Taylor Woodrow, \n\na UK-based construction company, has switched its 1,800 employees' e-mail from \n\nMicrosoft Outlook to enterprise Gmail. \n\tRELATED LINKS\nUnderstanding What Google Apps Is (And Isn't)\n\nSalesforce's Addition of Google Apps Shows Google's Intent to Enter Business Software Market\n\nCan Google Apps Crack the Fortune 500 and Large Enterprises?\n\nThe company is also beginning to use other components of Google Apps, \nthe suite of Web-based applications that includes, in addition to \n\nGmail, calendar, chat, word processing, spreadsheets and wikis.\n\n\n\tAccording to Rob Ramsay, Taylor Woodrow's IT director, the company has \n\nalready realized a cost savings of nearly $2 million in licensing and support \n\ncosts. According to Google, Google Apps premier edition for enterprises costs $50 per user \n\nper year. In an interview with CIO, Ramsay cited four major lessons \n\nfrom implementing the enterprise version of Gmail and dabbling with Google \n\nApps.\n1. Easier E-mail Maintenance\n\tBecause Gmail is hosted by Google, Taylor Woodrow doesn't need to put \n\nthe data on its own servers. As a result, Ramsay says IT doesn't have to spend \n\ntime or money maintaining e-mail servers (which is a where some of that $2 \n\nmillion in savings was realized). As a result, it frees up IT to work on other \n\napplications and systems. Google also handles spam and messaging security, thus eliminating \n\nanother area that Ramsay's IT group had to manage. This was especially a big \n\ndeal for Taylor Woodrow, since 50 percent of the company's e-mail user base \n\nchanges every year, he says.\n2. Distributed Model Helps E-mail Security \n\tWith Gmail, Ramsay says that data is distributed across many machines \n\non the back-end of Google, a fact he believes boosts e-mail security because it \n\nmeans his vendor is not putting all his eggs in one basket. "We were determined \n\nnot to have a single point of attack," Ramsay says. "If we did this [e-mail \n\nimplementation] in a traditional method [on premise], there would have been a \n\nsingle point of attack," he says.\n3. Moving Users Out of Folders Is Hard \nGmail doesn't look like your typical enterprise e-mail system. E-mail systems \n\nsuch as Lotus Notes and Microsoft Outlook operate on the principles of \n\nfoldering (largely an extension of paper-based filing before the technology \n\nemerged). With Gmail, the theory is different. A user "labels" \u2014 or \n\nessentially tags \u2014 an e-mail with terms that are pertinent to the subject \n\nof that e-mail. They can then click on those tags to view e-mails relevant to \n\nthat term, and the search engine will also remember to make them relevant for \n\nfuture searches about that topic. While Google \u2014 and its Gmail users \n\n\u2014 has maintained that allowing the information to be labeled and searched \n\nfor is more efficient than electronically thumbing through folders, it doesn't \n\nmean all users will want to do it right away, Ramsay says. "People like to drag \n\nthings and put them in sub sub sub folders," he says. "People were finding that \n\ndifficult culturally, so that was a challenge and we helped them [learn to use \n\nsearch to organize the information]."\n4. Don't Throw Away Microsoft Office Yet\n\tRamsay says that Taylor Woodrow has also begun experimenting with other \n\nGoogle Apps (that came included with the Gmail offering). While most of his \n\ncompany still uses Microsoft Office on many of its employees workstations, the \n\nteams among the company have begun to use Google Docs (an online word processor \n\nin Google Apps) when they need to work on documents together in real time. In \n\naddition, Google Docs allows you to export a Google Doc to Word (or Excel from \n\nGoogle Spreadsheets), making integration with the existing on premise \n\nproductivity suite easy. "Google Docs is not seen as a replacement," Ramsay \n\nsays. "We still run Office and that suite because everyone is familiar with \n\nit."