I recently moved one of the clients I’m working for from their legacy enterprise data systems (email, document management, intranet, calendars) from a combination of a hosting provider back end system using Microsoft Outlook client to the fully integrated Google Apps for Business. Google Apps just makes too much sense for any business not to do, other than I suppose those with insanely tough security requirements. Google Apps is an example of one of the many transformative cloud computing platforms such as Salesforce.com, Amazon EC2 and EMC Atmos. Applications that run on cloud computing systems allow SMEs to access world class IT infrastructure and platforms at a very reasonable price. Pure cloud systems allow SMEs to bring their IT infrastructure costs down to zero, as all hosting, server maintenance, data backup, etc is done by the cloud service provider. The systems are (generally) user friendly and easily scalable. Gartner correctly predicts, I believe, that cloud computing will be as influential as e-business.
For any business that is considering moving to Google Apps, I can give my wholehearted endorsement. At my current client were were able to put 7 years worth of emails that had been scattered on various hard drives throughout the office onto the Google cloud, and hence searchable. We similarly uploaded legacy documents, financials, and images to the Google Apps cloud as well. Now instead of frantically searching through hard drives for “lost” documents or emails, employees at my current client are able to simply search using Google Apps services. Best of all, Google Apps integrates seamlessly with Blackberry mobiles, thus giving my client a fully mobile workforce that has all imaginable company information at their fingertips. In addition, Google Apps allows companies to maintain their corporate identity (ie your email address does not change), while leveraging the vast geographically distributed Google server farm; no more more server downtime or data lost to improperly configured data backups. Furthermore, Google Apps offers other integrations to Zoho CRM and Manymoon Project Management tools (to name just two), as well as giving companies the ability to create their own intranet sites and share calendars enterprise wide. For $50/user/year, this is an incredible value. Any SME that has not looked into Google Apps should do so. The service just makes too much sense not to.
For a demonstration of some other great services offered by Google Apps, check out this video: