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Global leader of network connectivity solutions connects employees with Google Apps

Posted by Michael Walsh, CIO, D-Link

Editors note: D-Link is a global leader in providing network connectivity solutions to small and medium businesses. The company has more than 90 global offices to serve North America, Asia, and Europe. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

D-Link is headquartered in Taiwan, but has more than 90 global offices serving North America, Asia, and Europe, each of which operates almost like an independent business unit. Prior to Google Apps, there were multiple IT support groups each with different email systems and no collaboration platform to allow the business units to work together. The old platforms couldn’t keep up with the rate of innovation of cloud-based solutions or the massive storage requirements that are now needed to run a business.

As we looked at our options, it was clear that we wanted to be in the cloud. We had been using an old version of Lotus Notes and I was already familiar with Microsoft® Exchange so I figured we’d just migrate over to Microsoft’s BPOS (currently Microsoft Office 365). In the spirit of democracy, I threw the discussion wide open to the technology team at our North American headquarters and had a bake-off to evaluate Microsoft versus Google Apps. We looked at cost, usability, feature set and the global reach of each platform’s infrastructure. In the end the affordability, infrastructure and features made Google the clear winner.

After surveying our American employees, we found 67% were already using Gmail in their personal lives, so we knew the transition would be pretty easy. Immediately after implementation we saw a 35% reduction in our help desk calls. Just the support resources we saved paid for Google Apps in less than 12 months.

Initially we moved 550 North American employees to Google Apps a year ago and we’re adding 350 more users as we roll out Google Apps to our European offices. We have been supported in our efforts by our Google Apps partner, SADA Systems. The move to Google Apps has fundamentally changed how we communicate. Once people collaborate online to edit a document at the same time, they never want to go back to the old way of edit and email changes around. We use Google Talk and Google Video, both of which are total game-changers. To look your staff in the eye on a daily basis, no matter where they live, creates a real sense of belonging for those remote employees. People want to be social even at work and video interaction enables that.

Since Google Apps is web-based, we no longer have issues with storage and I know that wherever I roam, I can access my data and connect with people with the push of a button. I’m constantly blown away by Google’s rate of feature development. I don’t even have to spend more money; Google just keeps on giving us great new features at no extra cost!