So, we moved to Outlook.com for email

Discussion in 'Business & Enterprise Computing' started by foxmulder881, Mar 30, 2013.

  1. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    That's after purchasing the initial license, yeah?

    Google Apps and their $50 per annum cost certainly offers you a hell of a lot more for the same dollar cost, plus near zero effort to deploy. And again, all discussions about "power users who *need* Excel" are generally moot, when you're realistically talking about such a small percentage of the population.

    It's pretty clear for our organisation that Google Apps makes a whole lot more sense. Users constantly on the road, 99% of staff using spreadsheets that don't even contain a single formula, and a massive diversity of operating systems (including unmanaged bring-your-own-device).

    We just wiped a huge volume of work off IT's list, got more features without the need to add Sharepoint, and spent less money than software assurance alone would have cost for the same period (don't even start on the up front license costs!).

    Thank Christ I don't work in government. ;)
     
  2. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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  3. PabloEscobar

    PabloEscobar Member

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    A convenient example of the issue I have with the communication issue of some of the larger providers like google.

    Basically, documents weren't appearing on the google drive page
    - http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57...title&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=statusnet

    Googles outage notice

    http://www.google.com/appsstatus#hl...00&sid=4&iid=7f279eaa5fdd01dd92fa8cbe3bcd83d0



    Does not offer a description of the symptoms at all, so If I'm trying to troubleshoot an issue, and determine if the problem is local or remote, or even if the problem exists for me at all, all I've got to go on is;


    and then

    Unless there is a more indepth status page that subscribers have access to (and if so, can you post up the log for this incident please).
     
  4. s.Neo

    s.Neo Member

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    To be clear, Windows Server, MS-SQL, AD and SharePoint are all server side products. SharePoint is web based and from the client side any standards compliant browser works with it, from any operating system or mobile device.

    Most users won't know about the server technology used for Google apps/SharePoint, and they don't care either, as long as it does what they need.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2013
  5. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Users are one thing. Infrastructure, support and licensing costs to the IT department is another. Google Apps is juts simply a shitload cheaper.
     
  6. NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    for a lot less product.

    Agreed that some of the time, more product isn't needed - but its still less product, with less service.

    That outage/resolution notice is absolute horseshit for a service provider as large as that...
     
  7. s.Neo

    s.Neo Member

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    But you are comparing hosting infrastructure on premises with SharePoint vs subscribing to a service with Google Apps. For an accurate comparison you should be looking at Office 365 vs Google Apps, where I'm sure that price gap will be negligible.

    There are a range of reasons some companies may choose to host on premises and if that's their requirement, they can do so with SharePoint, whereas Google Apps is only offered as a cloud solution.
     
  8. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    We keep going around and around on this one. The single biggest criticism I hear of Google Apps is exactly the above. In the 160 person organisation I work for, we don't have a single user that falls into the category you mention here. The largest companies I've worked for have been 1600 users as the biggest (in terms of staff), and 1000 users as the second biggest, with the latter being a large, plodding Fortune 500 finance group. In that organisation you could have counted the users that required the super-dooper features of MS Office on one hand (mostly the MS Data Warehousey stuff for BI and DBA types, with all the fancy Excel integration). The other 1596 users could barely create a SUM() formula without a wizard and someone from helpdesk standing beside them to help with the typing of those two funny curved lines after the word "sum". ("What, you mean I have to hold the SHIFT key at the same time? THIS JOB IS TOO STRESSFUL AND I NEED MORE TRAINING AND A PAY RISE!").

    Having been through our recent Google Apps transition at my current company, there were about 20 users in particular users who baulked at the change (no surprises, they were all from the "soft skills" side of the business). It had nothing to do with *needing* Microsoft products, but rather the typical fear of change. And you know what? I saw the same dramas when I upgraded giant corporates from Office 2003 to Office 2007 and ribbon. The large financial I mentioned above? They spent a million bucks on training alone for that. A MILLION BUCKS to train humans upgrade from one Microsoft product to it's natural successor. That's not including licensing and software assurance on top of that, or any of the support systems (Sharepoint et al).

    Those vocally angsty users got the bulk of IT's time during the changeover, plenty of hand holding, soothing words, and some whale song music playing gently in the background. After a week of gentle positive reinforcement, it all calmed down, and they're happy as pie. Counter the emotional knee jerk reactions, and the problems all magically vanish.

    So when you normalise out the noise that is fear of change, the reasons for *needing* a whitewashed Microsoft Office install across your whole organisation become so minuscule. You can give your half dozen "power users" MS Office, and let the rest of the folks who do nothing but stare blankly at pie charts 8 hours a day have "less of a product" for a fraction of the price.

    And for what it's worth, the same argument applies everywhere, not just to documents and spreadsheets. I work in an office full of media folk. Hardcore 2D texture artists get Adobe Photoshop, which is substantially more expensive than MS Office. Producers and others who need to view the Photoshop files get Krita and Darktable, which are $0. When they tell me they "need" Photoshop, I question exactly what they do with it. When they explain they use it to view (not create) content, I ask them if they'd like to justify the dollar cost to the finance department as to why they get a copy of Photoshop that they open once a week to view an image, and why some other artists somewhere else misses out on an integral license for their content creation software that they use 60 hours a week (plus overnight rendering on top of that).

    A combination of ego and fear of change is why 90% of people stick with a particular brand of software. And again, it blows my mind that I see this argument when it comes to something as banal as spreadsheet software, particularly when so many people use it as a glorified tabular layout engine for text, entirely free of formulas more complex than a column sum.

    http://www.google.com/appsstatus
    All apps in a dashboard. Click on the outage for detailed description and fix ETAs. What don't you like?

    Here's an example:
    http://www.google.com/appsstatus#hl...0&sid=11&iid=21ac6ed0ee58828a75c04c1644947e34

    Information about the outage, exact to-the-minute ETA of next updated, etc, etc. All the normal stuff I'd expect from any vendor.
     
  9. NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    So...

    Doesnt' mean anything...?
     
  10. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    No argument from me there. If my choice boiled down to Office+Sharepoint versus Office 365 for my current workplace, Office 365 would win.

    And for what it's worth, we did look at Office 365. It had a far worse record of outages than Google Apps, and was more expensive (enough to be more than "negligible" for the features we required). Hence why Google Apps won for us.

    As I already said: what don't you like about it? You mentioned it wasn't good enough twice now. What would you prefer to see?
     
  11. NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    How big does it have to be.

    Then...

    Seriously.

    Half of problem-solving in IT is trying to work out if your issue is unique or not. There is ZERO clarity in that outage as what to expect.

    I must admit, out of most of the debates that are had on here - I'm really not a fan of how this topic is going on. I understand that you're a massive supporter of free software - that's a given.

    However;

    * you can't defend this outage - its absolutely woeful in terms of description - BY ANY vendors standards. (I'm particularly annoyed by it, as part of my old google drive storage disappeared... It also happened to be a master password list that was required at the time)

    * You can't say on one hand that Google Apps is cheaper and equivalent - but then bang on about how that most users don't use the features of the "equivalent" Office software.

    * You can't point out that the google apps platform offers multiple users in a single document, then when its been a feature for 3 versions of office now - complain that the backend is required (let us know how you go about multiple spreadsheet editing without the internet).

    * You can't say that Google Apps is cheaper - when you've said EVERY user (or most, I can't be bothered to look) now has a 3G/4G dongle to fall back on (@ $20-50/month) - when the internet drops.

    * You haven't mentioned anything about getting the entirety of the businesses incumbent documents into Google Apps, with correct formatting and fields working - and the labour cost involved in that (it sure as shit doesn't "just work").

    * the majority of this thread has been about how much work an email system is to manage and maintain - I want to know who your mail administrators are, because they are complete idiots if you are spending more than 10-15 hours a year on it. I have probably 30 SBS installs ranging from 5-30 users that I maintain for clients - these machines get service packed, update rollups and the odd reboot outside of business hours. The only faults I have to troubleshoot are surrounding undelivered mail to weird mail servers that pay attention to obscure RBL's - which the second you don't have direct access to the smtp logs, become a 12-48 hour blackhole whilst you request them from your vendor.

    Google Apps is a great product. But its not the only. And you really blur the line in your posts between what works best for your current business, and a blanket assumption on all businesses everywhere.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2013
  12. PabloEscobar

    PabloEscobar Member

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    How have Google Apps handled UI updates in the past, I expect V1.0 is still avaialble if users want it?

    Otherwise, than Million Dollars (that would be budgeted for) spent on training for Office 2003 -> 2007 will need to be spent whenever (unbudgeted? or eternally budgeted) google decide to force users onto a new UI.
     
  13. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    All your other points are pretty valid and are acknowledged (and thank you for taking the time to post them), but I'll rebut this one.

    I've made it very clear that when I speak of Google Apps' viability, I'm talking specifically about the companies I've worked for now and in the past. I've even gone as far as to say that the folks adminning 6000 seat .gov.au's are quite right to keep their email in-house, and backed by large corporate vendors.

    If you want to misconstrue my praise for Google Apps' viability for the companies I've worked for as a blanket recommendation for all companies everywhere, then that's your misinterpretation, and not what I'm saying.

    I mentioned the Microsoft Office training expenses as a field-leveller, not conclusive proof that Google Apps was better or free from the need to train people.

    The argument posited when migrating from Microsoft Office to anything else is typically "Think of the training expenses! Stay with Microsoft and avoid training!". My point is that, even when you're upgrading from MSOffice.v(X) to MSOffice.v(X+1), you're still up for training expenses anyway, and it doesn't magically remove nor reduce them just because you stick with your current vendor. Ditto for any other vendor and product upgrades.

    As for Google's handling of UI updates - they offer two methods that you can choose from in the admin panel. You can choose for rapid release, where updates are rolled out immediately across your org. Or you can choose the slow release option, where users are presented the choice of a UI upgrade (and the ability to roll it back) for around 3 months before it's enforced. During that time, Google themselves produce a lot of training content that they give you for no extra cost - videos, tutorials, help pages, corporate intranet templates, etc.

    When it came to my company's migration itself, Google provided a "going-google.domainname.com.au" page, pre-templated with common user questions and FAQs, training videos, help files for common issues (e.g.: how to make Google Apps work with MS Outlook exactly like Exchange used to), etc, etc. It was very easy to implement (click a button and done), and solved a lot of our challenges in advance.

    It didn't remove our need to train staff entirely, nor did we expect it to. But Google themselves put a lot of effort into making the transition easier for our users, and it did exactly that. Around 50% of our users were fully self-reliant for the transition - they read the help files, watched the videos, and got their own stuff set up on the day very quickly to their preferred mail clients. Around 40% stuck with the Google web interfaces through their preferred web browsers, dumping legacy mail clients all together, and the remaining 10% were the "we hate change" crowd who IT spent all their time with over the next few days reassuring that the world wasn't ending because we made an infrastructure change and only gave them a meagre 2 months notice period.

    I expect that for future Google UI changes, we'll see the legacy client crowd not notice, the majority of the web interface crowd deal with the changes via Google's notification and training process, and the 10% "freak out" crowd to freak out and need hand holding from IT to cope emotionally with change. Yes, this means unbudgeted expense (in the form of IT support time, and reduced user productivity during the migration). I acknowledge this, as does my CEO. We have the same problem with every piece of software we have, not just email, and not just Microsoft. With that said, Google do a bloody fantastic job of trying to mitigate a lot of the pain through comprehensive training material that they release for no extra cost, and make available to users no matter where they are in the world, 24x7 and on any platform (desktop or mobile).
     
  14. GreenBeret

    GreenBeret Member

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    I need to find a workplace with a CIO who will back me up when I make such an argument (I have here so many times) or become one myself... :tongue:
     
  15. Daemon

    Daemon Member

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    One thing to note out of that Google Apps outage is the resolution time. 12 minutes.

    The description is horrid, I'll certainly agree with that. All of the service disruption reports I've seen have been good so I'm not sure why this one stands out.

    Again, I look at the 12 minute resolution. To me this is quicker than most businesses can even log a fault, yet alone resolve one.

    For the larger faults / outages they publish a detailed PIR as well.
     
  16. PabloEscobar

    PabloEscobar Member

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    That depends on when google start the timer :).

    I bet if 1 minute before that outage notice went public, you rang googles support... they would have been blaming your setup/network/browser/etc.
     
  17. ewok85

    ewok85 Member

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    You better hope my keyboard is OK - I just got green tea everywhere :wired:
     
  18. Tekin

    Tekin Member

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    In fairness, he never said 'which standards'.
     
  19. Daemon

    Daemon Member

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    With services that are used globally by millions, how much time to you really think they can really "cheat"?

    As for their phone support, I've never used it personally so I have no idea how good / bad it is.
     
  20. PabloEscobar

    PabloEscobar Member

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    I've had to deal with Telstra a fair bit in a few roles. Their online service status is always so far behind what is actually happening.

    It took about 6 hours to get a widespread outage on their Utility hosting environment acknowledged on their service status page. While they aren't on the same scale, It still happens.
     

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