Interview: Switching to Google Apps With Queen Creek's Mike Black

Mike Black is the IT Operations Group Leader for the Town of Queen Creek, Arizona, a local government organization that switched its over two hundred users from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps. After being fully deployed for almost six months, we decided to ask Mike how he felt about the process of going Google and the benefits of switching to a web based productivity solution.

Why Google Apps? Why was that the penultimate solution compared to the others on the market?

The Google Apps migration was well underway when I started with the organization. In all honesty, from what I understand an influential higher-up within the organization said to make it happen and that's what was done.

What were your major concerns when migrating to Google Apps initially?

The potential security risk of putting company data into the cloud. Also, the lack of control of both the infrastructure and the information being put out there by staff.

In whole, how did you feel about the deployment to Google Apps?

The deployment was top-notch and the folks at Dito were exemplary in their breadth of knowledge, their availability and their willingness to help.

How do you feel about the switch to being on natively installed applications versus the Google “99%” web environment?

See my comment above regarding our lack of control. When upper management says, "why didn't I get this email?", I can peruse the tools provided to me and sometimes I have an answer and sometimes I don't. But that's the same as with potential system outages, etc.

Are you using Google Chrome?


How has Google impacted the way that you now do business as opposed to before you were migrated?

Most end-users really appreciate it. Basic management of it is very easy and straightforward. As an early adopter of Gmail, it was very familiar to me as well and easy to grasp. One of the most common questions and related issues I've gotten is the ability to simply right-click on a file (Document, etc.), select "Send to" and it opens Outlook. Windows needs a default mail client to do this and Google is clientless.

What was the best user comment that you received now that you have gone Google?

"It's nice to be able to access my email from anywhere."

What are some of your favorite Google Apps features?

The ease of syncing Google Docs via Cloud Connect.

Would you recommend others to go Google? Why?

It would depend on the institution and their needs. For a bank, etc. that requires a great deal of security, my recommendation would be to keep it in-house. Most companies, though, would benefit from Google's relative ease of implementation and management.

Thanks Mike!

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