Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is John Buckholz, VP of Information Technology for LCC International, Inc., a global wireless engineering company with 1,200 employees in North America, Europe and the Middle East. Following eight years as a management consultant with Accenture, John has since led the IT groups at three global companies. John has managed Lotus cc:Mail, IBM Notes/Domino, and Microsoft Exchange systems during his career, but his most recent choice for messaging and collaboration is Google Apps.

John will be speaking on a live webcast this Thursday at 2:00 p.m. EST / 11:00 a.m. PST / 7:00 p.m. GMT.

LCC International designs, builds, operates, and maintains wireless networks throughout the world. We have a diverse user base, including field technicians who collect statistics on cell phone signals, radio frequency engineers who use applications specific to our industry, and administrative staff who support the business operations. We operate in more than 20 countries throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. With standard workweeks varying by country, along with the various time zones across the globe, our workforce operates around the clock, 365 days a year – which means a lot of coordination to keep everyone in sync.

For email, we had most recently been using Microsoft Exchange. Prior to that, we had IBM Notes/Domino and before that, Lotus cc:Mail. The company intranet was based on Microsoft SharePoint. These on-premise solutions required a fair amount of ongoing support and maintenance. We had a total of 10 IT people supporting all of our systems, and we frequently found ourselves addressing issues on weekends, especially early on Saturday mornings as our colleagues in some countries were starting their workweek. We were stretched too thin with covering all of these products around the clock. It felt like firefighting a lot of the time.

We wanted a solution that would lower our overall costs and free up IT time. At the same time, we knew that we couldn't afford to have downtime. We initially wondered if Google Apps was enterprise-ready. Then we attended
a webcast featuring Genentech, and we thought to ourselves, “If Google Apps are good enough for Genentech, it’s good enough for us.”

We conducted a pilot, and, to our surprise, everything was silent. We thought no one was using the Apps. But it turns out that people were doing fine and accessing Google’s training materials on their own when they had questions.

That’s when we decided to move into the cloud in earnest. We’ve been on Google Apps for one year now, after what I would say was a fairly easy transition with a little help from
SADA Systems, a Google Apps partner. We now have good email service, including reliable access for mobile users. We collaborate on documents using Google Docs.

And we converted the company intranet from SharePoint to Google Sites. We took the least experienced person on our IT staff and asked him to try converting the intranet to Google Sites. He really amazed us. With no formal training, he just built the whole thing. It’s a testament to how easy Google Apps is to learn and use.

With Google Apps, we are now saving 60% over other alternatives, and my team no longer spends their weekends monitoring system uptime and addressing email issues. Most importantly, IT has been able to shift resources to more mission-critical initiatives. We now have a smaller IT team and a much less complex environment. A few short years ago, we were slaying dragons day and night. Now, we can all get down to supporting the business in more strategic ways.

I’d be delighted to share my insights and top three reasons to consider making a move to Google Apps. Please join us for “
LCC International on three reasons to consider Google Apps.

Join us for this LIVE Event on:
Thursday, December 3, 2009
2:00 p.m. EST / 11:00 a.m. PST / 7:00 p.m. GMT

Posted by Serena Satyasai, the Google Apps team

Find customer stories and research product information on our resource sites for current users of
Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes/Domino.

UPDATE 12/02/09: Our apologies for the faulty link in the first reference to this webinar. We've corrected it and are sharing the direct link here: http://whitepapers.techrepublic.com.com/webcast.aspx?docid=1181191. We're sorry for the confusion.