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A real-life system migration from user perspective

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We are currently facing a system migration. From Google tools (with Gmail and Google calendar) to Office365 (with Outlook in the cloud). Allow me to publicly share my very personal user perspective on how it goes.


Dear IT colleagues,


I now you are hard working guys always trying your very best to serve us. Don’t see it as criticism but as pleasant advice from one colleague to another, based on – certainly biased – user experience with the recent email system migration.

Let’s start with something positive. During the migration, the “old” email system is still accessible: good! It is a smart approach having both systems available in parallel for a transition period, so that people can get used to the old one, but still have the established productivity with the old one. Redundancy is not generally bad, but sometimes an asset.

And there we are with the downsides, some with more others with less more impact on my productivity.

  1. The new email system is without old mails: bad. I know that you plan to migrate the data after the system. But having to work with two email systems in parallel is painful and not very efficient, honestly spoken. And the positive aspect of having the opportunity to use both systems in parallel during transition turns into a mess of having the need to use both in parallel.
  2. The new email system comes with clean set-up … bad. Folders are missing, distribution rules are missing. I am afraid to say that this is a true disruption of my work. Again, I know that you are going to migrate date, including folders, a few weeks later. But in the meantime …?
  3. It is a fair and quite smart approach to set-up auto-replies notifying about email changes. But … actually one time per sender is really fine. I do not need to get an auto-reply for every single email I am sending to the same colleague.
  4. My contacts are not in the new system … really bad! So, every time I am writing a new mail, I have to into the old system for picking up contact data and copy&paste into the new one. No comment.
  5. The new calendar cannot show past items … bad. Just FYI, it frequently happens that one wants to check when a meeting actually had happened and who had been involved etc.
  6. But now the really big mess. Meeting rooms booked before the migration are lost … really really bad!!! During the last couple of days I have been in 3-4 meetings where different people tried to get into the same room. Where the loosing team has to short-term chase another meeting room where the next fight is waiting already. Considering how difficult it is cross-functionally getting people together at the same time in the same room, this is a key issue. And also somehow related to the next point …
  7. You are kindly inviting for trainings on the new system. Great! But could you get in touch earlier than generally 2-3 days before a session. You might perhaps not realize, but some of us have schedules being filled 2-3 weeks in advance (at least).


Dear appreciated IT colleagues, again don’t take it wrong, it might be hard for you to imagine, but some of us business guys sometimes travel 2-3 or even more weeks in a row from one destination to the next. And we during that time might definitely not be able to do remote trainings or wasting time with configuring new systems. But we definitely need to rely on smoothly and solidly working communication and working tools.

And by the way, online-only tools like Gmail and Office365 limit our working times to having a internet connection available. So, flights are out, many trains are out, disconnected corners are out. I kindly ask for your understanding regarding my clear expectation level, that tools have to meet my needs, and not vice versa.

I have a wonderful idea. Next time, let’s perhaps talk first so that you fabulous IT migration strategy also meets real-life business requirements and will be an even greater success.


Your well-disposed colleage



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