Cloud computing, software as a service (SaaS), online software: all are terms for the same great idea. It was a great idea for years, but only in theory. The idea itself couldn’t be faulted, but its implementation could.
There were two big obstacles:
- lack of reliable broadband and
- scarcity of feature rich online software
Everyone knows that the first obstacle is gone. Most people don’t realise that the second one has also disappeared.
Google Apps removed that second obstacle. Years ago, Google applications had shortcomings. They were good, but limited. That wasn’t such a big deal since they were free. Apart from that, many business people were suspicious of them: if they were free, something had to be wrong with them. Yet, Google played a clever game. With time and feedback from millions of users, they perfected the applications. Suddenly, people took Google Apps very seriously.
Google Mail and Calendar offer similar features to those of Microsoft Outlook, but with a lot less hassle. For one thing, Google Apps doesn’t have to be installed and this is a huge advantage. It means you never need to worry about updates, upgrades or malware because the version you’re working with is always the latest. You save your work on Google’s secure servers; if your hard disk crashes or your premises are vandalized, your data is safe. You or your colleagues can access it anytime, anywhere.
Much of this is still available free with Google Apps Standard Edition. But, at $50 per user, per year, the paid-for version – Google Apps Premium Edition – provides significant additional benefits to a small business.
Here are the four most important Google Apps benefits:
1) Operational Reliability
99.9% uptime guaranteed. That kind of reliability is a godsend for any business. It brings peace of mind that money couldn’t buy. It’s a much higher level of reliability than most businesses could hope for with an in-house system like the typical Outlook client / Exchange server setup.
2) No Software to Install
You never again need to be concerned about upgrading software or, worse still, trying to figure out what’s wrong with it. You no longer even need a mail server.
3) Unlimited Number of Users
While the free version is limited to 50 users per organization, the Google Apps Premium Edition has no limit. And each user is allocated a mammoth 25GB of email storage.
4) Existing Domain Name
If you wish, you can use your existing business domain name. So, a user can have an email account like email@example.com.
If you’re technical, you could consider carrying out the migration from Outlook to Google Apps yourself. But there are very good reasons for letting IT professionals do it. The job will be handled more efficiently and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that it will be done right. Crucially, the IT professionals will be available after the migration to ensure the changeover is trouble free.
Software as a service (SaaS) has finally arrived. Google is the most experienced company in this field. Google has had years to perfect the process and all the constituent applications. Old-fashioned bulky servers and the endless hardware and software hassles that go with them are an anachronism. Everyday, forward thinking businesses are joining the future by migrating to cloud computing with Google Apps. This may sound like an advertising slogan, but it sums up an IT breakthrough that’s perhaps the most revolutionary in decades.