At first it was about Google penetrating to the the office software market dominated by Microsoft. I remember the discussions in large organizations about Microsoft licensing annual reviews, “we will tell them we can install and use Google now!” the managers used to say. I was always interested if those things were really said behind the close doors of the negotiation tables or it was just to make us cringe in the IT department anticipating the user adoption mess that will emerge as a result.
The question has recently changed, it was a question of cloud vs on premise. Today, the battle field has completely changed and it is becoming more and more a functionality, ease of use user adoption and tactics.
The “office war”, the tool that is most widely used in the offices. The main issue with moving from Microsoft Office to Google is the adoption and the perception of the information as something that belongs to “me” (myself as a worker/ the team/ the organization). Most of the people, this is an assumption without fact checking based on personal experience working across industries in 2 countries, are currently writing documents and email on their desktops and in an on-premise Outlook. Switching to Google will create 2 new experiences for the users:
- Changing habits – they know how to work with Outlook, they don’t want to work with something new, some even complain when the cruel IT people are updating the version. as mentioned in Computerworld essay: ”You can mess up elsewhere, but bring down people’s e-mail and you’ll start getting irate calls literally in seconds.” (Corporate e-mail in the cloud: Google vs. Microsoft)
- Changing perception – of a tool a tool that they have worked with in their home, a private tool for a private use, in their office.
- Changing the data ownership – everybody is listening to the media, telling how much Google stores all the data and uses the data, so many managers have hesitation whether or not move to a google based tools fearing that the information will leak.
All those changes is something that employees don’t tend to like, especially employees in large organizations, that find it sometimes difficult adjusting to new tools daily.
All this might change now, when Microsoft has created it’s online 365 solution and some businesses, especially the small once, have switched to the cloud solution. Now Google has a better chance, in my opinion, because it let’s Microsoft to shift the habit and the core assumption for the large corporations that data has always have to reside on premise and the cloud is a dangerous place. Once more and more organizations switch to Office 365 partially or completely, the question which is better? Google or Microsoft? or maybe another cloud based solution? shifts to Googles playground.