Does anyone have experience with Google Apps?

ITworld staff

Does anyone have experience actually buying and using Google Apps on an enterprise basis. Our company is considering making the move and we want to know any hidden gotchas or issues, also what savings/benefits you've achieved. (Based on input from ITw readers.)

Topic: Software
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R Linke
Vote Up (45)

Though I am not an authority on Google Apps, I have done some research and found some helpful resources. Please feel free to add to this answer with your own experiences. What I have found is that many businesses find Google Apps great, but there certainly seem to be some drawbacks to the system. One of the main benefits that many cite is the low cost of Google Apps, but all the reviews we have seen suggest spending the $50/employee/year for the Premium edition. Other benefits of Google Apps that Jonathon Blum outlines in his 2008 CNN article "The hidden cost of Google Apps" is that it "enables groups to process documents, send and receive e-mails, schedule meetings, chat, and access centralized storage spots for critical company information. It also enables collaboration on digital files in real time by all your employees - and if you wish, your customers. Google provides its service on the Web, so all your data is instantly backed up. It has marvelous integration with established office tools - its syncing feature for Microsoft Outlook, for example, was flawless in my testing. The schedule-a-meeting function on Google Calendar leaves Outlook's in the dust. Plus, all this information is available on any computer running a Web browser, and on most mobile phones with Web access."

However, Google Apps is not without its faults. Blum cites an "identity tangle" as one of the main problems his business dealt with. Evidently Google not only confuses coworkers who may have used the same computer, even if it was only one time, but it also confuses personal accounts with business accounts. Joel on Software discusses the problems he encountered renewing Google Apps, apparently not an uncommon one when he wrote in 2009, that took many days to correct, leaving his intranet offline in the interim. The Blog Goldytips cites a few more challenges, namely data backup, compatibility and formatting. However, overall, most people find that the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to Google Apps, but it pays to be prepared.

jdixon
Vote Up (40)

 

I like Google Apps for sharing documents in our office, but I've been a Microsoft Office person for so long that I'd have a difficult time giving up Word and Excel. There are some formatting tasks that are just quicker and easier (more granular control?) to perform in Excel. While I dislike Microsoft's changes to Word 2007 and Word 2010, I still find myself using Microsoft Word to create documents which I share with coworkers through Google Apps. 

 

I haven't run into any user account issues, as everyone in our company has their own computer. The tricker thing is that I use Google all day long, and sometimes have to flip between my personal gmail account and my business gmail.

 

jimlynch
Vote Up (32)

Hi ITWorld Staff,

You might want to check out this article that compares Google Apps versus Microsoft Office 365. It covers some of the pros and cons of each.

Google Apps v Microsoft Office 365: Rumble in the http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2011/06/28/office_365_v_google_apps/

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