Google Apps for Work – What’s it all about?

September 14, 2015

Google Apps for Work, formerly called Google Apps for Business, is a comprehensive suite of business software akin to packages like Microsoft Office. Google Apps for Work is different in that its applications are all Web-based. As such, it is a cloud computing solution, and customers’ data is held securely in Google’s data centres. Google Apps for Work reputedly has over five million users worldwide, including sixty per cent of Fortune 500 companies. Notable clients include Virgin, Trinity Mirror Group and BuzzFeed.

The apps are categorised into four business areas as follows:

Collaborate

  • Docs – for word processing
  • Sheets – for creating spreadsheets
  • Forms – for creating custom questionnaires, surveys and forms
  • Slides – for creating presentations
  • Sites – for developing intranets, project sites and customer portals

Communicate

  • Gmail – for business email
  • Hangouts – for video, voice and text communications
  • Calendar – for individual and team event scheduling
  • Google+ – business orientated social media marketing for sharing of ideas and questions

Store

  • Drive – online file storage, synchronisation and sharing

Manage

  • Admin – for adding users, managing devices and configuring security and settings
  • Vault – archiving and eDiscovery for business email and chats

Users of Google Apps for Work benefit from the ability to create and edit documents from a browser, without the need for any software installation. Docs and Sheets are compatible with other popular file types like .docx, .txt, .pdf and .xlsx, which means that users can import documents created in other applications or export in these formats.

Docs, Sheets and Slides support commenting, chat and real-time editing so that multiple users can work on the same document at the same time with ease. Multiple users can include team members as well as external contacts. Docs and Slides have unlimited revision history that doesn’t count towards Drive storage, enabling users the flexibility to track and undo changes as required.

Business functions like file storage, email and Intranet tend to be completely separate, and this fragmentation prevents integration and makes it difficult to analyse ROI. With Google Apps for Work, the applications are designed to work together, thus information is automatically shared among a workgroup. The self-contained nature of the suite results in ease of use whether creating, editing or administrating, and ROI is easy to monitor. If users encounter any problems, they have access to 24/7 support via email and telephone.

Pricing is straightforward, with an initial thirty-day free trial for a maximum of ten users. Thereafter, payment is monthly, and users can choose between the standard Google Apps for Work plan or Google Apps for Work with unlimited storage and Vault. The standard plan includes 30GB of online storage and business email addresses. Users can subscribe to the standard plan on a flexible basis billed at $5 per user per month, or commit to an annual plan billed at $4.17 per user per month. Users requiring unlimited storage and Vault are charged $10 per user per month. All prices are exclusive of tax.

One of the main advantages of Google Apps for Work is also its main disadvantage, and that is that the entire suite is Web-based. While this means no software installation is required, needing Internet connectivity to function limits users. It also means that if there is an outage, users are left with absolutely no access to their business applications.

That said Google Apps for Work is a cost-effective office suite suitable for all sizes of business. Offering seamless integration between applications for document management, communication and internal web development, the platform is praised for its reliability and ease of use reason why we use it for our clients.


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