Google Apps optimize

A study shows that almost 20% of companies use Google Apps

Almost 1 out of 5 companies have deployed Google Apps in some form according to a study conducted by White Stratus. Susan Cline explores the study for additional insights.

Google often boasts of the three million (and counting) businesses that have "gone Google". But what does this number really mean? Does "going Google" mean that the company has fully deployed Google Apps or that they have just deployed one or two products? Which industries are leading the charge and which one are lagging?

An in-depth study by White Stratus, a cloud computing solution provider, examines what these numbers actually mean in a recent white paper published on their website. I spoke with Tim Drury, CEO of White Stratus, about his findings.

How was the study conducted?

White Stratus, a Google Apps Reseller with offices in London, New York, and Sydney, interviewed 2,000 companies about their use of Google Apps. Each company selected had over 240 employees; this represents the medium and enterprise size business category for Google. The companies represented a cross industry sample.

1 in 5 companies use Google Apps

Of the 2,000 companies interviewed, 19.6% had deployed some form of Google Apps. Some of the companies had only deployed one or two applications (like Docs, Sites, Mail or Calendar) and some of the companies had deployed the entire suite. This data indicated that 1 in 5 companies are using some form of Google Apps.

Education sector takes the lead

The study also examined which companies had adopted Google Apps according to their industry. An unlikely front runner for business innovation was the Education sector, over 58% of educational institutions surveyed had deployed Google Apps. This is most likely due to the Google Apps for Education being heavily marketed towards Universities and the zero cost price tag.

Key industries

The other key industry group with a 23% adoption rate was Real Estate, Professional/Technical Services, and Information/Media. Many users of Google Apps in the real estate sector are drawn the mobile productivity features and low prices. The adoption of the technical services and media companies are no surprise as they are professional workers who feel comfortable with new media.

A surprising finding within the Financial Industry

Unexpectedly, the study found that the Finance and Insurance industry had a 19.1% adoption rate, which is just about average. This type of industry is highly regulated because of the secure data they transmit electronically. In general, cloud computing has had a slower adoption in these industries because of compliance issues. Perhaps these companies are attracted to Google Apps for the small price tag.

Manufacturing and Health Care

The Manufacturing and Health Care industries had a 14.9% and 11.6% adoption rate respectively. This makes sense given the industries are both highly regulated and that healthcare has major privacy restraints. Even Google seems to backing away from taking the healthcare industry to the cloud. A recent visit to google.com/health shows a message that the service will be shut down on January 1, 2012.

Which apps are being deployed?

Google Apps is marketed as a messaging and productivity suite and includes Mail, Calendar, Docs, Sites, Video and Groups. However, when Google Apps is first setup only the Docs, Sites and Calendar are activated by default. Enabling Mail involves making DNS record changes to the organization's server.

The study by White Stratus found that 64% of companies that were using Google Apps were only using those services activated by default - Docs, Sites and Calendar. Some of these companies may be using the Docs and Sites collaboration features in conjunction with their existing Microsoft Exchange, Groupwise or Lotus Notes mail solutions.

Bigger companies are more likely to go Google

Another common myth is that Google Apps is for small business like startups and non-enterprise organizations. However, the study found that the larger companies, those with over 10,000 users, were the most likely to have deployed Google Apps. 31.2% of companies with over 10,000 employees had deployed all or some Google Apps, while only 18.5% of the smaller organizations (250-499) employees had deployed Apps. The larger companies are more likely to have additional resources to manage and fund a pilot program of Google Apps. They are also more sought after by Google and Google Apps Resellers because of the profit and publicity made in the sale of the licenses.

Google Apps deployments happen in stages

A deeper dive in to the 19.6% of companies that had deployed Google Apps showed that only a third (32.8%) of these had fully deployed the apps to the entire organization. Another 47.8% were still in the pilot stage, meaning a subset or the organization (most likely the IT department) was using one or more Google Apps on a regular basis. The final 19.4% of the organizations that had deployed Google Apps were no longer using the suite. Google Apps is very easy to setup, the time and financial resources are minimal. This probably results in a higher number of users who are in the pilot stage.

How will the numbers change?

White Stratus is committed to regularly updating this report. It will be interesting to see if the number of deployments and industry adoption patterns stay consistent or change. Google is certainly adding more and more enterprise security, compliance, and customization features to make the product more attractive. At the same time Microsoft has ramped up promotion of their cloud product - Microsoft 365.

Conclusion

There is no doubt about it; Google Apps is not just another consumer product, but a business solution that is being explored in at least one in five businesses. The White Stratus article is a helpful tool to examine the trends of Google Apps adoption in medium- and large-sized businesses.

Read the full report as well as the other white papers

Also read:

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...

20 comments
bezerkus
bezerkus

Major Car Dealership here that has deployed Google Apps for Business across 5 locations and an attached finance company. I took over as IT Director 2 months after the deployment. It is still new, but whether I like it or not it does the job of a much more expensive infrastructure. Though it has already leveraged itself by integrating all the Google products and App Marketplace as well as it's new social media, with the recent platform change. Integrating the service onto the same back end that personal Gmail is on accomplished that. Price and end user preference will drive this change and you soon won't have much of a choice as whether to go to Google Apps for collaberation or MS 365 as they will be what end users are used to and want. I'm already forced by budget and ease to begin deploying a document/media management website that are easily developed in Google Sites instead of deploying Share point for all the stores and it easily integrates with user permissions. I see it is making us more competitive already with the money savings and ease of communication. Making a break from Outlook with being a power user of tasks was difficult, but the syncing with my Android which I purchased just before Win 7 Mobile came out made me dump it and I can find 3rd party apps that come close to doing everything I was before. It is easily filling the needs of the end users who are all wanting to access their email wherever they are, and I can't justify purchasing Outlook for end users again. My only choice in the future may be to move to 365 as long as it is the same or less money as the leaders have already seen what they can do with Google. Google Docs is bad but only for the power users of excel, but some easy web development with document management will solve that problem. Still analyzing what this means for the next Office products purchased in the cloud. I would have felt more comfortable if I could have gone to 365 and still might, but it's not the priority right now because so far it is working ok and some of my problems don't justify a major move.

rhonin
rhonin

My current employer allows personal use of Google Apps but all shared / presented / official work is in MSOffice and Adobe (pdf). One aspect I found unusual is the statement [i]Unexpectedly, the study found that the Finance and Insurance industry had a 19.1% adoption rate, which is just about average. [/i]. I work with finance folks (my leading Excel experts :) ) and if Google Apps comes up the single biggest complaint is in the handling of linked data and formulas. Nice topic but I'll take it with a grain of salt. A really really big grain. :O

cavehomme1
cavehomme1

C'mon guys, I use Google apps, and I know that there is absolutely no way that 20% of businesses use it. They just made that figure up or it was a someone deriving something completely statistically inappropriate. That's complete cr@p. Do you not know that 77% of surveys / statistics are just made up?!

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

Should reflect that 20 percent refers to the 2000 companies polled not "of companies". Next, the report was supplied by a source with a vested interest in Google.

jscott418-22447200638980614791982928182376
jscott418-22447200638980614791982928182376

So its no surprise that some businesses are trying options like Google apps to save money. But how many really will stick with them or make them the default suite for their company is another thing.

mysterchr
mysterchr

Before anyone jumps on my case let me say this I am a huge supporter of Google. I utilize their apps in my personal life and they've made things so easy in that aspect. However in my opinion Google apps is better staying with being used by the home user and staying out of corporate life. I hear people say things like 1 in every 5 companies are using google. In the past 5 years I've worked with 23 different organizations as a consultant and I have yet to see 1 of those companies using google apps. In fact in five years I've only seen one company even advertise that they were thinking of moving to google apps. Like I said I love Google, I support them and their services when it's outside the corporate environment, just not inside it.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"An unlikely front runner for business innovation was the Education sector, ... Google Apps is ... a business solution that is being explored in at least one in five businesses." Education is a government sector, not business.

siege911
siege911

While this is really interesting, it's coming from a company that specializes in Cloud Computing solutions and is a Google Apps Reseller. I'm guessing that their customers or potential customers are already leaning towards a cloud computing type of environment. I do really like Google Apps and hope this trend is legit, but I think it's probably a slightly skewed poll.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

I have taken two polls in this blog asking if your organization has deployed Google Apps. Indications are that many have at least tried Google Apps in some form. Is your organization using Google Apps in any form? What has been the experience? What problems have you encountered?

Richard Turpin
Richard Turpin

Most of my users are power users of excel and google is a very infantile replacement for these people as they are real business users,as for Outlook it is a business requirement that is an excellent reliable work horse we don't want add ons or toy phone replacements. We remain in total control of OUR business yes it is an overhead but it is a business requirement and is correctly maintained by my professionals on my premises not thousands of miles away and always at risk by persons of which you have no control. Very wary of having your business on someone else's server very much akin to storing your credit card in someone else's wallet! wouldn't touch it with a barge pole.But I can see its attraction by some firms but its not for me.

White Stratus
White Stratus

The study doesn't say that 20% of businesses 'use it' as in have all Google Apps products fully deployed across the organization and being used by everyone - that is pointed out in a few different places. The stat refers to how many have deployed it in some form, so you should think of this as 20% have 'tried it'. The study also says that 1/3 of these deployed mail, and 1/3 deployed enterprise wide so multiplying those out, the companies that 'use it' in the way you are thinking is probably low single digit percentage. Still pretty good take up for a product that is only a few years old.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

The 200 companies represent a cross-section of all businesses, so we can extrapolate that their responses are representative of the whole. That is why they do studies after all.

bezerkus
bezerkus

I hope I am wrong, but it's obvious what's around the corner and Google Apps is quite practical even though you are losing some functionality (mostly admin control)...reminds me of many other devices and software that did it better but cost more, and they are extinct now. I know people don't like to see it here, but the movement is happening towards these less expensive collaboration services as we are already being told we won't budge because we are protecting our jobs. You'll feel the pressure form above and below like you've never felt, I switched jobs to take over for someone who neglected IT and all it took was his history and less knowledgable on IT executives made the decision before I took over. While I never probably would have recommended it, the company hasn't missed a beat and I estimate they are saving over $220,000 a year with the move.

susancline
susancline

Hi Palmetto, Thanks for your comment. Some educational institutions are government entities and some are private for-profit institutions. Google Apps does not discriminate vs public and private schools when giving free licenses. The point I was trying to make was that it was surprising that education had such a high adoption rate. They are not usually the leaders in adopting business technology.

cperry
cperry

I've used it with 2 companies I've worked for. 1 company absolutely loves it and the other likes some features but not others. Breaking away from Outlook is very tough for most people who are so used to it and the Outlook Apps Connector is less than stellar. It's not bad but you do lose some functionality that just have to be done via the web app. My biggest complaint has been either the switch from Outlook to the web app or the somewhat reduced functionality in Outlook with the Connector. Neither were deal breakers, just training issues. Also another big one is the lack of Read Receipts in the web app although I personally hate Read Receipts so I love it, but people that use them extensively in an Outlook environment complain a lot.

Lazarus439
Lazarus439

How were these companies selected? Since the report's author clearly has a vested interest in the outcome, the selection method is critical. Also, how many companies were invited to take part but didn't do so? Even if the initial sample was selected in a truly random manner, companies not interested in Google Apps would seem far more likely to decline. That bit of self-selection can also skew the results.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

Would you put your faith in a survey about a new drug that was written by a company reselling the drug?

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

I don't trust anyone to be anything other than what they are. I would read the report (drug company or Google Apps seller) and decide for myself - I would not rule out the results without knowing why first. The study represents a good starting point for a conversation. I think many companies have at least flirted with Google Apps in some way - now, you can argue whether that is good or bad.