Security Concerns. Hidden Costs. Document Fidelity. Marketing Hype. No Support. Lack of Roadmap. Oh My!
These are a few of the reasons that the organizations I’ve spoken to have either left Google Apps or simply put it ‘through its paces’ and realized it’s more pony than horse.
You can check out our new site of customer testimonials. In fact, this entire week, I’ll be highlighting similar customers and partners stories, even guest blog entries. Phaeton Automotive blogs about why they left Google Apps on the Exchange Blog. TransCorp of Nigeria also blogs why they picked BPOS over Google Apps at the MS Online Blog. Please also read Chris Capossela's blog on Productivity Applications and the Cloud. UPDATE: Serena Software announces they are leaving Google Apps. Read the customer blog.
Customers Say: “Google Apps isn’t Business Ready.”
Google’s heritage is in advertising. Google Apps was born from consumer applications designed to serve more advertising. There is nothing wrong with this. The Consumerization of IT is very real. However, when you start telling customers to use your consumer product as an enterprise solution, you have to at least deliver the basics – provide support, implement meaningful SLAs, understand enterprise customer’s real concerns about security and privacy, invest in innovation that matters and deliver a real roadmap.
On the latter, Google Apps strategy continues to vacillate. Last week, they were touting Google Apps as a complement that “works well with Office”. In April, they touted Google Apps as “an Office replacement”, while simultaneously admitting that the Google Apps architecture ‘hit a wall’ and needed to be rewritten. With less than 3 weeks’ notice, they pulled offline access for an indefinite period of time and then suffered a widespread outage due to the fact they had deployed ‘preview’ code into the production environment used by paying customers. As a result, many of Google’s customers are hitting walls of a different sort with Google’s whimsical and ‘see what sticks’ approach to the applications their people rely on to get work done.
Rather than just hearing it from me, let’s hear from customers who have tried Google and decided to go with Microsoft solutions:
· “Google Apps is not an enterprise-class solution. It’s a consumer solution, and we did not want to risk our business on it.” - Credit Immobilier de France
· “The Google applications just weren’t robust enough to compete with Office Outlook functionality,” - James C. Nolan Law Firm
· “The Microsoft online and offline applications complement each other. Google is online only and posed compatibility and formatting issues” Competitiveness .
Customers Say: “Google Apps can require more work for IT.”
Google claims to have ‘no dependency on desktop’ software, but some customers quickly found that that in order to “Go Google” they needed to deploy software on the desktop!
For example, IT might need to run and maintain additional servers with Google LDAP Server Sync Tool, separate Postini Directory Sync Tool, separate Free Busy Sync Tool for co-existence while also deploying the following to every users machine; a Gtalk client, Video Conferencing Add In, an Outlook Sync Tool, Google Gears Add In and recommended new browsers.
Again, customers are finding they experience increased support calls, greater end-user training costs, loss in productivity and challenges collaborating with customers and partners:
· “Many of the things you normally expect to be able to do at an enterprise IT management level were not available with Google Apps—things like the ability to easily manage groups and users.” Vinci PLC
· “Google has Google Docs and Google Sites, but what’s the point of having Google Docs when everyone is working in Office Word…If I threw Google in the mix, I’d have to code all that integration.“ Kellwood
· “The ability to have an archiving solution that integrates more fully with our e-mail system gives us a level of integration that we never had before when we using the Google Apps platform” - Phaeton Automotive Group
Customers Say: “$50 per user doesn’t get you much.”
Finally, there’s the attractive price. Even if you ignore all the labor, support and hardware costs mentioned above, other hidden costs quickly emerge. Take a hypothetical example of a 10 person business that requires email, lightweight document editing, Microsoft Office document synching, digital signatures and workflow. The first two are clearly included for the $50 price point. But for the rest of these basic features, the customer must now buy additional software: OffiSync $12/user/yr for Office synchronizing, $358/user/yr for EchoSign’s Digitial Signature Package, $40/user/yr for RunMyProcess Workflow. Total cost: $460/user a year. Not $50.
In addition, these software add on’s have minimal or no integration with Google Apps beyond supporting single sign-on. So you need to factor in development cost of integrating these solutions and managing multiple vendor contracts.
· “Frankly, the Google value proposition is cost based, and once you take that away, what’s left?” - Rexel
· "When we looked at the actual difference in price over a 12-month period, and the amount of grief we'd have gone through with Google, sticking with Microsoft was the clear-cut choice." -SBFI
· “Yes, we might have saved one or two dollars per month going with Google Apps, but it wasn’t worth it. Selecting software that makes it more difficult to work is the wrong way to save money.” - SaaS IT
Why Microsoft: 25 years in Productivity
Juxtapose this with Office, SharePoint and Exchange, which appear as “Leaders” in 8 of 10 Gartner Magic quadrants related to Information Work.* Forrester’s recent IT Pro survey found Google was still a distant Office competitor despite Google’s best attempts to appeal to IT departments with a message of ‘support for’: Outlook, Office files, Active Directory and ActiveSync.
Customers want certainty, reliability, security, privacy, roadmaps and experience when it comes to a mission critical set of scenarios like Productivity, Messaging and Collaboration. That’s why after 25 years, Microsoft Office remains the best suite of applications for the PC, Phone and Browser and it’s why these customers have picked Microsoft as their trusted partner.
* related Gartner Magic Quadrants – Business Intelligence, Enterprise Content Management, Unified Communications, Horizontal Portals, Information Access Technology (Search), Enterprise Wireless E-mail, Social Software in the Workplace. Challenger: Web Content Management, UC as a Service.