Improving Technology Services and Productivity for The State of Iowa

The State of Iowa is comprised of 95 different state agencies that employ over 23,500 individuals. With a population of over three million people, the State of Iowa, Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) is tasked with supporting each agency’s mission, local cities, counties, and towns and provide cost-effective IT solutions. This includes providing IT infrastructure, network services, telecommunication tools, cloud computing, application development, support, and provisioning services to support their population. The State of Iowa released a request for proposal (RFP) for Email & Productivity Services in September 2015. Resultant submitted a proposal and was awarded a five-year contract with OCIO.

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The Problem

The State of Iowa was operating two disparate on-premise email systems. The state-operated an on-premise Microsoft Exchange system with multiple versions of Outlook and an on-premise GroupWise email system.

This presented unique challenges from support, user experience, and interoperability perspective. Iowa’s state agencies were working as distinct entities in separate email systems and versions, authentication systems, Active Directories, and corporate address books that prevented them from seamlessly communicating.

This decentralized infrastructure created complexity, resulted in increased costs to the state, and adversely affected the state’s ability to accurately plan their IT budgets. The state was also facing a compliance issue as its historical data was stored on Symantec Enterprise Vault (SEV). Iowa needed to migrate the SEV data to another, more cost-effective solution without losing critical data.

Iowa was looking for a cloud-based solution to enhance communication and collaboration across all of its agencies, stakeholders, and constituents without data loss. The state also had terabytes of data in their Symantec Enterprise Vault (SEV) repository that needed to be migrated (132,808,075 messages for Active Users; 105,085,287 messages for Inactive Users; and 402,000,000 messages in the Journal Archive).

The Solution

Email Migration Challenges

Resultant worked closely with the State of Iowa, OCIO, and agency stakeholders to validate the State’s business, technical and security requirements, successfully mapping functionality from Exchange and GroupWise to Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) We deployed Google Workspace in six transition phases per the state’s requirements targeting distinct groups of users. Resultant leveraged several migration tools to accomplish the highly complex task of migrating data from two distinct email platforms Exchange and GroupWise, across multiple versions of each messaging system, as well as the state’s SEV archive system.

The use of multiple migration tools presented unique challenges and data migration errors that were previously unknown and had to be solutioned by Resultant.

  • The Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Exchange (GAMME) tool could only be run at certain times and separately from the GroupWise migration effort.
  • The CloudMigrator tool which we used to migrate Exchange Public Folders could not be run at the same time as GAMME because it resulted in unintended and duplicate migrations of user data.
  • The TransVault tool used to migrate SEV data had to be leveraged after all the email, calendar and contact data were successfully migrated using the other tools.

Resultant performed extensive data migration testing to identify all the migration scenarios, potential outcomes, unintended consequences, and develop solutions to these unique problems.

Training and Change Management

The challenge of developing a comprehensive training program and change management strategy for users who were operating on different email systems, with different versions of user interfaces forced Resultant to be innovative in our approach. We designed a comprehensive training and change management plan that empowered users to embrace the change and proactively informed them of any potential migration issues.

  • We created side-by-side Compare & Contrast one-pagers that depicted before and after functionality (e.g. here is how you create an email in Outlook or GroupWise, and here is how you create an email in Google Workspace).
  • We leveraged a “what’s in it for me” strategy with the state’s users and described the benefits they would achieve by moving to Google Workspace. This custom approach to preparing and training users who were not technology savvy created excitement, gave them confidence in the new system, and successfully prepared them for the coming change.
  • As part of our “no user left behind” strategy, Resultant delivered onsite and virtual instructor-led training (VILT) on each application together with role-based training for executives, executive assistants, IT administrators, helpdesk staff, and general users. Resultant provided additional power user training to the state’s Google Guides who formed the peer-to-peer network within the state.

Cloud Directory Integration

Resultant installed and configured Google Cloud Directory Sync (GCDS) in the State’s environment to enable users to be unidirectionally synchronized from the State’s multiple Active Directory (AD) sources into Google Workspace for seamless provisioning and deprovisioning. Resultant designed and deployed an application integration strategy to allow applications and appliances to send and receive an email in Google Workspace. We worked with the state to update their SMTP relay system and served in an advisory role when the State leverage Google’s APIs to build custom application integration points.

SEV Data Integrity Project

Lastly, Resultant migrated the state’s SEV data which consisted of over 132,808,075 messages for Active Users; 105,085,287 messages for Inactive Users; and 402,000,000 messages in the state’s Journal Archive.

The Outcome

Resultant successfully deployed Google Workspace and completed the migrations from SEV to Google Vault in November 2017 for the state’s 23,500 users.

  • Our Google Certified Deployment Specialists set up and configured the Google Workspace domain, enabled the core services for use, set up Google Vault, provisioned users, set up and configured GCDS, and completed migrations for two distinct email platforms (exchange and GroupWise).
  • In addition, our Google Migration Specialists set up, configured, and tested the CloudMigrator tool and migrated email, calendar, and contact data for the State of Iowa’s employees.
  • Our Google Certified Trainers and change management specialists designed a custom training approach and developed targeted communications to notify users and prepare them for the transition to G Suite. Resultant provided deployment and go-live support, project management services, and delivered the state’s project on time and on budget.

The transition to Google Workspace enabled the State of Iowa to consolidate and modernize their messaging and archive system, achieve an annual savings of $5M, and benefit from a rolling return on their technology investment. The sheer complexity of this project – to migrate huge amounts of data from multiple systems, using multiple migrations tools, at different times during the project—demonstrated Resultant’s expertise and ability to successfully complete highly complex projects for public sector clients.

Key Facts

The transition to Google Workspace enabled the State of Iowa to consolidate and modernize their messaging and archive system, achieve an annual savings of $5M, and benefit from a rolling return on their technology investment.