The Google Apps Marketplace offers hundreds of extensions to Google's products – but be ready to revisit your core business processes to make sure they can continue unaffected.
So, you’re sick of trying to keep Microsoft Exchange running in your company. Or maybe you’ve switched to Gmail for private use and are deciding whether it would suit your whole business. Whatever the reasons, you’ve probably at least considered whether a move to Gmail and its associated online applications might or might not make your business run better and smoother than ever. Here are a few reasons why over four million companies have moved to Gmail and Google Apps – and why a move to Gmail could be the best thing to happen to your business since Microsoft Excel.
See: 5 reasons not to move your company to Google
1: It’s easier to administer.
Your system administrator may have learned to live with Exchange, or even rapidly aging platforms like Lotus Notes or Novell Groupwise.
But that doesn’t mean they like them: days managing email in-house can be a nightmare of complex, everyday administrative tasks such as adding and deleting users, managing backups, restoring lost emails for frantic employees, dealing with spam outbreaks and DDoS attacks, and deleting users’ old mail to free up some headroom in space-limited mailboxes.
For most companies, Gmail represents a significant step forward from that. You still have to add and manage users, but Google takes care of the rest through a whitebox mail solution that can be branded with your own identity and logged into by users from anywhere.
A standard 25GB of space per user normally eclipses the meagre allotments – often measured in tens of megabytes – afforded users in many companies. Forget massive storage setups and ponderous nightly backups: email is continually backed up in the cloud and can be downloaded, using POP or IMAP3, if you absolutely must have a copy.
Spam is automatically intercepted, quarantined and deleted with pinpoint accuracy. User-defined rules can be used to filter and act on particular types of messages, attachments are automatically scanned for viruses, signatures and vacation responders can be set, and all emails are searchable in seconds thanks to Google’s built-in search engine.
In short, Gmail can not only replace your Exchange server, but also replace many of the third-party add-ons that you’ve had to purchase separately. Given its low price and generous design, it’s becoming harder and harder for most companies to deny Gmail’s excellent features-to-effort ratio.
2: It’s there when you need it
You may think your current messaging environment is pretty good, but if you’ve ever had a server outage you know how quickly airs of impenetrability can be shattered.
Talk to a Gmail user for even a little while, however, and they’re likely to tell you how much more reliable it is than their old messaging environment. Much-publicised outages may dampen the enthusiasm of many would-be Gmail adopters, but Google claims its overall availability this year has been on the order of 99.99%. Can your messaging environment deliver the same?
Ditto backup, which can be a hit-or-miss affair for the best of them but is built into the very fabric of Gmail and related applications. Google spreads its data across numerous data centres around the world, increasing its overall resilience and buffering it from the impact of any single outage anywhere in the world. Few companies can afford this level of redundancy, which means the success of backups is generally due more to a combination of planning and dumb luck.
On the whole, moving to Gmail means that your users will be able to get their messaging more consistently than ever, with nearly continuous uptime. This is not only important for its ability to save your application managers time and headaches – but it’s rapidly becoming a minimum requirement as users, spoilt by the high uptime of their personal Gmail, Windows Live and Yahoo! accounts, lose their tolerance for internal messaging systems that may or may not be up to the task when they need it most.
Over the page: Reasons 3, 4, and 5