An effective information technology (IT) infrastructure is crucial for nearly every business. Whether you are a small start up or a massive enterprise, the applications you run on your computer have a profound impact on workflow. But, making changes to your IT infrastructure requires a major investment in both time and money. Therefore, finding a single platform with deeply integrated functionality remains of critical importance for most IT departments. Google Apps is one such platform.
Google Apps offers a powerful and professional email service with an integrated calendar application, the ability to store and share documents in the cloud, a web-conferencing tool that allows you to hold face-to-face meetings online, as well as much more. Customers desire this total package that Google offers, but what feature provides the most value? That answer will be different for every company, but I want to take a look at one specific feature. Enterprise File Synchronization, Storage, and Sharing (EFSSS).
Drive for Work
Google’s EFSSS service is known as Drive. According to a recent survey of thousands of Google Apps administrators around the world, nearly 80% say they actively use Drive. And anyone who keeps up with Google Apps will that Drive has garnered a lot of attention this past year. For example, Google launched Drive for Work earlier this year. Drive for Work delivers an unlimited version of their cloud storage and collaboration tool. By offering unlimited storage, Google hopes to attract more enterprise customers. But is unlimited cloud storage really a critical selling point?
To answer that question, I’m going to return to the BetterCloud survey that asked Google Apps administrators some questions regarding EFSSS and Drive for Work.
Here is the first question:
When evaluating an enterprise file synchronization, storage and sharing service, which of the following characteristics does your organization value most?
The results of the question were compiled in the chart above. There isn’t a feature that users dramatically prefer over all of the others, rather potential customers tend to value a wide range of characteristics in their EFSSS. These results seem to be fairly intuitive though. Organizations want a service that is simple to use and fits their needs, and if those criteria are met then they don’t mind paying for it. Hence why price accounts for less than 10% of what consumers value.
The next question asked was:
What is the primary reason you plan to upgrade to Google Apps Unlimited / Drive for Work?
The reasons companies plan to upgrade were heavily skewed by relatively few features. For example, nearly a third of all respondents (32.4%) were doing so for the unlimited storage capabilities. The Google Apps Vault functionality for Drive and enhanced auditing capabilities also weighed in with around 25% each. These three features account for over 80% upgrading users. However, for as much publicity as the unlimited storage gave Drive for Work, customers don’t value that feature too much more than Vault and improved auditing capabilities.
So what does this mean for Google? First off, the data shows that a fair amount of SMBs as well as large enterprises (1000+ employees) don’t currently have additional storage needs and do not plan to upgrade to Drive for Work. It seems that cloud storage has become commoditized, and while Drive for Work may be the first to offer unlimited storage, others will soon follow. In order to remain relevant, Google must continue to innovate because unlimited cloud storage is not the end-all, be-all for an EFSSS that many thought it would be. But I have complete faith in Google. They have always risen to the challenge of innovation in the past, and odds are they will continue to do so in the future.
For more information and data from this survey, as well as additional studies on the Google Apps Directory and Google Hangouts, click HERE!