I’m Steve Cummings, VP of Digital Workplace and I’m leading the nonprofit business unit for Valorem Reply. I've got over 20 years’ experience working with Microsoft. First as a customer, then working for Microsoft directly, and now as a partner. Sitting on all three sides of the table, I've had a bird’s-eye view to how Microsoft has built the modern collaboration and communication, and ultimately security and compliance stack with Microsoft 365. Specifically, what we're here to talk about is migrating from Google to Microsoft 365 in the nonprofit sector. We believe there are three primary reasons why every nonprofit, really every organization, not just nonprofits, but especially nonprofits, should look at Microsoft 365 as the platform to support their organizational needs for the long term. The first is cost, the second is simplicity, and the third is commitment. So, let's kind of take these one by one.


#1 Cost Savings


The first one is cost. Ultimately, we believe that using the Microsoft 365 cloud platform for communication and collaboration to support your organization, may be less expensive than using Google. We are a Microsoft preferred partner for what's called a Modern Workplace Solution Assessment. And part of that (Solution Assessment) process is we actually dive deep into the financials of how organizations leverage the tools to support their cloud services. And so, everything from security to compliance, to teamwork and collaboration needs, to advance analytics and telephony needs. We gather up all the financial data and we line them up side-by-side to see what is the current state versus what is the potential future state with Microsoft 365. And we've done this for a number of organizations that are on Google today and looking to go to Microsoft 365. And the interesting thing is that we see that ultimately while Google's licensing may be less expensive, you know license for license, all of the necessary components to support the Google environment, when you add it all up, it's actually in many cases more expensive than the Microsoft solution. Because the Microsoft solution contains so many of those components directly within it. The other thing is that Microsoft does provide nonprofit pricing and grants and so there is heavily discounted licensing to support the environment, which makes the barrier to entry a lot less. Microsoft provides a complete Modern Digital Workplace experience. Everything from the modern device and the applications that they use on those devices, to the collaboration/communication platform - think of email and file sharing and collaboration and communication - all the way up to modern protection. So, things like security, compliance, identity and privacy, all built in. And so, when you add up all of the costs to manage that environment (with Google cloud), in many cases we actually see the Microsoft platform be less expensive. So that's reason number one many of our clients choose Microsoft over Google for their cloud services.


#2 Faster Migration

Reason number two is simplicity. Valorem Reply as a partner, along with Microsoft and the FastTrack program, we make the process fairly seamless. So, if you're on Google today, there's help available through Microsoft FastTrack, which is a program that Microsoft established to help organizations plan, assess and ultimately migrate to the Microsoft cloud. And Microsoft works with partners like Valorem Reply to help with that migration work and a number of third-party tools to help migrate the data. So, we can actually migrate everything from Gmail - so your email, your calendar, contacts, Google Docs - to any other content repository that lives within Google and maybe even other third parties like Dropbox or Box or others. There's tools available to help move that data from one tenant like in Google to Microsoft 365 fairly seamlessly. So FastTrack is a Microsoft program as I mentioned that provides guidance support and resources but a lot of times they will lean on partners like Valorem Reply to help do that work. Valorem is a FastTrack ready partner, or FRP, and we partnered with Microsoft to help our clients plan, assess, and ultimately move to Microsoft 365. We take a four-phase approach to these migrations:

  • We’ll do the planning, which is typically scanning and assessing the current environment like email and files to determine the general size and scope of the migration.
  • Then we will go into design. Helping design and set up the destination system.
  • Then ultimately doing the deployment and migration, leveraging FastTrack and those third-party tools to move the data as seamlessly as possible.
  • Then providing support through the migration and even afterwards through either short-term or long-term support and managed services.

So, from end -to-end, we can take an organization all the way through the beginning stages of planning all the way through support and moving from Google to Microsoft 365. So, simplicity is the second reason many of our clients choose Microsoft cloud. There's enough guidance, enough experience, enough tooling out there to make this a fairly seamless experience and help you get on the path to Microsoft 365.


#3 Microsoft's Commitment to and Investment in Nonprofit Success

So, we talked about cost, we talked about simplicity, and the third area driving Google to Microsoft migrations for our customers is commitment. Both Microsoft as well as Valorem Reply’s commitment to this space. Microsoft's mission is to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. If you break that down and talk about every person and every organization, it's not just commercial organizations or employees of commercial companies that they're talking about. That mission includes people around the world, as well as nonprofits that are helping tackle the world's largest problems in the world. Microsoft has formed an organization called Tech for Social Impact. They provide grants, heavily discounted pricing, solutions, partnerships, etc. Ultimately showing their deep commitment to the nonprofit sector, to manage it like it would any other sector whether it's healthcare or financial services. The nonprofit sector is another sector in which Microsoft is focused and not just on delivering technology solutions but ultimately impact. That's how they Microsoft and Valorem will measure our success. It’s not just financial results, but actually impact, constituent impact. Microsoft has made a huge investment in this space to help every person and organization on the planet achieve more. With that they've created a set of tools called Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit. They're releasing a number of technology solutions that will sit on top of Microsoft 365 and Dynamics 365 that support nonprofit businesses. Solutions that support key nonprofit needs like:

  • Knowing your donors and supporters
  • Managing your volunteer work force
  • Accelerating your mission outcomes
  • Delivering effective programming

These Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit solutions will be built by and for the nonprofit sector to deliver solutions that mirror how you run your business. It will take a lot of the work out, a lot of the effort out, to take a traditionally commercial solution and retrofit it for nonprofit. These are built for nonprofit. Of course, by getting started with Microsoft 365- email, file sharing, content sharing, collaboration solutions, etc. - it will set you up for success by allowing you to layer on these solutions on top of existing tools. So, getting started with Microsoft 365 today will set your organization up for success by creating a platform to layer on the Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit technologies. This will allow you to focus on your mission and drive more constituent impact with the goal of making the world a better place and empowering every person and organization on the planet to achieve more.

So, why should you move from Google to Microsoft 365? One cost- it may actually be cheaper than what you have today. Two simplicity- there are tools, programs and services in place to make it possible and easy to move. And then three- the commitment that Microsoft and Valorem Reply has in the nonprofit space to help you achieve your mission, your mission outcomes and drive more impact in the world. 

To meet with Steve and learn more about Valorem's Digital Transformation and Cloud Optimization Solutions for Nonprofits, email