Editor’s note: Over 3 million businesses have adopted Google Apps. Today we’ll hear from Ali Ball, CIO of Broadway Malyan. To learn more about other organizations that have gone Google and share your story, visit our community map or test drive life in the cloud with the Go Google cloud calculator.

Broadway Malyan is an award-winning international practice of architects, urbanists and designers with a highly dispersed workforce. Headquartered in the U.K, we have over 500 employees working across 13 offices throughout the UK, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia. The practice also has project offices in Baku and Edinburgh, and associated offices across Europe. In September 2010 we made the decision to switch to Google Apps with the support of Cloudreach, a UK-based Google Apps Authorized reseller and Cloud solutions system integrator. They have extensive experience in migrating businesses to Google Apps, and place a particular emphasis on managing business change and application development.

Our main motivation for moving to the cloud was to simplify our IT infrastructure and improve accessibility. After consultation from Cloudreach, we felt that Google Apps would provide exactly what we needed in terms of a greatly simplified service for our global user base and the accessibility that our mobile users require. We had recently upgraded to Microsoft Exchange 2010, however there were some major operational costs involved in running that platform. Despite those recent upgrade costs, there was still a significant financial advantage in moving directly to Google Apps.

From a day-to-day perspective, we were able to introduce our users to a new way of working through the real time collaboration in Google Docs. This method of working helps us significantly when building proposals or customer presentations. Giving users the ability to collaborate on documents and presentations online, and also use the chat and video features has not only increased our efficiency, but it has also saved us money by reducing the amount of travel required.

With Google Apps, the average user’s inbox storage has increased significantly from 1Gb to 25Gb meaning they never have to delete an email again. Plus, with Gmail’s built-in search feature they can find an email or chat message in an instant.

We have also implemented a mixture of Google Groups and Google Sites as a direct replacement for public folders, which will no longer be supported by Microsoft.

We’ve already saved a significant amount of money by moving to Google Apps, but I estimate savings will continue to increase in the future since we’ll no longer have to carry out upgrades to server-based applications, or spend management time on it. For example we no longer have to buy care packs for all of our Microsoft Exchange servers, or worry about purchasing new disks for the storage arrays when we reach capacity. To accomplish what we have with Google Apps using traditional hosted solutions would be almost impossible, and certainly cost-prohibitive. We’ve also made ourselves less dependent on office infrastructure. Everything now runs smoothly, with no intervention from us.

Posted by Ali Ball, Broadway Malyan