Google Apps reseller Cloud Sherpas says Microsoft is exaggerating the costs of going Google.Yesterday, Microsoft released a white paper calling attention to some of the hidden costs of Google Apps. While the basic idea in the white paper is indisputable — all IT solutions have costs beyond licensing the software or service, as any IT professional can tell you — some of the specifics are exaggerated, says Cloud Sherpas.
- Support and IT training. This is a big one. Although Google does charge extra for a high level of support, Google Apps users don’t NEED as much support as Microsoft users — a lot of them have already been using Gmail and find it to be simpler and more intuitive than Outlook. “Nearly all of our customers report a reduction in help desk support in the months following deployment,” the reseller claims. And with no on-premises hardware and software to install, patch, and manage, IT staffing costs actually go DOWN with Apps.
- Email security. Google Apps provides the Postini engine for spam and malware filtering for free. It only costs $33 per user per year if companies need 10-year retention of all emails; they can also pay $13 for one year of retention.
- Single sign-on. Cloud Sherpas points out that MyOneLogin ($33 per user per year) isn’t just for Google Apps — it allows single sign-on across multiple hosted apps from different vendors, including Salesforce.com, QuickBooks Online, and so on. Microsoft’s single sign-on solution in Office 365 simply bridges the online service with the local version of Active Directory that most Microsoft customers already have.
The reseller also reminds potential customers that it provides a lot of these services — like escalated support and management tools — at no additional charge when customers buy Apps through Cloud Sherpas.
But all this aside, the hardest part of calculating return on investment is measuring user productivity on both solutions. That’s almost a religious debate — do users need the full feature set of Office and Outlook or can they get away with the simpler Apps and Gmail equivalents? Which interface lets users get tasks done more quickly?
This is where the known — Microsoft — often has an advantage over trying something new.