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  • Joe Wichowski 2:02 pm on July 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Google Apps, ,   

    Office365 here we come… 


    Today marks our switch to Office 365 as a company.  So far so good – some points to notice:

    1. If you aggregate “multiple accounts” using POP or IMAP into Office 365, polling only happens once per hour.  This means a delay in “old email” if you don’t switch over the mail domain pointer.
    2. Adding a “global address book” is a klunky process (you need to use PowerShell).  Not as easy as an “export/import” function.
    3. Functionality on my iPad is actually quite good.  I can pretty much do all of the Web Outlook functions, which is very nice.

    We’ll keep you posted…  If you have any specific questions, ask away…

  • Lisa 3:55 pm on January 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Google Apps   

    So as you all know, I was trying to share our customer contacts within Google Apps. I have come to a standing point. Google will let you share contacts, but it can only be contacts within your domain. So contacts with yahoo, hotmail, or xx@customerdomain.com you can not share. Google doesn’t explain that very well either; I did not run across any information stating that you can only share contacts that are in your domain. I had to submit a ticket in order to receive that information. They also told me that I could go to the Google Marketplace and find some software that would allow the sharing of any contact. Which you have to pay for the software. So you have to pay $50/mth for Google Apps and the software I found was $99/year. $99/year doesn’t sound like a lot, but that is besides the point. Also, in order to view the contacts on your IPad, you have to switch to the desktop view.

  • Joe Wichowski 9:52 am on January 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Google Apps   

    Google Apps = Dissapointment… 

    Unfortunately, after several months of trying to get Google Apps to work for our company as a “winning” cloud solution, I am a bit sad to say that Google Apps still isn’t yet “there” as a business solution (or more notably, a direct replacement for our Lotus Notes system).

    For example:

    1) The migration toolset that we purchased (PCVita) migrated everything fairly well. However, the time-per-mailbox was somewhat unacceptable. My mailbox (which only has data from 2009 till now) took well over 6 hours to migrate. There is also a limited number of threads that can be run at any given moment. So, this means telling our customers (who usually have >50 customers). that migration will have to happen or a week or more’s time. (Note: The migration tools that Google provides do not migrate over your calendar.  Thus the need for the PCVita tool)

    2) We can add a standard company-wide Address Book. Currently we have one for customers, one for Vendors, and one for “test” users. The only thing you can do in Google Apps is “share” your contacts. But this is very labor intensive to do it this way (every contact added must be manually shared – you cannot share a contact automatically).

    3) We use many mail-in accounts and distribution lists to auto-process things. For example: Our support system automatically emails requests into a central queue, the notifies my team to take action. With Google Apps, you need to purchase a separate email account for this. Ok, fine. However, each email account can only have up to 5 aliases. So, if I want 1 support queue (or mail-in action queue), I can only assign it up to 3 different email addresses. Since we use mail-in queues pretty heavily, we have over 20 that we use for our customers and ourselves. So under the current restriction, I have to purchase around 5 email accounts just to handle our support needs.

    4) Distribution lists are pretty much useless. In Google Apps, they provide you with Groups. However, the Groups must be manually shared (since everything is stored as Personal inside your address book), and they cannot contains external people. So you cannot include a vendor or customer within your distribution list – only internal staff.

    5) GMail lacks an “All Documents” view.  I usually “look back” at my email – last week, last month, etc.  My All Documents view shows me both incoming and outgoing in chronological order.  This isn’t possible in GMail.

    6)  It’s not possible to add both Attachments and Text in a Google Doc.  Its one or the other.  In Lotus Notes, we can combine these.  So for Google Docs, we need to make a new “folder” for each corresponding document in Lotus Notes.  It makes our documentation process much more complicated.

    7)  You can make Forms, but you cannot add attachments to forms.

    8)  There are no basic “approvals” or “FYI” type of notifications built into Google Docs – everything is a manual process.  There isn’t even an easy way to build quick Macros to do this.

    9)  Many have spoken of it before, but Google Contacts is very difficult to work with.  Not just in sharing, but in utilizing it in general. 

    10)  Tasks and Calendar items don’t let you store attachments within the record.

    Our next step is to evaluate Microsoft BPOS.  Although I first selected Google Apps due to its iPad interface, I have been using LogMeIn more and more on my iPad.  As long as the BPOS and LogMeIn combo work well together, then I will be able to accept this as a work-around.

    We’ll keep you posted…

    • Mic 4:54 pm on January 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply


      Did you migrate only the email/calendaring/contacts of Lotus Notes or also the Lotus Domino applications ?

    • Joe Wichowski 6:52 pm on January 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Google Apps by itself doesn’t allow you to build applications. You need the “Google App Engine” for that. However, it is based on key-pairs for its data store (very mich like Lotus Notes) and as such, we have not used it as a Lotus Notes replacement. We usually use Iron Speed Designer for that, since it is based on SQL Server, and most of our customers are familiar with that product (DBMs always hated that Notes didn’t have a true SQL-like database).

      Google Apps was just going to be our Groupware solution. For applications, our plan was (and still is) to convert our remaining Lotus Notes apps to ASP.NET apps and Sharepoint apps (using Iron Speed). So now, we will probably just end up with Outlook like everyone else…

    • Joe Wichowski 7:45 am on May 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, we have built a set of connectors for Talend Open Studio which access Lotus Notes data using the standard Notes Java API. I’ll circle back with you, but essentially they are:

      • tNotesInput – Based on a Notes selection formula (@Formula), or a Lotus Notes View, grab and transform the data.
      • tNotesOutput – Create Lotus Notes documents, using Field Mapping and standard @Functions.
      • tNotesRunAgent – Run a specified Agent and wait for it to complete before moving on

      Both tNotesInput and tNotesOutput allow you to run Macros (@Function scripts) and Agents before or after the control starts. tNotesOutput also lets you execute a Macro (@Function script) on every insert and update action (to setup standard fields like FORM, CreatedBy, CreatedOn, etc).

      Please note that these connectors are built for Lotus Notes developers. They require some knowledge of Lotus Notes (mainly on the @Function front). But if you are familiar with it, then I think you will really be able to take advantage of them.

      • erwan 11:17 am on September 12, 2011 Permalink | Reply


        I’m also interested in your TOS components, how is it possible to get it ?



    • Joe Wichowski 1:35 pm on September 12, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Erwan,

      Yes, of course. I will email you the details shortly.


  • Lisa 3:43 pm on December 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Google Apps   

    I have been working on sharing our contacts in Google Apps and have imported them with in our admin account. I have enabled the contact sharing and I still can’t go into my email and see them. I have done some research and most of them say to make sure the contact sharing is enabled. That has been done since we created the account. I am going to have to contact Google and see if they can help me.

    Stay tuned….

  • Kurt Higley 9:15 pm on November 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Google Apps   

    If you want push notifications on your iPad from gmail, read this article => http://www.google.com/support/mobile/bin/answer.py?answer=138740&topic=14252

  • Lisa 2:09 pm on November 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Google Apps   

    Google Apps 

    We are in the stage of migrating our company over to google apps from lotus notes. We have had an interesting journey in setting up a test account and migrating the mailbox over to google apps. For some reason we were not able to use google’s migration tool to migrate the test account over. We had to purchase a tool called PCVITA and from there we were able to migrate our test account over. Google Tech Support was not of any help either. They will not talk to you via phone. You can call them and they will put a ticket in and eventually a technician will email you back.

    When I was trying to use google’s migration tool, I wouldn’t be any errors, it just wouldn’t do anything. I put in a ticket to technical support and they emailed me saying that without an error message, they couldn’t really help me. Since they were not very helpful, I took things into my own hands. I did a google search and found a tool called PCVITA and it says it is an “express” google migrator.

    With this tool we had to make sure the test user already had an account with google apps within our domain. I also had to replicate the test mailbox to my local machine. I decided to wait to replicate the mailbox until after everyone left for the day. I set the schedule to start at 6pm. I had to go into manage your domain in google apps and enable provisioning API as well as enable users to use the email migration API. First Step was to input our domain name in and hit test. This makes sure the domain name is valid. Once it validated our domain name I was able to add files that I wanted to migrate over. I selected our test accound mailbox. Because I replicated it to my local machine, it made it an NSF file. This is the file I added to migrate over to google apps. Once I had added the file, I had to input the test users username and password for google apps. (FYI: just put in the username not username@yourdomain.com). When I clicked next, that’s when it checked the credentials on google apps side for that user. After it validated our test users credentials, we were able to choose to exclude deleted and sent mail. We were also able to put in a specific date range of mail we wanted to be migrated over. I hit next and it started the migration process. All I had to do was sit and wait.

    Once the migration said it was completed, I went to check the test users account in google apps. It was all there! All of the calender entries and contacts as well.

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