Collaboration in the cloud via Google Apps

Using the cloud on a tablet

As cloud computing becomes the new “must-have” technology for businesses of all kinds, it’s important that your business choose a cloud service provider that can meet all of your needs. For any business, communication and collaboration tools are essential and there’s one cloud service provider, in particular, that excels in these areas.

Google Apps, which first came on the market in 2006, offers a cloud computing platform devoted entirely to businesses. Google Apps for Business is an ideal cloud network for businesses of all sizes because it guarantees reliability with a 99.9 percent uptime, security with SAS 70 Type II audit, and premier communication and collaboration applications.

All of the features that come standard with Google Apps for Business, like Gmail, Google Documents, and Google Sites, are designed to improve the way your employees communicate with one another and to make working together simpler and more enjoyable. While a simple Google Apps migration to move your business to the Google cloud will provide your employees with these tools, there are steps you can take in order to make sure your business is taking as much advantage of them as possible.

The Google applications operate fairly intuitively and many of your employees may be familiar with features like Gmail and Google Calendar from their personal use, but there are countless ways in which your business can use the entire host of applications to enhance communication and collaboration both within your office and outside the office with clients or customers. Applications like Google Documents, Google Sites, and Google Groups, which allow real-time collaboration and provide a central communication hub for multiple people, enable users to easily work together from anywhere. To ensure that you are getting the most out of Google Apps and using these tools as effectively as possible, you can enlist a Google partner to help you determine collaborative solutions that are appropriate for your business.

If your business already uses Google Apps, you may want to use a Google partner to devise a plan that you can implement to improve collaboration. With your help, experts can outline your business’ collaboration goals, analyse how your business currently uses Google Apps, and determine possible opportunities for improvement. This involves an on-site visit to your office during which the Google partners will speak with you and begin to pinpoint specific solutions. Ultimately, you will receive a plan tailored to your business as well as training that will teach employees how to put the plan into action. Once your business begins to follow the plan, you will be in a position to take better advantage of Google Apps’ collaboration tools and improve the benefits you receive from the cloud computing platform.

Even if your business is not operating on Google Apps, you can enlist the help of a Google partner to determine if the Google cloud network will benefit you. A Google partner can help you test Google Apps and its collaboration tools to see how they fit into your business. The test-run will likely focus on Google Documents, Google Sites, and Google Cloud Connect, three of the most collaboration-driven applications. This pilot of the Google Apps platform will help you determine how Google Apps works for your business, what implementing Google Apps might entail, and what training your employees will require. Overall, testing Google Apps for Business will make your employees more comfortable with the platform and will highlight the specific ways in which Google Apps can improve the daily functions of your business.

Effectively using the collaboration tools at your disposal is an easy way to improve the daily operations of your business and become more successful. Because it offers easy-to-use tools that are proven to enhance collaboration and communication, Google Apps for Business is the clear choice for anyone who is looking to improve these aspects of their business.

- Sharon Shapiro is from Cloud Sherpas, a leading cloud service provider that was named the “Google Enterprise 2011 Partner of the Year.” As one of the first Google Enterprise partners, Cloud Sherpas has migrated over one million users across a variety of industries from legacy, on-premise messaging systems to Google Apps, helping organizations adopt cloud computing to innovate and dramatically reduce their IT expenses. A Google Apps Reseller in Atlanta, GA, Cloud Sherpas has regional offices in locations including San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Austin and Sydney, and has more Google Apps Certified Deployment Specialists than any other partner in the world.

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