Companies could make big savings by moving from MS Office to Google Apps

Cloud planning

Moving to the cloud is one of the biggest trends in enterprise IT at moment, but office systems are still clinging resolutely to in-house machines even though there could be big savings to be had from moving them online.

With the launch of its new SaaS analytics application Israel-based SoftWatch offers IT managers the ability to get real-life usage data from Microsoft Office so they can see the potential benefits and return on investment available from moving to Google Apps.

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SoftWatch offers accurate data on company-wide Microsoft Office usage patterns, enabling enterprises to make informed decisions about moving to Google Apps. It also provides management tools for a smooth transition and decommissioning of excess Microsoft licenses.

In addition to the software the company has released the results of a study that shows Microsoft Office is under used in many organizations. It analyzed real usage of MS Office in dozens of enterprises comprising more than 150,000 users. The benchmark shows that on average an employee only spends 48 minutes a day on MS Office applications, most of that in Outlook. It also reveals high numbers of inactive users in the organizations; in particular PowerPoint was not being used at all by around half of employees. In addition, most of the users of other Office applications used them primarily for viewing and light editing purposes, with only a small number of heavy users: 2 percent in PowerPoint, 9 percent in Word and 19 percent in Excel.

Based on these results SoftWatch estimates that, by transitioning light users from MS Office to Google Apps, companies can save up to 90 percent on their Microsoft licensing fees.

"By uncovering the fact that MS Office applications are actually used much less than had been thought, SoftWatch removes the fear and doubt that traps decision makers when it comes to transitioning from Microsoft to Google Apps. For the first time they will have real data enabling them to make intelligent decisions about transitioning to Google Apps, enjoy the benefits of an alternative cloud-based solution and significantly cut their software license spending," says Uri Arad, co-CEO of SoftWatch. "The analytics provided by SoftWatch are a real game-changer in the competition between Google and Microsoft over enterprise office and collaboration tools".

SoftWatch is teamed with a number of Google Apps resellers worldwide and you can find out more on the company's website and there’s an overview of the benchmark study in the infographic below.

Image Credit: ra2studio / Shutterstock

CloudIT-InfoGraphicV1-no30daysv2

17 Responses to Companies could make big savings by moving from MS Office to Google Apps

  1. WP7Mango says:

    Sounds great...

    ...until you realise that they have a clear incentive to push Google Apps and not Microsoft Office.

    This isn't some kind of independent body!!! It also seems to fail to take into account Office Online and Office 365 as an upgrade path.

  2. Revben Chase Da Kingdom says:

    So they come up with this half-lie and misdirection and expect people to beleive them. What if those company they convince to go to google apps then discover that office 365 small business and office 365 enterprise e1 cover all google apps option and it cost just about the same but with the ms office familarity. And that is 2 billion business.

    • Balthazar_B says:

      Actually the costs can be quite a bit different -- the devil is in the details -- but every company should consider its options among all the choices available (hint: locally installed applications on every machine is probably the most expensive option by far). I wonder whether we're about to see a race to the bottom in pricing for productivity environments, just as we're witnessing in the cloud storage space. And what that will mean for the various players' business models and priorities.

  3. conan007 says:

    So they discovered that "on average an employee only spends 48 minutes a day on MS Office applications".

    What is that supposed to mean? How many minutes 'on average' does a person (or an employee) spend on toilet a day? I guess not much - so should they advocate removing toilets?

    Also one has to take into account seasonality. At university, for example, the usage of productivity software would surge during term times, especially when the deadline of courseworks/dissertation approaches, but 'on average', the time spent on productivity software can be still very low.

    • Balthazar_B says:

      "What is that supposed to mean? How many minutes 'on average' does a person (or an employee) spend on toilet a day? I guess not much - so should they advocate removing toilets?"

      I suppose one could argue that shared bathroom facilities are a much more efficient use of capital than installing one in everyone's cube.

      Your point on seasonality is a good one. I think there's another dimension that needs to be explored: features. I suspect only a very small percentage of users require any features in the delta between MS Office and Google Apps, which makes paying universally for the more expensive option wasteful. The right approach may be what Google itself does: purchase Office licenses for the Excel jockeys (for instance) in the company who need it, and have Apps available to all.

  4. barely_normal says:

    Just think how much money could be saved by moving to open-source solutions, such as LibreOffice. If the software is used across the entire business, there are no worries about compatibility, and things sent to other businesses are rarely edited or appended, only viewed, where there are few, if any problems.

  5. async2013 says:

    Common sense for many but apologist fodder for the usual suspects

  6. Eric Sleeper says:

    Why is it always dump Office for Google Apps.
    Why not dump Office Desktop for Office Docs Online.

    All the same benefits with almost zero training required. And get this.....if your company starts to hire more skilled/training employees (almost any college grad), that can benefit from more functionality, there is a path either Office 365 or Office Desktop. It just makes more sense.

    We need more articles, from time to time, on Google Apps vs Office Docs (Free vs Free, Pros and Cons). The above article conclusion is illogical at best, it would be like saying every car is overkill, everyone should own the most basic one out there (while true...why do we all own nicer cars).

  7. Shifty303 says:

    What if 90% of my day is in Microsoft Access? What then?

    • Eric Sleeper says:

      You must dump it for something free - as it's about about saving money, not productivity, compatibility, or hidden cost (like migration and training). Or just dumb down your database requirements and do it in Excel...sorry, Google Sheets. Get with the program man :)

  8. V_Dude says:

    Clearly this didn't make the deadline for the April 1st edition.....

    Having lived through the cost savings nightmare known as google apps I can tell you the lost productivity more than offsets the cost of Office/Office 365.

    If your staff is used to Outlook they will never get the hang of google apps. Google claims it works with outlook but calendaring and meetings ARE NOT SUPPORTED. I've had the CEO on the other end of the phone yelling at IT because he missed a meeting. Mailbox management is completely different too. If the staff is used to folders they will be totally confused by filters.

    Single sign on is a huge issue too. There is no federated services option and passwords must be synced via a convoluted process that easily breaks down and is difficult to detect when it is broken.
    The move to Office 365 is a much better option for commoditizing email. If you have an existing EA agreement you'll find that O365 costs less than Google Apps.

  9. 1DaveN says:

    Cost may be part of a decision, but in business, support is a much bigger issue. I would argue that with a cloud service that's even more true. If your employees can't access their data, the few bucks you saved are not going to be enough to make you happy if you can't a competent support rep on the phone rapidly.

  10. earthquake10 says:

    I agree that support and cloud sync are most important. Mostly I'm just tired of writers like Ian Barker using any and all loose excuses to bite at Microsoft.

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