Google's Case For Switching From Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps

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Google is continuing its push to gain on Microsoft in the enterprise space. On Google’s Enterprise Blog, there’s a profile of application software company, Serena, which migrated from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps recently. The story of course is that the company saved a lot of time, resources and money in switching over to Google Apps.

We thought about replacing our on-premise solution, but to tell the truth, we were skeptical. I, personally, had been a Microsoft admin for 15 years, and Microsoft technologies were ingrained in my thought processes. But Google Apps provided many pluses: Gmail, Google’s Postini messaging security software and 25 GB of mailbox space, as well as greater uptime and 24/7 phone support.

Apps also offered reliable mobile access and included other Google productivity and collaboration applications, such as Google Docs for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations – all at $50 per user per year. The cost savings would amount to a whopping $750,000 per year. All this added up to the ability to save the company money and to transition to a more advanced, flexible infrastructure.

Google Apps, a suite of productivity services first launched in 2006, and has evolved from there. Today more than 1 million businesses use Google apps and “hundreds of millions of dollars” is generated in revenue.

But Google knows that in the enterprise, Outlook is still king and not everyone is ready to switch just yet to browser-based email, calendars and contact management. Which is why Google recently announced a new plug-in, called Google App Sync, that will sync Google’s enterprise versions of Gmail, contacts, and calendar with Microsoft’s Outlook, allowing employees to use Outlook if that is what they are comfortable with. Google Apps will run the system on the backend. The new syncing tool currently works only on Windows and is available for (paying) enterprise customers.

Using case examples like Serena Software, Google is trying to show the cost benefits of Google Apps over Microsoft Exchange and Google is claiming that its enterprise apps cost less than half of Microsoft Exchange. Google says Google Apps costs companies $8.47 per user per month while Microsoft Exchange online is $20.32. Though there has been some question as to whether Google has a viable enterprise strategy, it appears that the tech giant has made some compelling strategic moves. But, Google still has a long road to evangelize the plethora of Microsoft Exchange users in the enterprise space. It will no doubt be fascinating to see how they encounter this challenge.

  • John Quincy

    Leena come on!, being a Microsoft Admin does not mean you worked for Microsoft. That’s actually a pretty funny mistake, TC needs to stick to consumer stories and leave real computing to actual computer people

  • http://www.edswebtech.com ANIL

    nice blog

  • http://www.hyperoffice.com/ Pankaj

    Leena,

    I would like to point out that Google App Sync is by no means a new and novel offering. An inexpensive “Exchange Alternative” which allows companies to continue using their beloved Outlook has long been an enticing proposition, especially for SMBs, for whom the costs of Exchange are simply too high.

    To provide for this need, we at HyperOffice created a plugin for Outlook called HyperShare as far back as in early 2006 as a free inclusion to the HyperOffice online collaboration suite. Like Google’s new tool, HyperShare acts as a backend for Outlook, and also synchs between Outlook and the HyperOffice’s online collaboration suite, allowing users access to collaboration features through the familiar Outlook client. HyperShare brings much functionality which isn’t present in the Google App Sync tool even now.

    1) Google Sync doesn’t include synching for tasks, nor will it in the foreseeable future, as its online client does not contain a task management system. HyperShare in contrast, also allows task synching, as their online client includes task management. This is in addition to HyperOffice allowing synching for mail, contacts and calendars like Google.

    2) The user experience of Google Apps is drastically different from the Outlook experience. This will cause problems for users familiar with Outlook, and looking to migrate to Google Apps as an alternative to Exchange. HyperOffice’s online client on the other hand, has the familiar left navigation which lets users easily navigate between individual and group folders within mail, contacts, calendars and tasks.

    3) The components of Google Apps are more designed to work for an individual, rather than in group situations. For example, there is no “shared contacts” or “group contacts” area in Gmail through which you can share and manage contact information as groups. HyperOffice, on the other hand, has been designed as a group tool, and mirrors the functionality of Outlook, which has been designed as an individual as well as group tool.

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  • Network Admin

    So… Google has a pay version, and is helping to save people hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Everything seems great right now, it’s very low cost, and so on. But I think in the future they will start charging for their ‘new features’ and increased space. Since at that point, alot of companies will have switched, and will not even think twice about going back and having to start from scratch again with Hardware and licensing IMO. It may still be cheaper, but at that point, who’s the next low cost alternative to gmail apps?

    Anon

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  • http://www.hyperoffice.com Pankaj

    Since Google Apps and Microsoft product comparisons rule the roost nowadays, we did a comparison of Google Apps and Microsoft BPOS, Microsoft’s closest parallel. Although there have been a lot of comparisons between Google Apps and MS Exchange, and Google Apps and MS SharePoint, a BPOS is the closest because like Google Apps it is hosted, and has messaging as well as collaboration features. You can see the comparison at http://www.hyperoffice.com/google-apps-vs-microsoft-bpos/

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