Many businesses are switching from Microsoft to Google, saying that the reason they switched was largely financial or logistical. Though potentially intimidating to consider a major company-wide migration, many are finding the transition easier than expected.
Why Make the Move?
There are several advantages to using Google for Work over Microsoft Exchange—beginning with price. Hosted Exchange averages $141 per user per year, while Gmail costs about $50 per user per year.
Larger companies in particular see a clear financial advantage to Google over time.
Businesses are ensured consistent upgrades and innovations from the creative team at Google. With the all-encompassing Google for Work platform integrating all of your vital apps, workspaces, and communications in one place, lower cost is just an added bonus.
Over five million companies in the United States have adopted Google for Work, and over half of all Fortune 500 companies are on this list.
If your enterprise is considering the switch from Microsoft 365 and Exchange to Google for Work and Gmail, read on for a basic guide to this transition.
Using the Migration Assistant
Due to the level of complexity with migrations, most companies use a Google for Work Partner to handle the migration process seamlessly.
Many times it can even be done when it’s not business hours so there’s no interruption to daily work.
However, if you’re a small company and have a deep knowledge of technical migrations and the Microsoft and Google ecosystems, then the Migration Assistant might be right for you.
Google’s migration services support Microsoft Exchange servers so companies can avoid installing extra migration tools and complex programing. Google’s migration tool enables a smooth and simple transition.
Email, contacts, and calendars are all transferable from Exchange to Google for Work. You can move hundreds of employees’ data at once or migrate one individual at a time.
This process doesn’t disrupt workflow—employees may continue to use their mail, contacts, and calendars throughout the process.
To begin your migration, follow these steps:
1. User accounts. Register for Google for Work, and open the Admin console. Depending on how many accounts need to be created, you can add them individually or en mass. To create accounts one at a time, go to the “Users” tab in the admin console. Select the plus sign, and click “Add User.” Fill in the employee’s organizational unit, name, email address, and domain.
You can input a temporary password and additional contact information as well. Hit “Create,” and email user instructions to the new account holder. If you have a large number of accounts to create, consider using the Google Apps Directory Sync tool. You can easily transfer information such as profiles, contacts, and groups—but passwords aren’t included in this process, since they’re encrypted in the LDAP directory.
2. Configure Gmail. Once user accounts are created, configure your domain to deliver email. Setting up direct delivery to the mail servers is the easiest and most direct method. However, many opt to employ a dual delivery system for the short-term during transitions, allowing mail to be delivered to Microsoft and Gmail accounts for each user. Establish a secondary Google email address for each account holder that needs Microsoft mail forwarded. Configuring dual delivery can be helpful during transitions, but it isn’t a long-term solution.
3. Migration. You have a few options for migrating contacts and calendars, depending on data location. The Google Apps Migration tool for Microsoft Exchange is ideal for transferring information contained within the Exchange server. A similar tool is available for Microsoft Outlook, which enables each user to transfer his or her own data from mail and calendars. If information is stored on local machines, however, use the Google Apps Sync tool.
4. Training. Provide your team with needed information to delegate account access, create shared contacts, manage shared calendars, and move from public folders to Google Drive. Familiarizing employees with these features prior to the launch of Google for Work in your company will ease the transition and increase engagement.
You can use the Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook plug-in to give users access to their Google data through an Outlook client. Users who would like to retain a familiar look to their apps may choose this option. All data is synchronized, providing continuity while emulating your legacy system.
For The Times You Shouldn’t Do It Yourself
The migration from Exchange to Google for Work is made easy with Google’s Sync and Migration tools. If you tackle your move with a Google for Work Reseller and Partner, the transition is made even simpler and more comprehensive, whether you’re starting with on-premises or hosted Exchange systems.
Partner teams manage the transition from beginning to end. Coexistence between Exchange and Google mail and calendars during the transition is simplified, as they ensure all parties can communicate clearly and without glitches.
Your Partner team verifies that calendars can be overlaid and seen by users on both systems and that directories are properly synced.
While setting up mail accounts is relatively straightforward, incorporating mobile devices creates an extra level of complexity. Google Apps and Google Drive for Work provide real-time collaboration capabilities that should be leveraged right away.
A Google for Work Partner will provision each account, giving employees access to a full multi-device experience.
In addition to providing technical support, your Partner team takes the lead on training. By assessing your employees’ needs, the team can tailor webinars and on-site training sessions to fill knowledge gaps and boost interest in new systems. From start to finish, Google for Work Partners deliver a fast, efficient, and comprehensive implementation of Google for Work and its products.
Google for Work is extremely popular due to its ease of use, lower cost, and all-encompassing tools.
The transition is complex. Some companies prefer to do it themselves and like to be very hands-on.
Using a Google for Work Partner ensures a smooth process every step of the way.