2008 will be a breakout year for Google Apps. Here are 5 reasons why:
- GDrive/Platypus will go live, allowing Google Apps users to store their files online. The current backup and file sync solutions on the market are frustrating. While there are a few notable exceptions (Mozy, Memeo), no one has put together the gamechanging solution. Google Apps will do this in 2008, and it will be integrated with the Google suite of products (e.g., Gmail, Google Docs, etc.). It is useful to note that M$ is scrambling towards its own solution in Live Drive, but as long as it continues to take a "one foot in, one foot out" approach in their commitment to Live Drive they will not beat Google. (Come on M$, you've been sitting on Foldershare and Groove for years without getting fully behind either!)
- JotSpot, acquired by Google over a year ago, will finally go live as a key piece of Google Apps. Hopefully, the delayed integration means that it will be robust. I expect to see a something akin to a JotSpot-Basecamp mashup with a dash of Google ingenuity, and of course it will be well integrated with all of the other Google Apps tools.
- Postini - When Google acquired Postini last year, it sent a strong message to me (and to others) that Google is indeed building a enterprise capable application in Google Apps. This acquisition gives Google a competitive advantage and legitimacy. Postini allows Google to sell Apps not only as a viable, but market leading enterprise solution when it comes to managing communications.
- M$ Exchange is TOO much for most organizations. Why is it that if all I want to do is to keep my Outlook in sync between a few computers and my smartphone, I have to use this beast of a program? Not only is M$ Exchange too feature rich for most organizations, it is also very expensive to both setup and then manage. Conversely, Google Apps provides the most commonly used features from Exchange (e.g., shared address books and calendars), but they manage it, and it's available for a fraction of the price.
- Security and Privacy concerns are overblown. It's a bit scary to make your organization so Google-dependent, but consider the following: A) For many businesses, moving to Google Apps represents an increase in security and stability. Why? Security and stability are the sine qua non of Google's business and they know it; they allocate their tremendous resources accordingly. B) As Facebook has reminded us over the past few months, privacy is a costs benefits analysis. If Google provides killer applications at unmatched prices, (which they do), organizations may grit their teeth a bit, but will ultimately trust Google to follow their informal corporate motto, "Don't be Evil."