Employees say ‘No Thanks’ to Google Apps for Business

This week, a CIO magazine article revealed many of the reasons that New England Biolabs decided to stick with Microsoft after a 60 day evaluation of Google Apps for Business.

The company thought a move to Google Apps might be easy, with substantial cost savings – but the reality for its employees unveiled a far different story.

The article explains what happened during the evaluation:

Google Apps for Business testers voted 'no' to a switch. When all was said and done, about 90% of testers said they did not want to switch to Google Apps for Business. Users realized how much they really like Outlook, and know how to work well with it. Most employees have folder structures to organize their emails, and a move to Google Apps would have disrupted that organization and its productivity benefits.

Users felt Google Docs was limiting. New England Biolabs employees found Google Docs document formatting options were limited, compared to those in Microsoft Office. Users especially missed Microsoft Word’s ‘Track Changes’ feature, which makes it easy to collaborate on text documents (the equivalent is not available in Google Docs). Employees also wanted to work on their documents offline, while on a long plane flight or anywhere without Internet access – a capability not offered by Google.

Gmail presented obstacles. Employees at New England Biolabs have years of archived email in Outlook, neatly organized using Outlook’s folder structure. In contrast, Gmail uses labels to organize messages, and expects people to use Google search technology to find older emails. New England Biolabs users found that using search as an organizational tool sounded good in theory, but that the work needed to get acquainted with the differences between the two approaches was much higher than expected. That raised a question for employees – How much value would they get from learning how to use email all over again? Most used their Outlook inbox to manage their workload, and did not want to invest the time to learn the Google ‘tricks’ of organization.  

Even those acquainted with Google Apps voted ‘no’ to a switch. Surprisingly, many of the users at New England Biolabs were already familiar with Google Apps, and even used Google Mail for their own personal use. But Grady notes that even those who use Google tools outside of work found Google Apps for Business didn’t work the way they wanted it to – and that helped the company make the decision to stay with Microsoft.

For other companies considering a switch, Ken Grady, CIO and director of IT for New England Biolabs, says it best in the article:

“Never underestimate change management. It’s at least as important as the financial considerations. Email, calendar and document collaboration are fundamental to how people work. While you could save some money making the switch, you could also lose a lot of productivity, which would negate the cost savings."

New England Biolabs decided to stick with Microsoft Outlook and Exchange Server, and plans to transition to a hybrid solution with Microsoft Office 365, giving its remote and international employees cloud-based collaboration and productivity applications.

The company’s employees spoke loud and clear – thanks, but no thanks, to Google Apps for Business.

It just wasn’t worth it.

Comments (28)

  1. Anonymous says:

    @Boris V.: thanks for your input. we would love to hear more. let us know if you are available to connect for more details.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It’s great to see this interest in finding the right cloud productivity solution.  

    We asked Note: Why did you switch from Google Apps to Office 365? “Initially, Note was a high-profile customer reference for Google, but we soon determined that the collaboration features in Google Apps were not rich or broad enough to unify our communication infrastructure.” (http://bit.ly/LORAG4)

    We asked HSS: Why did you switch from Google Apps to Office 365?  “We were used to Microsoft Office and expected the same level of functionality from Google. We tried Google Apps for almost a year, using Google Mail, Google Calendar, and Google Docs. Employees found that Google lacked a number of important features.” (http://bit.ly/KPqko1)

    Colonial Williamsburg told us: “We quickly realized Google would not meet our needs, so asking our employees to put up with less functionality was not an option for us.” (http://bit.ly/IjnA2p)

    We asked Rookie Recruits: Why did you switch from Google Apps to Office 365?  “We knew right away that Google was not going to work for us and that we needed to make a change quickly. For business use, we thought Office 365 packed a much greater punch than Google Apps. By choosing Office 365, we got everything we needed in single suite of familiar technologies that’s easy to use and simple to adopt.” (http://bit.ly/H6WV5Z)

  3. Anonymous says:

    Lykd the justification 🙂

    @Simone – It was just a result one of the enviorment which was tested & experienced.

    Would you like to share any of the 'org. similar' to above which transitioned smoothly towards customers satisfaction with business 'productivity'.

    I look forward to see atleast one out of 1000s which you are aware of.

    Nothing personal Just for my info 🙂

  4. Anonymous says:

    thank you

  5. Simone says:

    Well done for finding one small company who didnt like it. There are thousands of others who are finding the 1000s of other great features useful. Outlook is so old and slow. Good luck in the race for the cloud, your $100m budget for crappy articles like this is not really helping..

  6. ROMULO says:

    Great Simone, Google Apps is awesome!

  7. Boris V. says:

    Google Apps are nowhere near Office365 in terms of quality or usability. For as long as your judgement is business driven and not by the hatred to Microsoft, Office365 is so much better in almost every respect, that Google Apps for Busines should't even be mentioned on the same page.

    I own a small business and our business is very much communication based. Clarity and clean cut look of the docs is essential to us.

    Let's begin with the fact, that Google Docs DO NOT ALLOW editing Word, Excel or PowerPoint. The best it can do is to show some very ugly, distorted rendition of the docs.

    If you store the docs as normal, original MS files, it turns Google Apps into useless and essentially serves as a simply network drive.

    I have something that few people can brag about: a full 100Mb  Ethernet Internet link. And even on this link, which allows DVD download in 2-3 minutes, Google Apps often give "connection to Google" errors.

    "Send As" feature of Google App is poorly designed and never worked as expected. The same thing took two minutes to set and run few commands from help page.

    Google mail is one ugly, poor man and counter intuitive.

    Every other attempt to download bunch of simple docs ends up in "Zip error" or "connection lost".

    Google contacts can't even have the change link option.

    and many, many other issues.  

    All business world communicates with Lync, just take it for granted. The pathetic Google Talk is a nowhere near.

    If you do need a business solution get Office365, if you need another stumbling block in way of your business to struggle with, get Google Apps. After 2 months spent on it, we are so happy to go to great original, full featured, quality MS product.

    I'm not saying it's ideal, and I would wish that some settings would be little easier, but when compared to dreadful Google Apps for Business experience, its a fresh air.

    When I felt that I'm deeply unhappy with Google Apps, I started searching web to compare my feelings with other people experinces, and quickly discovered that Google App deserters make a significant part of Office365 customer base, and trust me there's reason for it.

    Google needs desktop application suite to complement its web apps. I tried very decent LibreOffice, and there's one amateurish plugin for it to talk to Google Apps/Drive. Well, it's not how business should operate, or at least not mine. It's a car with donuts as wheels.

    If you want my opinion, Google Apps for business look very inviting in a beginning. It has clean easy to use interface and you sort of start kidding yourself that it would do. But more you use, more problems you discover to the point it all becomes one total irritation and you say "no more".

    Now I can fully appreciate Outlook. I don't think I paid so much tribute to it before our venture to this pitiful Google' offer. In short it's not good.

  8. Orlando Tech Support says:

    While Google offers a growing number of systems as “software as a service” many business class tools are now only available in Google Drive where storage limitations will quickly cause expenses for Google’s products grow substantially.

    If you are using Google Apps and want to consider migrating to Microsoft’s offerings, let’s talk.  We can help you get migrated over and begin working with a superior business solution.

    <a href="neteffectstech.com/default.htm"> Net Effects</a>

  9. mobeetalk says:

    I agree executives that have no clue how to stay ahead of technology, if it's not money out of your pocket why change.

    If I was on the board of this company I would request to fire the CUP

    He is a idiot.

  10. Dan_IT says:

    does anyone know if my company can switch a few employees over to google apps for work while keeping the same email addresses? My IT coordinator says that I would need a new email address to use google apps for work. I want to move my account and a few
    of my team members over to google apps for work and maintain all of our current email addresses.

  11. james says:

    This is a good initiative by employees as they have similar things on the other hands.

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