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Google apps? Oh yes, there’s Google Maps. And Adwords. Both of those help your business, right?
That’s just the tip of the iceberg, as RBF’s Vice Chairman Andrew Hill stated when he introduced our guest speaker, Google’s Gauri Pradhan at Club RydeX. Gauri gave members and guests the lowdown on apps that can help startup businesses with their web presence to assisting established companies communicate internally and with external colleagues.
To start with, Gauri gave us all a few stats and background information on what consumers expect from businesses.
- ROPO – research online, purchase online is becoming more prevalent. If you don’t have a website you are genuinely missing out on possible business, no matter what you sell.
- Only 40% of businesses in Australia have a website (and only 25% have an e-commerce shop on their site). If you don’t have one for your business you can go to gybo.com and build your own free website. You’ll get a basic website but it’s a start to get you online with your own .com domain name.
- Consumers expect a fast response for everything. What small changes can you make to your business to make things happen faster?
- Consumer IT, eg banks and social media sites, are easily and swiftly accessed from anywhere instantly. It’s still much harder to access business IT if you’re working remotely from your office.
Until the rapid rise in smartphone use over the last couple of years, the old face of IT looked like this:
- Individual productivity, with people working singly and using email to share documents
- Physically you’d typically be located in the office
- You’d work a standard 9 to 5 work day
- You’d use whatever devices your employer provided you: typically a desktop or laptop, and a standard mobile phone
- You work hours to suit – these are often longer hours than in the ‘good old days’
- You’re not always tied to a physical office; telecommuting is a growing option for many of us
- You’re more likely to be working as part of a team with the importance on group productivity rather than individual productivity.
- You’re likely to BYO as far as devices go – choose your own computer, tablet and smartphone
The availability of cloud computing has made it easier to work remotely and share files. The abilities of smartphones and tablets has seen them take a share of the productivity market from traditional computing end user options. If you have a device with a browser, you can use the cloud. You can work from anywhere.
Established technology tools:
- By 2015 50% of global 1000 companies will have stored customer sensitive data in the cloud
- 52% of Australians own a smartphone. If you’re designing a website or app, design for mobile devices as a priority
- 1 in 3 young professionals prioritize choice of devices, apps and social tools as part of their employment package
Gauri then moved on to Google apps and how they fit in with businesses of all sizes. There is a free consumer version available and a free business version if you have less than ten users on your business account (you can add more for a small fee). These apps include (but there are around 50 in total):
- Google talk, IM and video chat
- Groups. For working in teams.
- Calendar. You can share calendars – great for running your team as everyone can see what others are doing.
- Drive. Drive replaces Google Docs. It is a blend of Google Docs real time collaboration on documents with multiple users, with the ability to sync documents from your hard drive to the cloud, similar to Dropbox. You can control how much access each person has to a document, ie editing, viewing. You can revoke access at any time. You can also store photos and videos on Drive
- Sites. Sites can give you a free internet site or you could use it as an intranet
- Google Plus. Social platform. Also a business version which can be an internal network.
- Vault. Security and compliance tools
- Marketplace – CRM and other tools.
Businesses can trial Google’s business apps for 30 days to see if they suit your business. Go to google.com/a to sign up.
Gauri told us there are currently 5,000,000 businesses with 50,000,000 users using Google apps. There are 5,000 a day new sign ups for Google apps. These aren’t small companies, either, they are large, well-known organisations. Within our own region Macquarie University has been using Google apps to share and store documents for three years already.
“Google apps for business gives you more control over your apps than the consumer version,” Gauri said. “Initially you’ll get 5GB of free storage in Google Drive. More storage is available very cheaply.”
John Debrincat of eCorner thanked Gauri for her time and for answering questions from the group, and spoke about his own company for a few minutes. eCorner builds e-commerce websites. That’s its core business. John is keen to work with IT members in RBF to build sites and partner on projects. His sites range from small ones for SMEs to complex sites for large online retailers. If you would like to talk to John about partnering with him, or having him build a site for you, call him on 9494 0200.
Photos from the morning are here:[nggallery ID=13]