Editor’s Note: As part of our Going Google Everywhere series, we’ve invited guest blogger, Hal Greene, Director of Information Systems, at Composites One to talk about his experience “going Google.” Learn more about other organizations that have gone Google on our community map or test drive life in the cloud with the Go Google Cloud Calculator.

Composites One is the leading distributor of composites materials. Our products include fibers, resins, and a wide range of chemicals and accessories used in manufacturing. We have distribution centers serving over 8,000 customers across North America and Asia, and we strive to provide the best quality materials, exceptional service, and personalized support

We had been using Novell Groupwise for over 15 years, but maintaining it was becoming increasingly costly and cumbersome. We had separate file servers in more than 30 distribution centers, and keeping up-to-date with Groupwise required major upgrades to all servers involving license renewals and significant IT department resources. In addition to the cost and maintenance issues, end-users weren’t satisfied with the functionality of Groupwise. They wanted the features they were accustomed to having in the products they used in their personal lives.

We began looking for a solution that would provide improved functionality, better support of mobile devices, and cost savings. We put together a 10 year cost of ownership model for Google Apps and we came out way ahead by moving to Google Apps. With many of our employees on the road, we needed better mobile access to communication and collaboration tools. We started to see how much Google Apps would improve our ability to remotely and operate more efficiently. Several employees, including our IT team members, already used Gmail outside of work. After talking to IT executives and CIOs already using Google Apps, who gave very positive reviews, we successfully pitched the idea of moving to Google Apps to the executive team.

Cloud Sherpas, a Google Apps partner, helped us get started with a small pilot for two months, and then roll Google Apps out incrementally to the entire organization. Cloud Sherpas helped with the migration process and initial training sessions. Overall, our roll-out went smoothly and people picked up Google Apps quickly.

One of the biggest benefits to the business we’ve seen is the creation and sharing of calendar for transfer truck routes allow for easy identification for transporting inventory as needed.

Moving to Google Apps has allowed us to increase productivity, give our employees better access to tools from the road, and save money. Our employees are working together with better applications, and our IT department spends less time maintaining servers and updating software on servers all over the country. Google Apps has become essential to the daily operations of our business.