Editor's Note: We're pleased to welcome guest blogger Scot Adams, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Cadillac Fairview. With 40 offices throughout Canada and North America, Cadillac Fairview is one of the largest investors, owners and managers of commercial real estate in North America. With a portfolio valued at $19 billion, Cadillac Fairview and its affiliates own and manage nearly 49 million square feet of leaseable space at 88 properties and it continues to grow. 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.

The initial reason we looked at Google Apps was cost savings, but the ongoing value of access to information from anywhere, totally independent of the device, is where we’re seeing the real gain. As time progresses my interest is less in providing gear and more in providing access, as an IT guy. What I care about is accessing my information and allowing my employees to do the same.

Prior to switching to Google Apps, we had been providing IBM® Lotus Notes for about $190 per user per year, plus the cost of storage. Google Apps’ simple $50 per user per year price tag was very compelling, but providing a great web experience for employees is where we’re seeing a lot of the value. We didn’t have a Mac client for Lotus Notes and the web mail client was clunky and sluggish. Since moving to Google Apps, we’ve heard very positive feedback from employees, particularly around speed of delivery and ease of access.

The ability to access information anywhere is also important because about 600 of our 1,800 employees don’t work in offices. A lot of our employees are in maintenance, security, janitorial and other “desk-less” positions. Google Apps allows us to provide them with easy access to email, calendar and documents, even though they don’t have a traditional office set-up.

From an IT perspective, we no longer have to worry about maintenance windows or managing infrastructure. Google Apps makes our jobs easier. We moved 500 people to Google Apps in 3 weeks and now we have volunteers coming forward to be in the next group to ‘go Google’. With the help of Google Apps partner, Sheepdog, by the fall, all 1,800 employees will have made the switch. Since most employees already use Gmail at home, training needs have been minimal. We’re looking forward to greater things than just cost savings and we believe the organization is ready.