Google's impact on the enterprise market may not have been obvious at its annual I/O developers conference in San Francisco last week, but the implications of the company's growing involvement and interest in business applications are strong. Google's suite of apps for work and education continue to help organizations cut costs while improving communication, productivity and collaboration across teams.
Some CIOs and IT leaders have already transitioned large workforces from legacy systems to Google for Work, while others are just starting to introduce the cloud-based tools. Here's how three IT professionals whose companies use Google's tools every day gauge the company's current impact on business, and how they expect to see Google progress in the future.
Google as the de facto provider for non-traditionalists
Mark Hansen, systems administrator at SolidFire, says Google is trying to be the de facto infrastructure provider for companies of all sizes that don't require traditional infrastructure, he says.
"I believe they recognize how important their role is for companies, and because of that are constantly making preparations to handle the growth needs of their environment," says Hansen. SolidFire uses Google for Work, and though Hansen says the company hasn't experienced any serious issues, it identified some pain points around real-time reporting, calendar and email logs for help-desk administrators, a lack of granular delegation for things such as help desk or reporting administrators, and delegation of administrators on a per-organization-unit basis.
Despite those shortcoming, Hansen remains confident in Google for Work's future and is pleased with how responsive the company has been to concerns and requests from the IT community. "The release of features and response times to cases and issues is a testament to Google's dedication to making this product work," he says.
When it entered the enterprise services space, Google took on a huge responsibility to make sure critical data is always available and accessible to its customers, says Hansen. He believes the momentum is shifting toward cloud providers such Google, as more of his colleagues become convinced of its viability. Whether companies take their business to Google or elsewhere is trivial though, he says, because of the IT industry's general shift to new standards -- cloud, mobile, rich data, user-friendly and intuitive -- for email and other business applications.
Google Apps for Education making inroads in K-12 classrooms
Google's foray into the business world runs alongside some of its similar, but less profitable, initiatives in education. Google Apps for Education, a free suite of applications for schools that contains no advertisements, is having a major impact at the K-12 level, says Mike Daugherty, director of technology and information systems at Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools in Ohio.
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