In one high profile move, the Guardian News and Media Group has dumped Microsoft Office and migrated 2400 users to Google's Apps web-based platform, further highlighting the search engine's SAAS alternative.
The move is expected to cost the group only $120,000 per annum, a fraction of what Microsoft Office would have cost. GNMG revealed that 30 reporters had been using Google Apps on a trial basis during the Beijng Olympics last year and a complete email migration to Gmail will also occur in the next few months.
The Guardian's move is likely to cause concern at Lotus as well as GNMG dumps Lotus Notes for Google's SAAS Offer.
Google Application Premier Edition or GAPE comprises of Google Docs, Calendar, Sites, Video and Talk plus Gmail and email security provided by Postini. A free cut-down version is available (and is currently being tested inhouse) and allows up to 50 employees to operate under the same domain.
Andy Beale, Guardian’s technology director of Enterprise Operations, said that "Google Apps delivers on the promise of collaborative working and is so straightforward and familiar that we knew our users would embrace the technology".
Apart from the cost of licenses, GNMG is also expected to slash costs by literally outsourcing storage, server and application maintenance and freeing more than 30 percent of the time normally spent by the IT support department.
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Media groups are often at the forefront of any technological revolution. After all, they were the first to truly embrace the graphic user interface (Apple Macs anyone?) and digital cameras before anyone else and the halo effect generated is worth many marketing campaigns. The Telegraph also moved to Google Apps and it is likely that other media companies, crunched by the current recession follow suit.