Many business users tended to outgrow the basic version too quickly and personal users were left waiting on updated features that had to become business ready before launching. But even with the new price tag, Google remains a viable option for small business.
Below, I outline the top reasons your business needs to be on Google Apps:
1. The Cloud
2012 was the year of the cloud and 2013 is carrying the momentum. With that momentum, businesses see the opportunity that Google Apps presents. In fact, according to International Data Corporation analyst Melissa Webster, Google will gain momentum this year because there’ll be a lot of collaboration and content in the clouds.
Just to be clear, however, Microsoft does offer an updated set of Office Web Apps, accessible to individual users from their SkyDrive accounts, and to business users through Office 365 and SharePoint. Though the Microsoft Apps show promise, the Google Business Apps have a tad bit more functionality.
Google Apps is less expensive than Microsoft Office 365. Whereas, Google costs only $50 each user per year while Office 365 costs $72 per user per year. It even has more features added since Google started offering the application to the public. Office 365 charges more if a user adds other options.
Google+ has been slowly making a name for itself. Though, it’s no where near Facebook, it’s nothing to sneeze at either. As of October 2012, the site attracted 105 million users compared to 65.3 million in October 2011, a 60.9% increase.
The main features small businesses can use to get the best out of Google+ is Integrated Google Hangouts.
4. Google Voice
Google Voice has already had video chat integrated into the service; this competes with video calls made through Skype, Yahoo Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, and other chat services. Adding free local and low-price international calls will be attractive to users who can easily launch a voice call from within Gmail if video isn’t an option.
5. Google Apps Vault
Vault is an easy-to-use and cost-effective solution for managing information critical to business and preserving important data. It helps in reducing the costs of litigation, regulatory investigation and compliance actions.
Since businesses of all size need to be prepared for the unexpected–using Vault to manage, archive and preserve your data is a big help. Litigation costs can really take a toll on a business and even minor lawsuits can run up to many thousands of dollars. Vault adds archiving, e-discovery, and information governance.
This service is optional and is an additional $5/user/month.
6. Google Consumer Survey
Now I have to say that this is NOT part of Google Apps per se, but it’s too useful to NOT include. Google takes free online surveys, that you can create through Google docs, and brings it one step further. With Consumer Surveys, site owners create online surveys to be shared with Google’s publisher network and pay as little as $.10 per response. To target a specific demographic, it would be $.50 per response.
With the data, Google will provide charts summarizing responses, insights and highlight interesting differences, which can be segmented by age, gender, location, etc.
7. Google Maps Coordinate
Again, like Google consumer survey, this is not part of Google Apps. But it’s useful so I had to include it. If your business has workers on the go, Google Maps Coordinate combines the power of Google’s mapping technologies with modern smartphones to help you improve communication with employees in the field.
The idea is that if you can visualize where your employees are at, you can better deploy them. Employees, in turn, can update the status of their jobs and watch for new assignments via the mobile app.This is extremely relevant as IDC estimates that there will be more than 1.3 billion mobile workers by 2015 (37.2% of the total workforce).
Can you understand why I had to include it?
What are additional reasons can you think of to switch over to Google Apps?