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Google Apps: Technology's Silver Lining

Google Apps for Business causing the stars to alignA destined coincidence is a strange thing. Many people can recall a fateful day where the stars seemed to align and events fell into an inevitable series; the initial event is independent, devoid of meaning until the second event takes place. At that moment, each of these events (which were autonomously hollow) are fused together in a way that creates a ripple in a perceived stream of conscious thought, better known as an epiphany.

A couple of years ago, I was driving down a busy highway in north Florida when I spotted a humorous bumper sticker that read, “The man who dies with the most toys wins!” I chuckled to myself briefly and the comically versed phrased vacated my thoughts as quickly as it had entered them. A few hours later on that same day however, I was headed back on the same highway and another bumper sticker (on a completely different vehicle) happened to catch my eye which read, “The man who dies with the most toys is still dead!”

Immediately, my mind was bombarded with thoughts of the importance of quality of life vs. the duration of life, monetary gain vs. emotional gain, climbing a corporate ladder vs. enjoying a life without those ladders. When this particular stream of thoughts had concluded, I had resolved that a mix between these opposing viewpoints was probably the key to being content, for me anyhow.

I am able to look back today, through a slightly broadened scope, and understand that this theology is not limited to an individual, but can also apply to business as well. Any competent business owner or executive will agree that it would be great to be able to financially go the extra mile for their employees; Purchase cutting edge devices, ensure exponential yearly increases, fund company outings--anything and everything to improve the quality of the office atmosphere.

The follow up question would of course be, why can’t this happen? The answer to this is that the money is needed elsewhere. Is purchasing cutting edge devices or funding company outings worth letting even one employee go? Whether it’s letting one salary go or cutting back elsewhere, the general consensus is that every benefit is met with a handicap; but it doesn’t have to be that way.

What if the best technology out there was even cheaper than what you currently use and are paying for? Think of Google Apps for Business as your silver lining. Organizations that switch from legacy, on-premise systems to Google Apps typically see average savings of 15-20% in IT costs over the first two years. Those savings are nothing short of incredible coming off of a transition phase on a grand scale for switching Email, Calendar, Contact, and File Storage solutions. Objectionists may say “that’s 15% of IT costs, not company wide.” To those people I say, you must not have seen your IT budget recently (it’s a large piece of the pie).

Massive savings are not the only advantage for the switch.

1) Part of the Google Apps for Business suite is Google Hangouts, which will improve intra office morale as well as make remote workers feel like part of the family again with IM and Video Call capabilities. Trust me on this one. For nearly all the rollouts I’ve presided over, people have their chat lists populated and video calls cranking away before they even open up another service.

2) Google Drive and Google Docs make users feel like they have the most cutting-edge word processing tool on the market. When I show users how to collaborate in real time on Docs and insert comments in Sheets, they look at me like I brought Christmas early.

3) Google Sites is a project manager’s best friend. Coming from Sharepoint? Get ready for a bear hug from anyone who tried to use it in your legacy environment. Sites provides a drag and drop interface and pre defined themes, that give even your most “technically challenged” users a chance to participate.

4) Chrome Extensions provide a plethora of goodies that anyone can use. Some of my personal favorites are Boomerang (allows you to send messages at a later date), Signals (tells you if your sent email has been opened, and Inbox Pause (struggling to catch up on emails? Hit the pause button and new emails stop arriving).

Want the best of both worlds? Get your employees the coolest toys at an affordable cost, and improve the comradery in the office. If you decide to make the switch, you’ll definitely be glad you did.

See more Google | Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Hangouts & more
Originally published on May 06, 2014

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