Google Apps vs Microsoft Exchange

I’ve just been effusing about Google Apps yet again with a friend and it’s spurred me on to point out a few things about the system that I think are important.

At the start of most fledgling companies, almost the first thing you hear from one of the shareholders is that you need an exchange server set up so you can start to organise the business and get your company email set up, however people often overlook Google Apps as an appropriate solution to their needs, so without further ado I’ll move on to a few points that are often bones of contention in the discussions I’ve had over this in the past.

Q: Price: Isn’t it cheaper to do this ourselves with an Exchange Server?

A: Probably not – if you take into consideration the cost of buying and running your server, as well as having someone on hand at all times to maintain it should something go wrong, as well as the cost of setting up a separate solution that you can operate should you experience significant downtime, then you would probably be better off with Google Apps. Google Apps starts from £33 per user per year (a pricing system that has the ability to scare people off as they envisage their staff level growing), but if you sit down to calculate the overall costs you’ll most likely find that it’s the most cost effective solution. Google even provide a calculator to work this out. In case you are interested – using the calculator set at an IT manager’s time of £46 per hour you end up bottoming out on the cost per user for an internally hosted system at £42 per user per year with 900 employees and still with much higher up front fee’s.

Q: I’m not comfortable with the way Gmail groups emails into conversations

A: If you don’t like the conversation threading feature, just turn it off!

How to turn off Gmail conversation threading

  1. Click “Settings” in the top right corner of your email
  2. Under “Conversation View” select “Conversation view off”
  3. Go back to your inbox and and you’ll see a more traditional view

Q: Will it work with my smartphone (iPhone, Android, Blackberry)?

A: Yes, Google have realised that services on the go are one of the most important things to todays businesses and they have a raft of support items and applications for the most popular smartphones, information for which is accessible here.

These are just some of the most common objections I come up against when I recommend Google Apps thought there are others which come up from time to time. If you are using something else, what’s your reason for choosing an alternative solution?

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