Editor's note: Today's guest blogger is Cathy Lilli, Director of Infrastructure Services for Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. (Konica Minolta). Konica Minolta Business Solutions is a leader in advanced imaging and networking technologies for the desktop to the print shop. Cathy's team recently spearheaded the company's switch to Google Apps. Today, the team reports that Google Apps not only provides email, but also integrates collaboration, security, and spam blocking – all while freeing the entire IT department to spend more time on forward-looking enterprise initiatives.

Cathleen Lilli serves as Director of Enterprise Infrastructure Services where she leads the corporate teams responsible for Data Center Operations, Network Services (Data and Voice), Client Services (Help Desk and Desktop Support), and Messaging & Security. Christopher Henry serves as Manager, Messaging and IT Security, where he is responsible for the management of the corporate messaging group as well as the Coordination of all IT security activities.

Cathy will be joined by Chris Henry, Manager of Messaging and IT Security on a live webcast this Thursday, June 17, 2010 2:00 p.m. EDT / 11:00 a.m. PDT / 6:00 p.m. GMT. Register today.

At Konica Minolta, we had an aging Lotus Notes®/Domino® messaging environment along with other messaging platforms in the mix supporting 6,000-plus users across all of our U.S. locations, and it was time to make a change. Our users were dabbling in Microsoft SharePoint®, and they were adopting their own instant messaging tools. We wanted to make collaboration tools available to everyone by default. And we wanted an easy way to keep the business moving forward with future innovations.

On the IT front, we no longer wanted to spend a significant amount of time on constant tactical chores like server updates, storage management and patching. The on-premise environment was too cumbersome to maintain and was pulling away our focus from strategic initiatives that would provide more business value. We also had to find an easier way to integrate multiple corporate acquisitions (we had just acquired Danka and had to merge 2,000 users on multiple messaging platforms into our infrastructure).

We already had positive experiences with cloud-based solutions such as Postini for anti-virus/anti-spam protection, ADP for payroll, and a CRM. Our main goals from the outset were to:
  • Better meet our user requirements, especially regarding ease of use and collaboration
  • Simplify IT management
  • More easily integrate acquisitions

With Google Apps, we saw that we could get a powerful, low maintenance- and complexity-free email solution plus innovative collaboration tools that would have cost extra in Microsoft® Exchange or Lotus Notes®/Domino®. But, we had to convince our parent company that Google Apps was the right choice since they were on a Microsoft® Exchange environment. We had many discussions and we did a lot of due diligence, particularly around Google's security expertise and policies.

We created a requirements document, and we talked to several large enterprise customers of Google Apps. At the time, we were completing the Danka merger and it involved shutting down a data center, so things in IT were pretty hectic. Despite these complicating factors, the switch to Google Apps went smoothly and with almost no complications. Today, Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. Inc. has benefited significantly. We can:
  • Provide not just email, but also collaboration, security, and spam-blocking all in one solution
  • Deliver genuine, bottom-line value to the business, driven by continuous innovations from Google
  • More easily integrate new acquisitions like Danka
  • Align our activities to help drive Konica Minolta's business forward
We did not make this decision lightly and the IT team had many internal discussions about our role going forward in a cloud environment. Staff questioned, if we're not responsible for the servers on a maintenance basis – what will happen to our jobs?. But I can tell you, on top of owning messaging, we still have other apps to manage and run the data center - in other words, we have plenty to keep us busy. From our point of view, we couldn't be happier that we made the decision to migrate to Google Apps.

It has been so rewarding to move from an internal infrastructure for messaging that was cumbersome and challenging to support – one that was not getting us anywhere in terms of having a forward-looking impact on the business – to one that allows us to start delving into strategic initiatives.

Whether you need to integrate acquisitions or deliver more value from enterprise IT, we have a lot of perspective and lessons learned that we'd be pleased to share with you. Join us for this live webcast:

Thursday, June 17, 2010
2:00 p.m. EDT / 11:00 a.m. PDT / 6:00 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®.