Googleapps for education: weighing the hidden time factor!

As a System Administrator, you might be considering adopting Google Apps to enable students to access their e-mail, calendar, documents, and presentation materials from any computer with an internet connection.

Many IT administrators though, have found that the projected time versus the actual time and complexity is very different, and is actually much more time consuming and complex than they first thought. This increases their total cost of ownership from Google’s free applications, compared to Microsoft Office 365.

Let’s look at the deployment time and management of Google Apps in an educational setting:

Migrating Email Data: Schools who deploy Google Apps burden their IT teams to migrate email messages, contacts, tasks, folders, and other data from messaging solutions such as Microsoft Exchange Server and may have to employ a third party solution to do so
Contacts You must install and run Google Apps Sync for Outlook to migrate contacts from Microsoft Outlook®, and install an add-on to manage organization-wide contacts.
Tasks You cannot migrate tasks from Outlook to Google, so you have to recreate tasks and perform manually
Distribution Lists Google Apps Sync will not migrate distribution lists, so you must recreate and maintain distribution lists in Gmail.
Public Folders To use Exchange public folders for shared documents, you must manually upload all documents and mark them as shared in Google Apps or use a third-party application.
Hidden cost: Exchange to Google Apps Migrator: Provides bulk migration of email messages from Microsoft Exchange to Gmail
Directory and Address Book Integration and Synchronization: Since Google Apps offers limited directory services and synchronization, IT departments often have to deploy third-party applications.
Active Directory Integration IT staff must download a separate utility in Google Apps to integrate Active Directory.
One-Way Directory Synchronization You can only sync Google Apps down to your on-premises LDAP directory. You must also download an open-source tool to complete the synchronization.

In addition to these tasks, as a system admin whom deploys Google Apps, you will need to assign an administrator to manage the use of the services by its students. This administrator is responsible for assigning each student an email address and password, which the student must use to access his or her account.

The need to manually manage all of these accounts and data creates an additional time burden. So what do you do? You will need to either implement a 3rd party application in order to manage all the data, or use Google’s free tools, which again burdens you with the time it takes to configure.

Read about how Tools4ever’s User Management Resource Administrator (UMRA) can automate all these tasks associated with GoogleApps.