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

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.