Thursday, January 21, 2010

Google Apps

This past year I did a fair bit of business strategy consulting for small businesses. Having been through the pain and heavy lifting of building a business myself it's been a lot of fun to counsel others on it.

I quickly saw a theme in small businesses where their company had grown and so too had the complexity and problems with their most mission critical system - Email. One client had implemented Microsoft Exchange for calendaring but was still using ISP based POP3 email accounts and storing all email locally on every employee's computer. Most Exchange consultants are already cringing as they read this but the client didn't know any better and why would they when their focus is on manufacturing high quality products not on information technology (IT). They were sitting on a house of cards that was going to bite them soon if we didn't clean it up but they had no budget for it.

Google Apps has over 2 million businesses using it yet it's surprisingly not well understood by the street. For $50/user/year we gave the client instant disaster recovery, a single system to manage, zero configuration of desktops, no spam software to manage, instant receipt of emails on their blackberries, and accessibility to all email from anywhere on virtually any device. Of course there were some lessons learned along the way too... such as Stockhom Syndrome with users when we tried to take away Outlook.

I enjoyed reading Chris Lyman's blog on Stockholm Syndrome and How Google and the cloud changed my company