began in our imagination into reality; one of my favorite quotes which, for me, captures this perfectly comes from the American author Napoleon Hill - “First comes thought; then organization of that thought into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination.”

    I'd love to hear any feedback of comments on the above.