A “Greenfield” deployment, in the terms of Google Apps, refers to moving your organization over to Google without any migration of end user data. This is essentially having your users start on a blank slate or “green field”. In this approach, IT would still replicate settings and update integration points to prevent any gaps in business critical functionality. Although end user data is not migrated, IT will allow users to access or relocate this legacy data in most cases for a certain time period following the cut-over.
Advantages in this approach
For an IT team this is obviously one of the easiest approaches to take from a technical and organizational standpoint. There is no migration of data and more importantly little expectations of the data to act or be displayed in the same manner in the new platform as it did in the previous system. When starting from a blank slate, some expectations in features and functionality still remain, but the most common issue of data replication and integrity are non-existent. This approach can also be seen as a much needed exercise in reevaluating organizational processes that may force end users and IT to reevaluate their current organizational structures and workflows.
Disadvantages in this approach
This approach contains the most friction to current end user workflows and can have adverse affects to end user productivity. Users may see a more dramatic learning curve in using the new platform without data prepopulated. They also may need to create inefficient interim processes to reference the data in two locations while it is still relevant, such as past emails and calendar invites. Lastly, users may be hindered in accomplishing business tasks that would require the data to be located in the new system, such as forwarding an email or updating a calendar event.
Considerations in this approach
The necessity of legacy data to be migrated into a new system can vary based on organization, application, and individual. Organizations must take significant time to understand the current use of the data by the end users and the potential repercussions in their existing workflows when choosing to leave it behind.
The Greenfield approach can be dramatic when all data is left behind which can severely disrupt workflow in your organization. Read our Google Apps Deployment Guide to examine other approaches to Google Apps Deployment that are less dramatic and disruptive.
This article is Part 8 of Google Gooru’s Comprehensive Guide to a Google Apps Deployment. To access the entire guide for FREE, please fill out the form located here.