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GCN : September 2013
days. The plan called for completing the cutover to Office 365 in three weeks. GETTING THE WORD OUT The task of moving users from on-premise desktop apps to the cloud doesn't end with migration, however. Getting users up to speed becomes the next important step. Lawrence Berkeley National Laborato- ry moved to Google Apps in 2010. Rosio Alvarez, CIO at the Energy Department lab, said training was the biggest deploy- ment consideration in the cloud transi- tion, but not one unique to Google Apps. The training, she noted, should cover not only the basics, but the additional func- tionality that makes the change to a new system worth it. "That really does involve ... lots of out- reach and just selling them on the new functionality," Alvarez said. One aspect of that outreach was a train-the-trainer initiative. The migration team was careful to select people to train within particular geographic areas. The Berkeley Lab spans more than 70 build- ings on a 183-acre campus and operates off-site locations, as well. The Google Apps migration proceeded section-by- section across the lab. As each section of the lab went live, the idea was to make sure a trainer was in the vicinity. The lab also trained its help desk per- sonnel on Google Apps, which was the first cloud app they had to support, Alva- rez said. That training helped them rec- ognize that they had some ownership of the cloud product. For example, when us- ers aren't enamored of Google's frequent upgrades and updates, it is up to the help desk to talk them through the changes. At EPA, Noga recommended that agen- cies moving to cloud apps should offer multiple varieties of training and ensure that employees complete training. He also emphasized communication. "Ineffective communication is the most important aspect to watch out for," he said. "Users need to be aware of the tran- sition and necessary details before it oc- curs. Senior leadership needs to be aware of progress and stay engaged and sup- portive of the project. It is extremely im- portant to have buy-in and support from senior leadership." Some on-premise-to-cloud moves, how- ever, may not require extensive training and communication programs. Smaller- scale, grass-roots adoption fits that pro- file. David Perchinsky, a professor at a com- munity college in the Midwest, adopted Deltek's Kona cloud-based social collabo- ration software during the spring 2013 semester. Perchinsky, who teaches health and physical education courses, uses Kona to communicate with students, posting PowerPoint summaries of classes, audito- ry lectures and other course information. it to be more of a nuisance than a helping agent." He said students adopted Kona readily, the majority favoring the app over Desire- 2Learn. Perchinsky said he had more of an adjustment than his students. That's because he had to upload his course ma- terials into both Kona and Desire2Learn, which the college is contractually obligat- ed to use. "That was the only hiccup," he said. CLOUD MOMENTUM Public-sector entities that have moved desktop productivity apps to the cloud cite a number of benefits. EPA stands to save about $7 million over the next four years in light of its Microsoft 365 transition. The Berkeley Lab projects a $2 million in sav- ings over the next five years from its use of cloud collaboration and productivity apps. Gilbert at Sacramento State said short- term benefits include off-loading day-to- day management of student email, large reductions in the enterprise storage need- ed to support student email and built-in connections to other Microsoft cloud ser- vices the school plans to use in the future. Such benefits encourage increasingly comprehensive adoption. The Incubator School, a pilot middle school in the Los Angeles Unified School District, went live in August with a bevy of cloud-based pro- ductivity apps. The lineup includes Google Apps; Mavenlink, an online project man- agement system; and RealtimeBoard, an online whiteboard and collaboration tool. The school also uses Pinterest to organize Web links into curricular "buckets," said Sujata Bhatt, the school's founder. "Generally, we're looking for free/low- cost tools to make collaborating both fun and efficient," Bhatt said. With cloud productivity apps increas- ingly common, the next step for agencies may involve the adoption of cloud-based business and back-office systems. That's the case for the Berkeley Lab. "We are moving to deploy our HR sys- tem in the cloud," Alvarez said. The transition from an on-premise Peo- pleSoft system to Workday's cloud-based human capital management app is sched- uled to begin late this year. • "You have no way of optimizing traffic once it hits your networks. If you have to expand the network, are you really saving money?" -- BRYAN BURNETT, NLRB CIO Students can ask questions via Kona and collaborate with each other on projects. Perchinsky and his students access Kona on their smartphones. He said it takes about five minutes to set up a class on Kona's mobile app. The college also provides Desire2Learn, an e-learning system hosted on the school's server, but Perchinsky said he has found the cloud solution to be the better communications tool. "I felt it was blocking communication with my students," he said of Desire- 2Learn. "Many of the students were not properly trained in that tool, so they felt 30 GCN SEPTEMBER 2013 • GCN.COM Moving desktops to the cloud