Cloud // Software as a Service
News
5/15/2013
05:45 PM
Larry Seltzer
Larry Seltzer
Slideshows
Connect Directly
Facebook
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Google Apps To Microsoft Office 365: 10 Lessons

Switching from Google Apps to Microsoft Office 365, you will find good and bad surprises. But overall, Microsoft's Web apps make the migration worthwhile.
Previous
1 of 11
Next


I was a long-time customer of Google Apps for Business. I used it for larryseltzer.com, which I use for both business and personal reasons. Back when I switched from conventional hosting and POP/SMTP email to Google Apps, it was a great deal -- you could get all the basic features for free. This included Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Sites and Google Docs, and it was all searchable using Google's top-notch engine.

A lot has changed since then. Google Apps has gotten better, although not markedly so. The competition, which is Microsoft, has not stood still. In fact, Microsoft's cloud product, Office 365, is clearly more powerful and sophisticated than Google Apps for business needs, especially large businesses.

I recently laid out the case for leaving Google Apps for Office 365. Here, I'm sharing the lessons I learned while making that migration.

Migrating my five users -- three real ones and a couple of test ones -- took about five days. The first day was consumed with standard and necessary things such as migrating DNS servers; the second involved working around an obscure bug I encountered. Most of the rest of the time was spent migrating email, contacts and calendars.

After leaving Google Apps, I learned a lot about what's possible with Office 2013, its Web apps in various browsers, and mobile support. Mobile is especially complicated. In the end, once I got past deciding which company was being more duplicitous, it became clear to me that Microsoft offers better mobile support than Google. Microsoft still has some big mobile support holes, but it does appear to be working on most of them.

Some people will disagree with me on this, but I think Google Sites is not a useful product, and compared to Microsoft's SharePoint it's so small as to be barely visible. The differences between Google Apps (formerly Google Docs) and Microsoft Office are not as great as they once were, but they're still substantial.

Am I glad I left Google Apps? Yes, even though I ran into some problems in migrating. I suspect no migration like this ever goes completely as planned. Read on to learn from all of my stumbles -- and happy discoveries.

Previous
1 of 11
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
AustinIT
50%
50%
AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/17/2013 | 5:10:12 AM
re: Google Apps To Microsoft Office 365: 10 Lessons
Hi Larry,
Great article and thanks for sharing your experience. I too ran into the same problem that you did early on in my learning of how to migrate users to Office 365. Namely the issue where your email address is in use as both a Windows account and as an Office365 email address. Before setting up my own Office365 subscription, I had my custom Domain hosted at a major ISP. My email address had been in use for years and I intended to keep using it once I migrated my custom Domain to Office365. I also happened to have had a Microsoft account that was setup using this same email address. This presented the problem you highlighted because Office365 setup using my custom Domain created a new O365 account with that same email address as well. The Office 365 account is completely different from the Microsoft account and will cause confusion to many users who are unaware of this distinction and its impact on working with the two Microsoft signons for their online services.
Microsoft needs to somehow address this issue because I'll bet it comes up often.
Other than that, I am glad you like Office 365. It has turned out to be one of the best products that Microsoft has created and it is only getting better.
8 Steps to Modern Service Management
8 Steps to Modern Service Management
ITSM as we know it is dead. SaaS helped kill it, and CIOs should be thankful. Here’s what comes next.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek - July 21, 2014
Our new survey shows fed agencies focusing more on security, as they should, but they're still behind the times with cloud and overall innovation.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
In this special, sponsored radio episode we’ll look at some terms around converged infrastructures and talk about how they’ve been applied in the past. Then we’ll turn to the present to see what’s changing.
Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.