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Has Anyone Tried Google Enterprise?

I attended a 3 hr pitch yesterday on Google Enterprise. I was impressed enough that I intend to transition to it.

I'm wondering if others have evaluated it and why they/didn't move ahead? If you did, what has been your experience?

Mark
www.VDLconsulting.com

Answers

Tina Millwood
Title: Director of Special Projects
Company: Millwood Consulting
(Director of Special Projects, Millwood Consulting) |

Sorry, but what is it?

Topic Expert
Mark Von Der Linn
Title: Principal
Company: www.VDLconsulting.com
(Principal, www.VDLconsulting.com) |

It's a suite of biz solutions incl: email, intranet, collaboration, doc mgt, etc. So it replaces MS Exchange/Outlook and some other tools. Cost is $50/user/yr. Google Apps, which works with it, is a potential replacement for MS Office, but definitely not for power-users (still very basic).
http://www.google.com/enterprise/

Helen Rosen
Title: President
Company: Direct Approach Solutions, LLC.
(President, Direct Approach Solutions, LLC.) |

Are you referring to G mail? I'm using it now for my business start up since it's free up to 50 users. I'm a old MS office person myself and still prefer that to gmail. I still don't understand how gmail works in some areas. When you or anyone replies to an e-mail it still keeps the whole string clumped together - could be pages sometimes. I don't want the whole string - only certain e-mails. You can't separate it out. Just something I have to live with.

Mark Stokes
Title: CFO
Company: Private
(CFO, Private) |

I have to admit, as much as I like the idea of moving away from MS Outlook and Exchange, I just am not a big fan of how Gmail handles email either. Very few choices for customizing the environment - it's their way or, well, their way.

And to answer your question, no, they are talking about Google Enterprise which is an amalgamation of Google mail, an email host-like service (like running MS Exchange) and other Google apps and storage for a $50/year fee. So gmail is just one component.

Mark Coates
Title: Director of Technology
Company: AchieveNext.com
(Director of Technology, AchieveNext.com) |

Actually, if you check out the settings, you can customize GMail (the web interface) in many different new ways. Also, you can still use MS Outlook to pull in your mail if you'd rather use a desktop client. Email's email. Cheers.

Topic Expert
Mark Von Der Linn
Title: Principal
Company: www.VDLconsulting.com
(Principal, www.VDLconsulting.com) |

M Stokes is correct, Gmail is one component of G Ent. Although I think maybe the Gmail that comes with G Ent is a little different, but I'm not sure about that. Regardless, Gmail for G Ent does handle email in strings the way you describe. They consider it a beneficial feature and I tend to agree, but if you're not used to it I can see it being a nuisance. I think there may actually be a way to turn that feature off. If not, I guess they ARE forcing "their way", but again I think it basically makes sense. I know when I try to find related emails in Outlook, it can be difficult. It helps to see the pitch I saw that explains their new approach to handling mail and how it relates to other functionality in G Ent. There are definitely trade-offs moving to G Ent, but I think for a lot of companies it makes sense.

Sayef Hussain
Title: Executive Director
Company: HBFC Limited
(Executive Director, HBFC Limited) |

Yes, I also think, the way Gmail handles string of emails is a sheer nonsense. Google should do something to give more freedom to users in this regards.

Mark Coates
Title: Director of Technology
Company: AchieveNext.com
(Director of Technology, AchieveNext.com) |

You can still use Outlook to read email on your desktop. Get someone close to you who knows how to setup a GMail account in Outlook or if you're comfortable doing it yourself: http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=77689.

Cheers.

JaLynda Ashmall
Title: Controller
Company: The Funding Source, LLC
(Controller, The Funding Source, LLC) |

We have been using the Google App for Business Email and are very impressed. The spam issues we have been enduring have all but disappeared. There are some things that take some "getting used to", especially when converting from MS Outlook, which I have been using for years. I don't even bother opening Outlook any longer. However, If you like and are tech savvy, you can set up Outlook to work with Google Apps. That's my 2 cents worth.

Topic Expert
Mark Von Der Linn
Title: Principal
Company: www.VDLconsulting.com
(Principal, www.VDLconsulting.com) |

I'm curious, how many employees do you have? Did the entire co make the switch? Do you consider the initiative to be a success overall?

Jeff Taylor
Title: CFO
Company: Communications Co.
(CFO, Communications Co.) |

We looked at it but decided not to go forward. It takes over your email, just like Exchange. But if you have users who will still be using MS Outlook (and we do), it actually makes sense not to change. We are going to get hosted Exchange instead so we can avoid having to manage/administer the system ourselves (which is a pain), but go with the tool we are familiar with at a price that is ~$10/month. Hosted Exchange has come way down in price in the last few years and is much more stable.

Also, G.E. could add more network storage for your company. That would be a very interesting app (shared storage), but the basic amount is just too small.

So Google Enterprise was interesting, but not enough to go with it.

Topic Expert
Mark Von Der Linn
Title: Principal
Company: www.VDLconsulting.com
(Principal, www.VDLconsulting.com) |

If you have people who insist on keeping Outlook, then I see why you stuck with it (resistance to change is a huge obstacle with these things). I agree that hosted is the way to go if you stay with Exchange (I implemented the same thing at my last co. and it worked well). Huh, GE gives you tons of storage... way more than any hosted Exch solution I'm aware of. Anyway, thanks for the feedback!

Jeff Taylor
Title: CFO
Company: Communications Co.
(CFO, Communications Co.) |

What I meant by shared storage was not email storage - Google gives you plenty of that. I meant shared generic file storage. Their basic plan gives you 1 gig and I have way more than that which i'd like to put out on shared storage for me and my G&A group to use.

Topic Expert
Mark Von Der Linn
Title: Principal
Company: www.VDLconsulting.com
(Principal, www.VDLconsulting.com) |

Oh, I understand, 1 gig is minuscule. Very good to know. So I imagine their fees for additional shared storage were not attractive?

Wray Rives
Title: CPA CGMA
Company: Rives CPA PLLC
(CPA CGMA, Rives CPA PLLC) |

You can buy more space for 25 cents per year per gig, so that should not be a huge barrier. The spreadsheet and word processor are ok for basic docs, but definitely will not satisfy power users. I actually dumped Outlook completely and am very pleased with the email service.

Topic Expert
Mark Von Der Linn
Title: Principal
Company: www.VDLconsulting.com
(Principal, www.VDLconsulting.com) |

Yes, at $20/mo for a terabyte, not bad. I separate G Apps from G Enterprise. I don't think G Apps is adequate for most users so I wouldn't advocate dropping MS Office for it (although Open Office might be an alternative). I do think G Ent on it's own can be a good solution for a lot of companies. I saw a presentation from a co here who made the switch to G Ent (they kept MS Office) and they are very happy with it. I'm moving my tiny co to it. Glad to hear it works for you.

Bob Newton
Title: President
Company: The Corporate Finance Group
(President, The Corporate Finance Group) |

The lack of privacy and data security disqualify it from any serious consideration. Google provides a staggering amount of information on us as idividuals based on our usage to both its advertisers and the government. I'm not putting my business or client information on any system that I do not control.

Topic Expert
Mark Von Der Linn
Title: Principal
Company: www.VDLconsulting.com
(Principal, www.VDLconsulting.com) |

You raise a very valid concern that a lot of people share. It's something I probably don't know enough about. If you have any good info sources re. Google practices in this regard, please post links. Thanks

Topic Expert
Mark Von Der Linn
Title: Principal
Company: www.VDLconsulting.com
(Principal, www.VDLconsulting.com) |

If you're interested: "...IT leaders at Boise State and packaging leader MWV have already answered those questions and are now ready to share their experience."
http://ct.techrepublic.com.com/clicks?t=556829001-0a2d5dc4a895d89334f590f963b200a9-bf&brand=TECHREPUBLIC&s=5

Topic Expert
Mark Von Der Linn
Title: Principal
Company: www.VDLconsulting.com
(Principal, www.VDLconsulting.com) |

I attended this and am convinced G Apps/Ent is far more secure than anything most companies can build themselves. Scale is a factor in terms of retaining top experts, employing state of the art methods, etc. Re privacy concerns, I don't have any after reviewing policy statement: http://www.google.com/privacypolicy.html

Randy Rutledge
Title: CFO
Company: Big Earth Networks, LLC
(CFO, Big Earth Networks, LLC) |

I love Google, but at the same time they scare me. Pretty sure that at some point they will take over the world. I do not use the enterprise version but do use the free version. Unless you need more than 50 email addresses you can do everything with the free that you can with the paid.

Gmail is compatible with Outlook. It can be configured as either POP3 or IMAP. Once it is configured there is no need to access one's email with the Google interface. I have been using it for about 3 years and have it on Outlook on multiple computers and my iPhone.

I love the ability to share documents and have never once been worried about the security of the information. I do find the apps a bit clunky when compared to Word and Excel but they suit the purposes I use them for. Buy a domain for $10 and give it a try.

Topic Expert
Mark Von Der Linn
Title: Principal
Company: www.VDLconsulting.com
(Principal, www.VDLconsulting.com) |

Yes, I agree they will likely take over the world... they're the next Microsoft and the power they have is perhaps even scarier. This does bother me a bit.

Actually, the Gmail portion of G Ent may be the same as free Gmail but G Ent includes more than just Gmail. It incl intranet, collaboration, doc mgt/search, etc. Yes, you can use Gmail with Outlook (which I do now) but it defeats the purpose of using G Ent as integrated system. Gmail actually does a lot of what Outlook does - enough for most people. G Apps is separate and not so a great, I agree.

I recommend to all, keep an eye out for a webinar or something with demo of what all G Ent includes and how it all works together. I think you'll be impressed.

Tom Kelly
Title: Managing Director
Company: T > Edward, Inc.
(Managing Director, T > Edward, Inc.) |

I agree with the other posts, Google probably will take over the world so in that case why fight the inevitable! ;)

I have used Apps for several years and have been a very happy customer. I always get asked the question, "What if Google goes down?" Well, it has...I think about a total of 4 hours in 4 years...and it's great having the entire world be my watchman - when they go down for any amount of time it results in a month of free service and every news service in the world announces it. I'd like to see internal MS Exchange shops be held to that type of measure!

Steve Glaiser
Title: Co-Founder CTO & Treasurer
Company: KruGlu Inc.
(Co-Founder CTO & Treasurer, KruGlu Inc.) |

Don't go Google unless you are happy having all of your proprietary information indexed by an outside party. I am a living, breathing, old school Valley-ite, and I'll tell you, don't. Who cares if it's free, or easier, or really puts stuff into groups that are soooo easy to glance and decide.

There is a reason the stuff we do is called, "work". Pay a few extra bucks, create your own domain, use firefox or outlook, and keep what you create IN YOUR OWN CAMP!

Sorry, NO GOOGLE SPOKEN AT OUR STARTUP!!! :)

(you all can say i'm paranoid, but, i've worked in this valley too long, and have been at 8 startups [including the one i've founded] and i NEVER go google. well, except for when i'm at a store and they need my e-mail address -- ha!)

Topic Expert
Mark Von Der Linn
Title: Principal
Company: www.VDLconsulting.com
(Principal, www.VDLconsulting.com) |

You might have a point with respect to the free product, but when you subscribe, the policy is 100% privacy. If you think they break this commitment, then I would say, respectfully, that maybe you are a bit paranoid. Or perhaps I'm a bit naive. That's up to you to decide, but I hope you do so based on good info (such as Security info I posted above). In the long run, it could save you a lot of the "work" you mentioned. Best Regards

Helen Rosen
Title: President
Company: Direct Approach Solutions, LLC.
(President, Direct Approach Solutions, LLC.) |

This is all very useful information. I'm really happy so many people commented on it. It confirms what I suspected all along, and gives me new information.

Thanks all!

Marty Koenig
Title: CEO and CFO
Company: cxotogo
LinkedIn Profile
(CEO and CFO, cxotogo) |

I've had conversations over the last year from a company that resells the Google Apps. In response to his request for a meeting with me, the other day here's what I wrote:

"It appears to me that the standard and premium versions of Google Apps are packaging of things I already use (either Google or otherwise). Plus, storage limits per user in google docs is a limitation I don't have to worry about with my remote hosted SharePoint.

I use my mkoenigatcxotogo [dot] com google account, and use docs for certain, very limited things. Is there a difference in the features for docs from what I'm using and what you get with a premier or enterprise edition? I'm not finding that. They call it business grade, but I have found it's not. Open up a new spreadsheet in google docs. Try to select multiple cells, rows or columns. Google can't do it. I gave it the old college try, but proved it's not adequate. Simple things don't work or are non-existant in google "document", "spreadsheet", "presentation", and "form", which I have all tried to use extensively. I uploaded /converted docs to google, updated there, and found many functions lacking. Then I got tired of it and exported them back to the MS Office apps. I had all kinds of problems and time to get them close to original form, format, formulas, etc. Not a good use of my time, or anyone's. I can't bill my clients for the hours of that time I wasted, can I?

I used Google calendar to sync my Droid but not any more since Mark/Space Missing Sync product has that now.

Everything we use is cloud-based, with not a single server in our possession.

We use google Groups for an internal repository. I've toyed with Google Sites, and found its very limited in capability and ease of use. I've looked at and have a Google Voice account, but not activated because I use another service, i.e. the one for our 888 number. Forms is easy to use, but has serious limitations as well.

At this point we don't use a shared calendar (nor have had the need to - and SharePoint has that if we wanted to use it, and no need yet for an MS Exchange-type function). I am happy with our hosting/email provider (which we use mediatemple.net).

Obviously, defragmentation of our current approach would help at some point. I can see an information architecture in the future using more of Google apps, but what we're doing works for now, and they are not ready for prime time or heavy business functionality."

I have not heard back from him.

Marty Koenig

Topic Expert
Mark Von Der Linn
Title: Principal
Company: www.VDLconsulting.com
(Principal, www.VDLconsulting.com) |

Great info from Marty. I think the gist of all this is it depends on your need and budget. It can be a good fit for someone like me (at least parts of it) but not for everyone. And it's worth keeping an eye on as it is evolving/improving quickly.

BTW, I apologize but I think I've mis-named some things in these posts, e.g., saying Google Docs when I meant Apps. I will post proper names/defs when I can... or someone else is welcome to post if they have the info handy.

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