GoogleApps is not Enterprise-Ready, Part I

Recently we went through the migration from a Corporate Hosted Exchange environment to a GoogleApps environment.  On the surface, GoogleApps looks very comparable but in actuality some key functionality and processes used in everyday life are missing and/or inadequate.

One of the big factors in the decision to cutover to GoogleApps was the release of the GoogleApps Outlook Connector.  The GoogleApps Outlook connector allows Outlook users to sync their email, calendar, and contacts with GoogleApps.  Installation is relatively simple and user configuration is a snap.  The account setup process offers a handy import tool.

All looked good and we thought we were ready.  Sales people were happy they could keep using Outlook.  All the "Google Fans" in the office were happy we no longer had to have forwarding setup or be forced to use Outlook/OWA for calendaring.  Finance was happy because it reduced the cost from $12/mo + any mobile services per user to only $50/yr per account.

Prior to migration, we created a new GoogleApps Premier account.  To facilitate testing and the migration we used the suggested "transition.domain.com" subdomain.  Next a CSV file of all users was created to import into GoogleApps.  Now the fun begins. 

We had approximately 120 users to import but our account only had a 100 user limit.  So the import only entered the first 100.  It became a 5day ordeal to add additional because we were in "trial mode".  Google's solution was to wait out the 30day trial and add the accounts.  Of course we were operating on a short timeline and trying to execute the cutover in less than 2 weeks.  Eventually the issue was resolved, but it seems very un-Google-like that the addition of user accounts requires such a manual purchase and activation process.  It took over 48 hours to add the additional 15 user accounts we added approximately 3 weeks after GoLive.

In a few followup blog posts, I will discuss some systematic, migration and administrative issues we encountered as well as address the impact with our end-users.