There’s a debate raging, mostly among IT types, about whether Google Apps can really add benefit to an organizations online communication and collaboration. To me, the debate is silly.
I’ve seen Google Apps at work, and without question, it is the most efficient way for people within an organization to keep up to date, communicate, collaborate on documents, and manage calendars that I’ve ever seen.
I was working with someone yesterday that used Microsoft Outlook. The reason this person wanted my help is because they are trying to move to Google Apps for all of their email, calendaring, mobile phone integration, etc…
I’m a Google Apps convert myself. I use Google Apps for my business, and have incorporated Google Apps at other organizations. One of the previous organizations was very hung up with Microsoft Outlook, especially since they were having to physically come into their office to get on Outlook and check their emails.
Anyway, since I have a lot of experience now with both Google Apps and Microsoft Outlook, I thought I’d spell out some of the main differences that I see. This of course will be an argument for Google Apps since I’m fully convinced that it is the future of enterprise email, communication, and collaboration.
Here are some main difference between Google Apps and Microsoft Outlook:
1) With Microsoft Outlook, you have to be physically at the computer that it’s loaded on to use it and check your email. With Google Apps, you just need be at a computer that’s on the web – no matter where you are in the world.
2) With Google Apps, you can live sync your email to your mobile devices such as the iPhone, Blackberry, etc… With Outlook, it’s not a live sync, so what you do on your phone is not reflected on your computer when you sit down again and open your email. Basically, with Outlook, you’re managing your email twice.
3) Multiple calendar management. With Google Apps, you’re able to have several different calendars overlay one calendar view. And it’s easy to differentiate because you’re able to color coordinate the calendars. Plus, with Google Apps calendar, live syncing is possible to mobile devices like the iPhone and Blackberry. This means that your calendar, which you view on your iPhone, is instantly updated as soon as a new event is added to your calendar by the administrator. Same with a Blackberry. This is not possible with Outlook.
4) With Google Docs on Google Apps, you’re able to review documents, spreadsheets, and powerpoints with other people that you invite to that document. This allows online collaboration, and instant feedback from others on documents and spreadsheets that need other people’s input. Obviously, Outlook does not have anything like this.
5) With Google Apps, you can build an intranet for your oganization. An internal website for an organization, upon which which information is shared, calendars are viewed and updated, etc… makes it super easy for everyone to stay up to date and in the loop. Outlook does not have anything like this.
6) Within your Google Apps functionality, you have what’s called Google Sites. Here you can build your own webpages, add photos, information etc… but within Sites you have a neat feature called “File Cabinet”. This File Cabinet is a webpage where you are able to store files on the web, within your Google Apps account. So no more having to carry around jump drives, cd’s, etc… With File Cabinet, you can upload, store, and share as many files as you’d like – with whomever you like. Outlook does not have anything like this.