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Look Before You Leap

Look Before You Leap

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Today, we have a guest blog from Tony Tai, Sr. Product Manager on the Office 365 team. He frequently posts to the Why Microsoft Blog. He will share a recently released white paper and learning from customers who found that Google Apps could cost considerably more than the annual fee of $50/user. 



Unable to resist the low price, I invested in an inkjet printer for my home some years ago. The cost was only a couple hundred dollars, so how could I go wrong? Even though I didn’t use the printer that much, the four color cartridges constantly ran out, each one costing me tens of dollars. Within a few months, I realized I had already spent more on the cartridges than I did for the printer itself. 

My experience with the printer reminded me to weigh the add-on costs, not just the purchase cost. In the same way, businesses transitioning to the cloud need to consider the total cost of their web-based productivity software. Google Apps may seem cheaper on the surface. But what about deployment, support, and training costs?

After examining the true costs of adopting Google Apps, many IT leaders tell me they reconsider their decision. For example, a CIO in the insurance industry told me that Google Apps looked attractive from a price perspective, but when employees piloted the software, they discovered serious limitations – including inadequate offline access to productivity applications.

Similarly, a CIO in the retail industry told me the price difference between Microsoft Online Services and Google Apps was minor, particularly considering the overall value of Microsoft Online Services. After concluding that Google Apps posed too big of a risk, he chose Microsoft. 

So what are the hidden costs of Google Apps? We recently released a white paper, “Look Before You Leap into Google Apps,” which examines the true impact of Google Apps on an organization. These identified hidden costs are based on many actual customer experiences. Some of the problems discovered with Google Apps include:

Document fidelity: Opening Microsoft Office documents within Google Apps can create document fidelity problems, making it difficult to work with partners and customers.

Data migration: When moving existing e-mail data to a hosted environment, some may not move and some may be corrupted.

Installation and configuration: Employees may be required to install various software tools to function correctly with Google Apps, creating an IT Help Desk burden.

Missing features: Google Apps lacks several communication and collaboration features found in Microsoft Office, meaning employees lose productivity each day.

IT administration problems: Lost data recovery is not covered in Google’s Service Level Agreement. In addition, Google does not provide 24/7phone-based administrator support.

Security concerns: Google does not support basic end-user security features such as e-mail encryption, the ability to flag messages as confidential or personal, information rights management, and watermark preservation. 

The takeaways are clear. When transitioning to the cloud, choose web-based productivity software that provides an integrated experience and a seamless transition for employees. Be sure this software offers the flexibility to extend communications capabilities. And make certain the software is based on a supported communications platform that you trust. In short, look before you leap.



  • Top Resources on Why Microsoft Website: Part 2 of 3 Last week in part 1 of the Top Resources on the Why

  • Top Resources on Why Microsoft Website: Part 2 of 3 Last week in part 1 of the Top Resources on the Why

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