Nov15

Why SMBs are leaving Google Apps for Hosted Exchange / SharePoint

In the last several months, both Microsoft and Virtual Internet have noted an increasing amount of users migrating away from Google Apps for Business towards an integrated online office solution encompassing Hosted Exchange and Hosted SharePoint.

The migrations are centered on one simple, overriding goal: Collaboration.

The ability to share email, calendars, documents and images in the cloud allows a SMB to save time and money. But, finding the right cloud is a challenge.

Both Google Apps and Hosted Exchange are more or less evenly matched with regards  to uptime and cost but things look a little different when you burrow deeper into the rabbit hole.

Since most of us have grown up using the great features offered by Microsoft Outlook we would hope that we can continue to use this product at a small business or enterprise level — especially as we pursue warp speed with regards internal collaboration and communication.

And, this is where Hosted Exchange starts to pull away from Google Apps for business. While Google apps do offer a Google Outlook synch plug-in, it has also frustrated users with inconsistent behavior and folder limitations.

Meanwhile, Hosted Exchange offers seamless integration with Outlook WITHOUT any need for buggy plug-ins, even when you are offline.

While both systems offer 24×7 phone support, Google apps will often limit their response to system critical events. If your query is extremely complex, you may need to wait another 24 hours while your case is escalated up the queue.

With Virtual Internet VItal support, you get instantaneous access to some of the best cloud engineers on the plant. Anytime. Anywhere.

Also remember that Hosted Exchange is an extremely mature product. It’s been honed and fine-tuned by Microsoft, which has over 15 years experience in productivity software. Google on the other hand, is relatively new to this market, with its Business Email only coming online in 2006.

In terms of collaborative offerings such as contact management, many customers have switched over to hosted exchange because contact lists in Google Apps were duplicated or because occasionally email went AWOL.

These types of issues can result in endless support phone calls because Google Apps is not tightly integrated with your Office products.

One previous Google Apps customer described a pesky issue this way:

“Sometimes I would call anyway.  Google Apps would let me talk to someone, but they wouldn’t do anything. They’d give me a case number, ask for log files, and that would be the end of it. I’d never hear another word.”

The result is you would then need to revert to long-threaded help forums to uncover a solution to your problem.  This can be time consuming and dare we say it: Frustrating

But, it’s not just email and calendaring enticing SMBs over to Virtual Internet hosted time management and email solutions, it’s also the ability to share office documents, including Word and Excel, via a powerful internal Intranet. An intranet is basically an internal website which allows staff and company members to collaborate on internal documents.

While Google Sites & Docs offer a surface dive into the above, hosted SharePoint from VI goes much deeper.  A user describes it this way:

Using SharePoint has reduced the number of email attachments flying around the office, and we don’t have messy, out-of-control network shares and document versioning issues. All our shared content is located on one well-organized site that helps us keep our content properly versioned and accessible at all times to anyone who needs to see it. I need to be able to easily update my company’s external and internal sites – without worrying about breaking something. That’s why I use SharePoint.

In a recent New York Times article another user described his reason for choosing Microsoft Exchange:

Through Exchange, Mr. Xavier, whose business is Cornerstone Executive Development Group in Chapel Hill, N.C., links the calendars, address books and e-mail programs on his computers, BlackBerry and iPad. A change made on a calendar on any one device syncs instantly with all of the others, Mr. Xavier said. Because his large clients use Exchange, he says he believes that his using it as well “gives them the impression that I am bigger than I am.”

The above demonstrates the main departure point for leaving Google Apps towards a Microsoft Online Office:  Cost alone is not enough to keep SMBs loyal to Google. They want a true turnkey solution to all their office requirements over the long term.

SharePoint further distinguishes itself by offering ‘handshake’ integration with Yammer, a very popular tool in the Enterprise Software Collaboration sector.

And, there are additional things to ponder too, when selecting a cloud to house your online office. One of the most important, perhaps,  is unifying your pubic facing website with your internal intranet, which includes Emails, Documents and Calendars.

Several options are available on the public hosting side including colocation, dedicated servers or a choice between VMware and OnApp Xen Cloud Servers.  Don’t forget about Managed Hosting options that can bridge the gap between a dedicated server and cloud server.

SMBs thus have the opportunity to unify all their business and IT requirements under one roof without compromising on feature sets found under the Google Apps model.

The above translates into a simple winning equation that demonstrates the promise an online cloud office:

{VI Hosting} + {VI Hosted Exchange} + {VI Hosted SharePoint}Reduction in Cost & Increase in Staff Productivity.

Google Apps will only take you part of the way. The VI online office takes you to the finish line.

This article was brought to you by VI.net, for dedicated server hosting, cloud servers and 24/7 support visit our site here www.vi.net

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