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IT pros say Google slowly infiltrating enterprise, education

Matt Kapko | June 5, 2015
Google for Work was a no-show at the company's I/O conference last week, but Google is still making its mark on the enterprise. Here's how three IT professionals measure Google's impact on the business world and what they expect to see from the company in the future.

Many school districts across the country are looking to grants and other funding initiatives so they can purchase a computer or mobile device for every one of their students. Apple, which has a long history in education, is now competing with Google and others as the transition to digital classrooms progresses. Despite its early lead, Apple is slipping on the education front; during the third quarter of 2014, more Chromebooks (715,000) shipped to education customers than iPads (702,000), according to IDC.

Daugherty's school already purchased more than 1,700 Chromebooks in 2015, and many recent conversations he's had with colleagues in education and IT have centered on Google, he says.  

The applications that ship with Google's Chromebooks are an important determining factor that helps explain why Google is making inroads in education, according to Daugherty. He gives Google the "highest marks from a K-12 perspective" and says real-time collaboration, continued and rapid enhancements based on customer feedback, and cloud storage with automatic save functionality are the platform's real strengths. 

Google's suite of applications still isn't as robust at Microsoft's, mainly in the presentation area, according to Daugherty, and the platform's primary weakness stems from this somewhat unavoidable comparison. Longtime Microsoft Office users fear change, and that makes implementation difficult.

"The key here is to lead by example, with company executives using it first," says Daugherty, who also blogs about technology challenges in education. Overall, the platform is maturing at the right pace and Google will continue to deliver on its promise in education and the enterprise, as new generations of students and workers come of age, he says.

Google for Work's reach stymied by lack of marketing
Google also played an integral role in VIF International Education's decision to move to the cloud, according to Arne Plum, the company's manager of strategy and innovation. VIF International Education is a global provider of professional development products and curriculum for education.

"The seamless implementation, intuitiveness of the interface and rich offering in functionality" are the core strengths of Google for Work, says Plum. However, he and his team would still like to see a more robust built-in backup solution across all of Google's apps, as well as more auditing options for Google Drive.

"We believe that Google's commitment to Google for Work is reflected in the quality and availability of the product," including the number of updates and features it rolls out to the platform, Plum says. "We consider Google for Work a fully mature product at this point."

Still, there is a lack of awareness among smaller companies about Google's enterprise offerings, he says. Plum is surprised Google for Work hasn't received more attention from Google's marketing team, considering how much effort it puts into promoting Android and Chrome.


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