Transitioning to Google Apps for Business

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I’ve been doing the initial set up today  for moving a client from POP mail to Google Apps for Business and thought it would be a good time to explain some of the benefits to this move.

For the Small Business

For the small business Google Apps for Business gives you all of the big business enterprise class tools without the big business investment or overheads. Many small businesses are still struggling with email addresses that don’t belong to their domain (businessname@btinternet.com or such like). It becomes a pain to administer even a few of these type of email accounts across a small business. The lack of domain based email also looks very unprofessional. Google Apps for Business provides domain based, enterprise class email, contacts and calendaring for everyone.

For the SME

For the SME looking to provide a rock solid resource for the company the usual route is Microsoft’s Exchange Server or Small Business Server. While these are both excellent products they really require ongoing support and an investment in hardware and software on the company LAN. The cost of managing an Exchange server can outweigh the benefits and with increasingly mobile workforces becomes more difficult to deploy, in particular if you require Outlook Web Access. Google Apps for Business removes the need for local server resource and maintenance. Resilience and availability responsibilities lie with Google – this frees your IT resource to do other things. The collaboration tools built in to Google Apps for Business mean that it is a superb resource for growing and geographically diverse businesses. Google Drive Sync allows you to continue to use Outlook as your email client if you so wish.

Collaboration

The collaboration tools within Google Apps for Business mean that it is simple to share calendars, contacts, documents right across the business no matter where the users are physically located. If you have multiple offices, or a mobile sales force then this is the way to go for sharing documents.

Set Up

If you don’t already have domain based email then it’s extremely easy to set up and get going. If you already have some email accounts, depending on how they are presently configured it’s still a simple process to get you up and running. Users can be added and configured using a simple web based management page.

Contact

If you think Google Apps for Business is a contender for your business then drop me a line and inquire.

Is Responsive Design the only game in town?

responsive design

There’s a growing trend in web design towards responsive design. Responsive design is the deliberate design and build of a web site to respond differently to different viewing devices. In other words, the web site will present itself differently depending on whether it is viewed on a mobile phone, tablet or desktop device. The design is done in such a way that the browser itself does the work. This is a great choice in many ways, particularly for smaller web sites. There is only one set of pages to maintain, which makes life simpler, but the styling behind the site actually addresses multiple view ports (the size of the window through which the site is viewed). As a result the underlying code can get a bit complex, even though it’s only in one set of files.

The alternative to responsive design is to detect the device accessing the site and present an alternative set of pages to smaller devices. This obviously will involve more work and more files as you are designing separately for different view ports. At first this may seem to be counter productive, but it all depends on the site content and original design.

Many sites are now quite old and large, and the work involved in redesigning the entire site to a responsive design could be prohibitive. It may well be that you only wish to present a select subset of pages to the mobile user, or even different pages geared towards mobile phone use (such as linking maps and phone numbers).

Many larger sites are also data driven and have a significant amount of back end code that can be easily leveraged to drive new mobile oriented pages with no more work involved than restyling the main pages.

For larger sites, and especially those that have an old design it would seem more productive to produce a subsetted separate site for mobile devices, always presenting the user with the option to use the ‘full fat’ site if they prefer. Responsive design is an elegant design option, particularly when designing from scratch. But depending on the size of the site and the legacy elements, responsive design is not yet the only game in twon

Don’t go it alone

Don't go it alone

As the cost of purchasing IT equipment is driving down relentlessly year on year, the true cost of managing a business IT strategy need to manage a business’s IT resource well remains critical. For many SMEs there is just no budget or requirement for a permanent IT resource on site, but it is still crucial that IT strategy and implementation is done well.

Datawise Computing has been working with local businesses for 20 years, providing long term partnerships resulting in an in depth knowledge of both their business and their IT requirements.

IT consultancy is a long term relationship, building on trust and shared knowledge to produce a real benefit in IT implementation.

Datawise Computing has expertise in office systems, networking, database and web design and has experience from the one man band to large multi-nationals. If you would like to consider a long term partnership with a local IT consultancy that you can trust then please use the contact form to get in touch.