The Cloud is now an ubiquitous part of our lives—be it for business or personal requirements, it has made its way into our lives in the form of home-automation (IoT), banking services, gaming and entertainment facilities, and of course: business.

Of particular note to us are the possibilities on offer to Small-to-Medium Enterprises. We use Google cloud-based business solutions for ourselves and our customers, something we openly and actively prefer over something like an Office 365 + OneDrive solution. 

Google Apps for Work's key points of difference from Office 365 are flexibility, security, lightning fast rollout time, and adaptability. And such a solution is so much more than an ostensible competitor to Office 365. 

We opted for Google Apps in-house because of the collaborative culture it fosters within the Smarte team, while safe in the knowledge that all data is utterly secure. We love that it’s an intuitive performer and very light, and we never get bogged down by outdated or mundane processes.  

 

General Overview

Google built their all-in-one business solution from the ground up with powerful cloud-based productivity and communications in mind.  

An Apps for Work solution can be tailored for businesses of any size, and is comprised of a robustly secure lineup of apps that function both independently and fluidly as a web-based suite. Any member of your team can access and edit any aspect of their work from any device. It provides rich functionality, unrivalled accessibility, and perhaps most importantly, will definitely prove cost-effective.  

 

Collaboration and Access

Apps for Work earns deserved praise for the collaborative culture it promotes via Gmail, Calendar, Docs, and Hangouts. And if you have a distributed workforce, you’ll really be able to see the full potential of Google Docs and Drive shine through.   

The sharing settings within the cloud and individual documents are quite sophisticated, so you can share customer and employee information only with intended recipients, and best of all you can adjust permissions even after a link has been shared.

You can have a whole organisation or team working on one document, and be able to track all changes and previous versions simultaneously. While this may sound potentially complex and muddy, we have found it to be a fluid experience.

We often find ourselves collaboratively editing documents together because the process is just so accelerated. 

One of our clients had over thirty of its employees manage to—via one shared document—generate 20 pages of new ideas in under two hours. Such seamless collaboration and ideation simply wasn't possible before a cloud-based solution like Google Apps. 

Microsoft's attempt to implement realtime collaboration into an Office product like Word 2016 has been problematic by comparison, as the following review from the Wall Street Journal points out. (And it certainly doesn't allow for live collaboration across any device or platform.)

 

 

Fluid Performance

Yes, we do use that word a lot, but for good reason. Apps for Work is seamless—very light, and extremely fast.

We highly recommend using the Chrome browser for your Google Apps for Work setup (though it's not essential to do so), as you'll experience the flawless performance it was designed to give you, with the added benefit of constantly evolving integrations. 

Some of our clients rely on other Google products, such as Analytics and Adwords, and using Chrome apps and Google Apps Marketplace solutions, they've been able to integrate these products into their Apps for Work solution quite elegantly. 

For example, demographic data collected by Google Analytics can be generated from within a Google spreadsheet document, using an integration from the Apps Marketplace. 

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Evolving Development

It's almost unnerving to observe the rate at which Google develops intuitive add-ons and solutions both between and within its products—it would be if it wasn't so beneficial to our clients' needs. The upside to Google's sheer ubiquitous presence is that they will always have the resources to evolve and develop their cloud products for your benefit. 

Indeed, they have some of the most far-reaching and actively funded research & development for any set of products on the planet. So there are a constantly-evolving set of functionalities for their office apps.

Let’s take a recent example: Q&A for Google Slides. If you invite colleagues or employees to attend your presentation via the Hangouts + Calendar invite, these attendees can also discuss the presentation with you live using Q&A. All that's needed is a device and the Google Slides App. 

Through Google's vibrant ecosystem of partnered cloud apps, your Google Apps for Work solution is wholly adaptable to cloud-based accounting, project management, and CRM systems.  

We’ve integrated a number of accountancy and CRM systems for clients using a Google Apps solution with superb results. A recent development from cloud based accounting system Xero that impressed us (and a number of our clients) is the the ability for users to view Gmail messages alongside Xero transaction and activity details. Users can then save emails in Xero for reference, start a quote or invoice from within a Gmail message. 

Our in-house project management system Wrike has also been taking advantage of Google’s APIs by allowing our team to attach and edit Google Docs from adirectly inside the project outline. We’re also able to convert Gmail messages directly into project tasks and use Google Calendar to subscribe to project updates and task deadlines. And this, of course can be achieved from any device.   

 

Reduced Costs and Light Infrastructure

The rollout time is incredibly fast, particularly in comparison to Office 365. Apps for Work won't require any infrastructure modifications prior to implementation, regardless of how many locations or office sites you may have.

Conventionally, IT support tends to be devoted to 'email problems' and server maintenance, and it's not uncommon for IT support to add up to 1,000 hours per year.

The bottom line is that a Google Apps for Work solution will excise a nice fat chunk of extraneous IT support costs from your overheads, making the need for practical IT support more of a ‘last resort’ scenario—paying for it only when you truly need it.

And of course, less time wasted on IT issues means more productive collaboration.

If you'd like to know more, contact us here

 

 

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