Where Google Falls Short
“There were several problems with Google Mail,” says J. L. Albert, Associate Provost and Chief Information Officer at GSU. “In addition to functionality limitations, Google Mail had legal issues that could not enable us to restrict and store data within the United States, as policy requires us to. We also wanted support for retention and e-discovery policies that enterprise-class solutions often offer but that Google wasn’t even willing to talk to us about.”
It makes sense why the university was less than thrilled with Google Apps. From the inability to sort email to the lack of support for track changes, the features of Google Apps just aren’t robust enough to compete with Office 365 functionality. Google, unlike Microsoft, requires the purchase of add-on products to meet email retention and legal discovery requests.
Office 365 Delivers Cloud Advantages
In the end, GSU chose Office 365. “We enthusiastically recommended Office 365 because we recognized that it would meet the needs of GSU in five key areas,” says Tonya Smith, Director of Consulting at B2B Technologies, which worked with GSU on the project. “These include support for Microsoft Outlook Web App, which provides the functionality of the Microsoft Outlook messaging and collaboration client from a web browser, wide-ranging calendaring capabilities in Microsoft Exchange Online, 25 gigabytes of storage space per mailbox, compatibility with Live@edu, and security and privacy features that are much more robust than those in GroupWise.”
GSU moved its staff to Office 365 in July 2011 and plans to migrate its students from Live@Edu to Office 365 for education in the near future. Check out some of the impressive benefits GSU has already reaped from Office 365:
- Saved money— An estimated $1 million savings in the first five years
- Reduced operational costs— A 50 percent reduction in the annual cost of operation compared to the university’s previous on-premises GroupWise solution
- More strategic use of IT staff— The equivalent of 2.5 full-time employees who no longer need to maintain on-premises servers
It’s no wonder why so many educational institutions are moving to Office 365. As GSU discovered, the professional-quality tools can’t be beat: “Office 365 has given us professional-quality tools at a great value, robust reliability and security, and an extensible platform that we add communication and collaboration services to as the university’s needs grow,” Albert says. “Given all these advantages, I think the Office 365 migration is one of the best projects this organization has ever undertaken.”
To learn more, please check out the full case study.