Google's G Suite: Cloud Office on the Rise

May 9, 2018


Today’s Users Expect a Cloud Office

In an increasingly competitive market, people are looking for businesses and institutions that offer perks like mobility, activity-based organizations and a strong digital infrastructure. They expect to be able to chat and video conference on demand, as well as work, share and collaborate in documents online. Businesses and institutions are finding that in order to be successful in this new digital economy, they need this kind of technology to attract and retain the top-performing employees and students.

This new wave of connected users is already shaping the modern organization, giving rise to the adoption of a more flexible and mobile cloud office. The cloud office is the central nervous system of a company’s communication, including employee email, documents, calendars and messaging – all hosted in the cloud.

The main benefits of a cloud office have been well documented, including an overall lower cost of ownership. Currently, the two key players in the cloud office space are Microsoft and Google, with Microsoft offering its office suite online as Office 365 and Google offering a similar online suite as G Suite. These solutions generally don’t require any capital outlay for expensive hardware or software, and operational costs are reduced as cloud office solutions are managed in large part by the vendor.

While cost savings are still the primary reason to move to the cloud, market responsiveness and agility are becoming increasingly important as well. Compared to traditional, on-premise deployments, cloud solutions, including the cloud office, have become a key strategy for organizations that want to succeed in today’s digital economy.

Jeffrey Mann, research vice president at Gartner, says that organizations that keep their communications and collaboration deployments on-premises will miss out on innovations and features that only the cloud office can provide. These include content visualization and discovery, virtual personal assistants, smart inboxes and unlimited storage. He feels that cloud users will have the best and most economical experience.

He goes on to say, “In 2018, we expect 40% to 50% of business users to have moved their core collaboration and communications systems to cloud platforms. By 2021, more than 70% of businesses will be substantially provisioned with cloud office capabilities.”

Growth of Google’s G Suite

Although a majority of Fortune 500 companies have invested heavily in Microsoft Exchange and Office 365, it’s Google’s G Suite that is slowly becoming the cool kid on the block when it comes to the Cloud Office.

Google’s G Suite website proudly lists big-name corporations, universities and tech giants as customers, including Verizon Communications, Nielsen Holdings, and Colgate-Palmolive. These three alone represent about 250,000 workers. Jeffrey Mann of Gartner Research says that other big firms are now giving G Suite a serious look. “I have been talking to traditionally conservative companies in government, aerospace, financial services” that are considering buying G Suite, Mann said. “That would not have happened two years ago.”

With well over 3 million businesses using G Suite, market share of this increasingly popular platform rose from 8.0% to 8.6% in the first eight months of 2017, according to a recent report from Gartner Research. While Microsoft Office 365 also increased in use, the same report noted that G Suite was found to be more prevalent in advertising and marketing, software and hardware, and consumer products — growing markets where there is more competition and less regulation.

On average, organizations using G Suite are seeing a cost savings of 41% compared to only 27% with Office 365. And 84% of larger enterprise organizations say that G Suite has increased their collaboration compared to 72% of those using Office 365.

As businesses and schools look to attract and retain talent, the convenience of tools like G Suite is a small but significant factor. Many of our academic and enterprise customers have said that that they have invested in G Suite because their IT teams rely on the data security, and their employees appreciate the accessibility and convenience.

While Microsoft originally set the stand for office software, Google’s G Suite now includes all of the popular office tools and feature that users have come to expect. They categorize their features into four functional areas—connect, create, access and control. ‘Connect’ includes email, shared calendars, messaging and video conferencing, while ‘Create’ includes the popular office document apps for word processing, spreadsheets and slides. ‘Access’ and ‘Control’ provide both cloud storage and the overall administration and security for G Suite.

In addition to its foundational feature set, G Suite also integrates with third-party apps that can be downloaded from the Google Web Store. This has the potential to extend the functionality with both stand-alone features and integration with existing systems and applications in the business world.

Welcoming G Suite to the EMS platform

At EMS Live 2017, we acknowledged this growing segment of customers, and in late 2017 with V44.1 Update 20, we delivered on our promise with the G Suite Integration product line.

The first component is Google Calendar Integration (GCI), in which EMS users can view attendee availability from Google Calendars and send invitations (and updates) to Google Calendar apps. This was our first step in aligning with how G Suite users are scheduling using Google Calendar.

We continue to tout the benefits of a digitally-integrated strategy for businesses and institutions of all sizes, and we feel that our partnership and integration with Google’s G Suite fits that strategy well. Whether you use Google or Microsoft, utilizing a third-party integration like EMS allows smaller organizations to easily and quickly grow, opening up new market opportunities by helping them compete on a more level playing field. For larger enterprises and institutions, the cloud office helps them shed the constraints of legacy on-premise solutions for a solution that offers the flexibility they need to keep up and even move ahead in the market.

If you’re an organization that has chosen to make an investment in G Suite or Microsoft, reach out to EMS today.