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Enterasys has gone Google.

Posted by Dan Petlon, CIO of Enterasys

Editor's note: From the founding of Faneuil Hall in 1740 to the opening of Franklin Southie in 2008, Boston’s businesses have embodied an enterprising and entrepreneurial spirit. Today, we’re wicked excited to hear from Dan Petlon, 2012 Boston Business Journal CIO of the year and CIO of Enterasys, a global provider of wired and wireless network infrastructure and security solutions with a strong Boston presence. See what other companies that have gone Google have to say.

Change in information technology (IT) can be tough. Employees have to learn a new interface and get used to a different way of doing everyday things. But that change is often tougher for CIOs and IT managers since we also have to manage migrating data, handling questions and buying or upgrading hardware. So when we started switching the majority of the company’s infrastructure over to the cloud, I prepared for an uphill battle.

We had been using Microsoft Exchange for more than 14 years and it was starting to outlive its usefulness. Tools that we relied on in Exchange 2007 didn’t work when we upgraded to the 2010 version, calendaring was messy and mobile syncing was even tougher. Our Sharepoint server – the center of collaboration for the company – was just not working.

Our search for a cloud-based email and collaboration system came down to Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps. While our 1,200 employees were used to Microsoft's tools, we weren't convinced their solution fully understood the cloud; Office 365 still required us to install software and hardware. Google Apps was entirely cloud-based and offered everything we needed with a single license - it was the right way to go for us. We switched last summer with the help of Google Apps reseller Cloud Sherpas.

Our staff quickly adopted Gmail and Google Calendar and also tried out Google Docs, finding that it makes creating presentations and sharing information with each other and outside partners much easier. Our sales managers have started using Google+ Hangouts for preliminary interviews with remote job candidates in order to get a more personal first interview with them before bringing them into the office. We’re also in the process of finally getting rid of our Sharepoint server by migrating the information over to Google Sites and Google Drive. Our Quality Assurance team has about 100 people who all use Sites and Drive to store, organize and share every document they create. Now it’s become company policy: every document that’s created internally is made using a Google Doc!

Google Apps has also helped us make mobility simple for our employees. Their email and calendars are always synced, there’s never any downtime or connectivity issues, like there were with Exchange, and they have all their Docs with them anytime they need them. Almost a year later, our support tickets have dropped over 60 percent and we’ve saved more than $300,000.

In about one year of running Google Apps, 272 new features have been pushed out to our company. That’s an impressive pace and something that would have seemed impossible before, but I see it as the luxury of cloud computing. While change can seem daunting, we’re really happy to have Google Apps as our guide.