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At the Heart of Change are People: A Linköping Case Study

In the south of Sweden, Linköping’s 160 000 plus residents proudly make up the 5th largest city in Sweden. Linköping straddles the line between old and new as an embodiment of old regional culture and as the first populous municipality to invest in Google Workspace (formerly known as G Suite) as a collaboration platform.


The concept of moving in the cloud was entirely new to the workforce of Linköping. Prior to their cloud migration, their on-premise legacy systems were Microsoft native. For the change management leaders at Devoteam, it would prove to be a complex case of not only educating the users on working outside of Microsoft but in the cloud environment.

Process & What We Did

Devoteam kicked off the process with a pre-study in 2018. Following this, several meetings were held with the decision-makers at Linköping and with Google before Devoteam won a public tender against Microsoft by a longshot at a fifth of the price. This step has made Linköping the first principal Swedish municipality to enter the world of working in Google Cloud.

Devoteam and Linköping signed an agreement to procure the collaboration platform that would include a total of 12,500 users.

Before the commencement of training, Google rebranded from G Suite to Google Workspace. This rebranding caused the experts at Devoteam to restructure their planned training content to coincide with the new brand.

The initial plan was to have all users learn through self-study and teach their colleagues indirectly through an LMS (Learning Management System). For specific topics, Devoteam offered additional teacher-led trainings in the form of webinars. This was complemented with immersive demos targeted to managers.

Because of the large-scale migration, Linköping recruited 200+ ambassadors hailing from various departments of the organisation who would support their colleagues and develop new ways and methods of working with Google Workspace.

The respective managers of each municipality department were assigned designated chats to maintain a two-way dialogue between them and the Devoteam experts about use cases and challenges specific to their teams and daily work.

We had a team of Google Cloud ambassadors to help onboard the new users with their move to the cloud. These users would then support their peers and the rest of the organisation. One of their tasks was to figure out specific use cases of Microsoft ways of working in Google.”

Simone French, Senior Project & Change Manager, Devoteam Cloud Services

Managing Change

The 2020 outbreak made this migration one of the more challenging projects for Devoteam’s Change Management team.

Beginning training at the start of the pandemic and constantly changing restrictions and rules established a steep learning curve.

Not only did the users need to familiarise themselves with working in the Google Cloud environment, but they also had to do so remotely. The planned on-site training was revamped to follow protocol and maintain efficiency, and Devoteam was tasked with taking a sizable workforce that primarily operated on on-prem systems. For many of Linköping’s users, this was a headfirst dive into working remotely in the cloud without previous experience.

Our managers played a key role in the transformation. In addition to training in the tools, they also received training in change management. The ambassadors also had an important role to play in supporting the managers.”

– David Blomgren, Change manager, Linköpings Kommun

Preparing managers for change was a key component of the project in helping them to support their employees through the transition. Not only did they receive specific training, but a feedback loop was established for each specific business unit using Google chat groups. Tailored communications were also shared via the Manager’s intranet portal.

We started with a structured project, and it became a project of change within change.”

Simone French, Senior Project & Change Manager, Devoteam Cloud Services

Despite the unforeseen challenges of the global shifts in working and living, Devoteam and Linköping managed to achieve the original timeline of going live in November of 2020.

The ongoing pandemic situation has clearly demonstrated the need to have a good collaboration platform. The effect that Corona has had towards working at home makes people understand that this is needed.”

Michael Lööw, Development Manager at Linköping Municipality’s IT department, LKDATA

Linköping works to achieve high efficiency through collaboration in a fully implemented Google Workspace environment. They see the synergies of how the tools work and how easy it is for employees to use them. That creates efficiency over time and is evident in the low level of support needed after transitioning to the platform.

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