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By Leena Rao

A few weeks ago, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) announced a new plug-in that will sync Google Apps—the enterprise versions of Gmail, contacts, and calendar—with Microsoft’s Outlook, letting customers use Outlook on their desktops if that is what they are comfortable with, and Google Apps will run on the back end. Of course, the plug-in ended up running into a few problems. But the takeaway of the news is that Google is trying to make it simple and cost-effective for enterprise customers to make the switch from more commonly used enterprise applications, such as Microsoft’s Outlook, to Google Apps. Tuesday, Google is adding the ability to migrate from another popular enterprise app, IBM’s Lotus Notes.

The new tool lets customers migrate mail, calendar and contacts from Notes to Google Apps. The syncing tool, which Google says is a native Notes application, can be installed and configured in less than 30 minutes, for multiple users at once. The tool has already been tested with 40 of Google’s enterprise clients, including JohnsonDiversey (10K users) and Valeo (32K users). The tool is free for Google Apps Premier and Edu customers.

Google says that the migration is easy to deploy, requires no downtime (users can continue to use Notes even during the migration process), gives customers the ability to migrate multiple offices simultaneously or separately, and allows for centralized event logging to manage and monitor migration across any number of Domino servers and sites.

Currently there are 145 million licenses for Lotus Notes. Google pitches that the 17 percent of the business email market that’s on Lotus Notes will save a considerable amount of money by switching to Google Apps. How much? Google says that the enterprise version of Gmail is a third of the cost of on-premise email solutions like Notes and Outlook/Exchange. One of the clients who has used the tool, Hamilton Beach, claims a projected savings of 60 percent over the next five years. As a whole, Google says that Google Apps is three to four times less expensive than traditional on-premise systems.

There’s no doubt that Google is making a big push to become a player in the enterprise space. Google currently has nearly two million businesses using Google Apps, which first launched in 2006, and hopes to grow that number. Google has been making a strong case for businesses to switch to Google Apps, especially focusing on convincing Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) enterprise customers. Google recently took the beta label off Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, and GTalk, which is also part of its strategy to entice enterprise customers to switch to Google Apps.

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Source: Google Goes After Lotus Notes