Google has changed their strategy and is no longer providing Gmail and other apps for "free" to educational institutions. Their services are now moving to a recurring cost plan.
In recent months, Google has changed their costing model for G-Suite (rebranded as Google Workspace). This service is no longer free as it was previously for educational institutions. This has caused numerous institutions to evaluate other options for delivering e-mail and general office applications to their students. While there are no indications that Google is changing their cost model for other industries, most IT leaders are already assessing their Google Workspace usage and are evaluating other providers as well.
In particular, K-20 organizations are scrambling to address this imminent issue and are exploring their options. These options include:
- Reducing Google storage usage to below the threshold that will incur the recurring cost
- Removing access to Google suite for specific populations
- Requesting an extension from Google on the implementation of their new fees.
Unfortunately, all these options are a Band-Aid approach and lead to disenfranchising a segment or most students adversely. In some cases, the proposed mailbox and storage quotas are so small that realistically they make the usage unfeasible.
There is, however, light at the end of the tunnel.
- Most organizations or institutions already own some combination of A3/G3/E3/F3 licenses (depending on the industry).
- There are multiple streamlined, best practice-based migration plans from Google to Microsoft that does not involve a recurring cost.
- The process involves engaging your Microsoft rep and a reputable partner to assist with this process.
Important aspects of this migration strategy consist of building a plan addressing:
- Organizational readiness
- Migration design
- User communication
- IT admin training
In many cases, funding is available from Microsoft to assist with this migration engagement.
There are two frequent questions facing IT leaders around this migration.
1) One is access to popular applications
2) Related to Gmail messages.
Microsoft A3/G3/E3/F3 licenses provide users with access to an ample number of popular applications that are generally more feature-rich than their counterparts in Google Workspace. This includes, but is not limited to, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, SharePoint, and One Drive (a better version of Google’s G- drive). As far as migrating existing e-mails messages from Gmail to Microsoft is concerned, there are several good options available; however, this is an area requiring thoughtful planning and setting clear expectations for the user community to address timeline, and more.
Another benefit of transitioning from Google Workspace to Microsoft is that Microsoft has a philosophy of an integrated applications to all apps being accessible through a single portal with ease of navigation, similar look and feel and most importantly implementation of various end-user security options including multi-factor authentication (MFA). Microsoft has also invested a great deal of resources to deliver these apps via mobile devices, which is now a prevalent method of access with most users. Microsoft apps have significantly matured on mobile devices, and they are continually gaining a high level of popularity.
Enabling Technologies has built an extensive practice with subject matter experts to address successful migration from Google Workspace to Microsoft 365 tenants. Our approach is to implement an accelerated project plan, and we have adopted best practices methodology model to successfully complete these migrations. Our six-stage approach consisting of: discovery and planning, readiness assessment, organizational change management, migration strategies, knowledge transfer and training have effectively streamlined this process significantly. We are at your service to share our experience around this migration with you.
About the Author: Dr. Mehran Basiratmand is a member of Enabling Technologies Corp CIO Strategic Advisory team. He has well 30 years of extensive experience leading innovation in complex technology enterprises in higher education institutions as well other public entities such as healthcare, state government and more. Prior to joining Enabling Technologies Corp, he served as Chief Technology Officer of Florida Atlantic University, and Chairperson of NWRDC, the largest public data center in the State of Florida for over 10 years. He has considerable experience and expertise with the migration process from Google to Microsoft. For more information about Google to Microsoft migration and other services, please feel free to contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at: 443.625.5100