Customer Story

Unify: Uniting top online brands on one collaboration platform

Unify hero image

Unify successfully brought the companies behind France’s top websites together onto one communications platform in just two months, despite legacy systems and the COVID-19 lockdown.

Google Cloud Results

Migrates 500 users from 10+ companies in just 2 months

• Installs a single communications solution for multiple companies to reap the rewards of a shared CRM system.
• Runs change management remotely using face-to-face interaction to improve communication and encourage uptake with Google Meet.
• Transforms working norms by enabling remote collaboration between brands with tools including Google Meet and Google Sheets.

The world might look to France to learn about cooking, but when French people need culinary advice, they turn to Marmiton, the country’s most popular cookery site. Marmiton is just one of the leading sites in France that make up Unify, an alliance of media brands. Other household names include Doctissimo, the country’s favorite source of health information, and Aufeminin, Unify’s top platform for women’s content. Every month, according to the company, there are millions of unique visitors to the sites that are part of the group, which aims to create new synergies by bringing together top digital media brands.

“The mission behind Unify is to encourage brands to work together and support each other,” explains Charles Misson, the group’s Manager of Corporate IT. “But we had 14 companies with 14 separate customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and that made reporting and collaboration really difficult between them. To tackle that, we decided to bring everyone onto just one CRM system, but we could only access its full functionality if everyone used the same communications tools, too.”

Migrating to a single communications suite was already a goal for Charles and his team, but with the implementation date of the new CRM approaching, the pressure was on. “We had expected to migrate communications over one to two years, but it had to be done in just two months,” says Charles. Then, as the project was underway, France went into lockdown against COVID-19. “Suddenly we couldn’t travel,” says Charles, “so we had to do everything remotely, too.”

For support, Charles reached out to the digital transformation experts at Devoteam G Cloud. “I said, ‘We need to migrate 400 people to a new platform in two months,’” Charles recalls. “First they said, ‘Are you crazy?’, then they brought forth all the technical expertise and advice we needed to make it happen.” Working together with Devoteam G Cloud, Unify looked to migrate all of its legacy systems to a single tenant on Google Workspace.

“In a migration, you need to be ready to respond to the questions, doubts, and demands of colleagues,” says Charles. “We chose Google Workspace because it’s intuitive to use, and Devoteam G Cloud brings expertise that we can rely on to build confidence around the strategy, and keep everything on track.”

Managing multiple migrations in just two months

“Google Workspace is more intuitive than other solutions and simplifies large account migrations with automated processes. The question was never ‘Which system should we use?’ but always ‘How can we bring everyone to Google Workspace?’” -- Charles Misson, Manager of Corporate IT, Unify

Unify companies were using a number of different communication solutions, one of which was Google Workspace. “Google Workspace is more intuitive than other solutions and simplifies large account migrations with automated processes,” says Charles. “The question was never ‘Which system should we use?’ but always ‘How can we bring everyone to Google Workspace?’”

Taking a company-by-company approach, Charles and his team worked remotely with Devoteam G Cloud engineers to migrate all users to the new environment. “For each migration, we would shut down user access to their accounts on Friday evening and open a call with the Devoteam G Cloud engineer,” says Charles. “Every two or three hours he would send me a status update, and on Sunday night, we would do a final review and give users access to their new accounts.”

Meeting users in person was made impossible by the lockdown, so the team communicated with them using Gmail and Google Meet, keeping everyone clear on the timetable and introducing tools. “We kept a call open on the first day of going live so anyone with a question could drop in,” says Charles. “With up to 100 people going live at the same time, a ticket system just isn’t practical for our team of five. We invite everyone to a call, and if we can fix the issue in a few seconds, we do it there and then. If not, we make a ticket. That visual contact makes us more approachable and really speeds up communication.”

To introduce Google Workspace to those who had never used it, Devoteam G Cloud created a change management video and uploaded it to Google Drive for anyone to access. And by following up with live training sessions on Google Meet, they helped bring people into the process and encourage uptake.

“We’ve been managing migrations for ten years,” says Stéphane Giron, Head of Customer Success at Devoteam G Cloud. “Thanks to the dependability of Google Workspace tools to ingest data without problems, even large volumes from multiple sources, we can offer clients reliable schedules for fast migration.”

Deploying ideal tools for the remote working world

“Thanks to the dependability of Google Workspace tools to ingest data without problems, even large volumes from multiple sources, we can offer clients reliable schedules for fast migration.” -- Stéphane Giron, Head of Customer Success at Devoteam G Cloud

The initial driver for the migration was to create a single Google Calendar to synchronize with the new CRM, but Unify looks beyond that to make the most of Google Workspace. Charles actively promotes working with Google Docs and Google Sheets, which are included in the Google Workspace package. “It’s so much easier to collaborate with those than it is using other spreadsheet software and word processing apps,” says Charles. “On a Google Sheet, several people can work on the same thing at the same time, wherever we are. As remote working becomes more normal, that makes a massive difference.”

As at any company, email is essential at Unify, which integrates Okta identity management tools with Gmail to simplify the management of its mailing lists. But for Charles, reducing the dependence on email is essential for improving communications. “When the government issues new COVID-19 regulations, rather than email them to everyone, we post them in Google Drive and share the link,” says Charles. “And we use Google Meet more and more to work out issues, instead of writing long emails and waiting for replies. Google Meet has really taken off: even when people are in the same office, they arrange their meetings in Google Meet, with an invite on Google Calendar, so that everyone can attend from wherever they are.”

Outperforming expectations

“With Google Workspace, the right Google Partner, and the right preparation, migrating is simple, doesn’t take long, and once it’s done, it’s done, leaving you free to reap the rewards.” -- Charles Misson, Manager of Corporate IT, Unify

The migration was a success, with more than 500 people migrating to Google Workspace in two months, ahead of the launch of the new CRM system. “Nobody had a serious issue during the migration,” says Charles. “I’m a pessimist by nature, and, to be honest, it was really surprising. A friend at another company said it would take six months, but we did it in two, even during the pandemic, thanks to Devoteam G Cloud and Google Workspace.”

Now the company is looking to explore other tools in Google Workspace, like Endpoint Management for managing the mobile devices that facilitate remote working, such as video and audio setups for meeting rooms, and Chromebooks that employees can take home.

“The word ‘migration’ can sound intimidating, but I was surprised by how easy it was to do,” says Charles. “With Google Workspace, the right Google Partner, and the right preparation, migrating is simple, doesn’t take long, and once it’s done, it’s done, leaving you free to reap the rewards.”

*Google Workspace was formerly known as G Suite prior to Oct. 6, 2020.

Google Cloud Premier Partner

About Devoteam G Cloud

Devoteam G Cloud is the 2019 Google Cloud Reseller Partner of The Year for EMEA, with 1,300 clients in more than 10 countries.