Google Atmosphere or “Admosphere”?

Are you ad-opting a productivity vendor or advertising partner?

At Atmosphere today, Google will try to court CIOs. CIOs are a tough audience, and they should be.  They are looking for solutions to increase productivity, foster collaboration and take their organizations to the next level in an efficient and effective way. This is serious business.

So, as Google prepares to convince this audience that it cares about businesses as much as advertisers, we wanted to touch on some of the most frequent CIO questions we get asked. Microsoft has been working with CIO’s for a long time – including industry leaders such as Kraft Foods, McDonalds, Phillips and Starbucks, state and local governments such as the State of California, Minnesota, New York City and the City and County of San Francisco as well as schools and universities such as San Francisco State University, University of New Orleans and the University of Washington. We know that every organization has needs that are unique to their business, their industry and their employees.  CIO’s want to save money and deliver efficient solutions that will sustain their businesses while making their employees productive.  Their needs are complex and mission critical.  Given the complex nature of global businesses around the world, we have had the opportunity to answer CIO’s questions like the ones below for 20 years—how does Google answer them?

Do you have a proven track record?
Productivity and collaboration solutions are at the heart of what we do.  That simple fact gives us the incentive to continue investing and innovating in this area. It gives us the hunger to keep doing better, listening harder to CIOs—pushing ourselves harder than any competitor could. And most importantly, it gives us a reason to stay successful and invested in this business-today, tomorrow, and for decades to come. Jose Torres, CIO of Priox (Grupo Romero), said the Peru based company chose Microsoft for these very same reasons, “Google came from the world of ads and banners; we did not want to be their guinea pigs. This was a complex project, and we wanted to be certain.”

No CIO needs EVER to ask the question “Will Office be around or will it be jettisoned if it doesn’t do well?” Our business hinges on making the productivity experience successful. Grady Health Systems wanted a vendor invested in their business according Kevin Yearick, the Director of Network Services, “It was important to us that the relationship truly was a relationship, and not just a sale.“ They just didn’t get the same type of enterprise-level response from other vendors. Every CIO should ask- what drives Google’s interest in productivity? What is their incentive to stay in this business?  How much of their attention am I really getting? 

How much will it cost?
If you are a CIO looking to cut costs, ask yourself (and Google) - what’s in the small legal print? Why have some businesses been unable to fully deploy Google Apps?  Because retraining users on a new interface, accepting limited interoperability with other applications, and getting by with limited features is expensive.  It costs companies money and it costs employees valuable time. 

Minimizing disruption for their employees was one of the many reasons why Sound Transit chose Microsoft over Google according to IT Manager Garv Nayyar, “If we had to switch to Google, we would lose a lot of functionality with regard to calendaring, managing mailboxes, and scheduling appointments.” In the long run, the total cost of ownership for many "free" solutions is costly and time consuming. When Enterprise Architects took into account the extra services they had to adopt to fill the gaps in Google Apps, they moved to Microsoft for a more cost effective solution. Can your business afford this "unstated" cost?

What are your privacy policies?
Do a careful review of the company's privacy policy. Microsoft designs its solutions from the ground up for security and privacy and they are backed by two decades of meeting enterprise needs for secure, private solutions. More importantly, with advertising revenue (and therefore mining customer data) remaining central to Google’s business model, and leadership that until recently took pride in declaring comfort with getting “right up to the creepy line” around privacy. Every CIO needs to ask if that value system is consistent with your privacy needs.  Are you comfortable with every click in your business, every document, and every communication being in Google’s hands?  Are your customers and business partners?

What is your long term roadmap?
Organizations need to plan for the future without having to question a cloud provider's long term commitment to their business.  Despite the need for customers to understand their roadmap, Google and others often surprise their customers by unexpectedly removing important features - or adding new ones - which increases both headaches and cost. These unexpected changes often lead to more work.

Can you support all of my people with what they need?
Most businesses have a variety of people working in different roles.  Not all of them sit in Silicon Valley campuses with high-speed Internet.  What they do need is access to your business resources. For most businesses, the Google model simply doesn’t support the level of flexibility they require.  At Microsoft, we provide a variety of options for the different roles people play in your business. Your business does not exist in a one size fits all world - is your cloud provider one size?

Do you feel like you’re getting less than 1% of their energy? We understand you operate a business. Productivity solutions really do change the way a company works. Make sure the one you choose is working for you.