In today’s world of cloud computing, downtime within your IT infrastructure is no longer a thing. The IT department has to shift its focus from being the technology enforcer where their primary responsibility was to “keep things running”, to giving their users the tools they need to be able to work from anywhere, on any device while maintaining control over the data. When you enable your employees to work the way the live as opposed to live the way they work, amazing things happen within your organization. Your employees are much happier and more productive, they collaborate more internally with other teams, and your client satisfaction rate goes up!
Some consider Google Apps to be for the “small office” or not ready for the enterprise because it would be too much of a learning curve when in fact, just the opposite is true. Just recently the city of Boston and all it’s 76,000 employees migrated to Google Apps. In addition, seven of the eight Ivy League universities and 72 of this year's top 100 U.S. universities have all adopted Google Apps! When these students enter the workforce, they will already be familiar with Google and will hit the ground running!
Here are 5 ways Google Apps for Work has transformed our business, and how it can help your company become more productive and collaborative.
GMail: GMail is custom email for your organization with your company domain name (firstname.lastname@example.org) You get the power of GMail’s web interface that is tightly integrated with the entire Google Apps Suite (Hangouts, Drive, Sites etc.) By using the GMail web interface, you can reduce the time you spend searching for email using Google’s robust search tool. In addition, you don’t have to deal with managing a local mail client such as Outlook, MAC Mail or similar, though you still have the ability to use these applications if you wish. Our consultants primarily use the GMail web interface given it’s superior performance benefits no matter how large our mailbox gets.
Hangouts: This is Google’s instant messaging and video conferencing solution. By implementing a tool such as hangouts to your organization, you can significantly reduce the volume of email, as well as increase collaboration, productivity and efficiency for your team. We use Hangouts ALL THE TIME to communicate with our clients, as well as our internal team in the office, or across the country. We can see when they are available, at their computer or on their mobile device. Instead of sending an email message, we can initiate a video call from our mobile device or web browser to either share our screen, collaborate on a document, or simply assist one our of consultants by seeing what they see on-site at a client. We also have a Chromebox setup in our conference room that allows us to host meetings without breaking the bank on expensive video conferencing equipment.
Drive: The traditional file server is dead. Your employees want to work from anywhere on any device. Their tablet, mobile phone, Macbook, home computer etc. Google Apps for Work comes with Google Drive, a cloud storage solution with unlimited storage. We use Drive to host all our company data. We often collaborate on project documents, proposals, and marketing material together as a group in real-time! There’s no need to send copies of files back and forth. If your company needs to comply with HIPAA or other regulations, Google Drive will be able to meet all your requirements. We often travel and need access to a proposal, or other client information. With Google Drive installed on our mobile device, we can simply view and make changes to the document right from that device. If needed, I can send that file to a colleague or client without ever having to be at a computer.
Backupify: How do you backup your data in the cloud? Our favorite part of Google Apps is the marketplace which has a BUNCH of add-on services that work well with Google Apps. One of those services being Backupify. This is a great way to make sure all your data saved in GMail, Drive, Contacts etc is backed up. In the event a user deletes a file, or data gets corrupted due to a virus like Cryptolocker, you can easily recover that data from Backupfy back to that users account (or another account)
Uber Conference: Having the ability to host a conference call to discuss a project with our clients is crucial. Uber Conference has been a great add-on service for our consultants , and integrates nicely with Google Apps. We can easily add a dial in number to any of our Google Hangout video calls right from within the call so external parties can join in.
Chrome: I know we said 5 , but here’s a BONUS! Google Chrome is a great web browser! All our consultants have Chrome installed on their Macbooks, PC’s, Tablets and mobile devices. With Chrome’s ability to sync profiles, our consultants can seamlessly move from one device to another and have access to all their open tabs, bookmarks , history etc. This is extremely helpful as we transition from being in the office, to being on the road.
Overall, Google can really help your organization save on cost with their simple pricing structure of $5-$10/user/month while at the same time really improve productivity. Google may not be the right choice for everyone, however it’s certainly worth looking at before you accept “more of the same” recommendations from IT. Work the way you live!