Merging with or acquiring another company is a symbol of growth for any organization. It has become quite common and companies are willing to take an agile approach in integrating IT environments after mergers and acquisitions.
Careful planning and execution is key to be successful as change management becomes extremely important. Among all IT integration streams, collaboration and communication stream is critical as it impacts all end users directly. Every employee will be impacted or have to go through the change of all the email, documents, calendars, video conferencing and other basic collaboration platforms.
In this blog post, we will explore the key considerations and best practices for migrating data to Google Workspace during mergers and acquisitions.
Importance of data migration in mergers and acquisitions:
Data migration is the process of moving data from the former legacy system or cloud provider to the target system like Google Workspace. Data migration is a critical aspect of integration as it ensures that the data is available and accessible in the new organization. Business continuity is one of the most critical requirements during these changes. Effective data migration ensures that the new company can function smoothly and has all the data available for the relevant teams. Migrating data to Google Workspace also helps to improve collaboration between teams in general.
Poorly executed migrations result in data loss, security breaches and ultimately brings operational issues in the new organization. Therefore, proper planning and execution of data migration is necessary to ensure the M&A process is smooth.
Evaluating Data Migration Needs
Planning a successful migration to Google Workspace definitely involves accessing the data migration needs. Understanding the type of data to be migration, migration timeline, stakeholder expectations, data sources, size of the migration and the impact of the migration on the new organization is crucial.
- Source of the data: This is the first and foremost step that needs to be taken. The source can be an on-premise email and file server or another cloud provider like Microsoft 365 or Zoho. Identification of the source is important to evaluate the requirement for migration tools and plan other things. Source identification also helps to understand the data types and formats in scope for the migration.
- Determine data type for migration: Data type migration is important as it decides the scope of migration. A legacy environment might have many services that might not have been used. Key data types always include email, contacts, calendars and documents. In some cases, intranet sites and other data types might be in scope.
- Determine the migration timeline and managing stakeholder expectations: A merger involves a lot of teams and stakeholders. As an IT integration manager, it will be your responsibility to understand the stakeholder’s expectations and provide them insights to set practical and achievable timelines. It is essential to have a clear understanding of the timeline too that includes pre-migration, migration and post-migration milestones and activities.
- Impact on existing operations: Assessing the impact of data migration on regular operations in the new organization is important. You should understand the risks, challenges and create contingency plans to mitigate them.
Preparing Data Migration to Google Workspace:
Now that you have accessed the scope and timeline for the migration, the next step involves data mapping, data cleansing and data validation.
- Data Mapping: This process involves identification of the source elements to be migrated and mapping them with the corresponding services and fields in Google Workspace. Accurate mapping is essential to ensure the right data is migrated across the right identities and is accessible in the new system.
- Data Cleansing: Once you have a basic data mapping, you should also correct any data quality issues like duplicate records, incorrect mappings, missing data and incorrect data formats. To ensure reliability, it is essential to do a proper data cleansing.
It’s also a good practice to publish a dashboard with the mapping of all the source and target elements with all the involved stakeholders for their confirmation and acknowledgement.
Choosing the right Data Migration Tool:
The data migration tool will be used for doing the actual data transfer. So choosing the right tool is extremely important. The tool should be compatible with data sources and formats of the source and destination, offer data validation and monitoring features and should support scalability for big migrations. Below parameters should be considered to choose the right data migration tool:
- Compatibility: The data formats in the source should be compatible with the formats in the target i.e, Google Workspace. The tool should be able to extract data from the source and convert it into a format expected by Google Workspace. Emails are generally fine but document types are a good watchpoint when evaluating the tool.
- Data Types: The tool should be able to migrate all data types: emails, contacts, calendars, documents in all regular file formats.
- Data Validation and Monitoring: The migration tool should also aid you to verify the mapping file and other data you use for the migration. The tool should be able to authenticate with the source and target and ensure all the elements exist and are correct. It should be able to generate relevant alerts, understandable reports to address if there are issues.
- Ease of Use: It’s best to do a proof of concept and hands on exercise before adopting the use of the migration tool. Most migration tools have similar interfaces that allow migration to Google Workspace but it’s worth exploring them quickly.
- Cost: Finally, the most important aspect is always the cost of the tool. Generally, there’s licensing fees, support costs and other expenses associated. It’s important to choose a tool that fits your budget. You can try out Cloudasta’s tool that migrates data to Google Workspace.
Best Practices for Data Migration to Google Workspace
It is important to follow recommended best practices in order to ensure a successful migration to Google Workspace during M&As. Below are some of the best practices:
- Plan Ahead: As we discussed in the previous sections, planning well ahead of time is important. Planning ahead gives you ample time to consider everything in detail. Identifying the source data, target systems, creating a migration plan including timelines, roles and responsibilities as well as risk management strategies is crucial.
- Test and Validate: Once you have finalized the tool, it’s best to test and validate the integration and migrate some test users who are IT savvy. That ensures the accuracy of the migrated data and addresses issues even before the actual migration.
- Prioritize Data: During M&As, prioritization of data is important. For an organization, latest emails would be critical to ensure business continuity. So, an approach of migrating the last 2 months of data is better than migrating everything if the data size is huge. Migrating documents might be more critical for some departments than others and they should be prioritized. VIPs or key users can always be migrated and prioritized. This should be clear on your plan.
Ensure Data Security and Compliance:
During data migrations, ensuring security and compliance to protect sensitive information and avoid legal and regulatory issues. Some key steps to ensure data security are as below:
- Identify sensitive data: Personal identifiable information(PII), financial information, confidential business information must be taken special care during migration. Any access controls implemented in the source should be replicated post migration to Google Workspace. Only approved individuals should have access to those kind of data.
- Data encryption: Google Workspace offers encryption for data in transit and at rest. Ensuring data encryption in the tool of choice might be key to secure the migration process.
- Data Privacy: Google Workspace complies to regulatory requirements for data privacy. You can choose where to store your data(EU, US or outside) when you are migrating to Google Workspace. This ensures that the data is processed and stored in accordance with regulatory policies like GDPR.
- Hosting and processing of data using the tool: When choosing the tool, its essential to know if they have a SAAS version or self-hosted version. The tool should also comply with regulatory requirements to ensure that its hosted in a location that comply with the new organization’s regulations.
Tips for successful data migration to Google Workspace during Mergers and Acquisitions
Successful data migration involves careful planning, coordination and execution. Below are some tips to help:
- Establish Clear Communication: It’s essential to ensure all stakeholders understand the process and are engaged throughout. Clear communication channels need to be established and regular updates should be provided to keep them engaged.
- Involve all stakeholders: Include IT teams, business teams, sponsor, end-users and communication teams to ensure everyone is apprised of their roles and responsibilities. All the teams should be aware of the execution process so that they can provide their inputs as well for improvement or call out things that might go wrong.
- Plan change management, training and support: Training and support is essential to keep the new organizational employees motivated. The experience that the employees have on Day 1 of Go-live will stay with them forever. A proper training plan should be designed that includes but is not limited to 1:1 sessions for VIPs and key stakeholders, end-user training, special training for specific departments depending on their usage of tools etc. A change management plan should include training as well as communication. When do you communicate with users about the change? How do you communicate with them? Are you able to utilize an intranet platform internally? Those are questions that you can address with the help of your communications team.
Pick the right partner:
You have all the information you need and you know what to do but mergers and acquisitions can be cumbersome and is a thoughtful process. There might be many considerations and decisions to make based on the variables that come out of the planning process. Doing everything yourself might not always be cost effective as failures can be costlier. So, it’s better to leave it to the experts!
Picking the right partner to support you with the migration process is critical. There might be many variables that you need to consider and taking the right decision will be critical. A partner who has gone through the same process and has expertise in doing such migrations will add immense value. You can evaluate a few partners to understand their strategy, cost effectiveness as well as offering to assist you during mergers and acquisitions. Partners might have specializations on specific platforms as well.
Cloudasta has been in the business for a long time and with a dedicated and enthusiastic group of experts who have been involved in migrations, we can help you execute a managed migration. As mergers and acquisitions involve a lot of other areas, you can focus on the rest while we plan this migration for you. We are a Google partner specializing in Google Workspace and our team will plan a customized and dedicated migration strategy for you to drive seamless migration based on your collaboration and communication landscape. There will be absolutely no business disruption, downtime or loss of productivity while we handle it for you.
We will be taking care of setting up the users, configuring the tools, handling the data migration as well as providing training as required. We will be helping you out with post-migration issues as well. Any technical issues and troubleshooting will be handled by our experienced staff.
You already made a great choice to migrate to Google Workspace. Choosing the right partner will be critical to your success and we want to be part of your success. If you have questions, we are happy to help you with your queries. Feel free to contact us today if you have any data migrations to Google Workspace in upcoming mergers and acquisitions to take care of.