I’ve recently been thinking about how Google Voice, Google Wave and Google Buzz joining the full Google Apps lineup would make it a budget-friendly teleworking platform. Organizations can now literally purchase themselves a “telework in a box” solution — a complete office productivity software, communications and collaboration package — with little or no requirement for support from their own technical staff.
Here are some reasons why Google Apps might be your organization’s ideal telework platform:
- Low operating costs. Google Apps Premier Edition included everything and costs $50 per user per year. It can release you from software licensing costs and free up some of your internal technical staff from having to support telework applications, though you’ll still have to factor in some administrative and support time to provision and maintain remote users.
- Lower hardware costs. Outfitting teleworkers with hardware can be a major expense, especially if your organization isn’t standardized on notebook PCs. Google Apps is platform-agnostic, so teleworkers can use their own home PCs for accessing their email and documents.
- Lower security costs. While you aren’t going to be able to get around some administrative tasks in order to support your teleworkers using Google Apps, you aren’t going to have the security expenditures that would come with other solutions where you have to manage increased remote access to your corporate network and applications.
- Unified communications. The addition of Google Voice, Google Wave and Google Buzz means that Google can be a unified communications platform. Often, one of the integral elements of successful telework programs is multiple communications channels. With Google Apps, you’ll be able to offer voice, instant messaging, email and video conferencing to your teleworkers.
- “Presence”. With Google Talk and now Google Buzz joining the full Google Apps lineup, teleworkers gain the capability to publish their presence online, so co-workers can see if they are available for meetings, phone calls or online chats.
- Online collaboration. Google Sites, Google Docs and Google Wave would position Google Apps with three different online collaboration options depending on the teleworkers’ preferences and requirements.it means that organizations may not have to pay for a separate home office phone line for their teleworkers. Consider using a Google Voice number as the teleworker’s desk number and then alias it to their mobile phone and/or home phone.
- Video conferencing. You have the option to extend Google Talk into video conferencing by installing a plug-in. The Google Wave Extensions Library also includes the Video Chat Experience extension. Considering that a number of today’s notebook PCs come with an integrated camera, adding video conferencing to your teleworking mix is now a simple affair.
- Mobility. Google Apps is very mobile client friendly. Additionally, don’t forget that Gmail supports the IMAP protocol which makes it easy to extend your teleworker’s email accounts to their mobile devices including BlackBerry (s rimm), Windows Mobile (s msft), iPhone (s aapl) or Android phones.
- A healthy third-party application and add-on ecosystem. The range third-party applications that integrate with Google Apps is only growing now that the Google Apps Marketplace is live.
Have you consider Google Apps for outfitting teleworkers?
Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Enabling the Web Work Revolution