The software stack of a startup in 2020 is very different from that of a company from 2007. In 2007, a new company would need significant capital expenditures to build a Windows infrastructure for email tools, file storage, accounting and marketing. It would cost tens of thousands of dollars and would require hiring IT experts to deploy and continuously manage.
Today, all of these solutions can be “bought” using a credit card and paying a monthly fee. Very few businesses host email on premise, file storage can quickly be done in the “cloud” and there are countless solutions for a business to manage its accounting online. In just over a decade, all of the basic solutions needed to run a business have gone from extremely expensive to “turnkey” solutions that only need a credit card to set up. .
But how did we get there? It certainly didn’t happen overnight, and in my mind, it’s Google that deserves a lot of the credit for pushing “software as a service” into the business.
Google Workspace – formerly G Suite, formerly Google Apps for your Domain – is Google’s enterprise offering for messaging, calendaring, file storage, and collaboration. Many of my clients use Google Workspace with Spike products. So I think it’s important that the founders of this space realize the influence Google has had and what it means for your business today.
A key thing to keep in mind is that not only has Google Workspace helped simplify the IT experience for businesses, it has also spurred innovation. Before Google Workspace, Microsoft was the only game in town for the company. Outlook was the only e-mail available on the desktop, and even mobile devices used Outlook or required dedicated “connectors” to an Exchange server.
The only way to do “productivity” was in Microsoft Office. If you wanted to create an application, the only way to deploy it in enterprises was to link it directly to Active Directory. In short, the enterprise technology stack was driven by Microsoft and its applications.
So instead of fearing the popularity of Google, I think it’s important to see how it opened up the market for new business subscription software solutions and use it to find a place where your own idea can. prosper.
Google for your domain
In 2006, Google set out on a path to change this, however. When they started Google for your domain, they started a path that would change the landscape of business forever. In 2009, they added an Outlook sync plug-in that made Outlook work almost exactly like Exchange. Many users were so tied to how Outlook worked that it was necessary to bridge the gap.
Employees who wanted to use Gmail on the web could easily do so. Employees who wanted to use Macs and Apple’s email program could easily do so. Employees who wanted to continue using Outlook could also easily do so.
Over the next few years, they would add Google Apps Marketplace to facilitate integration with other solutions, add FISMA certification, and create an API for third-party email clients to work natively with Google email.
I remember that at first IT pros were reluctant to “outsource” their email to a third party, but over time this became standard operating procedure. IT didn’t feel like they’d lose their jobs by allowing Google to host their email. They began to see this as a way to free up resources to focus on using technology as a business tool instead of just fixing failed servers.
Where is enterprise IT today?
Today, following Google’s integration of the concept of “SaaS” into standard operations, there are many innovations in the business that could not have existed before. When a person has an idea for a new business, their path to reaching their customers has never been easier.
Instead of focusing on selling IT departments on integrations into their systems, the focus is now on providing a great end user experience. Because businesses know they can build a hosted solution that anyone can sign up for quickly, they are now focusing on selling directly to people using the software instead of selling to IT pros.
By focusing on selling to the same people who will be using the software, they can communicate the key benefits of their particular solution without worrying about how to deploy it on a company’s server infrastructure.
For new starters, this has also been a critical part of cost control. Instead of spending $ 50,000 on server infrastructure, organizations can subscribe to a hosted email solution, a web-based accounting system, and a hosted customer management tool for a recurring monthly expense. Instead of large capital expenditures, you end up with operating expenses that are much easier to budget for in the future.
This trend in software sales has been great for ambitious founders as it has led to a multitude of innovations in almost every category of software in the market.
When Google began to replace Microsoft in the software stacks of many organizations, they also began to look elsewhere for more specialized solutions. As longtime Microsoft customers began to explore elsewhere, niche services grew audiences. Specialized problems began to see specialized solutions.
Companies are no longer tied to generic software solutions that only meet some of their needs. They can now find specialized solutions for specific needs.
If you are a project manager for a construction company, you no longer have to force your workflows into Microsoft Access. There are specific applications and services for the job of a construction project manager. If you write books you don’t have to figure out how to make it work in Microsoft Word, now there are specific services that help authors with this process. If you want to manage your messaging like a chat app, there are specific services for it. If you want a service to handle business credit card receipts, you don’t need to create complex macros in Excel and Access. All you need is a credit card and a web browser.
Over the past 15 years, we’ve moved from a world where everything a business does has to do with a Microsoft application or something that potentially requires millions of dollars in custom software development. As businesses became more familiar with Google for their corporate messaging, they suddenly became comfortable with many other web companies helping them manage their business operations.