re: Google Apps To Office 365: Why To Switch
As someone who has to deal with, or rather support, Office365 on a daily basis... it's a great product, when it works. However, there are all too often little quirky things happening that Microsoft doesn't seem to know about or doesn't care to report about on their Service Health Status page.
E-mail turn around slow? Unable to log in to Lync? Let me make sure the service is running... all green lights across the board, so it /MUST/ be the user's system at that point, right? And if no other user in the organization happens to be using that functionality at the time being, my team loses time troubleshooting the user's system only to find out that it's an issue with Microsoft's infrastructure and they haven't considered it a big enough problem to report it as a service health issue.
Then there's the support time turnaround on more complicated issues, such as e-mail delivery issues. One example from earlier this year took in excess of 30 days to fully troubleshoot, eventually getting escalated level after level to the point that the automatic system purge had kicked in.
If you have an Android or iPhone, the integration is somewhat easy. If you need to support Blackberries, ensure that you've ordered your fair share of patience. Kudos to the fact that the migration from the Microsoft BPOS product to Office 365 was painless as far as the Blackberries went, but adding new devices and administering them is not entirely intuitive and the portal provided for administration seems to be powered by a lethargic hamster.
Finally, I'll never forget the day that Office 2013 went live... made my life a living hell. We'd been on Office 365 for 4 months without major issues and then, all of a sudden, when the flood gates opened with all of the new users logging on and trying things out, Microsoft's systems simply could not handle the load. Poor planning, if you ask me.
Is it more cost effective than an on-prem solution? Certainly. Is it painless and carefree? Not in my experience, no.
And with regards to your question about license and storage pooling for organizations, there seems to be the prevalent thought process that it's easier to move a user's data between servers if it can be considered an independent unit as opposed to part of a concatenated unit. Also makes it easier to administer permissions and such.