Exchange to Google: why are we switching?

One of the most common requests that we receive from teachers is to switch to Google for email.  As a Google district, all of our students currently use Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Drive, in addition to other Google technologies.  Staff members use all of these except for Gmail, which limits the functionality of other G-Suite applications, such as Google Classroom.  Further, we have received many staff concerns about 1) the need to log in to multiple services for communications purposes, 2) the off-campus performance of our current Exchange email, and 3) difficulties with implementing our current email service on mobile devices and on the guest network. 

In addition to concerns about usability and performance, our Exchange solution comes at significant cost to the district.  In addition to the time required to administer the service – which is far greater than that needed to administer a Gmail domain – monetary expenses in terms of licensing, data storage, server space, and backup infrastructure have become untenable.  Specifically, we expect the transition to Google email to save the district about $52,000 per year. 

Google for email service has become ubiquitous in the K-12 and higher education spaces across the country, and offers unlimited data storage to educational customers at no cost to us.  Further, since we are already a Google district that makes heavy use of Google Drive, Google Classroom, and other Google services such as YouTube, our domain is already configured and managed for both staff and students, and the time and resources required to transition to and provide ongoing support for staff Gmail are relatively low.   Gmail has been proven over the past decade to be a robust, high-performing service with uptime and support that meet or exceed industry standards.  We will continue to be able to provide the services that currently provide via Exchange – including email, calendaring, and archival – at low or no cost to the district.