Google Apps Review - Powered by the Cloud

In an environment where new technology and software is introduced on what seems to be a daily basis, how does a business keep up with the advances and still keep costs in check?  Google may be able to provide the solution.  By leveraging their existing web-based technology, Google is no longer just a search engine.  Google Apps offers a variety of messaging, communication, and collaboration tools for any size company.  On Tuesday, February 15th at their Santa Monica location, Google hosted an IT Executive Summit that brought together business owners and IT representatives to hear about the latest features and good things to come through Google Enterprise

Products available through Google Apps

Adam Massey, head of mid-market sales for Google, kicked off the summit  with an overview of the Google Apps product line and the businesses that it serves.  For a mere $50/user/year, a business can have an employee up and running on email via Gmail, phone service via Google Voice, IM and video conferencing via GTalk and access to corporate/department/individual online calendars and shared documents via Google Docs.  For the IT guys in the crowd, the best part of the package was not the immediate and complete set-up of a new employee, but the elimination of multiple servers that must be maintained for email, IM, and other collaborative tools that require archiving and continuous systems upgrading and support.

Through the use of cloud computing, Google is able to offer businesses the ability to work anywhere, from any device, at any time.  Employees would no longer be required to use a dedicated work computer to receive information or access basic software.  Simply by having access to the internet, they would have access to all basic business applications.  By adopting the Google Chrome browser, access to information and processing time for many applications can be greatly enhanced.  

Google Chrome made for speed

Since the cloud allows for use of multiple servers at any given time in order to increase the speed and efficiency with which data is handled, employees can work smarter and faster than ever before.

Apps available in the palm of your hand

With the proliferation of Smart phones, it has been a nightmare for corporations to support all of the devices due to security, licensing, and server cost issues.  Google allows a host of devices to be enabled quickly and at little to no additional cost.  If a device is lost or stolen, they also have the ability to remotely wipe all company information stored on it with a mere click of a button. 

While the Google Enterprise business is only four years old, it has made significant innovations to messaging, collaboration tools and communication portals.  Kyle Swafford, director of IT for Bergelectric, spoke to the group about his company’s experience in converting from their legacy system email to Google.  While the cost savings alone were significant, the additional tools that are being utilized by the company came as an added bonus and continue to enhance the way the company does business.  Google is not so big that it employs a “take it or leave it” approach to the needs of their clients.  When piloting the system as they was going through its fact-finding stage, Bergelectric pointed out a number of things that were deficient when compared to other systems they were reviewing.  Google took this information to heart and addressed these issues within a few short months. 

The process of converting from a legacy system to a new, web-based application can be daunting for any company.  Google Enterprise has several business partners to help make that transition easier.  Nick Parseghian, Sales Engineer for SADA Systems, is one of these partners.  SADA consults with clients on transition strategies and assists with developing training tools and schedules.  Mr. Parseghian shared with the group many of the collaborative tools that are available through Google Apps at no extra cost.  

Sample intranet site built with Google Sites

Users can quickly and easily create internal and external websites that are dedicated to specific projects or products via Google Sites.  The web-based applications make it easy for anyone to access the tools they need to complete their project quickly and efficiently while still keeping all partners up-to-date with all changes and schedules.

Additional applications can be purchased at a user level through the Google Marketplace, an online application store.  If a client needs call center software, they simply go to Marketplace, and they are ready for business.  This scalability and instant access allows companies to pull in the tools they need for a small monthly fee per user without having the additional costs of purchasing software, storing data and maintaining systems enables companies to meet the demands of their clients quickly and efficiently, thereby capturing more business at a fraction of the cost and time it would normally take to implement change.

Google communication tools

Many companies, both large and small, as well as several government entities have migrated to Google Apps for it's ease of use and cost savings.  If you would like more information, go to www.google.com/apps/business.  The sky's the limit on what Google can do to enhance the way you do business.

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