All businesses face challenges when it comes to the adoption and deployment of IT services in a practical and cost effective manner. These challenges can be more difficult for small businesses because they often do not have dedicated full time IT staff to maintain and manage their IT infrastructure. The IT operating environment of a small business has grown in capabilities and geographic reach over the past few years as usage of the internet exploded resulting in increased complexity and along with it increased operating costs.
A typical small business IT environment would normally be configured to address the obvious and immediate needs of the business. They would typically consist of a collection of applications that have would have been implemented incrementally over time in response to specific individual needs over time. Over time this could result in a messy mix of applications.
Desktop and laptop PCs are an indispensable part of work life. Software that contains functionality that the individual requires must be installed and kept up to date to their individual PC. Networks provide the ability to share peripherals such as disk drives and printers and provide access to the internet for web based services such as email, search and electronic transacting. Wireless networks freed laptop PCs from needing to be tethered by wire to a network.
As the internet matured, a new computing model emerged which saw an increasing number of many functions previously delivered by software installed on PCs being now made available over the internet as a service. These web based applications are accessed via a web browser such as Google Chrome, Internet Explorer or Firefox and the data which previously stored on the PC or on a networked disk drive in the office are now stored on the internet. This model is now commonly referred to as cloud computing
One of the most well known proponents of this model is Google, famous for internet search and Gmail. Google provides a formidable portfolio of internet services which includes such services as YouTube, Google Docs, Google Talk and Google+. All of these services were made to individual Google account holders
In 2009, Google launched Google Apps and made it possible for organisations to have access the services which were previously only available to individuals. Google also introduced a simplified way to manage and administer the way these services are deployed to an organisations users in a secure and orderly manner. Additionally Google provided access to a comprehensive portfolio of applications developed by its partners via Google Apps Marketplace. These applications can be activated in minutes and are integrated with many of the Google Apps services.
The form factor of the devices that we use has continued to evolve to the point that smartphones and tablets are now capable of performing many of the functions previously possible only on PCs and more. This proliferation of device forms means that organisations and individuals are afforded the freedom of selecting the right devices of their choice for specific circumstances.
For small businesses, coping with these and other technological advances can detract from the primary activities of the business. Google Apps provide a practical and progressive platform for delivering the IT services that the business requires at a reasonable cost allowing the business to focus on what it does best.