Consider these facts when comparing Office 365 to Google Apps, per Microsoft’s documentation:

Counting the Hidden Costs of Google Apps

As an IT professional, you might be considering adopting Google Apps for Business (GAFB) for messaging and collaboration. But many IT teams have found that the projected versus actual costs of using GAFB increases their total cost of ownership to far more than Google’s claimed $50/user annual fee. GAFB is missing critical features and functionality that you get at no additional cost with Microsoft® products. Adding those missing features and functionality to make GAFB enterprise-ready can cost you more for deployment, IT support, and user training and lost productivity.

Deployment Costs

Migrating Email Data: Customers who deploy Google Apps burden their IT teams to migrate email messages, contacts, tasks, folders, and other data from messaging solutions such as Microsoft Exchange Server.
Contacts You must install and run Google Apps Sync for Outlook to migrate contacts from Microsoft Outlook®, and install an add-on to manage organization-wide contacts.
Tasks You cannot migrate Tasks from Outlook to Google, so you have to recreate Tasks.
Distribution Lists Google Apps Sync will not migrate distribution lists, so you must recreate and maintain distribution lists in Gmail.
Public Folders To use Exchange public folders for shared documents, you must manually upload all documents and mark them as shared in Google Apps or use a third-party application.
Hidden cost: Exchange to Google Apps Migrator: Provides bulk migration of email messages from Microsoft Exchange to Gmail $20/user
Directory and Address Book Integration and Synchronization: Because Google Apps offer limited directory services and synchronization, IT departments often have to deploy third-party applications.
Active Directory Integration IT staff must download a separate utility in Google Apps to integrate Active Directory.
One-Way Directory Synchronization You can only sync Google Apps down to your on-premises LDAP directory. You must also download an open-source tool to complete the synchronization.
Global Address Book Synchronization You must set up a server to synchronize your LDAP server with Google Apps, yet you still have no way to view that directory. It  simply lets you discover someone by search.
Permanent Password Synchronization Users have separate sign-on names and passwords for network access and Google Apps. To enable a single sign-on for both, you must use a third-party application.
Hidden costs: MyOneLogin: Provides single sign-on for Google Apps $36/user annually
Promevo gPanel Premiere: Provides shared contacts management $8/user annually
Integrating Microsoft Outlook with Gmail, Google Talk, and Google videoconferencing: To integrate Google Apps with Microsoft Outlook, you have to manage several add-ons. Even with those, you may have to struggle to make your calendar and email folders work properly, leading to lost productivity.
Google Apps Sync for Outlook This add-on lets Outlook synchronize with Google Apps, but it only provides partial synchronization and may require users to manage two inboxes.
Outlook Free/Busy Time Synchronization The Outlook calendar is not instantaneously synchronized to show free and busy times.
Google Talk Google IM/Chat is not integrated with Outlook and requires that users or IT staff install and deploy the Google Talk client to receive email notifications locally.
Google Gears This application supported offline synchronization of Gmail and Google Docs. But Google suspended Google Gears support in May of 2010.
Google Talk Video-Conferencing Add-on Users or IT staff must install this add-on to provide video conferencing for Google Talk.
Hidden costs: Testing, deploying, and supporting add-ons that don’t always work well and that Google might remove with little or no warning.
Supporting mobile users: With Google Apps, IT teams may have to install extra applications to synchronize email, calendars, and contacts so mobile users have the latest information.
BlackBerry Synchronization Google Apps cannot synchronize recurring meetings on the BlackBerry, and you have to maintain a BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) when you deploy Google Apps.
iPhone/Smartphone Synchronization Google has developed Google Sync software that you can install on some mobile devices. As of October 2010, this application was still in beta and had many limitations.
Hidden costs: CompanionLink for Google: Sync Outlook contacts, calendars, and tasks with Google account. (Doesn’t work with BlackBerry phones) $39.95/user
ExchangeMyMail: To host more than 500 BlackBerry phones $120/user annually


IT Support Costs

IT Administration: IT administrators often find they have to spend extra time maintaining GAFB because of lack of support from Google, and extra time supporting add-ons and client-side connectors to make GAFB work.
Unannounced Feature Rollout/Pullback Google often releases new features that require extra support, and sometimes ends support for features such as Google Gears with little or no warning.
Fragmented Administration IT teams can manage some features through GAFB, but others require Postini or another add-on. Google lacks macros and scripts for common administrative tasks.
No Delegating Administrator Privileges Administrators have either full or no control over accounts. You cannot delegate tasks, and anyone who has administrator access can decommission an entire email service.
Faulty Reporting, Logging Auditors must use extra products for acceptable reports. GAFB doesn’t log when users are deleted and provides only API access for reporting and logging, not out-of-the-box reports.
No Universal Management IT cannot manage enterprise-wide contacts such as customers, partners, and vendors.
Faulty Problem Resolution When users experience a problem in GAFB, they usually have to visit a forum to resolve it. Because GAFB is new, support information is often incomplete on Google forums.
Overburdened Help Desks GAFB is unfamiliar to users and lacks features and functionality found in Microsoft Office, so Help Desk people are overwhelmed with questions from users.
Hidden costs: Power Panel for Google Apps: Lets you delegate administrative tasks, run macros and scripts, import and manage shared contacts $8/user annually
Google Apps Help Desk Support Services: Live help and remote desktop support $360/user annually + $30/user sign up fee
Security and Archiving: Google Apps came from Google’s consumer division and weren’t built with enterprise-level security and archiving. You have to pay extra to secure email and meet requirements for email and document retention.
Encryption Users cannot encrypt messages containing sensitive information.
Privacy Users cannot mark messages as personal or confidential.
Information Rights Management (IRM) Because Google Apps don’t support IRM, email message recipients can easily edit, forward, or print sensitive information. With productivity documents, users can easily reveal sensitive information to others internally or leak it to people outside the organization.
“Off the Record” Chat Users can conduct instant messaging sessions where portions of conversations can be conducted without any IT record.
Data Retention Policies Your organization’s data retention policies are trumped by Google’s terms of service. For example, Google retains the rights to all copies of information for as long as they require.
Data Recovery Google does not guarantee backup of email for data recovery.
Hidden costs: Postini: Provides some security and 10 years of retention for Gmail $33/user annually
Sendmail Sentrion Email Security Appliance for Google Apps: Adds more robust security for Gmail $22,500
EchoSign Electronic Signature for Google Apps: Provides eSignatures for Google Docs $359/user annually

User Training and Lost Productivity Costs

Training Costs: After switching to Google Apps, many users find that even routine tasks take more time than necessary because of the unfamiliar interface and meager online help. Sometimes features appear not to work, and tasks that used to be easy to complete take extra steps. Google Apps’ constant feature changes also are confusing and frustrating.
User and IT staff training Varies according to organization’s needs. 
Hidden costs: Dito: Provides “Train the Trainer” IT staff-training package $2,499
Suite/Apps: Provides end-user training $125/hour
Lost productivity—email and file-fidelity problems: Gmail isn’t as intuitive and flexible as Microsoft Outlook, so users might lose many hours of productivity. Opening a Microsoft Office file in Google Docs can also cause many problems that can cost users many hours of work time.
  • Instead of letting users organize email by folders, Gmail tags messages with labels—an unfamiliar user interface that requires retraining 
  • In Gmail, you often must scroll through many “folders” (labels) to find a message 
  • Tab stops, paragraph spacing, page margins, and images move unexpectedly 
  • Revisions and comments appear jumbled together as plain text 
  • Page headers and footers are converted to inline text at the top of the document 
  • Images and formatting beyond simple cell sizing and shading are discarded 
  • Charts disappear or appear as large, white boxes labeled “No Data” 
  • No support exists for features like trend lines, no formatting options, and the output is hardly presentation-ready
  • Graphics appear blurry and re-sampled
  • Text moves without warning
  • Animations and transitions are eliminated
Hidden costs: Many hours or days of lost productivity per user, and potentially lost business.

Total Cost of Ownership

One-time cost per user with Google Apps Annual cost per user with Google Apps
Exchange to Google Apps Migrator $20 Google Apps $50
Google Apps Help Desk Support Services $30 MyOneLogin $36
End-user training Varies Promevo gPanel $8
IT staff training Varies Power Panel for Google Apps $8
Lost user productivity Varies Google Apps Help Desk Support Services $360
Postini $33
Total: $50.00 Total: $495.00

Microsoft provides enterprise-class solutions that integrate with each other based on the needs of your organization. Microsoft understands the needs of the enterprise user, with stringent compliance requirements as well as the needs of the small business that needs an easier way for users to communicate. Microsoft developed and supports one of the world’s most familiar software products—Microsoft Office—to help users everywhere work productively. In an interview, Dave Girouard, head of Google’s enterprise division, which develops Google Apps, said, “We wouldn’t ask people to get rid of Microsoft Office and use Google Docs because it is not mature yet.” If one of Google’s top executives says that, why would you want to use Google Apps?

Requirements Checklist for migrating to Google Apps for Business

As you evaluate GAFB, see if you need any of the requirements listed below. If you answer ‘Yes’ to any of these, your cost for GAFB will be more than Google’s claimed $50 per user annually.

Requirement Need? Possible Costs
Migrating data such as email messages, contacts, calendar, and documents

See Migrating Email Data.

Directory integration and password synchronization
  • IT time spent synchronizing directories and other servers
  • Third-party tools MyOneLogin that provides Single Sign On

See Directory and Address Book Integration and Synchronization.

Offline access
  • Not available as it is with Microsoft Outlook.

See Integrating Microsoft Outlook with Gmail, Google Talk, and Google videoconferencing.

Outlook client
  • IT time to install and support add-in Google Apps Sync for Outlook
  • Since it only provides partial synchronization, employees may have to spend time managing two different inboxes.

See Integrating Microsoft Outlook with Gmail, Google Talk, and Google videoconferencing.

Mobile users
  • IT time supporting mobile synchronization
  • Third-party tools such as CompanionLink to help integrate calendars

See Supporting mobile users.

24×7 Phone Support
  • IT time maintaining Google Apps
  • Third-party Help Desk support to help resolve typical user issues

See IT Administration.

Delegating Administrator Privileges
  • Third-party tool such as Power Panel for Google Apps for role-based delegation of administrator privileges
  • Downtime caused by administrator error

See IT Administration.

Document compliance and Archiving
  • Third-party tools like Postini for hosted security and archiving

See Security and Archiving

Enhanced Security

See Security and Archiving.

Exchanging documents with customers, partners, and internally
  • Employees will likely lose time resolving document fidelity issues, leading to costly delays and unprofessional documents

See Lost Productivity.

Training users when switching email and office productivity suite
  • Employee time spent in training
  • IT time developing and delivering training
  • Third-party costs for training delivery such as Suite-Apps or Dito

See Training Costs and IT Administration.

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