The recent “release” of Google Apps seems to be targeting small business head on. Although there really isn’t anything new with the release (hence the quotes earlier), the concept of providing 24/7 support, API’s, and an uptime guarantee, which is basically what you’re getting for $50/user/year according to their comparison chart, seem to solidify the offering as a stable business solution. As I’ve been working on creating more of a small to mid-size business focus for Statera, Google Apps is something that needs to be looked into seriously as an offering for our clients. I realize Google is trying to compete with Microsoft, but if their API’s provide integration with SharePoint we’re really in business!
On a related note, while I was looking into Google Apps I read a post by Brad Feld referring to an article he interviewed for titled Tech Tips for Small Business. In it he lists the top five most essential tech tools for a small business. They are all great suggestions but the glaring omission in my eyes was the lack of an office product, like Microsoft Office or Google Apps. Brad recommends a Lenova X60 with EVDO built in which would solve one of the shortcomings of Google Apps of only being available while connected. Still doesn’t help with the “How do I work while on a flight?” question, but hopefully Google is working on a disconnected solution to solve that. I haven’t seen a business yet that could function without some sort of office automation suite. There aren’t too many companies still around that use typewriters and ledger books. Maybe a top six, Brad?