used with permission from Microsoft
by Michael Atalla
A lot is said these days about the choices people and organizations are faced with when adopting technology. In the end, it’s all about productivity. All of these decisions are made with the aim of optimizing your productivity — whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, accountant, student, or business person.
As people navigate these decisions, their ability to do great work revolves around having the right mix of capabilities delivered by a company they can trust. Why? Because there’s an actual cost to compromising our productivity. There’s a cost to the time and money spent retraining workers to use unfamiliar applications andapplications that don’t do what people need them to do or that require workarounds.There’s a cost to having to purchase add-on technologies to gain the capabilities you need to be successful. And there’s a cost associated with the inability to access the information that’s important to you simply because you don’t have an Internet connection.
Office 365: A business-class solution
After more than two decades of delivering the world’s most highly utilized productivity tools, we know businesses require rich capabilities and solutions that go beyond consumer needs. We understand that one size does not fit all and that choice, flexibility, and administrative control are essential to organizations around the world.
At Microsoft, we have the broadest vision of productivity, which is inclusive of capabilities like enterprise content management and business intelligence with SharePoint, electrifying data analysis and visualization with Excel,and rich applications that enable people to do their best work. We understand that, in the face of an evolving technology arena, what it takes to maximize productivity has evolved as well.
We recently shared our vision and roadmap for Office Web Apps, but people and businesses demand even more. They require flexible web conference solutions that provide immersive, collaboration experiences with presence and instant messaging capabilities integrated at every step using solutions like Lync. Productivity requires enterprise social networking that integrates with email and calendaring but also extends the conversation by connecting static and real-time communication. And for some, it means moving some workloads to the cloud while keeping others on-premises.
Productivity is more than code in a browser. Much more.
Office is the defacto standard for making people more productive at work, at school, and at home. We are humbled that more than 1 billion people on this planet use Office to do their best work and get great results. It has been rewarding to see customers discover the same familiar experience and the same enterprise-class IT tools and business capabilities in the cloud with Office 365.
With Office 365, we’ve combined the world’s most familiar desktop experience and enterprise-class server tools with robust security and privacy. The result is an experience that lights up social, is optimized for pen, touch, mouse and keyboard, and is recognized as a market leader in eight Gartner Magic Quadrants.
Customers are choosing Office 365 over Google Apps
An increasing number of businesses are choosing Microsoft Office 365 over Google Apps. Why? They tell us they can’t afford to compromise.
With Office 365, they don’t have to. They get the familiarity of Office + the capabilities they need + a cloud service they can trust. The result is a cloud-based service that enables businesses to meet customer needs and gain a competitive edge.
Among the recent companies that have switched to Office 365 after deploying or piloting Google Apps are Arysta LifeScience, SEPCOIII, FHI 360, and Sensia Hälsovård AB. These companies join numerous other organizations that tried Google Apps only to switch to Office 365.
Dissatisfaction with Google Apps
Again and again, companies that deploy Google Apps say they are frustrated by the experience and want a cloud-based service they can count on. Take Arysta LifeScience, for example. An agrochemical company with sales and service in more than 125 countries, Arysta LifeScience until recently supported 34 different email solutions around the world. The company wanted to standardize on a cloud-based email service and initially chose Google Apps for Business. However, employees were unhappy with the user interface, and IT struggled with compatibility issues.
After deploying Google Apps to 300 of its 3,400 users, the company reversed its decision and instead went with Office 365. “If we had moved everyone to Google, the ability to work offline would have been very limited,” says Dustin Collins, the company’s Head of Global IT Infrastructure. By contrast, “Microsoft meets the needs of an enterprise, with the right levels of privacy and data security better than Google, which is more consumer-oriented,” Collins says. “And, with Office 365, you get a complete suite of collaboration services including IM, so everyone was enthusiastic about the decision.”
Likewise, the China-based energy company SEPCOIII initially used Gmail for external communication, but employees found it undependable and cumbersome. “Gmail was very unreliable, and employees were losing email,” says Pradeep Parmar, Director of Management Information Systems for SEPCOIII. “Employees were frustrated that the company didn’t have a stable, reliable email solution.”
The company decided to standardize on Office 365 for its Dubai regional office, and plans to move all 5,800 employees by the end of 2013. “We are so relieved to be using Office 365,” Pradeep says. “It’s a great platform that we can rely on.”
Office 365: A top value service
Companies that switch from Google Apps to Office 365 say they now have an enterprise-class solution that offers top value for their money. For example, when the Academy for Educational Development (AED) and the nonprofit FHI came together to form FHI 360, the approximately 2,000 AED employees were using Google Docs and Gmail, while the 2,000 employees within FHI were using on-premises Microsoft solutions.
After analyzing both Google Apps and Office 365, FHI 360 eventually decided to deploy all of its employees on Office 365. The company chose Office 365 based on several factors including the ability to work offline, robust calendaring, support for mobile users, and the “superior” level of support offered.
“Using Microsoft Office 365, we are a more cohesive, efficient organization,” says Michael Mazza, Head of Information Solutions and Services for FHI 360. “Empowered with tools that work the way we work, FHI 360 can achieve a greater impact on human development around the world.”
Similarly, the Swedish-based private healthcare provider Sensia Hälsovård AB implemented Office 365 even though 30 percent of its workforce had already been using Google Gmail. As a result of a series of acquisitions over a two-year period, the company had seven different IT systems, which made communication a big problem because there was no common distribution list. The company wanted a single communication and collaboration platform and decided on Office 365 over Google Apps. “Gmail wasn’t intuitive to use, and when employees got stuck, it was difficult for them to obtain support,” says Anders Franzen, IT Strategist for Sensia Hälsovård AB.
With Office 365, communication has “improved tremendously” and the support “has been excellent,” according to Franzen. “Already, Office 365 is increasing staff productivity, which means less time sitting at the computer and more time serving patients,” he says.
Productivity without compromise
Like Arysta LifeScience, SEPCOIII, FHI 360, and Sensia Hälsovård AB, numerous companies around the world have concluded that it doesn’t make sense to compromise when they can power their organizations with Office 365.
As J. Peter Bruzzese put it his recent InfoWorld column, How to make the move from Google Apps to Office 365, “Now that Office 365 is available, it may be time to move to Microsoft’s cloud.”
To learn more, contact us today.