It's not a secret that Google Apps costs 50$ per seat. These are the direct costs. Then, implementation, support, training, change management, companion tools, network and hardware requirements are called hidden costs.
My Microsoft representative was angry at this time. He worked hard to convince me to go to the Microsoft offer.
Recently, Microsoft published an infographic : the hidden costs of Google Apps. I read it carefully. Lies. Microsoft interviewed 90 small and medium customers across 5 countries. But not me. However they can find me easily on Google apps web site or on Youtube on Google Apps channel.
We decided 2 years ago to switch from Lotus Notes to Google Apps. At this time we were early adopters. Google Apps was an offer that was less than 2 years old.
We implemented the project in 6 months for 35 countries and 1800 employees. (now 2300)
We were helped by a consultancy company for some technical work (migrate emails, change network settings - a couple of months) but did most of the work alone :
We decided not to go big bang because we wanted to :
It costed really nothing. We did not have any real problem. My only recommendation is to go quicker if you can, as the only annoyance is when a user says he has sent an email and that the email is not arrived, you have to search if it is still in the Drafts (user training problem), in Lotus Notes (to be kept as a gateway up to the end of migration), in the Lotus Notes anti-spam system, in Postini, in the recipient spam or etc...
We now use Google Apps fully rolled out since 18 month.
We do not use all the software that is mentioned by Microsoft in its infographics, and do not spend the money Microsoft think we do.
But we create value by sharing more and more accurately. Plenty of value. Indeed, many people use Google Sites and Google Docs to solve business problems themselves. Marketing, Industrial, Research and Development, Finance, IT, personal assitants, Communication department, Supply Chain, Sales, subsidiaries, etc... Everybody creates and share more information than before. Securely. Easily.
We now have got more than 500 Google Sites created by users. 6 months ago we had 150. Approximately 2 new sites are created per day.
I did a review of the created web sites. I asked site owners to tell me if they experienced benefits. Time saving, efficiency, easier sharing, users satisfaction, quicker and better organisation.
We also send and receive 1.000.000 emails a month, we also had our first users reaching the 25 GB of the mailbox, we also had plenty of Google Spreadsheets solving business problems.
We still use Microsoft Office. Powerpoint, Excel, Word. Excel for finance, Powerpoint and Excel for Marketing, Word for all. They are great tools.
But we increasingly use Google Docs. They are great tools.
More and more people understand the value of Gmail, Google Sites and Google Docs and use them to solve their business problems. No IT involved, small support required sometimes or even no support at all, no hidden costs.
I'm definitely convinced that I won my bet that Google Apps is going to bring us more value than traditional software at a lower cost than other solutions.
Moreover, several hundreds of new small features and services have been rolled out by Google since the time we started. Probably more to come.
If we had had to go Microsoft, I would have had to upgrade half of my computers (hardware), to upgrade 100% of the Microsoft Office suites (I don't do that now, using several versions at the same time in the Enterprise), mainly because of Outlook, I would probably have much less than 500 Google Sites. It would have cost me 5 to 10 times more initial and recurring costs. For sure. I would have not delivered more business value. For sure.
If I have to, I would choose it again.