Today’s guest blogger is Mo Khan, managing director of Xelleration, a consulting and technology solutions company and a Microsoft Gold Certified partner that provides business intelligence and office automation solutions. Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., the firm works with businesses of all sizes across the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
Over the past couple of years, we’ve watched a slow but steady stream of companies move to the cloud. Like any transformation, cloud-based computing is an evolution that comes in small spurts. We at Xelleration educate our customers about the cloud every day. And while security and trust are still a top concern for people, I believe we are turning the corner. Over the next few years, there’s going to be a tremendous push toward the cloud both because of the economies of scale and price-performance improvements it offers.
Already, we have moved several clients to Microsoft Office 365, and many more are slated to migrate over the next six months. Many of the larger companies we’ve worked with have opted for a hybrid approach to the cloud. Some of these customers are global companies with a distributed workforce that want to transition to the cloud gradually. Others, including some of the defense contractors we work with, want to take a hybrid approach for security and privacy reasons. Unlike Google Apps, Office 365 offers a hybrid approach to the cloud, making it the best choice for any organization that wants to transition to the cloud in phases or permanently keep some of its workloads on-premise.
Office 365: An Enterprise LeaderFor customers that already use Microsoft software, the decision to move to Office 365 over Google Apps is typically an easy one. It’s usually companies that don’t have an existing infrastructure that compare Office 365 to Google Apps before making a decision. You’d be surprised how many customers are already leaning toward Microsoft but just want the reassurance that it’s the best decision. I don’t hear people say, “Google Apps has a better value proposition than Office 365.” Instead, it’s usually: “Convince me to go with Office 365.”
If customers have questions about the difference in various offerings out there, we usually point them to the Gartner Magic Quadrants and market scope reports, which are among the many comparative analyses that have identified Microsoft at the top. As the Magic Quadrant reports show, Microsoft is rated as a leader in all key enterprise capabilities. By comparison, Google only shows up in one category. We also direct customers to media reports such as the recent column published in Information Week called “Google Enterprise: I’m not Impressed.” Customers usually need no more validation.
In some cases, we’ve switched customers to Office 365 because of the limitations they were running into with Google Apps. One customer wanted more integration with Microsoft Office, which presented some challenges with Google Apps. Others wanted to automate business workflows that would have required custom development in Google Apps. While we’ve switched Google customers to Microsoft, I don’t know of any organizations using Office 365 that want to move to Google Apps.
Increased Productivity, Reduced CostsXelleration itself made the transition to Office 365 at the end of 2011, and it’s just incredible how it has helped to increase our efficiency. We have fewer hardware and maintenance needs, and we no longer have to worry about installing software patches or updates, or keeping our system safe from computer viruses.
Another benefit is that Office 365 has significantly reduced our travel costs. With Lync Online, we now hold most of our meetings via videoconferences. Over the past year alone, this has saved thousands of dollars in travel costs, and Xelleration is a small company with about 60 employees. Imagine how much a business with thousands of employees can save. It’s just phenomenal.
Hands down, Office 365 is a great investment for organizations of all sizes–both in terms of increasing productivity and reducing costs.
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