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What's keeping enterprises from using G Suite?

Blair Hanley Frank | Feb. 7, 2017
Despite Google's big business push, its productivity suite has an uphill battle against Office

There are many components in the institutional use of a particular office suite, Lavenda said. "There's the support structure behind it, there’s expertise in these organizations knowing how to support these products and knowing where to turn to, and how to fix problems. It’s much more than just getting people to edit documents with a different user interface."

To increase user familiarity with Google's tools, the company acquired Synergyse last year and has been using its e-learning courses to help people get acquainted with Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

Furthermore, the company will actually send its product managers and engineers to help with deployments of G Suite at large customers. Raghavan said a team will arrive at a customer’s work site on the first day of a major deployment and just walk around to help answer questions.

"These are rank-and-file engineers who usually write code," Raghavan said. "And it’s great both ways because the customer feels well taken care of, through the transition. And for an engineer or a product manager, it's a great learning [opportunity], because you’re like 'Oh my God, I never realized that pixel there was confusing.'"

But while Google is continuing to gain traction, Microsoft remains the dominant player in the productivity app market. The Redmond-based titan reported last month it has 85 million monthly active commercial users of Office 365. At least in the near term, G Suite and Office 365 are fighting largely for the chance to pick up customers who are migrating off on-premises versions of Office. Gartner's Mariano pointed out that some enterprises are actually running in hybrid environments where some people are using G Suite and others are using Office.

"It's getting to the point now where enterprises are almost letting them duke it out in real time in the real world," Mariano said. "Which is an interesting thing. We see that a lot in higher education, where the administrative side might be using Office 365, and the student body might be using G Suite."

While it still faces challenges, Google has improved its enterprise compatibility, through its continued enhancements for security and compliance capabilities, as well as deploying features in ways that don't disrupt existing workflows, Moorhead said.

"Every year, they're getting more friendly to the enterprise with their products," he said.

Ringman said Google still has work to do in order to make it possible for Telus International to run its whole business on G Suite. In particular, he called out data sovereignty as a key issue for moving some remaining information into the cloud. Regulations require some Canadian data be stored in-country, and G Suite doesn't yet allow users to store data there. 

 

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