Google Apps: A Cost-Effective Solution For Your Business
One of the immediate benefits that Google Apps for businesses has over traditional desktop software, such as Microsoft Office, is cost-effectiveness. Compared to most business and IT software, which often come with a capped number of licenses per purchase (not to mention required external servers to host the system), Google Apps might just be the key to squeezing a couple of extra dimes from your budget.
At just $50 per year, the Google Apps suite includes an unlimited number of user accounts, access to all of Google’s applications, 25 GB of e-mail storage per employee, 24/7 customer support, and a 99.9 percent network uptime guarantee.
There is also a free version available with a limited amount of network security and user accounts, as well as fewer applications and storage.
Google Apps Suite is convenient for users because of the accessibility it provides to their designers and producers in different parts of the country.
A major benefit of Google Apps Suite is each application’s ability to integrate and interact with one another. A user can set up one main business account and e-mail, calendar and website are all tied together and share information seamlessly.
How to Use Google Apps to Improve Your Business: Streamlining Internal Communication with Gmail
One of the most beneficial characteristics of Gmail is its use of the cloud factor. Since there is no cumbersome software to worry about, Gmail is accessible to your employees from anywhere, without having to download contacts or messages into devices.
Another great thing about Gmail is that it is browser based.
Gmail’s threaded conversations also helps to simplify messages among colleagues. For example, if multiple users are CC’d in an e-mail, or if multiple e-mails have the same subject line, all of those messages are grouped together with each new e-mail sent, sitting perfectly at the top of your inbox and eliminating the hassle of having to check previous messages.
Also, every office environment should have a method for sending quick, real-time messages, and Gmail’s answer is Google Chat, which is built directly into the interface of the inbox.
“We’ve really reduced the need for our internal telephone system,” says Wyrick about Raidious’ use of the Google Chat. The feature also has a video conferencing component that can be useful when colleagues and employees need to correspond from remote locations.
While Gmail is a great e-mail client, Wyrick recommends assigning multiple account administrators for your shared business account.
“Once you’re signed up, you never want to have all your eggs in one basket,” he says. “Some day you’re going to need to do something when that administrator isn’t available.”
How to Use Google Apps to Improve Your Business: Syncing Meetings and Events through Google Calendar
Depending on your type of business, scheduling appointments can be a real headache. A few employees (or, only one) are usually responsible for tracking and relaying dates and times, a method that is conducive to slip-ups and missed meetings.
With Google Calendar, multiple employees can post events on a single calendar that the entire company can access and edit accordingly. Additionally, these calendars can be color-coded so that the viewer is made aware of changes to appointments. Administrators can also set permissions to calendars, so that only certain employees can see or edit items.
Another useful feature of Google Calendar is the ability to create events through Gmail. When you add an employee’s e-mail address to an event on the calendar, the employee is sent an invitation to confirm his or her attendance. After confirming, each employee can view and add notes to the event.
How to Use Google Apps to Improve Your Business: Improving Collaboration and Project Management with Google Docs
Google Docs is an application that allows multiple users to create and edit documents, presentations and spreadsheets – all on the Web. Usually, coworkers share documents by e-mailing attachments to one another, which often results in incorrect file versions and scattered, misplaced copies. With Google Docs, the file is edited in the cloud, where revisions are saved and recovered automatically.
Like most of the other Google Apps, administrators can set permissions in Google Docs so that only certain workers are allowed to view and share files. Another convenient feature is the ability to export the documents into different types of file extensions, which can be helpful in those times when a client or customer needs a PDF file ASAP.
“I use Google Docs internally,” says Cross. “I have a graphic designer that works only part time, so I post estimates and client proposals there.” Using Google Docs to edit other common files such as itineraries, newsletters and articles can help resolve common issues that arise among employees when collaborating on projects.
How to Use Google Apps to Run Your Business: Finding Additional Resources in the Google Apps Marketplace
If the applications made exclusively by Google don’t fulfill all of your needs, don’t forget to check out the Google Apps Marketplace, where you can find plenty of third-party apps – some for free – which serve a variety of functions and integrate with the other standard apps.