I have been working with an organisation that has really struggled to manage their data. As a small not-for-profit organisation it has a small budget for operational costs. We have been looking at reducing the budget allocated on Information Technology which has consisted of 3 Microsoft Windows Servers.

The costs associated with maintaining the server infrastructure and software has been very expensive. These costs include:

  • maintaining the hardware (new servers every 3 years), including uninterrupted power supply
  • server and associated licensing
  • IT service provision by an external provider
  • electricity to run the servers
  • air conditioning to keep the servers cool

We have been running Microsoft Small Business Server with Exchange for Email and Calendars. Archive Manager for email retention. We have used SharePoint for our intranet.

What we have found is that every time something goes wrong, we seem to be handing out more money.

In June we migrated our email, calendars and contacts to Google Apps for Business. We are now looking at adopting Google Drive as our file server (primarily using Google Documents, Spreadsheets and Presentation). We use Google+ as our intranet environment.

It has not been easy making this radical change for many of our staff who have been completely tied to Microsoft products for the majority of their professional careers. There are many however that have completely embraced the change and enjoy the new freedom and simplicity that it provides. Staff can now work anywhere at any time and from any device.

We anticipate that we stand to reduce our annual IT budget from over $60,000 annually to just over $10,000 as we continue to turn of these servers.