Editors note: Today’s guest blogger is Nathanael Andrico, CIO for Cox Schepp Construction, a leading provider of construction services in the southeastern region of the United States. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

At Cox Schepp, we focus on completing our clients’ construction projects in the most cost-effective way possible. We’re based out of Charlotte, North Carolina with offices in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida with 150 employees across the region. Our team is spread out across our offices and we work on projects in the field as far west as Texas. Streamlining our operations and minimizing costs across offices is a priority for us so that we can spend more time focusing on our clients.

Prior to Google Apps, we were using Microsoft Exchange 2007. As our business expanded, we found that we were pouring a lot of time into keeping all of our offices and mobile teams up and running on the server. When we began evaluating cloud service providers, we were primarily concerned with finding an archiving solution for our growing business.

The cost of maintaining an Exchange server was growing as we wanted greater redundancy across our records. We had gotten to the point where we had to impose 4 gigabyte and then eventually 2 gigabyte limits for everyone’s Exchange inboxes. This proved to be burdensome very quickly as our project managers often send large image files back and forth containing everything from architects’ plans to photos of a job’s progress.

Cox Schepp switched to Google Apps approximately one year ago. We purchased both Google Apps and Postini Archiving and Discovery. We chose Google Apps because we saw its potential to streamline our operations and solve our email archiving challenges at a competitive price point. We wanted a turn-key experience, so we worked with the implementation partner Dito who was able to quickly and easily bring us on board. We also decided to take advantage of the Apps platform’s extensibility and integrated CloudLock from the Google Apps Marketplace as an additional layer of compliance and security features.

After deploying Google Apps, we wanted to make sure all of our offices were readily equipped to take advantage of all the useful product features. Since there’s only one of me and multiple offices, we appointed some deputies among different teams to serve as local gurus to help their colleagues learn more about how to use Apps.

Google Sites has been the breakaway hit across the company since we started using Google Apps. It’s been a really useful way to share information and manage projects. People also really enjoy using video chat, which was something we didn’t anticipate when selecting Apps. It’s been great to see that Apps has not only delivered a strong email platform with a great archiving solution, but has also helped us collaborate more effectively in ways we didn’t initially foresee.

Moving from an onsite solution to Google Apps has solved our email archiving challenges, reduced our overhead IT costs and enabled seamless project collaboration. This change has allowed us to spend less time devoted to building IT infrastructure and more time devoted to building our clients’ designs.