Editor’s note: Today’s guest blogger is Cesar Ramanauskas, Systems Engineer at EAT., a restaurant chain in the U.K. 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.

EAT. is a fast growing and dynamic restaurant chain with more than 1,700 employees and over 100 stores throughout the U.K. We pride ourselves on serving “good, fresh, uncomplicated food” in our stores every day. It is our job in the IT Team to adapt that philosophy and provide simple, fast and uncomplicated systems to our customers and employees. In addition to free customer Wi-Fi, Twitter feed (@eat_news) and iPhone app, we have pioneered technologies such as an integrated Chip & PIN contactless payment solution in the U.K.

In preparation for our goal of doubling in size, EAT. migrated to Google Apps for Business, after more than a decade of using Novell GroupWise®. We found the GroupWise upgrade process very costly and time-consuming, and because of long release intervals between versions our users had to wait years to access new features. We needed something better.

Our research for an alternative led us to Google Apps for Business. Its innovative approach to communication and collaboration, tied to its highly scalable and secure environment, was second to none. All the steps in this transition, from seamless deployment and migration to user training, were performed by the small in-house team of experts.

I, for one, believe that the cloud is not just another buzzword, but is definitely where the future of productivity lives. Outfitting our users with software that works in a web browser means there is less need to install and update local applications. Plus, it gives them extra flexibility to take their work away from their desks onto mobile phones, tablets and other gadgets.

Furthermore, with Google Apps’ on-demand capacity, we avoided the ever growing capital and time expense of owning, running and protecting the servers ourselves. We also steered well clear of the upfront cost of building the infrastructure required to accommodate our aggressive expansion plans, without either wasting or having insufficient resources.

Time and cost savings didn’t stop there. Although BlackBerry® devices are fully supported by Google Apps, we appreciated the flexibility of Android devices with native Gmail, calendar, and the latest corporate and management apps, such as Google Apps Device Policy and Authenticator for 2-Step verification. We kept the momentum and in just one day all users were migrated to new the HTC Desire Z™. Retiring BlackBerry Enterprise Servers in the process was a welcome saving on our infrastructure!

Ultimately, it all adds up. With Google Apps for Business, our costs, risks, and storage usage shrank considerably while our user satisfaction, productivity and revenue opportunities multiplied. We are now able to allocate more time and resources to activities that really matter - good service and quality food.

Posted by Cesar Ramanauskas, Systems Engineer, EAT.