I checked in with early cloud adopter Jerry Hodge, CIO of Hamilton Beach Brands Inc., for an update on his pioneering migration from Lotus Notes to Gmail — the quintessential cloud app. The company, which started the project in January, is among the first ever to move to Gmail from Lotus, according to Hodge.
The backstory: Hamilton Beach was facing a mandatory upgrade of Lotus Notes that would have required not only the expense of the software upgrade, but also additional hardware and considerable staff effort. Hodge realized he could save about $500,000 in capital and operating costs over five years, and another $400,000 in labor if he went with the enterprise edition of Gmail.
In a year when his capital budget request was cut 60%, saving a million bucks seemed like a great idea, despite some trepidation on the part of his staff. He made the big switch the right way– gradually. He lined up a test group in the company’s Mexico City and China offices to try it first to work out the kinks, and he smartly waited until everything was working before the C-suite got it. People’s email would be maintained as @hamiltonbeach.com, which was important to the company.
So how did it go?
The good news is the move to Gmail came in ahead of schedule, on April 30, two months ahead of the June 30 deadline.
“Unheard of!,” Hodge crowed in an email, giving kudos to his hardworking staff.
The bad news is there were a couple of hiccups. For example, at least half the attachments in some parts of the company email did not get transferred in the move to Gmail. After running the email through the transition process two times, IT got most of them. The other wrinkle was people’s contacts lists — Hodge’s staff had to do the lists by hand mostly to get them over.
“Our best success was achieved when exporting contacts to a CSV format and importing them into Google — but they had to be done one by one,” Hodge reported.
His biggest headache, in retrospect?
“I would have to go with the repeatability/consistency of the automated migration tools. We knew up front that we were one of the ‘early adopters’ for migrating from Lotus Notes to Google. We were patient, but still frustrated,” Hodge said, but added this comes with the territory of being an early adopter.