Gmail Rocks: Kicking Outlook To The Curb

When we set up business systems for a startup, it is easy and elegant.  We implement Google Apps.  Everyone works out of their web client to interact with their email.  It is fast.  You can search.  You can chat in real-time with your team.  The other options for productivity are numerous:

  • There is no VPN to worry about
  • There is no downloading of email
  • You can work from anywhere
  • You can search everything
  • You don’t have to set up a new user with some crazy IT configuration
  • Calendars, contacts and tasks are in one browser interface
  • Did we mention it is fast?

Startups enjoy an advantage.  They are not bogged down by tradition, culture, emotion and irrationality.  They can adopt what works and is cost-effective.

Before Google Apps, businesses used Outlook connected to Microsoft Exchange servers on the back end.  We all accepted the world of IT.  There was a server.  There was an IT person.  There was Outlook and a VPN connection.  There was pain setting people up and making sure the connections were all maintained.

Back then, it was acceptable and worked.  We thought it was necessary because there were not other options.  As older businesses try to take advantage of the cost savings and productivity increases of cloud computing, they have a problem.  It is not a technology problem.  That can be accomplished with good consulting.  Migrating data, setting up Google Apps and driving collaboration are all able to be accomplished.

The challenge lies in getting people to embrace what is good for them.  They love that old interface they have grown comfortable with.  It is a change management issue.  They like the Outlook experience because they are familiar with it.  They want the old and the new.  Sometimes, they just want the old and ignore the fact the world has changed and moved with great speed.

Outlook can work.  However, it creates drag on what is possible.  It is an artificial connection between the old and new.  Using the web client to interact with Google Apps is the true form design which millions of people get along with and enjoy.  They are not thinking about the IT.  They are just getting things done.

Outlook synced with Google Apps means:

  • There is still one more failure point
  • There is an IMAP or POP3 connection which has to be maintained
  • Google Sync has to be used to maintain two sets of data – your email client and a server on the internet
  • Bandwidth usage from connecting to a server on the internet
  • Configuration of individual Outlook clients (You can’t just turn it on)
  • Missing collaboration and productivity opportunities by being connected in real-time with your team

It is doable.  It is precarious and more work.  Google Sync has to be used and its power can be found by clicking here.

I say, kick Outlook to the curb and get rid of the IT headaches.  Better to be uncomfortable for a small bit and learn to change than insist on old outdated forms which keep you in the slow lane.  Of course, it takes leadership to make it happen either way.

What do you think?  Feel free to comment.

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