Google Apps / Sprint – Buyer Beware…

Google Apps / Sprint – Buyer Beware…

When something sounds too good to be true, we all know that chances are, our gut is right and we should just walk away. I recently had the experience of sitting through a presentation by a national wireless carrier who ‘offered the world’ to one of our clients if they just moved to Google Apps. The carrier promised to instantly replace their on-premises Mail server with a Cloud solution and everyone would be extremely happy.

What the wireless carrier promised

  • Your employees will love Gmail
  • You’re staff doesn’t have to use Outlook anymore
  • It’s an easy transition and a super low monthly cost
  • Don’t worry about your data, it’s safe
  • Lots of goodies and gadgets for the staff to persuade them to make the switch

What the wireless carrier said during the presentation

  • Yes, we know you like all of your emails organized by folders, and we understand that Google doesn’t have folders, but Google is just better
  • Google Apps is never down; they have never had an outage
    • Funny thing is that I had several news stories of Google Apps being down very recently; one of the employees in the meeting leaned over my shoulder and chuckled as they read the news stories I had pulled up in my Google Search (kind of ironic)
  • Google Apps is 100% compatible with Office files
  • Great! But, it turns out that all of our Macro-enabled spreadsheets that they use would have to have to be scrapped because Google Apps does NOT support this feature; turns out there are formatting issues as well; so all those great forms and templates that have been created over the years would all have to be re-done.

What the wireless carriers don’t tell you

  • You will need to train your staff on how to use Google Apps, which can be very costly and stressful, since your staff is already proficient at using the Microsoft Office Suite. Just imagine going out and buying Word Perfect Office and having to retrain your staff to use this instead of Microsoft Word, or a different spreadsheet product.
  • Document formatting is not the same between Google Apps and Microsoft Office; if your clients and vendors aren’t using Google Apps, plan on incompatibility and formatting issues when you share documents between your clients, vendors, and friends.
  • Your privacy is at stake! Google makes its money by advertising and tracking your users, not to mention Google is constantly receiving subpoenas; your company information may end up in a government database
  • You have to purchase a 3rd party service just to back up your Google Apps data in the cloud. What happens if an employee mistakenly deletes a file, or leaves the company? You are out of luck unless you pay extra to back up your data.

The exaggerated and incorrect statements by the wireless carrier didn’t surprise me, nor did their lack of understanding of the client’s business, but it was disappointing to sit through. They were just trying to convert another customer and hit their sales goal regardless of whether this was a good solution for our client.

Even the employees caught on and questioned some of the outrageous claims of the Google App solution. Here are some comments:

  • We love Outlook! We like how neat, clean, and organized everything is within the Outlook interface and your product doesn’t have this feature
  • We don’t want to lose the capability of Outlook folders
  • We don’t want to limit our email access to a web browser-only
  • We want the ability to compose email offline when we don’t have Internet
  • We don’t really like Gmail as a tool

The entire sales process reminded me of the time when the phone carriers stopped offering unlimited data for customers, but users that already had unlimited data plans were grandfathered in. Once your contract came up for renewal, or you wanted to add another device, the carrier pounced on every opportunity to switch you to a shared data plan and make you give up your unlimited data. They only cared for what was in their best interest, not yours, and that’s not a vendor-client relationship. The same applies to switching to Google Apps. The wireless carriers don’t understand your business workflow like your IT Company does, and they are strictly motivated to convert you over to fatten their own wallet; they’re not concerned about loss in employee productivity, etc.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, make sure to do your due diligence before making a major change like this, and that includes checking with Syscon since we know your company and IT structure and can help guide your decision process.


posted by Scott Lowell