First, Google changed the landscape of the Internet by making it easier to access and share information. Now the search engine giant is having a similar effect on the way companies do business with their online office software.
In just a few short years since its introduction, Google Apps for business use has grown to over three million companies and counting. The increasingly popular business application allows companies the online ability to perform many of the same functions as available in Microsoft Office, including creating spreadsheets and word processing documents. Employees can share and collaboratively edit documents created in the Google Apps browser or via Microsoft office. E-mails can also be sent and received via gmail with your domain address.
All of these services are provided by Google Apps free of charge. But for an annual fee of $50 per employee, Google offers a premiere edition with additional features such as the ability to sync Apps with Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail and other e-mail systems. The premiere edition also allows users to migrate data from old e-mail systems into their G-mail account as well. Upgrading to the premiere edition is optional for all Apps users except for businesses with 50 or more employees.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of some Google Apps tools making the administrative side of doing business more efficient for companies.
Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office: Allows employees to share and collaborate on Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel documents. Users can sync files to Google Apps without having to leave Microsoft Office. Once uploaded to Apps, content can be accessed remotely via computer or mobile device. Content can be altered on Google Apps without having to change the Office interface. Compatible with Microsoft Office versions 2003, 2007 and 2010.
GMail/Instant Messaging: Employees can send out e-mails via G-mail using their company’s domain name. Users of the premiere edition receive 25 GB of message storage; an amount 50 times above the industry standard. Spam filtering and organizing features such as message labeling and threading are designed to cut down on e-mail management time. Instant messaging allows employees to communicate with each other in real time inside the G-mail platform without having to open a new window. Users can also conduct voice conversations with clients or co-workers.
Calendar: Allows company meetings and events to be organized through a single platform that users can update remotely. Can schedule events and send out meeting invitations. Once an employee accepts an invitation, the appointment is automatically included in their calendar. A reminder shortly before the event is set to take place will be sent to confirmed guests via G-mail. Users can view multiple employee calendars simultaneously when trying to determine the best time to arrange a meeting.
With the ability to manage important administrative functions remotely, and share documents in a collaborative fashion with co-workers, it’s no wonder why Google Apps has emerged as a popular business tool for companies worldwide.