I am between properties and have two months to spare without a home, so I’ve decided to live with my family up in Staffordshire. My usual location is London and I wanted to really test remote working and using Google for Work for creating documents online.
Ordinarily for a traditional business, this type of move would pose a few obstacles in terms of IT support services to move phone numbers, computers, servers and all the trimmings associated with an office environment.
However because all my business files are stored in Google Drive which is part of the Google for Work suite, I’ve left my computer behind, powered up my Dad’s ageing Windows computer, opened up the Chrome browser and typed away. In fact, I am writing this blog within Google Drive right now.
So this ease of working has got me thinking why more businesses are not using Google Drive to manage their business files online. I wonder if it is to do with the fact that most businesses are used to the traditional offering of the Microsoft Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint and Excel) and the online environment seems strange or unsecure? Maybe it’s a fear of the unknown or an “it can’t be true” scenario.
I want to share the key benefits of having a cloud computing business where all your files are stored online to help you make a more informed decision before you move to Google Docs:
1. Familiar look and feel?
The Word, excel and PowerPoint equivalents within Google Drive power as much punch. If you are used to creating macros, formulas, cells, and rows in Excel then a Google spreadsheet is no different. Equally setting up tables, bullets and styles and spell checking an important proposal is equally as straightforward when compared with Microsoft Word. Only recently Google announce the ability to create pivot tables which will keep the accountants happy and auto correct for people who simply can’t spell like me!
2. Save as you type
As soon as you have created and named a document, seconds later it saves and literally as you type each letter it saves.
3. Backed up 14 times
Currently, Google has 14 data centres worldwide which mean that every letter I type is being duplicated 14 times. This means you no longer need to maintain a business class server that is probably underutilised and all the complicated offsite backups that go with it.
4. Instant translation
Our client markets have widened so what’s stopping us marketing overseas? However, translation fees can be high, so Google Docs provides an inbuilt language translator. I speak French and quickly tested out translating this blog into French and it did a very good job…”Merci Google”!
5. Real time collaboration
Often we are working with other companies to create proposals and win contracts. The traditional approach is to share a document with the other collaborators via email which means each person is waiting for the previous person to finish editing before they can add their own content. Not with Google Docs, all the collaborators can work on the document at the same time. It takes a little getting used to seeing a co-worker adding diagrams to the appendix while you are writing the sales spiel at the front!
6. Offline as well as online
Questions are continually being asked about what happens when your office broadband goes offline? Well as we have other mobile internet devices we can use them to carry on working in documents, however often the devices are two Small to do effective editing. So if you are using the chrome browser then all your online documents are now automatically saved locally so you can view them offline in a browser as well in the rare event of an internet outage.
7. No software installation or upgrading
Microsoft office is quite an expensive product especially when you factor in the time spent upgrading it and the licencing costs to install it on every computer you own. Online editing means there is no software to install and any updates happen as quickly as clicking a link in your browser. Imagine the costs savings you will make by not having to pay an IT support company to install your software.
8. Accessible on any device
Literally any device can edit any of your google docs by logging in with your secure credentials on an Apple or Android tablet or smartphone. I remember once when I started typing a proposal for a client on my Apple computer, ran out of time and had to head off for a meeting; so I finished the proposal on my iPad on the train
9. Complete revision history
I started writing this blog a few hours ago and it has grown in an organic fashion; so much so that I completely wiped out the section on revision history. So it seems quite apt to include it again and all I had to do was look back at a previous version to find the paragraph I deleted and restore it back to its former glory right here.
10. Integration with Microsoft Office
If you are a Microsoft office user and prefer to have files formatted in Word, Excel or Powerpoint; Google Drive enables you to edit and save in all three formats. You can also create PDF and e-book formats as well
Daily businesses are managing their documents online and there really is nothing stopping your business from experiencing the same power by moving your documents into the cloud as well with Google for Work.