Should My Startup Be “Going Google”?

Marketing strategist Nate Riggs highlights the five competitive advantages small businesses can harness by “Going Google” and utilizing the company’s slew of new services and apps.

Should My Startup Be "Going Google"?
The debate is polarizing around everyone’s favorite search company. Most business folks are either passionately for or venomously against a little world-dominant company called Google. But now, the corporate giant is bringing more services and business technology apps to the table. And for small businesses, making the switch and “Going Google” could provide some key competitive advantages.

There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’

– Bob Dylan

The recent expansion of the search giant’s reach into a variety of online apps over the past few years has all shapes and sizes of business entrepreneurs up in arms. Amidst concerns that include everything from privacy and data collection to mobile advertising, Google has managed to add or integrate an onslaught of product layers that include everything from social networks, video streaming, all types of documents, multi-user calendars, file storage, and even accounting suites.
With Facebook’s earthshaking rollout of Graph Search hitting the web late last month — an innovation that could potentially alter human information gathering behavior forever — Google’s move towards providing free and low costs business-targeted products and services against the vast field of more expensive pay-for-play software competitors seems perfectly timed.
So does Google’s reformation at the hand of Larry Page impact you, the entrepreneurial business owner? You bet, but only if you’re brave enough to step outside the comfort of your Microsoft Exchange Server.

Open the Doors to a More Level Playing Field

For as long as I can remember, Microsoft has dominated the business technology market.
Vast armies of MS certified consultants and firms have helped companies, big and small, to keep their operations moving and productive by enabling simple business functions to run faster and more efficient.
Brands like Outlook, Word, Excel, Exchange and even the widely hated PowerPoint have become commonplace names in the office culture of the information age.
So what’s all the fuss? While the Exchange Server movement has all but engulfed the business world over the last 10 years, it has come at a HUGE cost to the businesses, themselves.
Take this into consideration — a ZDNet article by Phil Wainwright published way back in 2008 details a case study provided by Serena Software. That company cites that it projected a cost savings of more than three-quarters of a million dollars by simply making the switch from their standard Microsoft Exchange environment to the then largely underdeveloped Google apps.

While the numbers will vary for your own business, there’s a very good chance that Google’s ability to provide businesses with software as a service options will come at a significantly lower cost to your startup’s bottom line than it’s older, local software counterpart.
Seems like a no-brainer, right?
Even the shadow of a promise of lower software and general operating costs, a ton of companies of all shapes and sizes are paralyzed by fear, uncertainty, and doubt when it comes to contemplating a complete migration to Google dependency.
My goal with this article is to simply give you a nudge. Any change creates discomfort, and if you’ve been reared in the age of Exchange Server dominance, I promise you that making this move will take you well outside of your comfort zone.
The question is simple: are you willing to brave the change for the promise of a better, cheaper, faster and easier tomorrow?
If so, keep reading…

5 Real Competitive Advantages of Going Google

First, a primer so you understand what you are getting into. Watch the video from Google below:

That’s the basics. For more detailed information and additional videos and product demos, you can visit the Gone Google campaign site.
There are five key opportunities to explore when considering moving your company to “Go Google”. Keep in mind that you don’t need to do all of this at once, and you can start by experiment with small, select groups of people as beta testers. Once you’ve figured out how to take your existing processes and modify them with the new features and functionality Google provides, it’s then time to roll out the program to your larger team.

  1. Simplified business operations: From calendars, docs and email, Google has designed these foundational apps with a bit less noise. If you’re an Excel junkie or old school accountant, you will probably find your self frustrated by the Google versions of these apps. But, if you’re a basic user who’s strapped for time and just needs to get the job done and move on, Google has done a nice job of trimming off the fat from these corner-stone business applications.
  2. Cheap and accessible file storage: Google Drive is a shoe-in winner when it comes to online file storage. Much cheaper than Exchange Server options and much more flexible than low-cost options like Dropbox, Google has made moving your files to the cloud safe, secure and high accessible from your browser. As a reference point, I personally pay $9.99 per month for 200 GB of storage. Google also makes it easy to download and back up your entire Drive anywhere you like and you can also access your Drive from any device you carry.
  3. Better team communication and collaboration: We’ve seen Google Hangouts used by brands, bloggers and even the President to talk with constituents following the 2012 Presidential Address. This video conferencing app, along side Google Talk, Gmail, Google+ communities and teams gives you multitudes of ways to communicate on the spot. You can even add Hangouts directly to Google Calendar appointments, and you’ll never have to wait for one more version of GoTo Meeting to download ever again.
  4. Free intelligence: It amazes me that more people don’t tap the free research, studies and insights that the worlds largest information company provides. From Google Trends and Keyword Tool to the newer Think.With.Google database, business owners can not only get access to solid and customizable market information, they can do so for free.
  5. Multitudes of 3rd party app integrations via Drive and Chrome: you might be surprised to learn that Google actually does NOT own everything — but they probably integrate with it. Sick of Quickbooks and need a good accounting system? Why not try Wave Accounting? Looking for better project management and Gantt charts? Give Gantter a spin. These are merely two examples of the hundreds of useful apps that have been integrated with Google and can store files directly to your Google drive.

Is Going Google something you’ve considered as a means of web-based collaboration for your startup?

Nate Riggs
Nate Riggs
Founder & CEO

Nate Riggs is a content marketing and social media strategist who has 11 years of experience helping mid-sized and enterprise companies use the web to win and keep the attention of their customers. Nate is currently the Founder and CEO of NRMedia Group. Previously, he was the Director of Social Business at The Karcher Group. In addition to writing for his own blog he is a regular contributor to the Content Marketing Institute. His first book, The Art of Blogging, will be published by CMI Books in 2012.
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