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Going Google across the 50 States: Ohio technology firm starts trusting its email again

Editor's note: Over 3 million businesses are using Google Apps. Today we’ll hear from Richard Hearn, CEO of Crown Partners, a digital sales and marketing technology firm in Ohio. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

At Crown Partners, we help businesses implement the newest ebusiness solutions to grow their revenue and help them get ahead of the competition. We support Fortune 500 and mid-market companies all over the country and in some cases globally, so access to our email, calendars and documents while out of the office or with clients is critical.

We had been using Microsoft® Exchange 2003 and Sharepoint 2007, but we ran out of Client Access Licenses. Microsoft would not let us buy more licenses on our current infrastructure and only allowed us to upgrade to 2010. So, we made the investment in new servers and software and took the upgrade plunge (which had its own challenges). Immediately after upgrading, we began to run into problems – meetings disappeared from calendars, data didn’t sync with smartphones, and we had a couple bad outages where employees couldn’t access email for over 24 hours. On a few occasions, we missed client meetings due to calendar issues and decided we needed to start considering alternatives.

From a cost perspective, we had already paid for the servers and licenses with Microsoft, but we decided to cut our losses. We had spent nearly $50,000 on something that just didn’t work.

We called Google, and two weeks later, we had 100 employees up and running on Google Apps. Moving our entire infrastructure was not a big deal. We started with the 30-day free trial, tested it out, and after only a few days simply deployed to the rest of our employees on our own. A one-person IT team was able to migrate the business over in less than a week. If I knew how easy it would be, I would have done it a long time ago.

With Google Apps’ record for reliability, I don’t have to worry about servers going down. I know that our data is backed up in the cloud. We have tons of people on the road every week, we have had laptops stolen or lost at airports, and it’s an added benefit knowing that there isn’t data on the actual laptops.

With all the travel our employees do, we need access to information wherever we are – real time. Our employees are starting to trust their emails and their calendars again, even on their mobile devices. Gmail is lightening fast and employees love it. The added benefit of Google Docs and other benefits from Google Apps put it over the top. The only thing I regret about moving to Google Apps is not doing it sooner.

Posted by Richard Hearn, CEO, Crown Partners