Thoughts on what businesses actually need from the Cloud, not what vendors wish they needed.

Chris Bliss

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A quick thought about Google Apps vs. MSFT Business Productivity Online Standard Suite

My friend Vagn Køhler at SaaS-It asked me to send him some talking points for SME’s looking at Google Apps vs. MSFT’s offerings. The best selling point to bring to the table is that what we are moving towards is an IT-less solution. No software, No servers, No installs, No Licenses.

Service > License. Paying for services means you get Google on your team.

- Service is better than a license anyway you look at it. A standard IT business DEPENDS on yourcompany having problems so that they can be called in to fix it. But a service is something thatrequires trust and commitment – Google needs your trust every single month, and so their businessDEPENDS on things working out great for you.

Real Time Collaboration and Updates to Increase Productivity – Less box, more

- No more clunky updates, confusing offerings and packages – a simple offering that does what you need it to do.

- With Google Apps, there is no IT conversation, there is no “how do I set up my Exchange account to share with this one and then update my boss’ Outlook Calendar” – it all just works.

- Google’s application suite is forward thinking – MSFT has been unsuccessfully trying to force Outlook to do things it was never meant to do. Staying with MSFT Outlook for your email needs today is like hoping your car will be able to sprout wings and fly.

Cheaper, Simpler, Better.

- For a five man company (the absolute minimum for MSFT licenses), MSFT lists no less than 10 different business options that can be packaged together including: Exchange Online Deskless Worker, Sharepoint Online Deskless Worker and Deskless Worker Suite. The Business Productivity Online Standard Suite total price per month? $50. A comparable offer from Google Apps? $50 per user PER YEAR.

- MSFT comes from a primarily workstation background, Google comes from the internet. Going forward, and moving into the cloud with the company that lives and breathes the internet isn’t a bad idea. You can look forward to breakthrough technologies and ideas from Google like Google Voice and Google Wave. Now is the time to be part of Innovation in the exact same way that Microsoft was Innovative 20 years ago.

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Chris Bliss works at VM Associates, an end-user consultancy for businesses looking to move to the cloud from pre-existing legacy systems.