Cloud apps offer promise of transformation heaven for SMEs
MAKATI CITY, Philippines – Seeking to educate locals SMEs on the business benefits of Google Apps, tech firm Orange & Bronze Software Labs (O&B) recently held a “Why Go Google?” seminar at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City.
O&B, a Google Enterprise Partner in the Philippines, was joined by Raymond Posadas of Pointwest Technologies, who shared his company’s experience in migrating to Google Apps with the help of O&B.
More often than not, SMEs and start-ups consist of skeletal teams. An employee can have multiple responsibilities. For example, a finance manager can also function as the HR and Admin head, while a CEO can perform Sales and Marketing roles in his company.
In scenarios like these, it is important that employees make the best use of their time. Thus, it would be counter-productive to get distracted by tasks that hinder them from focusing on their core business.
IT-related jobs, for instance, can be delegated to third-party service providers, including maintenance of e-mail systems, servers, and other tools critical to keep the business running.
Mary Manzano, enterprise sales consultant for O&B, explains that Google Apps is the ideal product for email, communication, and collaboration needs of SMEs.
The maintenance of the system is delegated to Google’s team of developers and security experts, while migration and user training can be performed by O&B.
For only $50/user per year (about PHP2,100), an organization can enjoy 25G of storage space (50 times the industry standard); security with spam filtering and virus protection; document, spreadsheet, and presentation creation tools with version and rights management; and automatic software updates without the need for an IT department to install patches, change passwords, and fend off viruses for every user.
“Users can share and edit documents and sites, and apply rights management rules to control access of confidential information,” says Manzano.
She adds that, “Google Calendar is another powerful tool that gives you a peek into your colleagues’ schedules. This way, you can easily find a time to set meetings without having to ask multiple people for their availability. Just use the ‘Find a time’ function, and it gives you a time and day when everyone is available.”
Google Apps’ suite of applications is not limited to email and documents. It is also robust enough for text, voice, and video chat.
Notable companies that have switched to Google Apps include KLM, Salesforce.com, and National Geographic.
In the Philippines, the Department of Finance has recently “Gone Google” with the help of O&B. Filipino-owned company Pointwest Technologies also migrated 800 users to Google this year.
“Our previous email provider couldn’t cope with our exponential growth when we grew from around 50 on our first year (2003) to 400 in 2007,” Posadas, a pioneer employee at Pointwest.
“We had to switch providers then. Now that we are at 800 employees, we had to look for a new solution that could cope with our growth and business demands.”
He adds: “Google Apps is the best solution for us. Our company is expected to have a employee base of 1,000 at the end of the year, which is incidentally our 10th year in the business. We are confident that only Google can scale with our needs.”
Manzano, for her part, believes that collaboration doesn’t need to be complicated. “An organization’s productivity can immensely improve with Google Apps,” she says.
“Google provides mobility. Employees will be able to access e-mail and documents using mobile devices, use video chat to hold a conference with team members in different locations, and easily share resources with one another,” she adds.
“All you need is an Internet connection and a computing device, and you’re ready to go. No need to install any kind of software. You can’t get any simpler than that,” Manzano concludes.