Wellness Company Aisle7 Abandons Google Apps & Adopts Microsoft Technology


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Aisle7 moved 30 users from on-premises Microsoft Exchange Server to Google Apps in an effort to expand the company’s use of cloud computing. In the nine months the company used the Google unified message solution, it faced daily issues with synchronizing email to Microsoft Outlook, managing meeting invitations, and managing contacts and distribution lists. Aisle7 turned to the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite. Now the company’s IT department is saving money and taking advantage of advanced features that work seamlessly.

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Wellness Company Aisle7 Abandons Google Apps & Adopts Microsoft Technology

  1. 1. Microsoft Online Services Customer Solution Case Study Wellness Company Abandons Google Apps, Adopts Microsoft TechnologyOverviewCountry or Region: United StatesIndustry: Media and entertainment quite excited to be using tried-‐and-‐true MicrosoftAdvertising products. The Exchange Online pricing is competitive,Customer ProfileAisle7 is a health and wellness marketing Jake Harris, Director of IT, Aisle7company that uses in-‐store kiosks andcontent on mobile devices to enhancethe grocery shopping experience withproduct guides and purchase Aisle7 is a provider of online and offline marketing services forinformation. retailers wellness products. After moving its 30 users from on-‐Business Situation premises Microsoft Exchange Server to Google Apps in JulyIn 2009, Aisle7 looked for a hosted 2009, it had chronic problems with its email system. In the nineunified messaging platform. Based onprice, the company deployed Google months that the company used the Google unified messageApps. After experiencing numerous solution, it faced daily issues with synchronizing email toissues, it abandoned the solution ninemonths later. Microsoft Outlook, managing meeting invitations, and managing contacts and distribution lists and the company had difficultySolutionThe company replaced Google Apps with getting support from Google. When Google Apps stoppedthe Microsoft Business Productivity downloading new messages to Outlook, Aisle7 turned to theOnline Standard Suite, which givesemployees access to a range of Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite, whichenterprise-‐class services from email to offered competitive pricing and full-‐featured productivity tools.unified instant messaging. Now the compBenefits support calls. Aisle7 is also saving money and taking advantage Decreased IT workload Reduced costs of advanced features that work seamlessly. Gained enterprise-‐level support Moved to advanced feature set
  2. 2. The Outlook Connector Situation Based in Portland, Oregon, Aisle7 delivers What sold Harris on the Google solutionadvanced functionalitiesfor Google Apps was wellness-‐driven marketing programs to was the Google Apps Sync for Microsoft engage shoppers and increase sales in-‐ Outlook tool, which is designed to enablethat you get from Asdreadfully broken. the an store, online, and on-‐the-‐go with users to synchronize their Google Appsfull, rich feature setIT Director, it was a of applications for mobile devices for information with Outlook. He spent three supermarkets, drugstores, and natural months migrating to Google Apps Premierthe Business Productivitynightmare for me. There product retailers worldwide. Edition, and the company went live with the information about health and wellness to solution in July 2009. Although the syncOnline Standard Suite.were periods when not a our customers such as Wal-‐Mart, Whole tool was intended to allow Aisle7 to useAnd it actually works.day went by when Foods, and T Office Outlook as a front end, employees had many problems synchronizing between our content on their websites and in theirreporting an Director of IT, Aisle7 Jake Harris, issue with In 2009, when Aisle7 needed to replace its disappeared. Employees had issues with on-‐premises Microsoft Exchange Server calendar and meeting-‐request functionality, Jake Harris, Director of IT, Aisle7 2003 environment, Harris was committed to -‐end using a hosted offering. Aisle7 was already management of distribution lists, as the using the Salesforce.com customer Address Book in Office Outlook does. relationship management solution, and of cloud computing (﴾the use of computing resources hosted in external data centers calendar and available as managed services over the sync tool really fails badly. I had to update distribution lists manually, save them onto a network share, and then send everyone a ten-‐step procedure for remediating their price-‐per-‐feature basis and cost was a When converting email from Outlook, the The 30 employees at Aisle7 had been using Google tool applied labels to folders but Microsoft Office 2003 productivity software, and the Office Outlook 2003 messaging hierarchy was collapsed and replaced with and collaboration client to manage their one long label. Though a Firefox add-‐in email. When Harris proposed switching to supported folders in Google Apps, it was a Google Apps Premier Edition to the Aisle7 slow, multistep process that sometimes workforce, one third of people said they stalled the email application. use the Microsoft Outlook messaging and Aisle7 employees also complained about a collaboration client anymore. Two thirds number of other issues with Google Apps voiced concern about losing their Outlook including service outages during business ned that Google hours, no way to synchronize tasks or notes from Outlook, and the multistep processes appropriate for business. I think those required to put an image in a message. Throughout this difficult implementation, Harris was unable to get full support from
  3. 3. disappointed with the sales process.and affordable with product demonstration and a trial, but let me talk to someone, but when I asked for these things, I gotMicrosoft OnlineServices, plus we can pay a case number, ask for log files, and that she rarely responded to questions. She kept repeating that the best way to try Googlelong-‐term commitment. Harris tried turning to the support forumsThat makes it very easy on Google but found that they had The company chose to replace Google place for unhappy customers to Apps with the Business Productivity Online agree with each other that the product is Standard Suite available through Microsoft Online Services which includes Jake Harris, Director of IT, Aisle7 were no answers to the problems that Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft people were reporting, and that explained SharePoint Online, Microsoft Office Communications Online, and Microsoft Office Live Meeting. Everything would be One day in early 2010, the sync tool hosted at Microsoft data centers. The suite stopped downloading new messages to is available on a per-‐user, per month basis, Outlook inboxes, and that was the final and the company paid only for the services insurmountable concern for Aisle7 to which it subscribed at any time. Aisle7 leadership. After nine months, the company deployed the suite in June 2010, and implemented Microsoft Office Professional the majority of employees, it was death by 2007 at the same time. suggestion of the CEO, I sent an email Harris prepared Aisle7 workers by bringing message to the entire company asking if all their old email from Google Apps to there was anyone who did not want to their new Microsoft Exchange Online profiles. To simplify management, he employed the Microsoft Online Services Solution Directory Synchronization tool. The tool After reviewing several hosted options, verified the Aisle7 domain with Microsoft Harris came across Microsoft Online Online Services Services, which he decided was the obvious company, I can use the synchronization choice. During the sales process, he worked tool to delete them from Active Directory with Microsoft Gold Certified Partner MessageOps getting questions answered somebody to the about how the solution could work to meet Aisle7 needs. Also, Microsoft offered a free* automatically in Exchange Online and trial of the Microsoft Online Services available companywide through the Global solutio great lengths to make sure that the Employees can use Microsoft Online Services to gain access to a range of By contrast, when Harris had approached enterprise-‐class services including Google for purchase information, he was desktop and mobile email, calendaring and
  4. 4. contacts, instant messaging, presence, web guaranteed 99.9 percent scheduled uptime. conferencing, collaboration tools, shared IT staff at Aisle7 can take advantage oflengths to make sure workspaces, and workflow. Also, Harris has twenty-‐four-‐hours-‐a-‐day, seven-‐days-‐a-‐ built a time-‐off request tool using week support from web forms, with phone-‐that the solution was the SharePoint Online. based Tier-‐2 support for IT administrators. Benefits Jake Harris, Director of IT, Aisle7 Aisle7 benefited from deploying Microsoft Online Services with a significantly reduced problems, and I can monitor and close my IT workload as well as reduced costs and an issues from an administration portal. I also got fast and helpful information on the -‐and-‐ true Microsoft products. The Exchange Moved to Advanced Feature Set Online pricing is competitive, and the By switching to Exchange Online, Aisle7 can provide a host of Office Outlook features that are commonly used by employees, Decreased IT Workload including Tasks, Notes, and meeting Since Aisle7 adopted Microsoft Online requests. Another example is the Out of Office Assistant, which is integrated with representative has become much easier. Microsoft Office Communications Online, The Outlook Connector for Google Apps so that employees can see if someone is n out by looking at their contact list. Aisle7 IT Director, it was a nightmare for me. employees can now incorporate Office Live There were periods when not a day went by Meeting into their meeting requests. Employees can also use the SharePoint with it. When we switched to Microsoft, my Online tool to save time when going phone stopped ringing. Now I can focus on through the process of requesting time off. Reduced Costs functionalities that you get from the full, Despite the low cost of Google Apps, Aisle7 rich feature set of the Business Productivity is saving money by switching to Microsoft Online Online Services. To enable web conferencing, the company had been spending U.S.$3,000 annually for five * Access to and use of the Internet may require payment of a WebEx licenses, a cost it can forgo by using separate fee to an Internet service provider. Local and/or long-‐distance telephone charges may apply. Office Live Meeting. Aisle7 has realized a predictable and affordable with Microsoft Online Services, plus we can pay monthly -‐ Gained Enterprise-‐Level Support Aisle7 benefits from the fact that Microsoft Online Services are backed with a
  5. 5. For More Information Microsoft Online ServicesFor more information about Microsoft Microsoft Online Services are business-‐classproducts and services, call the Microsoft communication and collaboration solutionsSales Information Center at (﴾800)﴿ 426-‐ delivered as a subscription service and9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft hosted by Microsoft. With these offerings,Canada Information Centre at (﴾877)﴿ 568-‐ customers can cost-‐effectively access the2495. Customers in the United States and most up-‐to-‐date technologies andCanada who are deaf or hard-‐of-‐hearing immediately benefit from streamlinedcan reach Microsoft text telephone communications, simplified management,(﴾TTY/TDD)﴿ services at (﴾800)﴿ 892-‐5234. and business-‐class reliability and securityOutside the 50 United States and features.Canada, please contact your localMicrosoft subsidiary. To access For more information, visit:information using the World Wide Web, www.microsoft.com/onlinego to:www.microsoft.comFor more information about MessageOpsproducts and services, call (﴾877)﴿ 771-‐2767 or visit the website at:www.messageops.comFor more information about Aisle7products and services, call (﴾503)﴿ 234-‐4092 or visit the website at:www.aisle7.net Software and Services Microsoft Office Live Meeting Microsoft Online Services Microsoft SharePoint Online Microsoft Business Productivity Microsoft Office Professional 2007 Online Standardand Services Software Suite Microsoft Business Microsoft Exchange Online Microsoft Online Services Productivity Online Standard Microsoft Office Communications Suite OnlineThis case study is for informational purposes only.MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS ORIMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.Document published September 2010