Dick Smith dumps Exchange for Gmail

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Dick Smith dumps Exchange for Gmail

Staff to use Google Docs with Microsoft Office.

Dick Smith will move its 4500 inboxes from on-premise Microsoft Exchange servers to Gmail in the coming weeks.

The electronics retailer made the decision to move to the Google platform – including Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Talk and Hangouts – in January, with roll-out due to commence next week.

Dick Smith’s IT director Linda Venables told iTnews the retailer would replace a mix of Microsoft technologies that had been in place for “a considerable period of time”.

She expected Dick Smith’s 4500 staff to use Google's cloud-based productivity tools predominantly for internal communications and collaboration.

Google forms would be particularly useful for collecting information about promotions from Dick Smith’s 323 stores, she said.

Dick Smith currently requires each store to email headquarters in the lead up to a sale with information on whether or not the store has received merchandise, promotional materials, and is ready to offer the promotion.

Looking forward, the retailer will collect and automatically collate those details through a Google form.

Venables said Dick Smith also hoped to use Google to analyse collected data, but said no customer data would be analysed in the cloud.

Dick Smith has no plans to do away with Microsoft Office, despite Gmail replacing Exchange across the organisation. Venables said Office will remain in use for communicating with vendors and partners.

“It’s not a hard swap; we’ll continue to use those [Microsoft productivity] tools,” said Venables, who was appointed Dick Smith’s IT manager in February.

Dick Smith’s use of Google Talk and Hangouts will also be limited to internal communications initially, with the organisation relying on traditional telephony to communicate with customers and vendors.

In a post on Google Australia’s blog yesterday, Venables said Dick Smith would look to extend the collaborative approach to its interactions with suppliers and partners in future.

She told iTnews that Dick Smith did not have a significant change management program in place for its adoption of Google but expected a smooth transition as many staff used Google technology personally.

The rollout will also put Gmail on employees’ mobile devices, allowing Dick Smith to communicate with its casual staff without having to issue them corporate devices.

Venables said convincing the business to adopt Gmail had not been a hard sell because the benefits of having a managed service outweighed the risks.

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