By Natalie Bluhm Posted March 18, 2019
With the move to the cloud, macOS®, and web-based applications, some organizations can’t help but wonder, why? Why shift away from Microsoft®? With Microsoft being the most dominant software company in the world, why would organizations want to use other platforms and solutions? These are great questions that deserve a thoughtful answer.
Considerations for Shifting Away from Microsoft
Shifting away from Microsoft solutions may or may not be the right answer for your organization or clients. It all depends upon the needs and requirements specific to each environment. For example, if your IT organization is heavily invested in on-prem identity management infrastructure and Windows-based resources, then sticking with Microsoft could make sense.
However, if shifting away from Microsoft is the right strategy for you, the good news is that the IT landscape has exploded with a wide range of solutions that aren’t from Microsoft. Many of these platforms have changed the game and are providing tremendous value. So how do you determine whether to use Microsoft or non-Microsoft resources? It depends on a few factors.
Factor 1: Type of Organization
There’s no doubt that if you are part of an industry that is not accepting of cloud infrastructure, new platforms, and web applications, then sticking with a Microsoft-centric approach might be your best bet. Industries such as defense are a great example of this, where compliance requirements are so stringent that Microsoft solutions are often preferred. However, if your organization is in an industry that is highly competitive, looking for innovation, and interested in leveraging the benefits that come with the cloud, non-Microsoft solutions can be advantageous.
Two very popular solutions, for example, that have emerged for high growth, forward-thinking organizations are AWS® and Google’s G Suite™. With G Suite in particular, a Total Economic Impact study revealed that a single employee can save anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours per week thanks to how easy it is to collaborate in the platform (compared against “on-premises email, storage, and communication tools that failed to create an all-encompassing communication and collaboration solution”). Multiply that number by how many employees you have in your organization, and that adds up to a significant increase in productivity. AWS offers tremendous time savings as well. For example, organizations that have implemented AWS have found that “IT staff productivity increased by 52%,” giving them more time to work on “mission-critical operations.”
All in all, modern IT resources like G Suite and AWS are making a huge impact on the organizations that can adopt them.
Factor 2: Personnel
It is important to look at your team when considering whether to shift away from Microsoft solutions. Any new IT solution will require some training and will have a learning curve. Hopefully, your team will have some experience with these new tools prior to being introduced to them at work. After all, many schools and universities are leveraging G Suite for their productivity platform, and many secondary schools and colleges are gravitating towards macOS® platforms. As a result, your employees may even prefer to use modern solutions like G Suite or macOS because they feel more comfortable using them. Plus, employees have reported a 68% increase in productivity when they can use the tools they prefer. So, employee technology preferences are an important aspect when deciding on whether or not to move away from Microsoft.
Factor 3: IT Experience
Another factor to consider is the experience of your IT team, whether that is in house or outsourced. While many IT admins are more than willing to learn new solutions (and many are excited about this prospect), you’ll want to gauge their preferences and any concerns they have about stepping away from Microsoft platforms. Once they do their research, more than likely they’ll be interested in the advantages that come with a cloud-forward IT environment. They’ll be able to improve agility and performance while gaining more time to focus on what really matters—like managing users (not infrastructure) and building value for the company.
Factor 4: Budget/Location
In many locations, the costs of Microsoft solutions can be prohibitive. Further, there are often cultural differences and norms that organizations want to follow, and sometimes, non-Microsoft solutions are a better fit.
Further, as new solutions have emerged, they have put tremendous pressure on pricing. They are making it more cost-effective for organizations to leverage non-Microsoft options for infrastructure, email, productivity software, file storage, and a lot more. For instance, AWS offers significant cost savings when organizations implement its cloud infrastructure offering: “…developing, deploying, and managing critical applications in Amazon cloud infrastructure represents a 72% savings compared with deploying the same resources on-premises or in hosted environments. The findings showed a 626% ROI over five years.” G Suite is no different. IT organizations no longer have to pour resources into managing on-prem hardware and software for file storage and email. As a result, G Suite has been shown to reduce “legacy IT costs by $502,979 by removing the dependency for on-premises legacy servers and storage, reducing maintenance costs, and allowing IT to focus on more impactful activities.” Cost savings like these are part of the reason why some organizations want to shift away from Microsoft solutions.
Factor 5: Identity Management
The last factor to consider when determining whether to use Microsoft or non-Microsoft resources depends on your identity and access management solution. If you are leveraging Microsoft Active Directory® (AD), you will want to stick with Microsoft tools because AD doesn’t natively support non-Microsoft IT resources. You can connect third-party add ons to extend Active Directory to Mac systems, web-based applications, or G Suite, but this creates extra cost and hassle. If you implement a modern cloud-based directory service, it will be much easier for you to manage user access to all of your IT resources, including Microsoft and non-Microsoft IT resources.
It’s Not All or Nothing
After all, the idea of shifting away from Microsoft solutions doesn’t need to be an all or nothing proposition. Many modern, cloud forward organizations use a mix of Microsoft and non-Microsoft technology. For example, there are plenty of organizations that use G Suite and Office 365™ or Windows® and Mac systems. What’s most important is that you have the freedom to choose the tools that offer the most value for your business.
To seamlessly enable a heterogeneous environment, many organizations are choosing to use a next generation identity management solution called JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®, and it is replacing the Windows-centric Active Directory in these modern, innovative organizations.
JumpCloud securely connects users to virtually all the IT resources they need regardless of location, platform, provider, and protocol. This includes systems (Windows, Mac and Linux®), applications (G Suite, Office 365, Salesforce® etc.), file storage (e.g. Dropbox and NAS appliances), and networks (wired and wireless).
So, whether you want to completely shift away from Microsoft or not, JumpCloud will provide you with centralized user and system management either way. Learn more by registering for our weekly introductory webinar or by signing up for a free account. The free account comes with unlimited access and tens users on us forever.