"Google Apps for Business at US$50 per mailbox including 25GB of storage each is very compelling"
Google Apps for Business offers very good integration with Outlook via the free OutlookSync application. This allows Outlook to continue to perform the same as it did with Exchange. Your email, calendar, contacts and tasks are kept in sync with your off-site Google copy in the Cloud.
Most of our customers stop using their outdated Blackberry and start using iPhones and Android phones that offer excellent integration to Google Apps. The iPhone uses the Exchange Sync application available on the iPhone to sync your email, calendar and contacts. So now your Outlook, on-line Gmail and iPhone are all in sync. Read a message on your iPhone and it will show as read in your Outlook. In addition your calendar will now send you an SMS reminder each time you have an appointment!
So if you are considering a Microsoft Exchange upgrade, think again. The benefits to your company are great if you migrate away from a premise based server to Google's Cloud based server. No upgrades will ever be required again! And you will always be using the latest technology and be protected at all times against spam and viruses.
I still debate the value of stop using Outlook. I am very confident about the value outsourcing the email server to Google brings to a business owner, but if users like Outlook and prefer not to change then you can have a completely new system without making a huge change or impact on your users. Over time you can explore the benefits of using the browser client. Many of our users use Gmail as their private email client so have no issue using Gmail in the office. So we leave this option open. I would estimate 75-80% of your value comes from migrating to a Cloud server, an additional 20-25% will come when everyone can leverage the functionality of Google Apps that is only exposed via the browser. Those who stay using Outlook will never be able to progress past where they are today; 2003. The true collaboration benefits only come with use of the browser however staying with Outlook as a first step works very well for most of our clients.
"staying with Outlook as a first step works very well for most of our clients"
Migration of Exchange to Google AppsWe have performed many migrations over the past few years. We have good tools available to migrate the Exchange Server, in the background, to the Cloud without any downtime. The size of your Exchange data store will determine the time it will take to upload all the data to Google's Cloud. In some cases this may take 1 or 2 weeks. Where no data is stored in Exchange and the users have all their email stored locally on their PC, then the process is more distributed so instead of doing a server side migration a client side migration process must be adopted.
Where you have 2-3 Exchange servers it is possible to migrate a single server at a time. And even within a single server, it is possible to take groups of users and migrate them at your own pace.
So there is no reason you should delay your Cloud adoption. Exchange 2003 is now 10 years or more out of date. Move your organisation forward and stay up with the latest technology for only US$50 per user.
Cloud Solutions is a Google Reseller and Consultant in Hong Kong. Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines.