Office In The Cloud

My company recently moved to Google Apps, a software-as-a-service office suite. I was skeptical at first. The behavioral change was painful. Precision and features were lacking. But after four months, I'm now a convert and advocate for cloud-based email, documents, presentations and calendar.

Here's why:

1. All my data are backed up. It doesn't matter if my laptop or company servers melt, everything will be backed up. Theft? I can easily change the password. I feel secure.

2. I can easily and selectively share my documents. That means I can more easily collaborate with others, and aggregate group contributions -- in real time.

3. I can easily share my calendar and reliably schedule meetings. Never before have I had so few hiccups in trying to coordinate meetings and conference rooms.

4. From a computer-processing and workflow standpoint, I can operate more efficiently. That's because all of my office applications work within Web-browser tabs, and I can avoid opening any other clunky office applications.

5. The spam I receive is at an all-time low. Moreover, false-positive spam instances are rare.

6. My office suite seamlessly connects to my company's internal Web site.

7. Rather than get uptight about file and folder organization, I can easily locate and manage work files as I do with the rest of the Web -- via search.

8. From an administrative standpoint, deploying and managing cloud-based office suites to many people is easy. The price is right, too.

9. Finally, the most profound benefit of the cloud-based office suite: I can leave my laptop at the office and have full access to my digital office suite from any other computer in the world. I can't tell you how liberating that is. You'll quickly realize how heavy and unwieldy your laptop is -- once you stop carrying it around everywhere.

To be sure, cloud-based office suites have much room for improvement -- especially when it comes to document formatting. Presentations, when there are multiple contributors, have a tendency to adopt a crazy mix of fonts and alignments. And cloud-based spreadsheets don't allow all the precision and sophistication of Excel.

Still, the pros far outweigh the cons. And cloud-based office suites are only getting better every day.

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3 comments about "Office In The Cloud ".
  1. Jerry Shereshewsky from GrownUpMarketing , June 25, 2010 at 1:03 p.m.

    I too have moved to Google Apps, and have experienced most of the positives outlined. I just wish that their Contacts function was as good as their email. It seems like it was built for kids rather than businesses. Sending a contact to a third party is clunky especdially compared to Outlook. But the cost, portability and ubiquity makes this an absolute winner

  2. Mark McLaughlin , June 25, 2010 at 4:31 p.m.

    Did you neglect to mention that the cost is a rounding error even for a lean small business?

    Google takes all of the backend responsibilities off the plate while dropping the cost versus doing it yourself to a price that was unimaginable just a few years ago.

    No, I'm not a sales person for Google. I'm just an independent consultant who can support all the needs of my virtual office through Google for free.

  3. Cece Forrester from tbd , July 10, 2010 at 12:53 p.m.

    What happens when you find yourself in a place where you can't access the Internet? All your data, schedules, messages and documents are out of reach.

    Whose computer are you going to borrow, when everybody else has also left their laptop at the office?