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Marketing in the Millennial Age Requires Out of the Box Thinking

Posted By Catherine Broussard, CLE Director, Atlanta Bar Association Co-Chair, Local & Specialty Bar SIG, Friday, July 19, 2019

career development

As a new employee of a bar association with a background in marketing and communications, I believed I was fully equipped to tackle the “CLE World.” What I didn’t realize is helping volunteer attorneys foster the development and presentation of high quality, cost-effective continuing legal education programs requires tenacity, which I have. But I learned quickly that more is required to ensure our volunteers have everything they need to provide compelling CLE topics that interest our members, including millennials, so they register for programs and join the Atlanta Bar Association. Sometimes it feels like I’m “herding cats” to keep everyone on point with deadlines as we work together to develop engaging presentations. But that’s okay with me because in the end, we always seem to produce good, quality programs.

Two “out of the box” tactics that help me be more efficient include:

  • Seeking the assistance of law students, which exposes them to our Association, helps with logistics, and offers them opportunities to network with speakers. Perhaps in the future providing opportunities to connect via an online portal where they could ask questions and get answers could be beneficial. This could also be of value to others if they were able to view the exchanges.
  • Making notes about speakers and using the information to write personalized thank you cards and taking pictures and sending them to speakers (along with a line or two of text from their presentation) to use in company newsletters and social media marketing has been well received.

It’s no secret that memberships in associations are down and reversing the decline requires additional out-of-the-box thinking, particularly when it comes to engaging millennials. Is it a generational shift that requires different marketing strategies for millennials in order to increase registrations and memberships? Probably.
I think we all should be thinking about putting more emphasis on marketing via social media since millennials generally don’t respond as well to traditional marketing. According to the Pew Research Center, they are more attached to networks of friends and colleagues through social media and represent 35% of this country’s workforce.

With the above information in mind, perhaps we need to focus on engaging young lawyers through new social media strategies and offering additional CLEs that have a social media component, including addressing corporate risks and ethical obligations. Maybe even consider increasing our website engagement by blending together the power of technology with interactive conversations on hot topic industry-related questions. These tactics could increase engagement, registrations, and interest in our Associations.

What follows are steps to consider to increase membership and engagement among young lawyers:

  • Add more social media content that provides links to hot topics like essential cloud- based tech tools for lawyers, mistakes lawyers make with technology, global cybersecurity laws for lawyers, and how pro bono work can boost your profile and career, to name a few.
  • Increase networking and mentoring opportunities that provide avenues to develop young lawyers into future leaders.
  • As previously mentioned, provide a mechanism for inexperienced attorneys to ask hot topic/industry-related questions and request answers from seasoned attorneys.

We all need committed and engaged members, and doing business a little differently when we think “out of the box” could be the best way to harness the energy of young lawyers. It’s certainly a way for them to see our Associations as providing added value that enhances career growth.

Tags:  career  career development  marketing 

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In the Loop Gets a Makeover

Posted By Tim Slating, Chair, Communications Committee, Thursday, June 13, 2019

ACLEA In The Loop logo

Whether you’re reading this in the new e-newsletter or on the website blog, you’re probably noticing something different. In the Loop has a new look! After years of maintaining a separate newsletter and website blog, ACLEA is bringing its two main communications channels under the same brand—and giving that brand a snazzy new design.

In the Loop:  The website blog

As part of the rebranding effort, ACLEA’s Blog will now be called In the Loop. In addition to all the quality content that has always resided on the blog, the rebrandedblog will also house the columns and articles that previously only appeared in the In the Loop newsletter. These articles will be posted on a continuous basis so that members can check in on the blog from time to time and always find new content.

In the Loop:  The e-newsletter

While the ACLEA newsletter has always been called In the Loop, it now has a new design and format.  Instead of being formatted as a PDF newsletter that is posted on the ACLEA website, the new In the Loop e-newsletter has a sleek design that features headlines and teasers that link back to the In the Loop blog, where all the content now resides. The redesigned In the Loop e-newsletter will be emailed to members every other month.

Get Involved

As always, ACLEA is hungry for member-written content to feature on the blog and in the e-newsletter. To submit content or make content suggestions, simply email me at Also, if you’re looking for a low-commitment way to get more involved in ACLEA, the Communications Committee is always looking for new members—feel free to reach out to me to volunteer or ask any questions you might have.

I hope you like the new look for In the Loop!

Tags:  ACLEA  In the Loop 

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Update on Vendors and Speakers SIG

Posted By Michael Kahn, Chair of Vendors and Speakers SIG, Thursday, June 6, 2019
meeting attendees

The ACLEA Annual Meeting in Chicago will be the third meeting of the Vendors and Speakers SIG as we continue to gain momentum with our new identity. I envision our SIG as a place where vendors and speakers will discuss successes/challenges and build a supportive community. Ideally, members will leave with (and share) practical nuggets of wisdom and guidance. Some prompts we have utilized to generate discussion are:

  1. If you were doing a TedTalk for CLE vendors or speakers, what would be the two points you would structure the talk around?
  2. What is a measure of success at an ACLEA or any conference?
  3. Identify a goal you would like to have completed or at least started by the next ACLEA conference.

Additionally, we will identify highlights from relevant breakout sessions. Of course, we will discuss how the ACLEA conferences can be improved while also avoiding too much “problem talk.” Having said all that, please let me know how the SIG can be most helpful to you. One administrative note, we are looking for someone to co-chair with me and fill Kim Kett’s large shoes. Please let me know if you are interested ( See you in in Chicago!

Tags:  conference  SIGs  vendors and speakers SIG 

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Trends in CPD Program Attendance

Posted By Andrea Johnston, Director of Admissions & Education, Law Society of Saskatchewan (International SIG, Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Untitled Document
event attendees

Decreased In-Person Program Attendance

There are many considerations that go into making continuing professional development (“CPD”) events successful, so keeping tabs on all the trends and changes in the industry is crucial if we are to provide the most useful and effective programming possible. Of course, the most important feature of any program is having people actually show up. Unfortunately, overall attendance at in-person CPD events has been declining for a couple years now, and that trend has become even more pronounced recently in Canadian jurisdictions (and I suspect internationally as well). There are a number of potential reasons for this, to name a few:

  • The convenience of on-demand CPD;
  • Alternative delivery methods resulting from technological advances;
  • Increased competition as improved technology allows members to attend CPD events remotely from other jurisdictions; and
  • The availability of recorded versions after live CPD events.

CPD Program Topic Preferences

Statistics tell us that program content remains an important factor in CPD attendance numbers. Despite the fact that we have increasing data to show that most complaints and insurance claims faced by lawyers relate to practice management issues and other non-substantive law topics (e.g., communication, technology, time management, resilience, etc.), most members do not want to pay for that type of training. Many lawyers will acknowledge that those are all important skills for lawyers to possess; however, very few think that they need training in those areas. While free sessions still generate decent attendance, the majority of members only seem willing to pay for substantive law topics, even though “soft-skills” training is clearly an area where many lawyers have the greatest room for improvement.

What are we doing to adjust to these trends?


Typically, at the Law Society of Saskatchewan, we have delivered most of our in-person seminars in both of our two major urban centers. Starting this month, however, we are offering some in-person seminars in just one location and live-streaming it for people in other locations. Hopefully, the registration figures for each alternative will provide guidance as to where we should focus.

Of course, if it turns out that most members prefer the live-streaming option we could end up having presenters speaking to rooms with only a handful of attendees. If this is the case, it may be advisable to switch to fully remote presentations for some seminars. And, while this would reduce costs (facilities, catering, staff travel) and increase flexibility for attendees, presenters who are used to traditional seminars may not be supportive of the change which could lead to a decrease in the availability of volunteer presenters.

Adopt Other On-Demand Delivery Methods

As we see our members’ preference for on-demand CPD increase in a world where new technology is being introduced at an astronomical rate, we can (and should) be adopting new delivery methods for our CPD programming. Of course, as is the case with many things, that is easier said than done. In an ideal world, we would offer a comprehensive suite of interactive, online, on-demand programming to our members which they can work through at their convenience in an engaging and reflective manner. The challenge is the time, money and expertise it takes to develop this type of programming. In Saskatchewan, we are hoping to roll out an online, interactive course sooner than later, but at this point we have not even settled on a platform … so there is still plenty of work to do.

Reduce the Cost

No matter the industry, nothing increases demand like lowering the price. As the Law Society of Saskatchewan, we are both the governing body as well as a CPD provider, which affords us some flexibility that other CPD providers may not have. We can offer free (or discounted) CPD events related to non-substantive topics that, as a governing body we feel are important for our membership, but which don’t typically generate high attendance if we charge full price for them. Examples are topics related to indigenous cultural competency training pursuant to the Truth & Reconciliation Calls to Action; Law Society initiatives; pro bono services; equity, diversity & inclusion; working with victims of sexual violence; and the integration of internationally-trained lawyers.

Problems we face by applying this approach are that it devalues the education we provide generally, and we see members specifically waiting for the free sessions rather than registering for those they have to pay for (even if a particular paid session is more relevant to their practice). This could both further reduce the attendance at our full price sessions and result in potentially less relevant training for our members. So, although we have the flexibility to offer free (or discounted) CPD programming, we are finding that doing so may cause more harm than good in the long run.

Make Programs Mandatory

Another option available to us (because we are the governing body) is to make certain topics or specific programs mandatory. The Law Society of Saskatchewan is considering adopting an expanded definition of competence that could include areas such as cultural competency, technology skills and/or mental health & wellness training. Making these types of CPD programs mandatory would obviously result in a dramatic increase in attendance, and hopefully an increase in competence in those areas. It could be done either by prescribing specific programs or by prescribing a minimum number of hours to be accumulated in each area while allowing the members to choose among a variety of programs. However, there are always risks with forcing education on our members, the most problematic one being the risk of generating member resentment towards these important topics, or CPD generally.

Strike a Balance

Although the mandate of the Law Society of Saskatchewan CPD Department is to “fill the gaps” in member training, the gaps seem to exist with non-substantive topics, which many members are not willing to pay for. The gaps tend to exist because very few providers are interested in delivering training that does not draw a crowd. So, our challenge is striking a balance between both substantive and non-substantive topics, as well as, in person, remote and on-demand programs, in order to satisfy member preferences, while also increasing member competence and “filling the gaps”…not an insignificant task.

Every industry needs to embrace change in order to remain current, relevant, and effective—CPD is no different. It is important that we deliver programming that delivers topical and relevant information while still drawing enough members to be viable. Each of the above options includes its own set of pros and cons but the one thing we can’t afford to do is remain static.

Tags:  attendance  continuing professional development  cpd  on-demand  professional development 

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Reflections on Community

Posted By Heidi A. Ray, Colorado Bar Association Continuing Legal Education, Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Untitled Document

On a summer vacation in London last summer, my husband and I spent a day visiting the British Library and the British Museum, where we had the privilege to take in many symbols that chronicle western civilization.

rosetta stone

In the British Library, I saw the Rosetta Stone. Dating from 196 B.C., the hieroglyphics written on this black, monolithic rock allowed linguists to decode Egyptian writing and open the window of Egyptian history, which is as long and fertile as the Nile. Unearthed again in 1799, it took scholars 20 years to decipher that the Stone contained three versions of the same text. The Rosetta Stone has been on continuous display in the British Museum since 1802, and is the most visited exhibit in the Museum.

I have always been fascinated by language. Did you know that in the Russian language, the word for “world” is the same as the word for “peace”? In German, the word “gemütlich” cannot really be translated, although “cozy,” “warm,” and “comfortable” put together come close. The Eskimos have 50 words to describe “snow.” Indeed, the words we choose to communicate reflect our culture, and our culture is a mirror of our language.

As I stood on tiptoes in the buzzing, echoing, high-ceilinged hall where the Rosetta Stone stands behind thick glass amid throngs of tourists speaking many languages, I wept to think of this Stone as one of our birthplaces of all language … communication … and community.

I thought of our tiny community huddling around the Stone. I thought of the community that was London protecting the Stone as the Nazis bombed the city for 57 consecutive days during the Blitz of World War II. I thought of the 6.82 million visitors the Museum saw walk through its doors in 2016, and every year since the Stone arrived in 1802. I felt wrapped warmly in the rich, layered quilt of generations, cultures, and peace-loving people.

Later that afternoon, in a dimly lit room of the British Library, I saw one of the four remaining copies of the Magna Carta.  It stands as the basis for England’s system of government, and by the winding path of history, the United States. One of the undying tenets of this document that has endured for centuries is that no one is above the law. No one. Not the King. Not the Queen. Not the President. Our brothers and sisters around the globe have almost unanimously agreed that we are created equal under the eyes of the law. As an attorney, I read this document as the text that binds civilized societies. As a global community, there is a consensus that there are no “others.”

I also read the words of what would become the lyrics of a “A Hard Day’s Night” scrawled in John Lennon’s hand on the back of a birthday card he had given to his son Julian. The note was a father’s apology to his son for the long hours spent on the road away from home. I saw Beethoven’s scribbled symphonies – erased and marked over a dozen times before he decided on the right harmony; Mozart’s melodies — his creative genius manifested perfectly the first time he transcribed it from his imagination to the page; and Chopin’s score — tiny, neat and tight — I had to squint to read it. I read a note from Sylvia Plath to her editor about the gift that insomnia had been to her writing (how I wish I had this gift), and the original, billowy sketches of Leonardo da Vinci.

As I took in these wonders, all manner of humanity noisily scurried around me: languages, cultures, races, clothing, age, politics, and religion. I remembered that while we’re all together, we bring with us all of our differences, our lenses, prejudices, problems, pasts, and peeves. Despite our differences, we spoke to each other with nods and smiles, a wave of the hand, or a bow of the head. We broke bread beside each other at cafés, we said ‘excuse me’ when we bumped into each other crowding around the mummies, and we grinned politely as we passed the sarcophagi ... in peace and civility … as bloody and futile wars raged on all over the world outside the museum walls.

As I stood in the airy expanse of the bright, white, marble bustling Great Court of the British Museum, time hung over my head like a triptych.  I thought about our past, fiercely protected by museums, books, and in the stories of our elders.  I thought about two presents: one international buzzing harmony immediately around me and another so violently divided outside the hallowed museum walls.  And finally, I thought about our future.

What will remain of us in museums in 2,000 years? With much of our world so sharply divided, will it be the remnants of an iPhone XXXX like a stone tablet behind bulletproof glass? Pieces of a wall built between the United States and Mexico? Tour guides telling stories about how Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple were the gods that finally turned our souls to dust and ended civilization as we know it?

I achingly hope these are not our legacy. If we are to survive 2,000 more years, it is my belief that it will be because people from all over the world will visit a museum to see a 7-ton granite statue of our first female President. I hope the tour guides retell history in many languages about the people of our time who came together and rose up against hatred, racism, and bigotry like nothing the world had ever seen. I believe this is the only path available to us now to save not only our democracies, but our very civilization. And I hope they will say that the Beethovens and Shakespeares and DaVincis of our time – our diverse community – mirrored back to us the hard truths we needed to see … brought us from inert to inspired … from talkers into listeners … and from our knees to action.

Tags:  community  legacy 

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Get to Know Your ACLEA Executive Committee Member Tim Slating

Posted By Administration, Friday, May 24, 2019
ACLEA News, Get to know your Executive Committee Members
Tim Slating

Name: Tim Slating
Organization: Illinois State Bar Association
Position: Assistant Executive Director, Communications

1.  What did you do in your pre-CLE life and what brought you to the CLE world?

Prior to law school, I was a project manager for a construction company. After law school, I stuck around the University of Illinois, worked at a biosciences research institute, and taught a course on the law of renewable energy. I then joined the staff of the ISBA, took over responsibility for the bar’s book program, and the rest is history.

2.  How long have you been a member of ACLEA?

Ever since I started working for the bar in 2013.

3.  What do you remember from your first ACLEA meeting?

How friendly and welcoming everyone was. And meeting my bootcamp mentor Diane Morrison, who remains a dear friend.

4.  What has surprised you most about being a member of ACLEA?

How freely everyone shares their business strategies and their successes and failures.

5.  What other leadership positions(s) within ACLEA did you hold before joining the Executive Committee?

I continue to serve as the co-chair of the State & Provincial Bars SIG and as the co-chair of the Communications Committee.

6.  What motivated you to become a member of ACLEA’s Executive Committee?

I wanted to give back to the wonderful community that has given me so much.  And as a communications director, which is somewhat of a rarity in ACLEA, I felt that I was in a good position to bring a new and needed perspective to the Executive Committee.

7.  What would you tell someone who is thinking about running for a position on the ACLEA Executive Committee?

Just do it! It’s an exceptionally rewarding experience.

8.  What do you think is the most important issue facing CLE organizations today?

Finding a sustainable business model as more and more bar associations transition to a free CLE model where CLE is provided as a member benefit. If a trend emerges where mandatory bars begin to shift to voluntary bars, I think free CLE offerings will increase as they’ll be an important component of the value proposition that will need to be offered to attract members.

9.  What do you think will change about CLE in the next five years?

The proliferation of new, innovative, and online/remote delivery methods.

10.  If you weren’t involved in CLE, what do you think you would be doing instead?

Working for the ACLU or an environmental not-for-profit.

11.  What do you like to do when you aren’t working?

Go see live music, get my canoe wet, or play frisbee with my dog.

12.  Tell us one thing that the ACLEA membership should definitely know about you.

If one of my favorite bands is within a reasonable driving distance, you can guarantee that I’ll be trying to get there.

Tags:  get to know  member 

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Benefits of Being an ACLEA Sponsor/Exhibitor

Posted By Amy Ihrke, Co-Chair, Exhibitor/Sponsor Committee, Wednesday, May 22, 2019

ACLEA's 55th Annual Meeting in Chicago

Many of us in the CLE world are accustomed to seeking out sponsors and exhibitors for our programs and events. Securing sponsors/exhibitors can be demanding and many of you have probably been asked by a potential sponsor/exhibitor what benefit will they get from being at your event. Potential benefits are numerous and include both tangible and intangible factors. 

Face-to-Face Meetings

One of the most important intangible factors is getting to meet potential customers face-to-face. By being able to tailor messaging, in-person meetings give sponsors/exhibitors the opportunity to address attendee-specific issues and help attendees better understand the product/service being provided.

Brand Awareness & Visibility

Brand awareness and visibility also increase with sponsorship/exhibiting. Most events, at the very least, offer prominent displays of logos and names on all event materials and on social media platforms promoting the event. Many times, there are branded promotional opportunities too — bags, notepads, and WiFi are just a few. Social media promotion allows exhibitors/sponsors to connect not only with the event host, but also directly with potential customers. 


Sponsoring or exhibiting at an event can give the sponsor/exhibitor an edge over their competition, especially if the competitor isn’t at the event.  Sponsors/exhibitors have direct access to customers their competition may not.          

Lead Generation & ROI

Quantitative benefits include efficient lead generation and return on investment. Your event offers an opportunity for sponsors/exhibitors to meet lots of well-matched customers face-to-face over a short timeframe and leave with a list of leads. Your event can be the start of quality relationships between your attendees and sponsors/exhibitors.      

Next time you’re engaging with sponsors/exhibitors for your event, remind them of these great benefits.

I hope to see you all in Chicago!  And if you’re interested in sponsoring/exhibiting at ACLEA Chicago, check out the details and sign up today, space is limited! We have tons of great opportunities to meet customers face-to-face during networking breaks and you can raise your brand visibility with different sponsor levels. You’re sure to create lots of great leads and foster quality connections.

Tags:  ACLEA Annual Meeting 

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Ready for the Future?

Posted By Jill Hoefling, Publications SIG Co-Chair, Wednesday, April 10, 2019

I joined ACLEA in 2000, the year also known as “Y2K.” The numeroynm was an abbreviation for the year 2000 software problem related to the formatting and storage of calendar data. Back in the 1960s, computer memory was expensive and scarce, so programmers decided to use a two-digit number to represent the four-digit year. Which wasn’t a problem until, well, the approach of the year 2000. Programmers scrambled to fix the problem and for the most part, things worked okay, but we learned a valuable lesson: when it comes to technology, we always need to be looking ahead.

For the nearly two decades I’ve been around, the Publications SIG has been discussing how to keep our products offerings relevant as technology transforms the legal industry. We know lawyers are typically “late-adopters” of technology, but according to the results of the Wolters Kluwer 2019 Future Ready Lawyer Survey, lawyer use of transformational technologies will double by 20222. The survey of 700 professionals from law firms, corporate legal departments, and business services firms focuses on current state, future priorities, and preparedness in three key areas: tools and technology; client needs and expectations; and organization and talent. The resulting report is a great resource for those of us planning products and programs for lawyers. The key trends expected to impact legal organizations over the next three years are:

  • Coping with increased volume and complexity of information;
  • Emphasizing improved efficiency and productivity;
  • Understanding legal technology of highest value;
  • Meeting changing client and leadership expectations; and
  • Coping with financial issues, including greater competition, new and alternative fee structures, and cost containment pressures.

The free survey report has a great deal of interesting statistics and findings, including how firms currently use foundational, enabling, and transformational technology; the emerging generation gap with transformational technologies; the top reasons new technology is resisted; and much more. I highly recommend checking it out!

Tags:  Publications SIG  Technology 

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With all the change, one thing remains the same: ACLEA conferences rock!

Posted By 55th Mid-Year Meeting Chair Sarah Fluke, State Bar of Arizona, Monday, December 10, 2018
Untitled Document

CLE Rising - ACLEA 2019 Mid-Year Meeting Logo

Oh sweet change, how I love thee, let me count the ways. I know some don’t share my feelings for change but I for one, love it. It gives us an opportunity to look at things from a different perspective and see things we haven’t seen before. It challenges us to redefine our goals and refocus on what’s important.

There has been a lot of talk about how different it will be at the Mid-Year Meeting in Phoenix. It’s only two days. The event will be at a law school instead of a hotel. Sessions will be in classrooms instead of hotel conference spaces. There are three workshops to choose from instead of four. There is one group event instead of two. Have I convinced you NOT to register yet? Hang in there and keep reading.

As the legal industry changes, so must we. The Phoenix Planning Committee was tasked by the Executive Committee to come up with something innovative and fresh. To design a conference that focused on the content and met attendees where they are in their career. We have accomplished just that. With our tracks Better, Stronger, and Inspired, we have developed content for the newer attendee, the experienced attendee, and the attendee who needs a little motivation and inspiration. The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law offers a perfect setting for this approach. It’s beautiful, sleek, and state of the art classrooms encourage collaboration and learning. You will also see new faces in your workshops. There are 19 speakers who are excited to engage with you that have never spoken at ACLEA before.

We didn’t forget about boot camp. The State Bar of Arizona will host boot campers on Friday January 25 in our beautiful CLE center. With Rob Seto as our master of ceremonies, attendees will feel welcome right off the bat. The same great content will be offered to help build a solid foundation for those new to ACLEA and the CLE world. 

There is still plenty of time to build new relationships and strengthen current relationships with other members and our beloved vendors. The Membership Committee is offering three dine-around options on Friday and Sunday night. With almost an hour and a half in scheduled breaks each day, you are sure to find time to chat with your favorite vendor and build relationships with new vendors. Your SIG luncheons and committee meetings remain the same so you can touch base with your peers and get a sense for what’s happening globally.  Oh, and there’s the food!  Breakfast each morning, lunch at the ticketed SIG events, snacks, and our networking event on Saturday night. You will not go hungry!

I am excited to see you all in my hometown in January. Phoenix is a magical place when it’s not 197 degrees outside. The birds are chirping, the cactus are blooming, and the Phoenicians are smiling. Downtown Phoenix has become quit the spot for foodies, sports fans, culture seekers and those looking to relax and take it all in. Early bird registration is available through January 7 — so register today

See you in Phoenix!

Tags:  Mid-Year Meeting 

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Office 365 vs G Suite

Posted By Lisa Wise, CE21, Friday, November 30, 2018
Untitled Document

To switch or not to switch. That is the question.
Whether ‘tis nobler in the minds to suffer
The slings and arrows of tech troubles
Or to take up the learning curve of implementation
And by changing them, end them.

Let me start with a caveat, I love G Suite. But I wasn’t always such a G Suite evangelist. Once upon a time, I worked for a small company that ran everything on Microsoft Office and Outlook. Some folks had to even settle for the free version of office tools, like Libre Office or Open Office. Then we were bought out by the largest printing company in the world, and they switched us over to G Suite. Panic ensued. How could they do this to us?! This was followed by several months of warning that all of our emails would disappear as they switched from a server-based service over to a cloud-based solution. We were also told that going forward, no one would get their Office licenses updated. WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO MY BEAUTIFUL REPORTS?! The idea of the switch felt dire at the time, because humans in general just hate change. However, in the end, it was rather uneventful. If I really needed that email from 6 years ago (hint: I didn’t) then the IT group had stashed it away just in case.

How could this giant of the printing world want to use such an inferior product? This was many years ago, and G Suite was relatively new in the enterprise sector. What were they thinking? Well, frankly, once we got settled into the system, it made perfect sense. They have an international company with over 50,000 employees. They need to quickly and efficiently collaborate across business units. Over the next year, I was continuously being floored by what G Suite could accomplish that I struggled to do in Outlook/Office. Now I’m a full convert.

Before I dive into why I love G Suite, I want to state up front that I asked several IT professionals while I was writing this blog what they love and hate about Outlook or G Suite. I was first informed that it is no longer “Outlook” but rather, Office 365, and that the update there has been for the better. They have all said that Office 365, in the last few years, has come a long way. They now have their version of the cloud-based solution, which allows for more collaboration, for example. When I then ask them what these IT professionals use personally, however, it was always G Suite. So take that with a grain of salt. But because of this, I have made a list at the bottom of some of the reasons why a person may choose to stay on Office 365. I took their suggestions of why they have NOT switched some of their offices over to G Suite. There are some valid reasons, I will admit. But I’m still going to tell you that the switch — to me — is worth it.

Why choose G Suite?:

  1. Price: While it's not free, like the personal version of gmail, the cost is much better when compared to the costs of running Office 365. Especially when you factor in the features that you get with the simplest G Suite which is comparable to Office 365 Business Premium. If you don’t need unlimited storage data (and most of us don’t), the basic is ample. So $5 vs $12.50 per month/per user is quite the savings. Even if you want to upgrade to unlimited storage (at $10/month - and something that Office 365 doesn’t even offer), a small office of 20 people would stand to save $600 per year. Now you get why RR Donnelley with its 50,000+ employees worldwide opted for G Suite. And I’m pretty sure we all had the Basic version at $5 per user/month (for fun, that’s a price savings of 4.5 million dollars a year… not peanuts).
    • The doc types that you’re able to create/download in even the basic G Suite are pdf, ppt, doc, xls, even html or epub. But have you played with Forms, though? They are seriously cool.
    • You can compare features here:
      1. G Suite
      2. Office 365
  2. Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration: I honestly cannot express this enough. For example, I’ve collaborated with about 5 different people on an RFP and the turnaround time for that was a fraction of the amount of time it would have taken if we had to wait until so-and-so was finished with his portion before tackling our own. I also use Google sheets (spreadsheets) to collaborate with partners outside of my organization to track the status of product development. While all of the articles I read did mention Office 365 is better at collaboration than its predecessor, everyone still praised G Suite specifically on the ease of collaboration.
  3. Instant Saving: Ever had a power outage? With Word docs, if you forget to save and something happens, all is lost. Sometimes it’ll remember something close to the end of what you were working on. However, with G Suite, the document is being saved constantly, assuming an internet connection.
    • Similarly, have you ever had a person in your office make edits to something they shouldn't have? Or maybe they delete a whole, important, paragraph? G Suite has revision history so you can go back in time on the document to before they messed up your work.
  4. Email images and links render better: My company sends links out via email (reminders for online CLE programs for example). We’ve found that if ever anyone is having problems with the URL links, Outlook is the culprit. Picture scaling and other HTML features don’t get rendered as smartly either.
  5. App integration: I’m integrated with Copper (a Salesforce-style app), Hiver (a collaborative email-sharing app), and my calendar can either instantly add a video conference from Zoom or GoToMeeting. It seems that everyone wants to integrate with Google. G Suite is the belle of the ball and everyone wants to dance with her.
  6. Sites: Google has an incredible collaborative feature called Sites. You can use this to create internal-facing or even external (albeit simple) websites. We currently use one as a company wiki that helps our tech support understand processes and rules of every different client and industry.
  7. Searching: You know that Google is now a common verb for internet searching, right? They do a pretty decent job at it. Well, they apply that tech to their emails and Drive (where you store all your documents). Gone are the days of needing to meticulously store all your emails in the right folder so that you can find them in a year on that CYA activity. So deal with and then just archive your email. No need to figure out which bucket it goes into. Search will find anything quickly.
  8. Calendar: I just love my google calendar. It shows up on my phone. I can integrate it with my own personal gmail calendar too, so I can compare my personal life with my work life. The calendar sharing between my coworkers is also incredibly easy.
  9. Chrome: G Suite works so seamlessly with the Chrome browser. If I have to sell you on why Chrome is a superior browser to Internet Explorer… well… Just trust me and stop using IE, ok?

In my opinion, this is just scratching the surface of the great G Suite features. This is just a blog post, though, and not a dissertation, so I’ll stop here. Plus, I’m a bit worried with the changes that I may be claiming that Office 365 can’t do something that it now CAN do. So I’ll just give you these other great comparisons, more succinctly written, and maybe a little more platform-agnostic than I’ve been:

(Want more? I’ve Googled it for you… See what I did there?)

As promised though, I do have a few reasons to stick with Microsoft tools instead.

  1. Like I said, and have read, Office 365 has changed a lot in the last few years and I’ve been told that Microsoft has been making great strides with all of its tools. That coupled with the fact that they now have a cloud-based solution (unlike Outlook which is hosted locally) that offers collaboration, it really is a more viable solution. I think Microsoft has seen the Google Doodle on the wall and have made pretty good strides to changing their own platform.
  2. You need to be able to create documents offline.
    • Is anyone ever really offline anymore?? No, really?
    • However, Google docs will keep the changes you’ve made offline and when you’ve come back online will go back to the document and save the updates.
  3. Spreadsheets. Look, I’m an Excel nerd. I can write most of the formulas I need from memory. But most folks can’t. Even I have a version of Excel on my computer. I didn’t buy any of the other Office tools. I think, however, you can’t do that anymore. You have to buy their whole suite, or maybe even get a license to 365 now.
  4. Some folks really shut down when you show them any new technology. Those folks are typically not going to like any new interface, no matter the benefits offered.
  5. Some industries/companies require you use a specific document type not supported by G Suite. One IT guy I talked to said that the lawyers he works with must have everything written up in Wordperfect. This is actually a whole debate apparently...
  6. Changing technology can be a very large undertaking. You may not have the time and energy in your organization to make such a switch.
    • So, ok. But are you at least on Office 365 rather than Outlook?

Honestly, I care most about the whole collaboration thing… it’s the wave of the future. So long as you’ve got the ability to do that, I’m not going to be mad at you. Just please don’t sit on broken workflows rather than learning a new (awesome) thing.

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