Editor's note: Continuing our “Going Google Everywhere” series, we’ve invited Mark Burgess, IT Director of The Richmond Group - a UK based finance company with 350 employees and the recipient of numerous awards for growth, innovation and employee workplace. They migrated to Google Apps in January 2010 with the support of Insight, a leading global single source provider of IT products and services. Learn more about other organizations that have gone Google on our community map.

When I look back at the decision we made 12 months ago to migrate away from Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Exchange, it was primarily to solve some of the common problems that come with rapid business expansion – our business has grown at over 50% each year for the past seven years. Reaching mailbox quotas were a way of life, disk capacity limits had been exceeded more than once, we had servers to patch, maintain and backup and it was all distracting us from doing what we do well – creating innovative and unique financial products for our customers.

In January 2010 The Richmond Group went Google. With support from our account manager Brinder Bhamra and the rest of the Google Apps team at Insight, a Google Apps Authorized Reseller, we migrated 350 users away from Microsoft Outlook and into the cloud with Google Apps. While I wish some of the Microsoft Exchange migration tools existed then that are available now, the migration went well and it didn’t take long for users to embrace the new system available to them.

During the migration we concentrated specifically on email, calendar and contacts. With users spread across several sites, Google Talk soon became invaluable, improving real-time communication and helping to speed up decision-making. Being able to access our email from any web connected PC, easily search and find our emails, and benefit from threaded conversations has made managing our emails a whole lot easier!

It’s quite exciting to see the product evolve week by week, rather than every three years which is what we were used to from our previous email solution. Highlights for me have been the rich collaboration that is now possible in Google Docs, contextual gadgets in Gmail and more recently the Google Apps Marketplace. It has really got me thinking about how we can integrate with Google Apps and launch our own applications in the Marketplace. Then, in addition to saving money on our email and collaboration systems, we could build new revenue streams as well!