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From Lotus to Outlook: Reflecting on the Porsche Experience

Recently, Corus360 was asked to train users at the Porsche Experience Center in Atlanta on the ins and outs of Microsoft Outlook after a recent migration from Lotus Notes. The project was a success, and our people are now back at home in Norcross, GA. The three-person team consisted of Angela Wilson, Levi Pawich, and Patrick Naegele, who were kind enough to sit down for an interview with us to share their experiences and pictures.

Corus360: Thank you everyone for taking the time tell us about your experience working at Porsche. Can you clarify the goal of the project for us?

Angela: The organization was migrating from Lotus Notes to Outlook. Some users had never experienced or previously used MS Outlook. Our goal was to turn them all into proficient users of the software within a relatively short timeline, which meant that a lot of our mission wound up depending upon the willingness of Porsche’s employees and our connections with them. Luckily for us, they were more than amiable, and we were able to not only train them but also form good relationships with them while we were at it.

Levi: ‘Knowledge is a tool, and like all tools, its impact is in the hands of the user.’ That is a quote from Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, which was applicable to me during this project. There are two key factors in determining whether or not a migration is successful: How seamless the data was transferred over behind the curtains and how well the new system is adopted by the people who are considered end users. Both must happen in order for the tool to be effective due to the nature of the project. Generally speaking, the results are only as good as the weaker of the two.

Patrick: I had a great time helping Porsche’s users transition from Lotus Notes to Outlook, and I think they got a lot out of it too. From what I gather, a lot of them wish we were still there helping. It can be difficult to learn a totally new system and having support is the difference between quick adoption and weeks of frustration and decreased productivity. Porsche welcomed us into their facilities, and we welcomed their employees to Microsoft Outlook. I’d say it was a pretty fair trade.

Corus360: What was your migration experience like working with Porsche and helping them make the transition?

Angela: The team had a wonderful time demonstrating to over 200+ users the look, feel, and tips and tricks of Outlook. We encouraged them to embrace the new technology, and they did. We physically gave one-on-one training to every Porsche employee who desired our help, working with users ranging from mechanics to C-level individuals. It was a brand-new system for them, which can be intimidating at first; but once they decided they were for it, they welcomed it with open arms.

For our Corus360 account reps, there are benefits of selling this type of service. Our training services prevented hundreds of phone calls from end users about the look, feel, and functionality of their new Outlook from flooding the Porsche team’s IT help desk. The network operations team told us every day that our presence allowed their team to concentrate on the end users with true technical issues.

Levi: I remember the first day we walked in and everyone thought we were auditors; needless to say, people were a little “robotic.” The beginning of the project was spent getting to know the workforce. We learned what the day-to-day work looked like for these individuals, then moved on to how they worked with each other as a team. Mid-week, when the training/one-on-one interactions were in full swing, their “human” side started to peek out from behind the cold metal housing we were first introduced to. People began to show excitement about the migration and instead of asking, “Where are all my folders?” they began asking things like, “How do I create and manage rules?” They transitioned from asking basic technical questions to asking POWER USER questions! This is one of the most exciting things to hear as an instructor. It means the migration is not only running smoothly with the hardware/software side of things, it also means that users are engaged and on board with the new system. This was a key milestone in the project that let us know we were succeeding. After finalizing the last few account installments and saying our goodbyes to our new friends, we met with the world-class team Porsche provided for the project who signed off on our work and shipped us back to HQ.

Corus360: Were there any specific moments that stood out to you during those two weeks?

Angela: On our end, we were spoiled for two weeks by the company’s hospitality and, most notably, the 5-star Porsche Cafeteria. There was a full staff of chefs adorned in white coats and provided meals that satisfied everyone’s taste buds! That part is definitely on our wish list for the Corus360 office in Atlanta.

Levi: Overall, this has been one of my favorite projects. It wasn’t due to the fact that Corus360’s performance exceeded the expectations of the customer or that each day started and ended with a meeting hosted by Porsche professionals charged with positive energy and ready to solve problems, it was getting to be a part of growing something from nothing and ultimately watching it transform into a success for everyone involved.

Patrick: Like Angela said, the food was amazing and we definitely need to get a cafeteria setup at Corus360 that can serve some of the meals like the one in the picture. They had plenty of cars—old and new—on display, and it was awesome to watch their current models speed on the track!

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