The unpredictability of the economy has had a profound affect on all commerce, particularly small businesses. As the cost of doing business increases, overall spending and sales have significantly decreased. Pinching pennies has become an imperative strategy, however, with so many companies already operating on “bare bones” budgets, many find they have little left to cut. As businesses are forced to find creative ways to decrease costs, some are turning to Google for answers. Google Apps for Business provides a comprehensive, low-cost solution to address the IT needs of businesses. Some companies using Google Apps find they can downsize or even operate without IT departments, thus saving thousands of dollars per year. While this may be one of the obvious benefits, there are a number of additional cost-savings features you can take advantage of with Google Apps.
Since Google Apps works in a total cloud environment, there is less need for bulky local networks and computer hardware. Employees can log in from any computer, tablet or mobile phone and have complete access to calendars, e-mail, spreadsheets, presentations and documents. In fact, employees can use their own devices, eliminating the needs to provide every employee with a computer and laptop. Many employees actually prefer this because they can access their work files from devices they are already comfortable and familiar with and, because everything is stored in the “cloud”, there is no need to bulk up local hard drives with hundreds of files.
No Expensive Software to Purchase or Update
Google Apps provides a plethora of apps and storage options. Some businesses have been able to completely eliminate their local networks and expensive software. Google Apps allows you to pay a nominal fee ($5 per employee per month OR $50 per employee per year) to access their interface. Creating, collaborating and storing information is a breeze with Docs and Drive, while Gmail and Calendar can be synced with any device. Companies can even create a custom e-mail address (@ your company.com) through Gmail. Google keeps all of this up-to-date and free of charge. Those using Chromebooks have a greater advantage as they automatically update themselves and you’ll never have to perform a manual update again!
Downsize Office Space
Since Google Apps can be accessed from any device with a Wi-Fi connection, the need for physical office space is drastically reduced. Some companies are adopting “office share” policies where employees work from both their homes and offices. Perhaps Larry occupies an office during morning hours, and Gretchen works from the office in the afternoon, eliminating the need for two separate office spaces. Other companies are offering large conference-style rooms with Wi-Fi for employees to work from in addition to their home offices. This can be a significant cost-saver when square footage is priced at a premium.
Downtime Virtually Eliminated
Time is money, and when salaried employees cannot work, a few hours of downtime can cost a company thousands of dollars. With Google Apps, the network is always up and running. Employees only need a Wi-Fi connection and can perform their work 24/7. And, you are less likely to permanently lose data stored in the cloud than files stored on local networks. If added security and protection is important to you, companies like spanning.com offer back up and recovery tools designed specifically for Google Apps.
If you have not yet considered Google Apps for Business, it may be well worth your while to do so. They offer a free trial period, so you really have nothing to lose. Over five million businesses and counting have discovered its benefits. As with any platform, you will need to invest time to learn how to maximize its advantages for your company. Properly implemented, Google Apps can offer an impressive return on investment.
About the Author: Gina Smith writes freelance articles for magazines, online outlets and publications. Smith covers the latest topics in the business, golf, tourism, technology and entertainment industries.