The move to Google Apps affects employees differently depending on their role in the organization. This is perhaps most apparent when it comes to the C-Suite. With varying strategic concerns, the executive team must learn how to integrate Google Apps effectively while addressing the unique challenges Google Apps may bring to their areas of the business.
With larger enterprises turning to Google Apps (General Electric, Virgin America, Whirlpool) we’ll watch as more C-level executives figure out how best to use Google Apps. In our latest eBook “The C-Suite’s Guide to Moving to Google Apps” we walk through the key issues that members of the C-Suite (CIO, CFO, COO, CLO, CEO) need to consider before or as their company migrates to Google Apps. Below are three top concerns for each of these C-Suite members.
Concerns for the CIO
1.) Upgrade and version management: Google Apps forces a shift to a constant, iterative software upgrade cycle, rather than old-fashioned bulk releases, requiring a change to how you train staff and budget for seat licenses.
2.) Access control: Google Apps allows document-level sharing controls managed by individual users, which has huge implications for how data access is managed.
3.) Shifting security/continuity vulnerabilities: Google doesn’t have “built-in” data recovery or audit trail features, just safeguards against hardware crashes. Be prepared to use third-party tool to meet your disaster recovery and compliance needs.
Concerns for the CFO
1.) Recurring costs vs. amortization: Software-as-a-Service means paying your monthly “software bill” rather than huge capital outlays for new upgrades that you amortize over time.
2.) Explicit per-employee cost scaling: Software cost scale linearly with new employees in Google Apps; no more buying tiers of licenses in anticipation of future growth. This likely affects how budgets are planned and recognized.
3.) Calculating true ROI: Since Google Apps is billed in a fashioned very different from traditional software, calculating any true savings or productivity ROI may prove difficult. Be ready for sophisticated cost-benefit modeling.
Concerns for the CLO (Chief Legal Officer)
1.) Compliance, archiving and backup: As the CIO knows, Google doesn’t have built-in compliance or auditing features, so the CLO needs to spell out exactly what feature enhancements are necessary to meet company policy, so the proper third-party tools can be installed.
2.) Terms of Service and operating agreement updates: Google now stores your data, which means all your operating agreements and Terms of Service now need to include Google as a business associate or covered entity.
3.) Data-sharing policy updates: Google Apps allows file-level sharing managed by individual users; you internal policies need to be updated to reflect this new technical reality.
Concerns for the COO
1.) Collaboration: For the CIO and CLO, Google Apps sharing-centric model is a potential headache. For the COO, it’s a potential goldmine of productivity and efficiency increases.
2.) Document management: The single biggest area Google Apps collaboration pays off is in document management, as its “one doc, many users” architecture saves time, storage and prevents duplicative errors. The COO should be ready to overhaul processes in light of this new paradigm.
3.) Browser-based access: Every web browser is a workstation; how will the COO take advantage of a workforce that can be productive anytime, anywhere? This is what you buy Google Apps for, and your company should be ready to take advantage of it.
Concerns for the CEO
1.) Core competency focus: Google Apps frees up human and fiscal capital previously allocated to maintaining servers and installed software. How does the chief executive want to reallocate these assets to further the company’s core mission?
2.) Change management: Google Apps works very differently than traditional installed software. You need a plan in place to retrain employees who have decades of familiarity with installed systems, but are rookies when it comes to SaaS.
3.) The new vendor lock-in: Google will give you your Google Apps domain assets any time, but virtually no one empowers collaboration like Google Apps does. Embracing Google Apps means accepting a certain dependence on Google as a vendor
For further details on how the executive team should and can deal with these key issues, download the complimentary eBook below.