The French city of Nantes (Nantes Métropole) has released an open source tool used to schedule its migration to LibreOffice. The shift from proprietary software to the free and open source LibreOffice productivity suite started in 2013 and is intended to save the administration EUR 260,000 per year. The transition was finalised in April 2016.
The tool, LibreOffice Now, was created as part of a global strategy to manage changes among the users, both before and during the transition. Change management was at the centre of this migration project, said IT project manager Eric Ficheux, since 5,000 agents’ workstations needed to shift to LibreOffice. To succeed, Ficheux and his team started the migration process with small-scale pilots, each covering 300 agents, and won the support of key actors in the administration. One of the challenges during the transition was to collect information on the agents’ business needs and usage. One of their main concerns, for instance, turned out to be the migration of macros.
Customised information supports migration
Now posted on GitHub, LibreOffice Now is a PHP tool which automates the selection of users and the collection of information through a questionnaire. The GitHub documentation reads: “the tool is designed to put or remove user accounts of predefined groups according to the answers to the questionnaire”. It can also be used to organise the migration campaign.
LibreOffice Now starts by sending each user an email pointing to a form they need to fill out. The form collects information on how the agent uses their tools on a daily basis. Based on their answers, LibreOffice Now then automatically sends back an email with personalised information. For example, it can suggest training to help the agent shift their own macros to LibreOffice. LibreOffice Now is also connected to the administration’s automated update system, so it can be used to trigger the start of the technical transition to LibreOffice on individual workstations, Eric Picheux said.