You may or may not have heard it – but Google’s platform for email and documents, etc. has evolved to the point where it is one of the most competitive corporate platform these days. Gone are the days when Gmail was simply only the hippest email platform for your personal email.

What is Google Apps for Business?

Google Apps for Business is a suite of online tools built to help companies and their employees communicate and collaborate more effectively. You get professional email, shared calendars, video meetings, documents, online storage and a bunch of other tools in one homogeneous platform. If you have a personal Gmail account, you have probably already used the free version of Google Apps, which includes Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive/Docs and Google Sites, but with the $50 per year and person paid Business version, you get to use your own website domain for email addresses and sub-domained intranet websites.

But what Google often forget to mention in their marketing of Google Apps for Business is that you can connect most, if not all, your other favorite services to your Google account. Once you’re up and running with Google Apps for Business, you just head to the Google Chrome Webstore and connect the Apps you need – many of them for free.

  1. Sign a lot of contracts? For $12 per month you can start using electronic signatures with HelloSign. Print-sign-scan never again!
  2. Do you plan, brainstorm, park ideas a lot? As a team? There’s a free version, but for $4 per month, Trello saves the day. Trello makes is easy to quickly get ideas together and structure sense out of them. Every software company should use them for logging and solving bug issues.
  3. If you need more project management type of tool, then sign up for Asana free of charge. Gantt chart functionality is available as well.
  4. Are you fed up with the awful user interface in most accounting systems? Sign up with Xero, starting at $20 per month and roll out an accounting system that people actually can understand.

So how do I get my employees to accept that they don’t get Microsoft Office at work?

This is the no. 1 fear factor that small as well as large companies seem to have a problem with. The thing is that Microsoft Word isn’t that great for producing large and awesome-looking documents. Adobe FrameMaker is though. Microsoft PowerPoint is not the best tool for pitching ideas on either. BUT – the Microsoft Office programs are mostly good enough and they are established allover the world – which is why we’re uneasy about moving away from them.

Start by designing branded templates for your organization to show people that they will look great. Once people see that it’s possible to get the documents to look awesome in Google Apps, then the biggest barrier is overcome. Show them how easy it is to use the templates and styles in order to create properly branded documents – this is actually difficult in Microsoft Office as the user has ready access to too many design tools, fonts, paragraph sizing, bevel, word art, etc. When you have them convinced how easy that is, then show them how they can work together on the documents in real time and how easy it is to access the documents in Google Drive anywhere, anytime, on any device, and they will be sold! It’s a platform built for business, designed for teams.

So how do I get started with Google Apps for Business?

It’s easy to get started with a basic roll-out process as listed below:

  • Start your free trial
  • Verify domain ownership
  • Add your users
  • Route mail to Google Apps
  • Train your users
  • Set up mobile devices
  • Import mail, calendars, and contacts
  • Set up your release process
  • Just get the trial started!

    Google Apps for Business resources:

    1. Free trial sign-up – discounted subscription, courtesy of Nifty Magazine
    2. Product home page
    3. Pricing page