Today’s guest blogger is Chris Pyle, president and CEO of Champion Solutions Group, an award-winning Microsoft Gold partner that helps small and medium enterprises develop cloud strategies and deploy cloud solutions. Founded in 1979, Champion has 22 offices in 11 states and is the parent company for MessageOps, which focuses exclusively on helping customers move seamlessly to the Microsoft Cloud. The two companies have helped hundreds of customers migrate to Office 365.
At Champion Solutions Group, we focus on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that range from about 250 to 2500 seats. We have helped hundreds of business, education and government customers migrate a total of about 700,000 seats to Office 365. As part of our work, we have helped many customers migrate to Office 365 from Google Apps, including several who previously had left Microsoft for Google.
In working with our customers, we focus on operational efficiencies, making sure the organizations that adopt the Office 365 platform really make the most of it. Just because you migrate to Office 365 doesn’t mean you’re done. That’s Day One. There’s still Day Two (how you set everything up) and Day Three (how you collaborate and leverage the power of Office 365). We help our customers with all three stages.
Why customers choose Office 365 over Google Apps
For organizations that switch from Google Apps to Office 365, the number one reason is that they find Office 365 is easier to use and offers greater productivity than Google Apps. Because it is enterprise-grade and much more business-focused than anything Google can offer, customers also say that Office 365 is more robust than Google Apps.
As an example, one of our customers is a large grocery chain on the East Coast, with more than 10,000 users in many different locations. When the company decided to abandon Google Apps and adopt Office 365, the top two reasons were the usability and robustness of Office 365. In fact, one of the main reasons the company finally decided to switch to Office 365 was that employees complained so much about Google Apps. They said it was very cumbersome and didn’t work for them. They just didn’t find Google Apps as productive as Office 365.
Choice is another important factor for many organizations when they are considering different cloud solutions. When we ask our customers why they choose Microsoft over Google Apps, many say that having a choice of cloud, on-premise or hybrid solutions gives them the flexibility to meet their business needs. With Google, the cloud is the only option. Customers like having a productivity solution they can tailor to their business.
Office 365 is more cost-effective than Google Apps
There’s an immediate cost benefit to customers who choose a cloud solution. They save money on the initial capital outlay, and they can convert those savings to operational investments, but the cost-effectiveness of any solution is about more than the initial price tag.
When customers are choosing a cloud solution, they ask questions about productivity, security, and how well it works. Microsoft provides positive answers to all of those questions. In our experience, the productivity suite that Microsoft delivers with Office 365, compared to Google Apps, makes it the “right way” for most organizations. Over the long term, Office 365 is often the most cost-effective choice.
The bottom line
What we offer our customers when we help them migrate to Office 365 is a way to transform how they work, to innovate, and to come up with better ways to make a difference to their customers. Once our customers begin to understand and use the full capabilities of Office 365, they report a significant increase in productivity, with their employees doing a tremendous amount of work from almost any location, on any of their devices, and being much more collaborative.