Last week, we had a chance to talk with Susan Cline, a Google Apps Certified Trainer and consultant for the Google Apps Enterprise team. Cline understands the need for small businesses to maintain efficiencies and low costs in order to run successfully, and that is one of the primary reasons that she found Google Apps to be the perfect solution.
However, Cline soon realized that there was a gap that existed between a user’s interest in Google Apps and the time and knowledge that they had in order to effectively set it up and use it to it’s full potential. As such, she serves as a consultant and resource to help businesses migrate to and set up Google Apps. Her clients can continue their daily work while Cline takes care of getting them up and running in the matter of a few hours. With over five years of Google Apps experience, she is now a noted expert in the field.
We decided to chat with Cline’s about her initial interest in Google Apps and how she parlayed her passion into a career that is focused on helping thousands of businesses to easily transition to Google Apps. Here is our short Q&A with her:
Backupify: What first interested you in Google Apps? What are some specific Google Apps features you prefer over competing products?
Cline: I was first attracted to Google Apps as a student because of the amount of Gmail storage each account was provided as well as the collaborative features of Google Docs. Many of the classes I took in graduate school were online, yet, we still had group projects to complete. Google Docs was a great way to share and simultaneous edit group reports and data sets. As a small business owner I chose to use Google Apps because there was no investment to set it up and I felt confident that the continuous innovations like the voice/video chat and Google Forms would help me run my business more efficiently while also helping to build my client’s confidence in my knowledge of cutting edge technologies.
Backupify: How many clients have you helped migrate over to Google Apps?
Cline: As a Google Apps user since 2003 and a Google Apps Trainer since 2005 I have worked with thousands of clients who have moved to Google Apps. I’ve worked with one-person start-up businesses, elementary schools, non-profits, and multinational corporations.
Backupify: Why do your clients want to move to Google Apps? Have they reported back to you some success stories after moving to Google Apps?
Cline: My clients chose to move to Google Apps for several different reasons. Some of the larger companies move to Google Apps to save money on IT hardware, software and personnel costs. Many of the startups choose Google Apps because it’s easy to setup, it takes about an hour, and the anytime anywhere access make it a good solution for virtual teams and mobile users.
Although many clients do not initially move to Google Apps for the collaboration features, it quickly becomes the reason why they stay. I worked with a restaurant chain where the managers used to fill out an Excel spreadsheet daily and email to the HQ. The HQ administrative staff were dealing with attachment overload and were having trouble tracking which managers had submitted their data. They started using Google Docs for tracking inventory–the managers would fill out a Google Form and HQ could track all the data in one spreadsheet that was hosted on Google Docs.
Backupify: What is one of the main concerns that your clients have when moving to Google Apps? What is one of the main benefits they note after having moved to Google Apps?
Cline: One of the concerns my clients have with moving to Google Apps is security of their data. Cloud computing is still relatively new and despite Google’s security measures, there is still a lot of negative press about the security of data in the cloud. Another concern many IT managers have is regarding data ownership and permissions with Google Docs. There are various ways that docs could get accidentally deleted or lost. When a user is removed from an organization, the docs that he or she owned are deleted if the Admin does not specifically go into each document and transfer permissions. Additionally, a new user may accidentally delete a document, email or contact without meaning to.
The main benefits of Google Apps include the collaboration tools, the anytime/anywhere access and the continuous innovation. When a new feature is added to Google Apps, like the ability to call a phone number using Google Chat for free, the feature is instantly pushed out to the user. With desktop products like Microsoft Office, the user would need to wait for the new version of the application to be released and made available for install.
Backupify: How important do you see support tools like Backupify to a company running on Google Apps?
Cline: I think support tools like Backupify are extremely useful to a company running on Google Apps. This type of tool will help mitigate many of the security and data control concerns that decision makers have when deciding on “going google”. One of the most frequent questions I get from clients is about how to backup data. Although Google Does offer some manual backup operations, a tool like Backupfiy makes the backup process much more controlled and scalable.
For more from Susan, follow her on Twitter at @GoogleAppsSusan and visit her blog at http://susancline.com/blog/