Project Management

10 reasons to trust Google in business

Does Google fall short when it comes to business needs or can it play a viable role in the enterprise? Susan Cline suggests the latter.

Justin James recently wrote an article about why big companies might want to be wary of Google. Although I agree with some of his points, I'm going to take another swing at it and address each of his concerns. Here are 10 good reasons why you might want to give Google the benefit of the doubt if you're coming from the enterprise side of the street.

1: Customer support is up to par

Let's look at a few of the other companies that are supporting your enterprise. Perhaps your company works with Dell, Apple, HP, EMC, or software vendors like IBM/Lotus or Microsoft. All these companies have limited baseline-level support and offer extended service (or service through their implementation partners, at an upcharge). Google Apps now has 24/7 phone support for all business customers. The last time I called (4 p.m. on a weekday), I got a live person on the phone in 60 seconds to its Canadian help center.

2: Privacy issues are no worse than with other vendors

This is one of those moments where you have to ask yourself: How do our other software vendors (Microsoft, IBM/Lotus, etc.) fare on privacy? Microsoft's Hotmail privacy breach in 2010 made international news.

3: Information about you isn't at greater risk

Well, there are a few roads you can go down, in terms of enterprise software, that can be used at the desktop level. You can pay for non-cloud software (e.g., Microsoft Office) that costs 10 times as much. Or you can use a competitor's less expensive offering and run the same risk of its data being subpoenaed by the government. In this case, Google is no greater risk than Microsoft and its ilk.

4: Products are yanked only when they're unnecessary

When was the last time an essential product was removed or disabled from your Google Apps? The most recent products that have been pulled from Google are probably ones you have never even heard of: Aardvak, FastFlip, and Google Pack. Often, Google will yank a product because the functionality exists in one of its other products.

5: Quality is continually improving

In case you haven't had time to read the 13,238 forum posts in the Office365 "Email & Calendar with Exchange" forum, you can rest assured that the competition is in the same boat as Google. It is difficult to re-create the functionality of a desktop client in a Web browser. However, Google has much more experience building cloud apps than its competitors.

6: Google listens and responds to real-world users

The Google of 2009 did have minimal contact with users. But in the last nine months, especially, it has made business-class support and sales resources easily available. A couple of phone calls will show that its "availability" is just about the same as the competition. Recently, Google has also been proactive about listening to its customers through Twitter, user groups, and surveys. When administrative assistants spoke out about the lack of the read receipt functionality and the confusing architecture of conversations, Google promptly changed the product.

7: Google Apps has an SLA

First off, Google Apps had the lowest unscheduled downtime rate in the industry in 2010. Second, there are SLAs, and then there are SLAs. If you look over the service level agreement, it's pretty clear that if quality dips below 99% uptime, customers are looking at a credit of 7% to 15%, per month. If you have 200 users ($1k/month), that means that a 432-minute outage (seven hours total for more than 5% of your users) gives you a refund of $70. Is this worth it? Probably not. But technically speaking, it does have a policy, and downtime is measured by a 5% user error rate.

8: New features are aimed at business users

A quick look at Google Apps new feature list shows that most of the key features being pushed to the enterprise, like robust mail storage, Blackberry Exchange Server integration, Postini, and Gmail advertisement disablement, are clearly tailored to the needs of enterprise users. In fact, Google Apps for Business was created especially for the needs of business users.

9: Google has built a loyal following

As far as $29B corporations go, it's difficult to measure the amount of TLC it allocates to each individual customer. A search of Microsoft's 2010 annual report yielded zero results for "TLC," as well.

The results here are, well, totally inconclusive. Neither Google nor its competition (Microsoft, Lotus) uses a specific NetPromoter score for its desktop line of products. But a 2006 study stated that Google, as a whole (as well as Apple and Symantec), has the most loyal users in tech.

10: Google caters to business expectations

See #7 and #8. Justin argued that Google caters to consumers rather than to businesses. That statement is correct for 2010, but in 2011, things have changed.

Additional reading

About

Susan Cline is the Director of Training and Change Management at Google Apps Parter Ltech. She is also the author of several Google Apps courses on Lynda.com. Visit Susan at her website http://susancline.com/ or follow her on Twitter @GoogleAppsSusa...

9 comments
susancline
susancline

I've noticed that a lot of people who commented on this article mentioned Gmail. I am not suggesting you use Gmail for Business. I am suggesting you can trust your business data with Google Apps for Business. This is a product specifically for businesses and includes a SLA and enterprise security. Security features include: -The controls, processes and policies that protect data in our systems have successfully completed a SAS 70 Type II audit. -Google Apps offers a 99.9% Service Level Agreement*, so you can be confident that employees will have access whenever they need it. -Google Apps is the first cloud based messaging and collaboration suite to achieve FISMA (Federal Information Security Management Act) certification, indicating that the General Services Administration has reviewed and certified our security processes and documentation.- (source: google.com/a/

seanferd
seanferd

like Google's offerings, especially for data which is minimally sensitive. Heck, if your primary business email is provided by GMail or another similar provider (Yahoo, Hotmail), I won't be doing business with you. If you are a one-person or very small outfit not handling anything sensitive, that's different. But don't do billing, etc., from the cloud. I don't care if Iron Mountain comes back with another cloud offering, I can't buy into it. Unfortunately, the younger crowd has learned that playing fast and loose on the net is a way of life, so I don't suspect any of this will be going away. All they have to do is point to big time in-house security failures (TJMaxx) and declare that Google isn't any worse. But business always finds a way to make things worse, just in new ways.

adornoe
adornoe

How about "competitive advantage", where Google might have to demonstrate that they're better than the competition? Also, 2006. In technology, and in terms of cloud services, 2006 is ancient history. So, that can be tossed out the window. So, the question is, where is Google better than the competition? That they're not that much worse than the competition is not a big selling point.

Gisabun
Gisabun

Most of the reasons are basically "we are just as good as the competition". Doesn't mean Google Apps is better then. How about the outages Google Apps has had? Oh. That isn't a positive thing. Oh and how about compatibility? Can you tell me that Google Apps will have no problem opening up any Office document without an issue? [Not defending MS Office but] If Google does have an outage [and they will!] at least with Office 365 there is an option to have a local copy - of course on a Mac, Windows or Win Phone only. #9 has 5 year old data. Everyone knows that any data probably older than a year in technology is useless.

wizard57m-cnet
wizard57m-cnet

Using an excuse that Google is "up to par" or no worse than the other offerings available just isn't a reason to jump into using Google for my business. When the day comes that Google STOPS their infernal snooping into every database they can get a spider into, then I might consider them. My business is just that... MY BUSINESS...various state and federal regulations are also in play, namely HIPPA, along with other confidentiality concerns...I cannot in the foreseeable future envision utilizing any "cloud" based service to host my needs. ps...I don't have or want a GMail account, and I rarely send sensitive documents to recipients using GMail! Just seems unnatural to allow a known snoop to have access to personal information to the level Google wants.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

Number 2: Privacy issues are no worse than other vendors. But you suggest that number 2 is one of ten reasons to "trust Google in business".

lilbubba
lilbubba

Coming from Google Apps and transitioning to Office 365, our biggest motivator was the inability to effectively use Google Apps Mail (or GMail as many still refer to it as) for Business. For example, you need a connector to use Outlook and with that, you run into major synchornization issues. If you receive an attachment, expect to spend 30 minutes waiting to receive it and any mail that was sent afterwords (no matter the size of the attachment). Scheduling meetings from Outlook occassionally caused redudant meeting invitations and worse, sometimes didn't show meetings on the calendar in Outlook at all. After a year of support's inability to troubleshoot, we gave up. While we have no experience, they use a similar setup in Integration with BES so I'm sure there are issues there as well. Yet, with 365 you get a true BES server. Will it be there? I'm sure at some point they'll develop it to where the two are more on par, but Google is not ready for the demands of Business yet.

LocoLobo
LocoLobo

I've seen some older ones too. I think too many people don't really care. They just want what they want, and they want it NOW. I'm thinking we still have impending lessons from the School of Hard Knocks. Disclaimer: Impending lessons from the School of Hard Knocks are required. Passing or failing are optional. LOL

susancline
susancline

Wizard, I just want to clarify that I am NOT suggesting that people use Gmail accounts for business. I am suggesting you use the Google Apps Mail for Business solution. There are no ads and your data is stored in a private cloud. Using Postini Message and Security you also have powerful security controls.

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