AAPT has switched the remainder of its 1200 staff off Microsoft's Exchange collaboration platform and onto Google's rival Gmail offering, after running a trial of 250 staff on Gmail for the past two months. The company has already adopted some aspects of Google's online platform — specifically, the search giant's Google Video and Sites applications — and had flagged the Gmail move as "95 percent certain" in late April. “The decision for us to go Google was initially more of a challenge at the philosophical level — the idea of relinquishing ‘control’ — rather than the technical level,” said AAPT chief operating officer David Yuile. “The benefits of moving to Google Apps are significant — for individual users and for the company. We expect to reap considerable savings in IT costs, with minimal user support and much lower ongoing infrastructure costs,” he said. AAPT's shift has also unlocked the use of Google's Talk instant messaging application. Staff will receive 25GB of mailbox storage each on Google's servers. “This exciting move will help us address some of the challenges we face: information overload, changing business needs and new technology demands, such as increased mobility and flexible working,” Yuile said. The potential to shift to a cloud-based platform such as Gmail or Microsoft's hosted Exchange offering has been a hot topic on Australian chief information officers' minds this year. Some have already made the switch. But one aspect holding some back is the lack of dedicated datacentres based in Australia for the services. One large organisation earlier this year expressed how unlikely it was to ‘Go Google’. “If he imposes Google Docs on me, I’ll throw my laptop at him,” joked Telstra chief technology officer Hugh Bradlow, earlier this year, referring to then-Telstra CIO, John McInerney. In New Zealand, several organisations, including NZ Post, the Univeristy of Auckland and, more recently, Tait Electronics have switched from Microsoft to Google for email and other services. - Additional reporting by David Watson
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